Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Should I cut the cord?

Paul from California

Episode 1399

Paul wants to cut the cable and he wants to know if SlingTV plus an antenna for local channels is a good way to go? Leo says yes. But you may not need the antenna as Sling offers local channels as well. What about a DVR? Three makers offer over the air DVR service. TIVO. ChannelMaster, and the Silicon Dust HD HomeRun. But Leo's worried about the TIVO since it was sold recently. You can also grow your own TVR with Plex and an old PC. But ChannelMaster is very popular.

How can I stream music to my old stereo?

Lynn from Torrance, CA

Episode 1398

Lynn wants to get a new laptop to use for streaming music to her home stereo. What's the best setup for her, intel or AMD? Leo says either will do. The real issue is that since Lynn is going to be converting analog to digital, she needs a good DAC conversion. But Leo says that's not the best option. You want something that's all digital, so avoid connecting through your headphone jack. Bluetooth is sold option. Google has Chromecast Audio. That's a good idea. It's supported by Spotify and Pandora too.

Scott Wilkinson ... Va Va Va Voom!

Episode 1398

Scott Wilkinson says that there's a link over at BaseheadSpeakers.com for the top ten loudest bluetooth Speakers. VaVaVoom is their top vote getter. Scott also says that there is now a new spec that will give home theater users a nice faux stereo sound from one speaker using computer software. RIVAAudio.com is the site and he's heard it and it's pretty impressive, great for a home owner that wants to have speakers in every room but doesn't want to break the bank.

What's a good loud bluetooth speaker?

Julie from Moorpark, CA

Episode 1398

Julie needs an external bluetooth speaker for events that she sponsors. Leo says you can get a Fugoo Speaker, it's great for mobile outdoor activity, but it's not that loud for large group events. Doss makes the SoundBox Plus, and it's pretty cheap for $33. But Leo says it can really project loud sound. Bose makes one called the SoundLink that's pretty loud and he likes it. But Bose is pretty expensive. Scott Wilkinson says that there's a link over at BaseheadSpeakers.com for the top ten loudest bluetooth Speakers.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1396

Dickie D's gadget of the week is the LEORX Cinematic LED Lightbox. A neat way to display a message or other text with the old-fashioned look of a movie marquee. Black letters are set up in tracks on a white box lit from within. Totally readable in the brightest light or in total darkness. The uses are as limitless as your imagination. Say "Happy Birthday" to a family member, or "I love you" to your spouse. Put a sign in your window so arriving guests will know they've found the right house. These are just a few of the endless uses.

How can I reduce eye strain when watching TV?

Episode 1396

Dave from San Diego, CA
Ambient TV bias light

Joe wants to know if backlighting or bias lighting will help combat eye strain while watching TV. Scott says that in a dark room, he'll get a better image, but with HDTVs being brighter, it can cause eye strain. That's why a bias or backlight helps. It shines a light behind the TV onto the wall and it smoothes out the light that your eyes see, so that your eyes aren't working as hard. It has to be a certain shade of white, though — D65. 10% of the peak brightness of the TV. The best place to get a bias light is CinemaQuestinc.com.

What's wrong with my HDMI connection?

Episode 1396

Dan from Chatsworth, CA

Dan got a new cable box with Spectrum, but after a week he started to get an HDMI error because his connection has been "compromised." Scott says that the first thing to try is to power cycle the cable box. That will reload all the standard default settings. It could also be a faulty cable. So replacing the HDMI cable could solve the issue. Scott also says that being an older TV, the connection could be choking. Or maybe the HDMI connector could be failing.