Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I connect multiple devices to my sound bar?

Episode 1406

Matt from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
4x1 HDMI Switcher

Matt has a newer sound bar, and he wants to connect multiple devices to it. Leo says that the best option here is to connect it to an AV receiver, but because his sound bar is powered, it was fighting with it. He also doesn't have an optical port on his TV, so he needs to have a way to connect that to the sound bar also.

Scott Wilkinson says that he'll need to be looking for an HDMI switch as his solution. Matt should check MonoPrice.com or Amazon Basics.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1406

Scott Wilkinson

Scott went to see Dunkirk in both 70mm IMAX and Dolby Cinema. He preferred 70mm though. Not a lot of deep blacks, but ultimately IMAX is best because that's how director Christopher Nolan shot it. And he shot it on the same beach in Dunkirk, Belgium with original aircraft and boats. The important point is that all the shots are framed within IMAX's square aspect ratio of 8x6. It makes it very immersive. Leo says it's a great movie, beautifully done. Scott agrees. And quite historic in its depiction.

Can I use an HD splitter with a 4K TV and a 1080i TV?

Episode 1403

Frank from Camanche, CA
Xbox One S

Frank recently got a 4K smart TV and he lives in a remote area. He has a limited amount of bandwidth per month, so streaming 4K content would quickly put him over his cap. Leo advises taking his TV off the internet and just use a UHD Blu-ray player. Then he can rent Blu-rays from Redbox or Netflix. Leo recommends the Xbox One S. It's a game console, but it also has a Blu-ray DVD player built-in for games.

What's a good universal remote between rooms?

Episode 1403

Steven from Irvine, CA
Logitech Harmony Hub

Steven used to own a Logitech Harmony universal remote. He had his living room and bedroom linked so he could use the same players, but that was too much for the remote to handle. Is there an alternative? He's been using a program called RTI, but it requires a programmer. Leo advises the Harmony Hub. For $100, he can link rooms. It controls infrared everywhere. He can also link his Amazon Echo to it.

Do I need a digital to analog converter to use a sound bar with an HDTV?

Episode 1403

Harvey from Pahrump, NV
J-Tech Digital Digital to Analog Audio Converter

Harvey wants to get a sound bar for his TV so that dialog will be easier to hear, but his TV doesn't have any analog output. Leo says that since HDTVs are all digital now, there's not much of a reason for manufacturers to put a digital to analog converter inside. The good news is that most sound bars have digital inputs. Harvey already got a J-Tech Digital to Analog Converter.

What should I look for in a DVD player?

Episode 1403

Jason from Chino, CA
Samsung Blu-ray player

Jason is looking for a good DVD player, but he's worried that his DVD player will be locked to the wrong region. Leo says that region coding was designed to prevent movies from being copied and shared around the world before the movies were released. The trend now is that movies get released worldwide now, so region coding is going to be gradually going away. He'll just have to be sure he doesn't get a used DVD player from another region. He won't want a PAL player in the US, for instance. He'll want NTSC. Or, he should make sure to get a multi region DVD player.

What's the best sound bar?

Episode 1402

Vin from Corona, CA
Vizio Smart Cast Sound Bar

Vin wants to know if Bose makes a good sound bar for home theater. Leo says the benefit of Bose is that it has a wireless subwoofer. It sounds great, but he'll pay for it. It will also have to simulate surround sound, which will never be as good as a real home theater system. If he has a space challenge, a sound bar is a good alternative.

How can I backup programs from my DVR?

Episode 1402

Chris from Burbank, CA
DVR

Chris has a DVR with a lot of programs on it. Can he back them up before he changes companies? Leo says no. The programming is heavily encrypted because of copy protection. The only real way he can do it is by exploiting the analog hole. If his DVR has an analog connection, he can put a VCR in between the DVR and the TV connection. But he'll be recording in real time and it won't be in HD.