Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I control my TV and cable box with my voice?

Caller from California

Episode 1506

Caller is blind and wants to know what he can do to access the tv easier. Leo says that the Amazon Echo is a good option. But the Echo can sometimes misunderstand. It's a good idea to keep it away from TV speakers. You can connect it to your home theater and control everything with your voice. That's a great feature. The chatroom says that the Amazon FireTV Cube has VoiceView, that's a screenreader to read the TV screen when needed. And the Cube supports a broad range of cable and internet boxes. Another option is the Logitech Harmony Hub. It can even work in tandem with the Echo.

What's a good TV for outdoors?

Don from Covina, CA

Episode 1505

Don wants to get a TV for the outdoors, but they seem to be four times as much. Leo says that's because TVs are designed for the darkness of a living room or home theater. So getting an outdoor centric TV requires better capability to see in bright, ambient light. THere's also weatherproofing issues. Check out OuterAudio.com. They recommends the high end SunBright TV for outdoor TVs. Sunlight can also damage your TV. So, you wouldn't want to put a normal TV outside. They aren't designed to weather the storm.

How can I get my TV to match the color on my laptop?

Shane from Olympia, WA

Episode 1505

Shane is a professional photographer and he connects his laptop to a big screen TV to show clients their photos. But the colors are always off. How can he fix that. Leo says that color graders will work in a 30% gray room because it influences the reflective nature of the colors, especially when your laptop is using True Tone. And a TV is not calibrated the same as a computer monitor. So you could get a larger computer monitor, like a 5K iMac, or, you can get your TV professionally calibrated. Scott Wilkinson says that a PC calibration tool called a specrtra radiometer could work.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1505

Scott says that TVs have gotten so thin, that speakers aren't capable of providing any appreciable sound because they aren't beefy enough to drive the sound. So a home theater system, or a sound bar is now a must. But Scott says that if your TV only puts out stereo via Tosslink (the optical connector), a surround sound sound bar isn't really going to help. So don't overspend on them. What brands to avoid? Well, many of the specs won't warn you. An HDMI connection could help, if you have enough ports.

What is a good voice control TV device for a blind man?

Episode 1503

Gary from Weeki Wachee, FL
Amazon Fire TV Cube

Gary's mom has dementia and his brother is blind. Their cable company has gone all digital and now they have to make the transition and need voice command to change the TV channels. Leo says that the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a great solution, because it has Amazon Echo built it. It can control some cable boxes, and most TVs. It costs $119. It will also work with Google Home Assistant.

How can I set up a multiroom speaker system?

Episode 1503

Mike from Huntington Beach, CA
Sonos One

Mike would like to be able to control multiple speakers in an open house with his iPhone. Is that doable? Leo says that the key is keeping all the speakers in sync. Sonos was the first to do it right with multi-room sound. All speakers are completely wireless and can be put into party mode, where all are playing the same music in sync. Sonos isn't cheap though.

What mesh router and TV should I buy?

Episode 1503

Doug from Albuquerque, NM
Vizio P Series

Doug just bought a new, two story house and he needs a mesh router. What's the best? Leo says that mesh routers have taken over because Wi-Fi congestion causes devices to drop off. It's not uncommon to have over 50 devices connected to Wi-Fi! And that doesn't include neighbors. So Doug will need a better router to handle that traffic. Leo says the three best mesh routers for his money are the Netgear Obi, the Plume, and the Eero.

Why doesn't my Sonos connect in party mode?

Episode 1502

Ricky from San Diego, CA
Sonos One

Ricky has Sonos, and after a recent update, he can't get his Sonos speakers to play in party mode. Leo says that may be due to it choosing a speaker to act as the main portal. Leo has had similar issues, and he solved it with a boosted Wi-Fi device. A recent update was supposed to fix all that. The more likely issue, though, could be plain old congestion. Everything has Wi-Fi now, and as a result, it causes rush hour. Leo recommends un-pairing everything.