Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1165

Scott wants to chime in on Net Neutrality since it does affect Home Theater Geeks who rely on streaming video. If there had been tiered access, it could affect our entertainment options. Leo says that there hasn't really been a prime example of this, save Comcast and Verizon shaking down Netflix for "interconnect." But that's a prime example of what Scott calls "paid prioritization." And this Net Neutrality decision should stop that. But internet service providers are going to sue against the new rules as well. So it's not over yet.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1163

Scott got an email from a viewer that wants to hold viewing parties. He wants to create a 150' screen, but the problem is that the room he uses has windows. How can he black them out? Leo suggests curtains. Scott agrees and says that Black Out shades are even better. Fixed and custom made inserts that will black out those windows when you insert them into the Window frame. That's the best idea. Scott also recommends the Epson 5030UB projector $2300, and there's Elite Screen's 150" with Cinegrade 5D screen material. Leo also recommends screens from MonoPrice.com. They're very affordable.

Can I connect my new HDTV to a computer for home theater?

Episode 1160

Robert from San Diego, CA
Intel NUC

Robert got a 65 Inch Samsung HDTV that he wants to hook up a computer to. Leo says that an Intel NUC is a good idea because it has HDMI ports, is inexpensive, and will work great. They're hockey puck sized, and perfect to create a home theater PC. Robert will need an external hard drive for storage though. This is a great idea for a HTPC project.

Is it possible to use a Chromecast with my phone's internet connection?

Episode 1160

Mike from Wrightwood, CA

Mike uses his phone as his internet access and he wants to use Netflix from his Android phone wired to his HDTV, but he has issues with audio sync. Leo suspects that the phone isn't powerful enough to drive it. He did get a Chromecast, but it requires a Wi-Fi signal to work.

There are other options. Leo says that using a MiFi card may help, because then it would convert the 4G signal to Wi-Fi. Also, because he rooted the phone, that could be adding to the issue. But rooting helps him to tether and use the Chromecast that way. This could violate his deal with Sprint, though.

Why do I keep burning out A/V receivers?

Episode 1159

John from Moorpark, CA

John has to replace his A/V receiver. He's lost two in the last few months. Leo says that sounds like an indication of "brown power" that's surging or spiking. Scott agrees, and says a power conditioner would be a good thing to get. It's not cheap, but it could help. Scott also says that if speakers are designed to use a specific receiver and he tries to plug them into a different one, it could strain the receiver more than it should.

How much are my old Wharfedale speakers worth?

Michael from Honolulu, HI

Episode 1157

Michael has a pair of Wharfedale speakers that he got back in the 1960's, they're in good condition and he's wondering if they're worth much. Leo says they are, because they're classics, but he urges Michael to keep them! Leo says they're definitely worth connecting to a modern day stereo. Physics doesn't change, and the bigger the cone a speaker has, the more air it can move. As long as the cones haven't dried out or cracked, they will be as good as anything he can buy today.

What sound bar should I buy?

Episode 1157

Robert from Gary, IN
Pioneer SP-SB23W

Robert just upgraded his TV and he needs a sound bar. Leo says that Pioneer makes one designed by Andrew Jones which is surprisingly affordable for the quality sound it provides. But he'll want to be sure he gets one with a subwoofer. He'll have to be realistic as to what he's getting because it's not going to be surround. But as far as sound bars go, the Pioneer SP-SB23W is the one to get.

What's the best box to "cut the cord" with?

Episode 1157

Judy from Yucaipa, CA
Roku 3

Judy wants to know about the Jetstream Movie box. She gets all her entertainment options from satellite and antenna and she's thinking about "cutting the cord." Leo says he recommends the Roku Box. It uses the Internet to bring her streaming video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc. But it won't give her the local live broadcast channels. Neither does Jetstream, for that matter.