Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I save media files from my DVR?

Episode 1502

John from Anaheim, CA
DVR

John has fiddling with the RG45 jack on his DVR and discovered that he could play his programs through his Roku device from it. He could also copy them to his PC and play them through Kodi. Can he convert them from there? Leo says that TTS is a "muxed" file that he can play, and it's probably MPEG 2. Almost anything that can read video files, like HandBrake, could do it. VLC definitely could play it. The DTCP.IP files, though, will need a special player.

What 4K TV should I buy?

Episode 1501

Tom from Oceanside, CA
LG B7

Tom is buying a new TV today and wants to know what to get. Leo says it depends on his budget. If he's spending a few thousand, then OLED is the way to go. Better yet, he should get a larger size than he would think. If he's at less than a 10' viewing distance, 55" is OK, but Leo likes 70". HDR makes a significant difference if he likes to watch movies. 4K, for sure. But everything else in the chain has to be 4K HDR in order to get the benefit.

Can I sell an old computer?

Episode 1501

Randy from Temecula, CA
Apple I

Randy has an old handheld computer and wants to know if he can sell it. Leo says that most old computers eventually become worthless as far as the market goes, but if it's a unique item, like one of the first computers sealed in a box, then it becomes kind of a museum piece. That could make it worth something. The original Apple 1, for instance, is worthless form a computing point of view, but from a nostalgic, historical point of view, it's worth about $300,000 right now.

Check eBay under the completed listings. That will tell him what he can get for it.

Why does my video stream stutter sometimes?

Episode 1501

Louis from Santa Ana, CA
Ethernet Cable

Louis is watching baseball games streaming online and sometimes the feed stalls. Leo says that's called buffering, and sometimes a packet drops and the feed will wait to see if it shows up out of order. Then it will insert it and move on. Sometimes, though, it just gives up and continues. There are some causes of this, including congestion from a wireless connection. But Louis can get a dual band router and use the 5Ghz band, or just connect to the router with an ethernet connection. The stream will be more reliable that way.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1501

Scott Wilkinson

Scott wants to talk about movie subscription services. MoviePass started the trend with an all you can watch subscription plan that allows you to watch one movie a day. But Scott says that they are in serious financial straights, losing money on every sale. It has, however, prompted more subscription services including AMC's Stubs A List. The cost is $20 a month, for three movies a week, plus upgrades to popcorn and drinks, and the ability to watch upcharged screenings like IMAX or Dolby Cinema.

How can I control multiple TV monitors separately by remote?

Episode 1500

Andrew from Nome, AK
SimpleControl

Andrew wants to be able to control several monitors separately by remote, but with regular IR remotes, everything he does will affect all of the TVs. Leo says ideally he'd like to be able to do this in software without the remote. Leo says it would be nice if those monitors had a serial port for control. There are remote apps that use Wi-Fi with a phone. Openhab has some documentation for controlling TVs using a serial protocol.

How can I connect my laptop to my TV and watch YouTube?

Episode 1500

Sandy from Lomita, CA
Apple AirPort

Sandy wants to watch video from her laptop on her TV. Leo says that most laptops have an HDMI port and she can connect it directly. She says it won't work at home, but it will at work. Leo says the Apple AirPort is Wi-Fi, so she can connect wirelessly through the AirPort and then direct it to her TV via DNLA, if her TV supports Wi-Fi. She can connect via Wi-Fi and then set up her Sony TV to connect to the Wi-Fi as well. Once both devices are connected by the AirPort, she'll be able to do it.

Why did my TV stop supporting 4K streaming?

Episode 1499

Richard from West LA, CA
Vizio 4K TV

Richard got a Vizio 4K TV and suddenly it says his TV isn't capable of receiving 4K, when it has been for the last two years. Leo suspects there's a "handshake" problem between the DirecTV box and the TV itself, and it's usually the culprit of HDMI cables. He should try replacing the cable first. But he'll have to be sure to have a cable that is certified for high speeds of 18GB per second. Amazon sells them for about $10. He could also try another HDMI input to see if that fixes it.