HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
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.
Yesterday was "cut the cord day." Started by TV maker TCL, it's the day to commemorate canceling your cable or satellite subscription in favor of streaming video online. But Scott says that while cord cutting is extremely popular, the options we're getting is really just another spin on the cable model. He hopes that someday we'll get true ala carte programming where you just pay for what you want. But currently, Sling, YouTube, Hulu, and DirecTV Now are all just "cable lite." And in many ways, you end up paying more or the same amount by cord cutting. That may be the whole idea.
Karen wants to know how to make her TV sound better, especially for vocals, which are hard to hear. Leo says that vocals are mixed to be part of the center channel and if she don't have a home theater system, it can be a common problem. Leo recommends getting a sound bar. Vizio makes a good affordable one. She should also get one with a subwoofer. Then she'll have the ability to hear the center channel better and can even turn up the center channel alone to help with dialog.
Carlos has an LG G6 Android phone and he also has an old Samsung plasma TV. Can he use DLNA to cast to it? Leo says that he can't do it natively, but he can plug in a Google Chromecast to the HDMI port and it will work to cast from his phone to the TV itself via the Google Home app. It works really well and it's very easy to setup. Most apps will do it.
Another option is Miracast through his Windows machine if he has movies there, but it doesn't work very well. Chromecast works much better.
Leo and Scott talk about cleaning out and organizing the "techno spaghetti factory" that is wiring coming from all home theater stuff. There was also a lot of dust built up and Scott says it's a good idea to clean out that cruft at least once a year and use IEC standard power cables to keep everything consistent. Leo likes banana plugs, and Scott agrees, but many people don't like them because they tend to be easier to disconnect. They make it easy to swap out other tech, though.
Paul wants to cut the cable and he wants to know if Sling TV plus an antenna for local channels is a good way to go. Leo says yes, but he may not need the antenna because 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.
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. She'll want something that's all digital, so she should avoid connecting through the headphone jack. Bluetooth is solid option. Google has Chromecast Audio, which is supported by Spotify and Pandora too.
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.
Julie needs an external Bluetooth speaker for events that she sponsors. Leo says she can get a Fugoo Speaker, which is great for mobile outdoor activity, but it's not that loud for large group events.
Dave would like to know if video cards with an HDMI output would allow him to calibrate his TV with his computer. Scott says that HDR calibration is in its infancy and he can get HD test pattern generators. The HD Fury Integral will add HDR meta data to do it. But for the cost, it's better to have a pro do it.