HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
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.
Ellie bought a pair of Apple HomePods but she can't use them both in concert with her Apple TV. They won't pair. Apple says it's still in "beta." Leo says at $359 a piece, they shouldn't be in beta, that's for sure! Leo says that there are better options out there. HomePod is limited to just Apple.
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.
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.
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.
David wants to be able to copy TV programs from his DVR satellite, but he can't do it. Leo says that DirecTV and Dish all have proprietary copy protection to prevent it, due to piracy. But Linux boxes will see the hard drives on the DVRs. It's worth a try.
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.
This week, the topic is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. Scott hasn't tried the Fire TV ecosystem yet, but the Cube looks pretty interesting. Scott also says he's hesitant because it listens to your every word. It uses Alexa to operate, and it supports 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos at home. Scott says that HLG, or Hybrid Log Gamma, is the latest HDR codec. Leo says that the Cube is cool because it will work off your voice. So you tell it to watch a title, and it will search to find it.
Tom heard about Dolby Atmos at Home coming to the Apple TV. Is there a sound bar that will support it? Leo says that Atmos at Home works by bouncing sound off the ceiling. This simulates speakers mounted from above. But a sound bar would only give him a hint of it. It won't really give him the same experience as an Atmos at Home Theater system. There is a listing of sound bars over at the Dolby site though, and Leo likes the Vizio.
Murray has an Apple TV 4K and it's not working with his LG TV unless he reboots it. Leo says it's probably an HDMI handshake issue. It could be a bad HDMI cable. Or worse, a bad HDMI port. Apple says to hold the menu/volume buttons down for 5 seconds. The Apple TV will run through resolutions until one wakes it up.