Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Is high refresh rate important when buying a UHD TV?

Episode 1339

Felix from North Hollywood, CA
Samsung UN43KU7000 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Felix heard that TVs with higher refresh rates are actually just simulating the extra frames. Leo says since there's no content at these high frame rates, so anytime there's something faster than 60 frames per second, the TV is faking it. The reason is, LCD TVs are a little bit slower than the old CRT TVs and even Plasma and OLED. So fast moving action can look a little blurry. The way these manufacturers have solved it is through frame interpolation. This means that software will generate what should be between the frames, or it may just double the frame.

What TV should I buy?

Episode 1338

Stephanie from Arcadia
Samsung UHD TV

Stephanie wants to get a new TV to replace their 7 year old HDTV. Leo says that Vizio makes great TVs, as does Samsung, TCL and HiSense. It depends on what is most important to her. Most of them are smart TVs. She'll have to use an Apple TV to stream from her iPhone, though.

Leo says that LG is the best Smart TV. Samsung's smart TV software isn't very good. Stephanie should also get a Roku. Then it doesn't matter what smart tv you have. Also, moving forward, you want your TV to be UHD Premium standard for the best color and dynamic range.

Why is my Roku buffering and rebooting?

Episode 1338

Mike from Tustin, CA
Roku Ultra

Mike recently "cut the cord" and streams only via Roku. Leo says that what's apparent is that cord cutting doesn't really save money. When you consider Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime subscriptions, he's paying just as much, if not more. That's not the reason to cut the cord. The reason is to send a message that he's not going to take it anymore from the cable companies.

What streaming box should I buy?

Episode 1336

Diane from Long Beach, CA
Roku 4

Diane has decided to cut the cable, but she doesn't know where to go from there. Which streaming box should she get? Leo says that there isn't an all-in-one solution for everything she'll want. If she buys through iTunes, then she'll want Apple TV. If she's on Amazon, then maybe the Fire, or the Roku. But if she has to choose one over all the others, Leo says Roku is the best. It's affordable and has the broadest variety of content.

Do I really need an A/V receiver for home theater?

Episode 1335

Andrew from Manchester, NH
Denon AV Receiver

Andrew isn't much about home theater and wonders if it's really important to get an A/V receiver. Leo says it is, because the speakers in a TV are more of an afterthought. They assume he's going to get a home theater system. If he cares about the sound, which is half of the TV experience, then he'll want a home theater system. He can get a Home Theater in a Box that comes with a Blu-ray player, a mini receiver and a set of speakers for a few hundred bucks.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1335

Scott Wilkinson

Scott saw Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, directed by Ang Lee, which was shot in 3D HFR at 120fps. The problem with shooting at that high frame rate is that few theaters can display it. Scott says that Lee is trying to push the boundaries of cinema with a new visual language that breaks the barriers up by 24 fps to save film stock. The problem is there's few projectors that can handle that amount of data. Scott says it's gorgeous, and very compelling. Shooting at that frame rate also meant not being able to wear makeup. Required more of a method acting technique, and more.

Why is my TV reception worse after getting FIOS?

Episode 1333

Bonnie from Devore Heights, CA
HDMI Cable

Bonnie has a Sharp LCD TV, had FIOS TV installed yesterday, and now the picture quality is terrible. She cancelled it, but now it's still not any better. Scott suspects that the cable that they replaced her HDMI with was faulty or cheap and that caused the inferior reception. Scott suggests connecting her DVD player via component and then connect the satellite box via HDMI, and get a different cable. That should solve it.