HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
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.
Dickie D's gadget of the week is the LEORX Cinematic LED Lightbox. A neat way to display a message or other text with the old-fashioned look of a movie marquee. Black letters are set up in tracks on a white box lit from within. Totally readable in the brightest light or in total darkness. The uses are as limitless as your imagination. Say "Happy Birthday" to a family member, or "I love you" to your spouse. Put a sign in your window so arriving guests will know they've found the right house. These are just a few of the endless uses.
Donald has several TVs, and when he watches streaming content, he has to turn up the volume all the way. Scott says that different methods have different audio levels and there's really not much he can do about that.
Jerry has a laptop and he wants to know if he can connect his Apple TV to it so he can watch movies. Scott says that if the laptop is a Mac, then AirPlay with the AppleTV will make it easy. If it's a Windows laptop, then Miracast is what Windows supports. Both the laptop and TV have to support it, though.
Joe wants to know if backlighting or bias lighting will help combat eye strain while watching TV. Scott says that in a dark room, he'll get a better image, but with HDTVs being brighter, it can cause eye strain. That's why a bias or backlight helps. It shines a light behind the TV onto the wall and it smoothes out the light that your eyes see, so that your eyes aren't working as hard. It has to be a certain shade of white, though — D65. 10% of the peak brightness of the TV. The best place to get a bias light is CinemaQuestinc.com.
Dan got a new cable box with Spectrum, but after a week he started to get an HDMI error because his connection has been "compromised." Scott says that the first thing to try is to power cycle the cable box. That will reload all the standard default settings. It could also be a faulty cable. So replacing the HDMI cable could solve the issue. Scott also says that being an older TV, the connection could be choking. Or maybe the HDMI connector could be failing.