4K

Is there an advantage to using an Apple TV instead of a Mac Mini as a set top box?

Apple TV 4K

Episode 1555

Bruce from Las Vegas, NV

Bruce upgraded to an LG C7 TV, and it's been the best TV he's ever owned. He has an older generation Apple TV, not the new 4K version that's out now. He's wondering if it would be better for him to get a Mac Mini instead. He wants to know what the difference would be between Apple's tvOS and macOS. Leo says the new Apple TVs support UHD and high dynamic range (HDR). One of nice things about using an Apple TV is that it's automatic, Bruce would just have to plug in the HDMI cable and everything would work. The other thing it does is Dolby Atmos sound.

Why is my Blu-ray player "jerky?"

Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Episode 1549

Rich from Tuscon, AZ

Rich recently bought a 4K TV, now he's having issues watching Blu-ray DVDs that are non 4K, because it's a bit "jerky." Leo says it's called "decoding hesitation." Scott says that the very first Samsung Blu-ray players had problems with resolution and detail. It's also related to upscaling. What's odd is that it's inconsistent, happening every 5-10 seconds. Leo also says the Blu-ray player is losing sync when decoding the data stream. A better player will fix the problem, and if Rich is looking to get the next component in his new 4K system, the Blu-ray player is where to start.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1549

Scott says that there are now 4K HDR projectors, and you can get them under $5,000. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn't considering where the prices were last year. Sony makes one that uses a technique called E-Shift, or 4K enhancement. The pixels 'wiggle' back and forth and can create close to 4K using 1080p imagers. It's pretty impressive. Scott says that the black levels are key to making the image really pop, and JVC is better with black levels than Sony. TheDLA-X790R is the one with great native contrast ratio and deep blacks.

Do I really need a Blu-ray player for my 4K OLED TV?

Samung QLED TV

Episode 1531

John from San Diego, CA

John bought a Samsung QLED 4K TV. Does he really need to get a Blu-ray player for it? All he really watches is Netflix and it's pretty good. Leo says that streaming gets compressed, so even though it looks pretty good, Blu-ray is uncompressed and will look far better. The way he can tell is by looking for "macro blocking." He'll see it in solid blacks, and it'll show bands, instead of a smooth gradient. He'll also see some jaggies in titles and text. But Leo says in spite of that, Netflix does a good job. It just depends on if he wants the perfect image or not.

Should I repair my 4K TV?

Sony XBR 930D 4K TV

Episode 1527

Murray from New Jersey

Murray has a Sony XBR 930D 4K TV, and it has horizontal lines across the bottom of the screen. Then it looks like it has a double image after awhile. Leo says it sounds like a hardware failure. Scott says that it sounds like LCDs are stuck open, or that the edge backlighting on the 930 are running a muck. Bottom line, it's broken. He may be able to have it repaired under warranty since it's under 2 years old. But if not, it'll likely cost more to fix it than buying a new TV.

What 4K TV should I buy?

LG B7

Episode 1501

Tom from Oceanside, CA

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.

Why did my TV stop supporting 4K streaming?

Vizio 4K TV

Episode 1499

Richard from West LA, CA

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.

Should I upgrade from my plasma TV?

LG OLED B7A

Episode 1485

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark has a 2012 Panasonic Viera and wants to know if he should upgrade to 4K. Leo says that the Viera was a plasma TV and it's really the best quality there is. And it still works! Yes, there's 4K, yes there's HDR. But 4K is only important if he's really close to the screen. Chances are, it won't be all that much of a difference. HDR, on the other hand, offers superior dynamic range. But unless he sees them side by side, he might not notice it. So Leo advises keeping that plasma TV until it dies. He can always upgrade then. And when he does, he's going to want to get an OLED.