Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I record live conversations?

Episode 1644

Jonathan from Pittsburgh, PA

Jonathan wants to record the conversations he has with friends. Leo says that your mobile phones are great for that. You can not only record with decent quality, but you can also trigger it with a smartwatch. Apps include Just Push Record, but every phone has an audio recorder built-in. But remember, you'll need permission from anyone else you're recording. 

Can I get a wireless surround sound system for my home theater?

Episode 1644

Blackie from Needles, CA

Blackie would like to create a surround sound system with a minimum of wires. Doable? Scott says that there are wireless systems that work quite well. You;d probably still want to wire the front speakers. But the surround speakers and subwoofer can be wireless, for sure. Kliptch. Polk. Vizio's sound bar as a dedicated wireless subwoofer and surround speakers. But they'll need to be plugged in, or be connected to the subwoofer, which would be in the back of the room, not in the front.

Why is 4K upscaling so bad?

Sony Bravia Smart TV X950G

Episode 1643

Greg from Apple Valley, CA

Greg was looking to upgrade to a new 4K TV, and got a Sony Bravia, and found the upscaling was terrible when watching live TV. A year later, the TV has gone out and he has to replace it. Will he have an issue with another 4K TV? Or should he just try and get and older 1080p TV. Rich is not a fan of upscaling, and the native resolution will always be better because upscaling can't invent resolution that's got clarity. Just watch it the way it is, unless it's a 4K native signal. Netflix and Amazon Prime, for instance, stream in 4K. But TV channels vary from 720-1080i-1080p. 

Why is My TV Image Going Out?

 P50 Vizio

Episode 1642

Rich from West LA, CA

Rich bought a P50 Vizio that died after 6 months. He got a replacement, which lasted about a year and a half. Then the replacement died. All sound, no picture (intermittently). He's also been having issues with HDMI. Scott says that Vizio's have a known issue with failing HDMI ports. So try and plug into another one. But more often, the power supplies fail, so that maybe the problem. Rich adds to monitor the problem and maybe add surge protection. But also get back in touch with Vizio. The warranty may enable a return.

Scott Wilkinson ... Connected

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1642

Scott joins Rich to talk about an issue connecting a tape deck to a modern AV receiver with no tape in/tape out option. Scott says older receivers had that feature to record and playback certain AV signals. But that went away about 20 years ago. No receiver that Scott knows supports that anymore. With modern streaming, nobody really records anymore. But with certain receivers, including the Marantz NR1509, you can still record it. Look for a preamp out or pre-out port. 

How Can I DVR TV OTA?

Fire TV Recast, over-the-air DVR, 500 GB, 75 hours

Episode 1640

Von from Columbus, IN

Von recently cut the cord and would like to use an antenna with a DVR. What can he use that doesn't require the internet? Rich says that Amazon Fire TV Recast can be set up with the internet and then disconnected. Trouble is, he has to do it over and over again every few weeks. TIVO may work for weeks without connecting to the internet. Rich says that TMobile has a new Internet for everyone's service.

Leo usually recommends ChannelMaster. 

Scott Wilkinson ... at a higher bandwidth

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1640

Scott answers questions this week. One reader is having the issue that he can't see his 4K AppleTV on his one HDMI port, but will on his other port. Scott says that some of those HDMI inputs operate at the highest possible bandwidth of 18GB per second, while the others operate at 10.2 GB per second. 4K will not work at 10.2GB per second, so chances are, the reader is plugging it into the wrong port. You may also need to go into the settings an tell the TV to stream at the highest bandwidth. This is due to manufacturers wanting to be as compatible as possible with legacy equipment.

Why is Netflix Buffering All the Time?

Netflix

Episode 1640

David from Long Beach, CA

David is having trouble with constant buffering with Netflix on his PS3. But it doesn't do it with subtitles. What gives? Rich says the first thing to look at is what has changed before the buffering began. Often, a change can cause those things. Rich also recommends going to FAST.com and test your internet speed. Rich also recommends uninstalling the Netflix app from David's PS3 and then reinstall it. Also, make sure that the PS3 is updated. Rich suspects that an update may not have been completely installed and uninstalling and reinstalling usually clears things up.

Why can't I get my local channels on my TV?

TV

Episode 1639

Debbie from California

Debbie has always had channels 2-13 with an antenna. After a brief stay in the hospital, she came back and didn't get any channels at all. Leo suspects that while she was convalescing, the FCC moved the broadcast frequencies for all the local channels. It doesn't change the channel number, mind you, but what Debbie needs to do is rescan her TV to re-acquire them. Go into the TV menu and look for scan channels. The TV will then rescan the frequency range and re-acquire them.