HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
Harold's father is tired of paying $200 a month to watch TV on cable. So he wants to cut the cord. He's looking at the FireTV with Sling. Leo says that the FireTV is fine, but they are engineered to encourage buying stuff from Amazon. Leo prefers the Roku player. There's also the Apple TV. Leo also recommends YouTubeTV for his local channels and other streaming options. Sling is another that's good; AT&T has one, but Leo's favorite is YouTube TV. It's $50. But that, on top of the internet, and you're already over $100.
John is noticing that the audio when he watches streaming TV is starting to get out of sync. Leo says it's not uncommon. But since he can watch the same TV on other devices, it's likely the TV. Look in the audio settings to adjust the sync. Check the cable. He can also try changing the audio encoding. Make sure the effects options are off.
Scott joins Leo to talk about how Disney+ recently released Onward because theaters are closed. Leo says this may be the beginning of the end for the Movie Palace. Scott says even the largest theater chains are in trouble, and it means that some chains won't survive the Covid19 outbreak. Leo also says this has been a long time coming, with home theater systems becoming so affordable and television screens getting larger and larger while the prices fall. But then again, every time a new technology comes out, there's talk of the end for older venues.
Scott joins Leo to talk about digital-analog converters in mobile phones. Leo says some phones have good DACs, like LG, while others don't, like the iPhone. But Scott says a company called iFi has a new DAC called the HipDac, which also works as an amp. You plug it into the lightning port of an iPhone or USB-C for Android. Scott says the audio quality of the iFi is fantastic. Very liquidy smooth sound. It also has it's own 2200 mAh battery so it doesn't drain your phone. You can also plug it straight into your computer for power.
Buzz bought an Amazon Fire Stick and has an old Yamaha Receiver for it, but it doesn't have HDMI. He's managed to connect it, but he gets no audio. Leo says that most TVs have one HDMI/ARC. That's the Audio Return Channel. He wants to plug the FireStick there. But he also wants to also use the optical connection for sound. That's what Buzz did, but it doesn't work on the Firestick. Everything else is fine. The audio settings may need to be changed. Look at the TV setup. Try using the PCM Audio setting.
Steve wants to create an outdoor movie theater for his neighborhood during this time of self-isolation/social distancing. Leo says the "throw distance" is dependent on brilliance. The farther he goes, the brighter the projector needs to be. However, Leo has been using an Anker Portable Projector that works quite well. Check it out here - https://www.seenebula.com.
During this period of social distancing, everyone is streaming. As such, Netflix has had to lower the resolution quality of streaming down to SD in Europe in order to handle the load. That's a significant degradation if you have a 4K TV. Will it happen here? Scott wouldn't be surprised if it does. As more people shelter in place, they'll be watching more, and streaming more. Coupled with working at home, kids having virtual classes online, internet traffic is going way up. Leo says one way around this is to cache content.
Jeff wants to know if a Chromebook can be used to watch TV. Leo says you can, but you need internet access to do it via streaming. Can he connect an antenna and watch? Leo says no. That doesn't work. A Chromebook needs internet access to work, and it doesn't have a tuner. So to add all that will cost a lot. But with decent internet access, you can then subscribe to YouTubeTV and enjoy it. You're better off going over to tvfool.com, RadioLabs.com, or AntennaWeb.org and finding an antenna for your TV. It'll even show you which way to point it.
Scott Wilkinson is featured in this month's Popular Science, talking about the high dynamic audio range and how it's constantly needing to be adjusted when watching a movie at home. Scott ways that movies in the theaters are loud, but the spec is 85dBa, with peaks of 120dBa. The acoustic makes up the loudness, though. But when you get home, you don't have that luxury unless you've built it in. So you're constantly turning it up for dialog, and turning it down for things like explosions.
Scott joins Leo to talk about whether NAB will end up being cancelled due to the Corona Virus Outbreak. Leo also wonders this will be the death knell for the conference model in general. Scott has already decided not to go to several conferences and events this year because it's unnecessary travel.