Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Why is the Dialogue Track on My Soundbar Muddy?

SB400

Episode 1691

David from Orange, CA

David has a JBL SB400 and the audio is inconsistent, and muddy, especially for dialogue. It's maddening. Leo says that most TV programming is now mixed for surround sound and as such, the dialogue channel can sound muddier thanks with Dolby 5.1 enabled soundbars. If running through the ARC audio return channel, that can also contribute to it. Scott recommends going into the audio menu of the TV and look for the ARC setting. See if it sends 5.1 or 2.1. Choose 2.1 for that Soundbar since it doesn't have a center channel. 

What Brand of Outdoor TV Should I Get?

SunBrite

Episode 1691

Jeff from New York City, CA

Jeff is looking to get an outdoor TV and heard about SunBrite. Is that a good brand?  Scott says that they make fine TVs that are very bright LCD TVs, and hardened for the weather. SkyView is another. Leo also advises getting an enclosure like the TV Shield and adding a ROKU stick or Fire TV stick. While the TV may be weather resistant, the Roku or FireTV stick would not be. So getting an enclosure would protect those electronics as well. Check out the TVShield enclosure. 

Scott Wilkinson - quantum dotted

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1691

Scott Wilkinson reports that Samsung Display will stop making LCD panels by the end of next year. The parent company, Samsung Electronics, will still make LCD TVs, getting their panels from elsewhere. But what they are going to be doing is focusing solely on QLED, quantum dot LED panels. Scott says that they are LCD TVs with a quantum dot backlight. It takes blue OLED material and passes it through quantum dot material, converting it to blue, red, or green. It's a process called Quantum Dot Conversion, or QDCC. And it'll hit the market next year. Samsung will also be making a QD OLED. 

Do I need a new Apple TV?

Apple TV

Episode 1690

Judy from Puerto Ranch, CA

Judy has a ten-year-old Sony Bravia TV with an original AppleTV. But it buffers a lot. Would a newer Apple TV eliminate that? Leo says it's more likely your internet connection, but it could also be your wifi connection to the Apple TV. There could be a lot of congestion on that 2.4 GHz band. It's time for a new Apple TV, for sure. How does she enable subtitles with her TV? Leo says you have to do it in the Apple TV as well.

What's an Affordable 55" TV?

TCL

Episode 1689

Pete from Clinton Township, Michigan

Pete has a TV that won't turn on with the remote. He has to turn it on manually from behind. So he's looking for a new 55" that won't break the bank. Leo says that TCL and HiSense are very affordable because they are trying to break into the US market. Much like Vizio. TCL also has a Roku built into it, making it very affordable.

Scott Wilkinson ... Purpose Built

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1689

Scott joins Leo to talk about more inexpensive soundbars to improve the sound that your TV has. You can get a decent soundbar for under $200. But if money is no option, the Sennheiser Ambio Soundbar ($2500) is massive and sounds as you would expect. But it's the 2nd most expensive soundbar on the market. It has 13 speakers built-in, two upward-firing for Atmos support. How well does it work? Scott says the idea is to reflect the sound off the ceiling for better immersiveness. But Scott says they don't work as well.

Why doesn't my HDMI cable work with my new cable box?

Comcast Cable Box

Episode 1688

Rick from Capistrano Beach, CA

Rich switched out his cable box from Cox, but now his HDMI cable no longer works, just the cable that works with the Cox Box. Why would that be? Leo says not all HDMI cables are alike. It's likely a newer HDMI standard with the newer box, so the older HDMI 1.4 cable may not be supported. Or, it's just serendipitous that your HDMI cable has worn out. You can get a modern 4K HDMI cable at MonoPrice for around $8.

Scott Wilkinson ... at Home

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1687

Scott Wilkinson to join Leo to talk about how Hollywood will Continue to Air programming from the home. The CBS streaming show ALL RISE will have an in-home quarantine court proceeding in an upcoming episode. American Idol is going to have performers sing remotely, with judges giving feedback from home. Leo says this may work for the short term, but it'll wear out pretty quickly. Scott says the big challenge is going to be how well the lighting, sound and camera work will be.

Scott Wilkinson ... Nothing New

Scott

Episode 1685

Scott joins Leo to talk about good low-cost TVs and soundbars to handle the quarantine. Looking at $500 or less. Digital Trends says the TCL 55-R625 Series gets top marks. It has Roku built-in. HiSense has one for $50 less, but with fewer local dimming zones. The Vizio M658 65" TV is also a great option for the money. It uses quantum dot technology for better local dimming. 

Ratings recommends the Hisense 55H8 and 65H8. The 55" is $380 at BestBuy. Great deal.  

How can I cut the cable?

YouTube TV

Episode 1684

Harold from West Covina, CA

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.