HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
Scott got an email from a listener about a Sony X900F TV and wants to know if he can improve the picture quality and how. Scott says that there's a new disc from Spiers and Munsel called "UHD-HDR Benchmark." It's a 4K Blu-ray that will enable the user to calibrate and optimize their TV to the best possible performance without having to hire a professional. He also wants to be able to control his TV and his soundbar with the same remote. Scott says that is hard to do since their Sony remote is not a universal remote. Leo says you can maybe turn on CEC and it could control your soundbar.
Black Friday may have passed, but with Cyber Monday just two days away, Scott is back with another round of killer home theater deals. Scott says that Best Buy has been open later this weekend, and the larger TVs are very cheap ... 75" for $750! Unbelievable deals, sure, but Scott warns that you may end up with compromised performance. If you can't really see the difference, it may not have that huge an impact, but to the educated home theater eye, once you learn what to look for, you can't unsee the flaws. So when it comes to BlackFriday deals, sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
Scott joins Leo after a brief bout with Larengitus, to talk with Leo about this year's Black Friday deals. Scott says that while rumors are that Black Friday deals are for products just made for Black Friday, he says that isn't true at all. They are mostly for overstock, last year's models, and even this year's models. Abe's of Maine has killer deals on OLED TVs, including the LG C9, for 52% off. 65" C9 $1750.
In the speaker category, the Sony Core SSCS3 and the CS5 Bookshelf are 50% off at Best Buy. You can even buy a Sony Atmos system for half off. Klipsh is also 50% off.
Gary got a TIVO Bolt six months ago that uses a cable card, but it's now stuck in "guided setup" with his zip being wrong. How can he reset it? Leo suspects that particular Bolt is defective, perhaps with a faulty hard drive. But Leo replaced his, and it's wasn't the hard drive. So the next option is the power supply. But it sounds like the Bolt isn't all that reliable.
But Mike B in the chatroom says that your cable card may not be correctly configured. Go to your cable store and either ask for a new one or repair that card to your account.
Jim says he's a bit of a luddite, but he's discovered the Sonos Amp with Klipsh speakers, and it's just plain nice. Leo says the nice thing about the Sonos is that you can control it with your phone and stream from any music service. So you can listen to just about anything ever recorded.
Jonathan wants to record the conversations he has with friends. Leo says that mobile phones are great for that. He can not only record with decent quality, but he can also trigger it with a smartwatch. Apps include Just Push Record, but every phone has an audio recorder built-in. But remember, recorders need permission from anyone else they are recording.
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. He'd probably still want to wire the front speakers. But the surround speakers and subwoofer can be wireless. Vizio's soundbar as a dedicated wireless subwoofer and surround speakers could work. But they'll need to be plugged in or be connected to the subwoofer, which would be in the back of the room.
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.
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 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.