Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Scott Wilkinson ... The Beginning of the End for Theaters

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1683

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 Wilkinson and the Hip Dac

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1681

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.

Why Can't I Get Sound With Amazon FireTV Stick?


Episode 1679

Buzz from Huntington Beach, CA

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.

Scott Wilkinson ... Throttled

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1679

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. 

Can I watch over the air TV on my Chromebook?


Episode 1678

Jeff from Nashville, TN

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 - Popular Scientist

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1677

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 Wilkinson ... Can you Tell the Difference?

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1673

Scott says that TV makers are leading the way to 8K TVs now. But the question is, can the human eye even see the difference between 4K and 8K? Scott says probably not. In fact, Warner Brothers tested 130 people and found that most people either couldn't tell the difference or found 8K TVs only slightly better. And some judged 4K better than 8K. But that could actually be a blind guess. People with 2010 vision sitting 5' from the screen could see the difference, but only slightly. So Scott says we've reached the limit of how the human eye can see the resolution.