Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Can I use IKEA's wireless speakers for my PC?

SYMFONISK from IKEA

Episode 1738

Lott from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Lott came across a set of SYMFONISK WiFi Speakers at IKEA and wants to know if he can get sound from his computer to play on them. Leo says that IKEA has a partnership with SONOS and Amazon to create wireless speakers. You need to use SONOS software to add your music collection and play it. It uses a variant of DNLA and in theory, the SONOS software can scan your PC and play it.

Scott Wilkinson ... Primed

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1737

Scott joins Leo to talk about how the iPhone Pro 12 shoots video in Dolby Vision high dynamic range. Leo says it then plays it back in all three HDR standards and can edit them as well. And it's very impressive. It can also shoot 4K at 60 frames per second. Completely cinematic. 

In other news, this week was Amazon Prime Days, and Scott saw that Amazon was pointing out better prices on TVs at other places like Best Buy. But Scott didn't really see any great TV deals and Leo thinks the deals are much better elsewhere.

How can I route audio from my Chromecast to my stereo?

JTech Digital Interface

Episode 1734

Michael from Torrance, CA

Michael uses a Chromebook in the garage for working out. But the video is rather janky. So he added a Chromecast and a video monitor. The Video is improved, but he doesn't want separate audio output.  Leo says the HDMI carries both audio and video, but you can split it into a stereo. Leo adds though, that it can be tricky because you'd need a powered speaker to do it. Michael is currently using a headphone jack connected to computer speakers. Not really optimal. 

What's a good alternative to Google home for controlling my TV?

Google Chromecast TV

Episode 1734

Taylor from Cincinnati, OH

Taylor has set up his mother with Google Home to control her TV. Now it won't recognize her voice commands. Leo says that the new Google TV Chromecast may be the solution. It works with a voice-controlled remote and it bypasses Google Home altogether. The price is $49 or it's free with YouTube TV. Another possible solution is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. Leo tested it and it does a good job with voice control. The price is $129. It can even work with Amazon Echo.

Why Can't I Hear Dialog In My TV?

soundbar

Episode 1733

Larry from Tustin, CA

Larry is having trouble listening to dialog when he's watching TV. Leo says that today's modern movies and TV shows are mixed for surround sound, which is expected to come out of the center channel speaker. It's expecting that people have their own home theater systems that have multiple speakers for those channels. If one just relies on the TV speakers or a home stereo, that dialogue can get muddled as it's squashed together. One thing to do is make sure the TV isn't interpreting sound as surround. It'll be in sound settings. There may also be a setting to boost vocals.

Scott Wilkinson ... projected

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1733

Scott joins Leo to talk about projectors. Projectors are still popular in spite of how direct view LCDs and OLEDs have come down in price for larger sized screens. Scott says that even short-throw projectors (STPs) are a decent option to replace a flat panel in your home. More companies are getting into the STP space with prices are around $4-5,000. Samsung is right behind with a laser STP for $3500. You can get up to 100-120" for less, while LCD TVs max out around 95" for the same price. \

Why do I have to reboot my Mac Mini to get it to work?

Mac Mini

Episode 1732

Alan from Houston, Texas

Alan has a 2011 Mac Mini that acts as his home entertainment system. Leo recommends using Plex to run it because it'll organize it really well. But the MacMini acts as a great home theater system. But Alan has to reboot it before it the screen stops being blank. Should he reset the SMC? Leo says that's a good guess. It could be that it's not powering up the first time. But resetting it isn't a touch of a button. It varies from model to model. You can also do CMD-OPT-PR to reset your PRAM. But Leo also says you don't really have to turn the Mac Mini off.

How Can I Adjust Audio Sync On TV While Streaming?

DisplayLag

Episode 1731

Bruce from Glendale, CA

Bruce is having issues with audio sync on his TV and home theater/DVD player. Leo says that sync is often built-in and should be in the settings for the device. Bruce gave up on his FireStick. Leo says that a lot of people have. There are some tricks like turning off encoding (or on). Look at the TV settings as well. Maybe a better HDMI cable would help. 

From the chatroom - check the manual for AV Sync. https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/articles/00012347

Scott Wilkinson ... Paying for it

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1731

Scott joins Leo to talk about streaming. Leo recently wired his streaming box with Cat6 Ethernet to get a much more consistent stream, and it made a huge difference. Scott agrees and says that Ethernet doesn't really have distance limitations like WiFi can. Some thing ethernet will only last up to 50 feet, but Scott says that isn't true, per se. It really comes down to your bandwidth, the kind of ethernet cable you have, etc. Ultimately, you can get up to a gigabit of bandwidth up to 120 feet with Cat6 Ethernet, and that's plenty for most people's needs.

 

Why is my audio video signal dropping out on my TIVO?

Tivo Edge

Episode 1730

Bruce from Las Vegas, NV

Bruce is having issues with his TV that the audio gets out of sync and the video goes blank on his TIVO Edge. Leo says it's losing HDMI sync when you run it through the AV receiver. And it's likely the AV Receiver that's causing it since Bruce isn't having issues connecting through his Xbox or directly. Is there a setting he needs to look for in his AVR? Look in the settings for eliminating the sync handshake. That's what's dropping out. If you can make it always on, it would never have to lose the handshake. Leo also suspects a new HDMI cable may solve the problem.