Cracked Screen, Bitstream Indicators, Ceiling Speakers
I recently bought a 58-inch Samsung plasma for only $1200, and I loved itthat is, until my 4-year-old threw a small toy and cracked the screen. This totally disabled the TV; it would not even turn on. Is it normal for plasma screens to crack so easily, and if so, are LCD TVs more durable? Thank goodness I was able to return the TV and get a full refund, but I do not have the money to take another chance like that. I have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old in the house, so what should I do to protect the TV?
Wow, you must have an exceptionally strong 4-year-old, or the toy was especially heavy. I've never heard of this before, and I don't know if LCD screens are more durable than plasma in general. In both cases, the screen is made of glass, which can certainly be broken. My best advice is to prohibit the kids from playing with heavy toys in the TV room; keep a bunch of stuffed animals in there for them to play with. Another partial solution is to put the TV in a cabinet with doors you can close. Of course, this would protect the screen only when you're not watching it.
Perhaps an LCD TV intended for outdoor use might be a potential solution, since they must be able to withstand the elements. Pantel, SunBright, and Runco are among the companies that make them. However, these sets are typically more expensive than conventional models, and I don't really know if they are more resistant to breakage from incoming projectiles.
Light Me Up
I recently purchased a Panasonic DMP-BD35 (based on HT's review) as well as an Onkyo TX-NR906 A/V receiver, and everything goes through the Onkyo via HDMI. I have selected the bitstream output on the Panasonic, but there is no indication of DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD when I play a movie with one of those formats.
I spent an hour on the phone with Onkyo's customer support, who had me reset the receiver, losing all of my programming. Still no joy. In the end, the representative blamed the Panasonic player and told me to call them. To date, I have not received a response from Panasonic.
All the settings on the Onkyo seem to be correct according to the rep I spoke with, and the Panasonic settings are very simple. I'm at a loss as to what to do next.
The TX-NR906's front panel does include dedicated indicators that should light up when it receives a DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD bitstream via HDMI, though they appear to be very tiny. Have you tried pressing the Display button on the remote or front panel? According to the manual (p. 72), pressing this button repeatedly cycles through several pieces of information in the main front-panel display, including the audio format being received. I have no idea why the dedicated indicators aren't lighting up, unless you have somehow not selected one of these formats in the disc's audio menu.
In any event, I generally recommend letting the player decode the audio and send PCM to the AVR. This allows you to hear the secondary audio (commentaries in inset windows, menu sounds, etc.), which is not sent with DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD bitstreams. Also, I'd be curious to see if the PCM indicator on the AVR's front panel lights up in this case.
Update: Readers Matt and Frank found a likely cause of your problem buried in the footnotes on p. 8 of the player's manuala parameter called BD-Video Secondary Audio must be set to "Off" in order to send the full DTS-HD MA or Dolby TrueHD bitstream. If it's on, the player will send regular DTS or Dolby Digital, not the high-res formats, which could well be why the indicators on your AVR are not lighting up. It's unfortunate that users must set this manually, but there it is.
I am updating my family/TV room and considering two options. We listen to music as well as watching movies and TV, and I want to get the best imaging. I must use in-ceiling speakers because there is no wall for box or in-wall speakers
Option 1: three B&W CCM 818s for the front and center channels, two CCM 816s for the surrounds, and a Velodyne Optima 8- or 10-inch subwoofer.
Option 2: two CCM 818s for the front left and right, a B&W CMC center just under the screen, 2 CCM 816s for the surrounds, and a Velodyne Optima 8- or 10-inch subwoofer.
I would not recommend either of the options you specify. In-ceiling speakers are simply not going to provide good imaging, especially for movies, since they are so far from the screen. They're great for ambient music, but not for serious listening or movie watching.
Even if you can't accommodate bookshelf or in-wall speakers, have you considered freestanding speakers, at least for the front left, right, and center? If you want B&Ws, I would think about one of the CM models for the front left and right with the CM Center. Using in-ceiling speakers for the surrounds is far less problematic than using them for the front channels, so you're okay with the CCM 816s in those positions.
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