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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 17, 2010 10 comments
HDMI-less
My father-in-law had a home-theater system installed a couple of years ago and would like to add a Blu-ray player. He asked me to hook it up, but I'm running into a problem with his system. The receiver is a Yamaha RX-V659, which only has component-video switching. I want to avoid running a separate HDMI cable to the TV and having him switch sources on the TV and receiver separately. Will connecting a Blu-ray player via component video cause the player to downconvert copy-protected disks to 480i? Do the majority of Blu-ray titles have HDCP?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 31, 2011 1 comments
I have an LG 55LW5600 TV and an LG 3D Blu-ray player in a 13.5-by-16 room. The TV is on the long side of the room, so the placement is not optimal, but it allows me to maintain the peace with my better half.

Now, I need a sound system. I think the Onkyo HT-S9400THX system offers good value. Do you like how that system sounds? On the other hand, a large retailer is selling the Polk RTi A5 and RTi A7 at $519 and $629 per pair, respectively. That seems like a good deal, but I would still need a receiver (I'm considering the Pioneer VSX-1121) and a center channel; I do not have a lot of space for surrounds in the back of the room as the couch is against the wall. Would the Polk setup sound just as good with two speakers (say the A7s) versus the Onkyo 7.1 system, considering that it might just be 5.1 or 3.1)? In two or three years, I will develop the basement and move the home theater downstairs to a larger room. Would the Polks be a better long-term investment?

Luis Victoria

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 25, 2011 6 comments
I recently bought an Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player, and I already have a Pioneer PRO-110FD Kuro plasma TV. Which video setting should I use in the player, Auto or Source Direct? I've tried both, and the picture looks great either way. I've also tried 1080p, and that looked great as well, though I understand this is far from an ideal setting for 1080i sources. Is there anything I should be looking for to see which setting is better? I have a Denon AVR-4308CI receiver, but I set it to pass the video signal through without any processing.

I use the AVR's HDMI 1 input for movies, but I also hooked up the player's 5.1 analog outs to the receiver's Ext. In. This is for listening to music (CD, SACD, DVD-Audio). For Blu-ray music, should I use the analog out when the signal is PCM? Is the HDMI out better for the lossless forms of Dolby and DTS? As an aside, the player's manual hints that it is better to output SACDs from the analog outs as PCM rather than DSD. Is this because the player likely does a better job at decoding the DSD signals?

Stephen Beney

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 24, 2011 23 comments
Four years ago, I purchased a high-end Arcam AVR350 A/V receiver without a good understanding of the future. Now I want to take advantage of the new lossless audio formats offered on Blu-ray from my new Oppo BDP-95 player. I can connect the multichannel analog output of the Oppo to the Arcam's multichannel input, but I am concerned about bass management, equalization, and lip sync. Can an amateur do the adjustments recommended or is a professional needed? Also, I am questioning my recent decision to repair my AVR350, which had a power-supply issue (it cost $400 to repair). Should I have bitten the bullet and scrapped this $2700 clunker for a newer receiver? It's a hypothetical question because now I don't have the funds to buy both a high-end receiver and high-end Blu-ray player. Any thoughts?

Lisa Kaye

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 26, 2010 3 comments
Oppo vs. Oppo
What is the difference between the Oppo BDP-83 and BDP-83SE? I have HDMI capabilities, so should I go with the 83, considering the price difference?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 09, 2010 7 comments
Out of the Box
For the average consumer who takes a new LCD TV out of the box, what is the best way to set it up for home use? What is the name of the DVD used for adjusting and fine tuning?
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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 14, 2014 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

QI have an Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player, a Marantz AV7701 preamp, five Marantz monoblock amps, and Definitive Technology speakers. Given the rave reviews of the Oppo player’s built-in DACs, how would you recommend I set my system up to optimize sound quality? Should I bypass my preamp and hook the Oppo up directly to my monoblock amps, or should I use an HDMI connection to run everything through the Marantz? —Dick Costello / via e-mail

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 04, 2010 14 comments
Can't Get No Satisfaction
Love your blog at HomeTheaterMag.com. It is very informative and has helped me in many ways.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 07, 2010 23 comments
Technology Migration
I was in Best Buy this morning, and one of the salespeople mentioned that Panasonic has purchased the Kuro technology from Pioneer. Is there any truth to this, and if so, is Panasonic going to use the technology in the 2010 plasmas?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 28, 2011 4 comments
Are the blacks visually better on the Panasonic ST30 plasma compared with the S30? And do I really need to pay attention to the Moving Picture Resolution spec? Are there any models you would consider other than these? I'm not interested in 3D, but I understand that it will be included with the better TVs.

Dave Butler

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 09, 2011 1 comments
Last year's Panasonic TC-P54VT25 and the new TC-P55GT30 are about the same cost. Which do you think is the better set?

Chris Wilson

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 03, 2009 17 comments
You Can't Get Better Than Perfect
A reader of your column posed the question whether he should buy a Pioneer Kuro now that they have been greatly discounted. I want the best too, but this raises another question. Do the new Panasonic G10, V10, or Z1 plasma TVs surpass the Pioneers' picture performance, and at what price? The dilemma is this—if one waits too long and the Panasonics disappoint, the Pioneers may be sold out forever.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 12, 2010 11 comments
Perennial Panny Questions
Love your segment on The Tech Guy radio show and your podcasts. I'm thinking about buying a 50- or 55-inch plasma or LCD. I heard you mention that the Panasonic plasmas have rising black levels. Do you know if the 2010 Panasonic TC-P50G25 or TC-P50VT25 have the same issue, or have they fixed it? I watched some of the interviews from CES, and the Panasonic people said that their 2010 models are based on Pioneer Kuro technology.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 02, 2010 7 comments
WTF?
I just bought a Panasonic TC-P58V10 plasma to replace a Panasonic TH-42PA20 that I've had for about six years. I was expecting an even better, crisper picture with more detail, but it's not even close to being as sharp and detailed as my old TV! Both DirecTV HD and my library of more than 600 DVDs look awful in comparison. What's wrong?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 03, 2011 8 comments
My fiance and I will be buying a house soon, and once we're moved in and settled, we are going to buy a new HDTV. Unlike Leo Laporte, we are BIG fans of 3DTV. I have been following 3D and the various incarnations of 3DTV over the years. Now that real 3DTV is here, we can't wait!

The tough part will be deciding between the active-shutter system and the passive-polarized system. I have been looking at active systems for over a year, and I saw my first passive system at Best Buy about a month ago. It was quite impressive.

Is there any risk of a format war between the passive and active systems? Does all 3D programming work on both active and passive systems?

Frank Ireland

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