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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 31, 2013 1 comments
Q My new TV has four HDMI inputs. Would I get better picture quality if I bypassed my receiver and hooked all the equipment up directly to the TV? I also plan to run a TosLink digital audio cable from the TV to the receiver for sound. Any issues there to consider? —Jose / Colorado Springs, CO

A Whether or not you’ll get better picture quality from your proposed setup depends on the video capabilities of the receiver you’ve been using to handle HDMI switching. A number of A/V receivers provide both high-quality video deinterlacing/scaling and an ability to pass-through 1080p signals with no degradation (this Marantz that Sound & Vision recently reviewed, for example). But some other models are known to reduce the chroma (color) resolution of signals passing through, or to clip above-white and below-black information at the extreme ends of the video brightness range.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 21, 2011 0 comments
My home-theater system consists of a Sony STR-DB940 A/V receiver with 5.1 speaker setup, Sony KDL-52HX909 LED/LCD TV, Dish Network HDTV receiver, and Sony SLV-N71 Hi-Fi VCR. I have the VCR connected to the TV via composite video and L/R analog audio cables and the TV's audio output connected to the AVR via optical cabling (MD/DAT input). I have the Dish receiver's video connected to the TV via HDMI and its audio connected to the A/V receiver via optical (SAT/TV input). All of this worked great for about nine months until a few weeks ago.

The AVR's SAT/TV input works fine, but when I use the MD/DAT input for watching the TV or VCR, the sound only comes out of the left-front speaker. When I record something via the VCR's line in, the playback has the same audio problem. But when I play a tape recorded over a year ago, the sound does not have the audio problem.

Tony Santana

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 19, 2011 9 comments
I have priceless VHS tapes of my kids growing up over the last 25 years. I was going to take them to a company that converts VHS to DVD, but I read that the quality of these conversion services isn't that good. I also read that the USB conversion programs like Roxio don't do the job either. I cannot find a PCI card solution with software. Is there a solution that you recommend? Can you shed some light on this?

Keith Brown

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 11, 2012 1 comments
I recently read HT's review of the Panasonic TC-P55ST50 3D plasma TV. (Good review, by the way.) I noticed that the display was calibrated using a brightness range of 0-255. My understanding is that digital video (Blu-ray, DVD, digital TV) is encoded in YCbCr with a video brightness range of 16-235, and one should set the source component to output YCbCr and set the display to accept the brightness range of 16-235 to preserve the signal and avoid processing and interpolation. Just wanted to get your thoughts and reasons if one way is better than the other.

Stephen Lin

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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 23, 2013 7 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q. I recently bought an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player. A key reason for buying it was to connect a cable TV box to the Oppo’s HDMI input and tap the player’s superior video processing to improve TV picture quality. Will it be necessary to set the equipment up in such a way as to avoid the TV’s video processing? —Doug Crowley / Santa Monica, CA

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 07, 2011 0 comments
I have a Pioneer VSX-33 A/V receiver that outputs HDMI to an Epson 8700UB projector (seen here). How do I know which component is doing the video processing? When my Blu-ray player or satellite receiver runs through the AVR and out to the Epson, does the AVR do all the processing, or does the Epson's video processor? I guess I would prefer to have the Pioneer do all the video processing since its Marvell Qdeo chipset has been so favorably rated.

Dan Theis

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 11, 2009 8 comments
Two For One
I have a Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD plasma with a Denon DVD-3800BDCI Blu-ray player, and I have two questions. First, should I set the Denon to output 1080p/24 manually or just leave it set to Auto? Second, a friend is encouraging me to get the DVDO Edge because, he says, its processing is probably better than either the Pioneer or Denon. Do you think this is true, or is my current gear sufficient?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 23, 2009 9 comments
Welcome to our new feature, "Ask Home Theater." Each week, I'll answer several reader questions here, and you'll have an opportunity to chime in with your comments and additions. I hope to build a real community with lively discussion, so don't be shy! Send your questions to me at scott.wilkinson@sorc.com, and please add your two cents to any answer I give. I look forward to hearing from you!
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 19, 2013 0 comments
Q I just bought a Sharp HDTV from Best Buy. When watching a dark scene from the TV series Grimm that I recorded with my DirecTV DVR, horrible black splotches suddenly appeared on the screen. Is this problem fixable?—Darryl Cameron via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 17, 2013 12 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q I have a question about streaming audio from my PC to an A/V system located in another room. I want to be able to stream my vast collection of FLAC audio files along with Internet radio to an Integra DTR 5.9 A/V receiver. Running an Ethernet cable wouldn’t be my first choice; I have a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the entire house and would like to use that instead for streaming. I've looked at the Sonos and Nuvo systems and the WD TV Live box. Each of these options seems to have good and bad points. But I’ve also thought about buying an inexpensive laptop and connecting it to my A/V system with a portable USB DAC. Can you recommend a solution? —John Hanlon / Encinitas, CA

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 23, 2011 4 comments
I'm going to look at a new house with a home theater in the basement. I just hope the theater was professionally done; I would hate to have to rip it out and have it done right. The house is 10,000 sq. ft. Original price was around 3 million, but the current asking price is $1,939,000. What are some things I should look for when I go to see the theater? BTW, I love the Home Theater Geeks podcast!

Stephen Wedel

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 10, 2014 14 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q If I have a budget of $1500 to buy a subwoofer, should I buy one great sub or two good $750 subs? They would be used equally for both movies and music. Also, how do you connect more than one subwoofer to receiver? —Raphaël Rainville, Montréal QC, Canada 

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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 16, 2014 0 comments
Q Sony has produced some Blu-ray discs that are mastered at 4K resolution and have an expanded color gamut called xvYCC. Is this the same thing as Deep Color or the DCI color space on Panasonic Plasma TVs?  Also, do I need to calibrate my TV for xvYCC, Deep Color, or DCI instead of the Rec. 709 color space to see expanded color with these discs?— William Lee via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 03, 2014 7 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I just bought an Oppo BDP-103 universal player and am connecting it to a Marantz AV7005 pre/pro. How do I make sure the signal gets through when playing SACDs? Use the analog RCA outputs, or can HDMI handle it? —Mike Groft / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 03, 2013 8 comments
Q I’m wondering about the best setup to stream music from my computer. I currently use an Apple TV connected to an Onkyo receiver to stream Apple Lossless files from my Mac via AirPlay. Is there a better way? Should I add an outboard DAC or switch to a different network streaming device? —Rafael Cremonese / via e-mail

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