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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 10, 2013 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q I wish to place center-channel speakers above and below my projection screen. I know the distance from the two speakers to the seating position at ear level will not be the same, and I would like to know how to calibrate or compensate for this difference. I have a 5.1 surround setup with an Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player, a six-channel amp, and a powered sub. I am patient enough to do the onscreen setup from the Oppo, but I’m at a loss over the dual center speaker issue. —Dale Kay / via e-mail

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 28, 2009 10 comments
Not Just for HDTVs
I own a Sony VPL-VW60 HD projector. Can I use Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics on Blu-ray to set it up, or is this only for HDTVs?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 21, 2011 0 comments
I have a Dish Network Model 722 DVR (pictured above) connected to a Vizio E420VO HDTV via HDMI. When I turn the TV's volume up above 0, I get a slight low-level hum, almost like a 60Hz hum, which does not increase as I raise the volume level. If I turn the volume down to 0, there is no hum. The audio from TV programs is loud enough to mask the noise when listening at a normal volume level. I tried another HDMI cable with no change. It doesn't happen with my LG Blu-ray player; I even swapped the inputs, and the noise followed the DVR. The cables are 6-foot HDMI and not expensive. Everything is plugged into an APC uninterruptible power supply unit, though the hum happens with or without the UPS unit in line with the AC outlet.

Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Should I just ignore it or try to cure this low-level hum?

Dan Roy

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 26, 2009 14 comments
Skimpy DVR
The DVR provided by Cox only has an 8-hour capacity for storing HD broadcasts. The only alternative I've found is $1000 for an HD TiVo and renting cable cards. Any suggestions?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 02, 2011 2 comments
I have a 40-inch Mitsubishi LT-40164 LED-edgelit LCD TV that I really love but for one thing—the screen darkens dramatically during dark scenes and even during credits when there may only be one or two lines of text on the screen. I have tried tweaking dozens of settings, including full backlight and brightness, but to no avail. Is this normal for LED TVs?

Steve D.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 23, 2011 1 comments
Would you calibrate a TV with dynamic contrast enabled? What's the best Blu-ray to demonstrate 7.1 audio? What's the difference between balanced and unbalanced audio?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 16, 2011 0 comments
I have a Samsung 46-inch LCD TV, Onkyo TX-NR509 A/V receiver, and KLH HT-60 speakers. I just got the Onkyo, and now I'd like to upgrade my speakers. I am considering the Energy Take Classic 5.1 system as well as the Pioneer SP-PK21BS speakers, but the Pioneers seem a bit large for my room (25x14 feet with a viewing distance of 10 feet). Also, the Pioneer's center speaker is so high, it would block the bottom portion of my screen.

Michael J. Leone

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 06, 2011 2 comments
I've had a very old equalizer for about 25 years, and I would love to use it for listening to my tapes. To do so, however, I didn't know that the receiver needs a "tape monitor" capability, which most modern receivers don't have. Are there any equalizers that do not need tape monitoring?

Lafonte

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 30, 2009 16 comments
The Great Audio-Cable Debate
Are exotic audio cables worth the money? Can you really hear the difference? I have a hard time putting my arms around spending thousands of dollars on cable made of 99.9999% long-grain copper—as I understand it, copper is copper. Also, I've been told to use XLR interconnects.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 02, 2012 6 comments
I am installing a home theater in the basement (17x15 feet) with a budget of $10,000 to $20,000. I am considering two rows of seating with the second row close to the back wall. I have finalized a few things, but I'm still debating between projection (2D versus 3D) and a large LED-LCD TV. Also, I'm trying to decide between 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. Here are my top product candidates with the best prices I have found:

In terms of projectors, I'm looking at the Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9700 UB (2D, $3,100) and 5010 (3D, $3,000) on an Elite screen (120 inches, $500). Or should I get a Sharp 80-inch LED LCD ($4,300)? The most likely A/V receiver is the Marantz SR7005 ($1,500), which is not THX-certified; is that okay? I've decided on the Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower system ($4,000 for 5.1, $4,500 for 7.1). Finally, do you think the Universal MX-880 remote is better than Logitech Harmony universal remotes?

Chandrasekhar R. Vasamreddy

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 23, 2009 11 comments
Fireplace Folly
I have a flat screen on a mantelpiece shelf leaning against the chimney of our fireplace. I've been hesitant to use the fireplace because the flat screen lies against the chimney. Will lighting a fire affect the TV?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 18, 2011 1 comments
Which non-matte flat panel should I get? Which TV does the best upscaling of VHS? What do the upcoming Panasonic layoffs mean for the future of plasma?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 14, 2011 1 comments
I have a Panasonic Viera TC-P42G15 plasma TV, and there is some ghosting in the bottom-left corner; I had a news channel on pause for over an hour with the contrast set to 100. I don't think this was during the break-in period. Now, in bright or snowy scenes and during older movies in which blacks are noisy and brownish gray, I can see three streaks where the station's logo was. Will I be stuck with this, or is there a way to remove it?

Matt Sutherland

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 24, 2011 4 comments
I heard you recommend "breaking in" a plasma TV for around 100 hours before calibrating it. Do you also recommend something similar for LED-illuminated LCD TVs?

Ronnie Klejka

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 09, 2012 19 comments
In my family room, the only place I can mount my TV is above a brick fireplace. The ceiling height is 9 feet, and the fireplace is 57 inches tall, giving me 51 inches above the fireplace with a width of 69 inches. The sofa is 12 feet from the fireplace. I get the sense that the TV would be too high, and I would like your thoughts on the height and distance.

barecomp

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