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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?
Filed under
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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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 07, 2011 3 comments
I've been thinking about building a theater room, and I'd like to know the relative benefits of front versus rear projection when using a video projector. As of right now, it appears that DLP is the best bet for projection, but I am sure that could change.

Grant

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 07, 2010 0 comments
Gamma Chameleon
I notice that most projectors don't have a spot-on gamma of 2.2. They are either a little above or under the ideal 2.2. Is this less important than color temperature and contrast ratio?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 17, 2011 6 comments
The reviews of the GoldenEar SuperCinema 3 (seen in the lower portion of the image above) and Morel SoundSpot Music Theatre 2 Ultra speaker systems came out at roughly the same time. The Morels appear to have better performance and build quality according to their ratings, and yet they are not considered as good a value despite being in essentially the same price category. Do the Morels really sound better, or is their sound measured against how tiny they are?

Stephen Trask

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 25, 2011 0 comments
Welcome to UAV's latest blog, in which I answer your questions about anything related to audio and video technology—equipment setup and optimization, wired and wireless connections, room environment, content creation, digital cinema, cable/satellite/terrestrial broadcasting, online streaming, Blu-ray, 3D, 4K, future technologies, and anything else in the ever-expanding A/V universe. Even better, other readers can add their two cents in the comments, which I invite and encourage—after all, you might think of something I didn't. Also, I know a lot about this stuff, but I don't know everything, so sometimes I'll post a question and throw it open to readers who might know more about it than I do. And if an answer I provide proves to be inadvertently incorrect or misleading, I want to know, and I'll update it immediately.

All you have to do is send your question to askscottwilkinson@gmail.com. Try to keep your questions as short as practical, but don't skimp on any details you think are important for me to provide a suitable answer. If you're asking about specific gear, please include the makes and model numbers.

My goal is to help you get the most out of whatever A/V system you have and better understand the complex world of current and coming technologies. So let the questions begin!

Filed under
Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 20, 2010 16 comments
In The Zone
As digital HDMI connections (and their associated HDCP requirements) become the default for A/V gear, I wonder if the days of a second HD zone on AVRs are behind us? Or are the manufacturers planning to address the current limitation of sending only SD video to a second zone? Will I be forced to buy an HDMI matrix?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 29, 2011 2 comments
I have all my source devices (TiVo, Roku, Blu-ray player) connected to my Denon AVR-791 via HDMI 1.4a cables, and a single HDMI cable goes to my Panasonic TC-P50VT25 television. If I use the Internet apps on the TV, I cannot hear any sound. How should I set up the AVR and cables to get sound from the TV to my speakers? I have the onboard speakers disabled, of course, and if I turn them on, the sound does work. I don't know if the AVR can take audio back over the HDMI cable through the HDMI output port.

I ask because the Netflix app on the TV is pretty good. I thought the same version would be on the matching Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player, but it's not. Right now, we use the version on the TiVo or Roku.

Paul Wurster

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 02, 2012 8 comments
I have a Panasonic TC-P50GT30 plasma TV and Pioneer VSX-1121 A/V receiver, both of which support HDMI version 1.4 with Audio Return Channel (ARC). The AVR's HDMI output is connected to the TV's HDMI input 1, which is the only input with ARC capability. I also have a PS3 connected to one of the TV's other HDMI inputs. When I play a Blu-ray disc on the PS3 and listen to the audio through my AVR, all I see on the AVR display is Stereo. However if I connect the PS3 to the AVR directly, I see Dolby Digital (or whatever the audio format is) on the AVR display. Does the Panasonic plasma not pass the advanced Blu-ray audio formats, such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD, to my AVR via HDMI ARC?

Dan

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 24, 2010 8 comments
What's in a Number?
Will Blu-ray play through an HDMI 1.3 cable? I replaced a standard DVD player with a BD player and 
lost the sound. The cable is 1.3. Does that make a difference?
 


Bruce K. Dormanen

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