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ASK S&V

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 28, 2009 19 comments
Finding RSS
I can't find any RSS links for the various blogs and posts! Am I missing them somewhere?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 24, 2009 8 comments
Cash Grab
I have long heard and read that "high-end" HDMI cables are a cash grab and offer minimal if any benefit when compared with bargain brands. Are there real gains in "high-end" HDMI cables? If so, which companies would you suggest looking into?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 21, 2009 46 comments
Career Training
I am interested in learning home-theater installation as a career path. Can you suggest a training program I should look into?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 17, 2009 9 comments
Generous Offer?
I currently have a B&K AVR507 S2 receiver. It is a great receiver, but it does not have HDMI, DTS-HD, or Dolby TrueHD. When I purchased this receiver, I was told I could upgrade when possible. Now, B&K says this is not possible and is willing to give me a $1000 credit toward a new B&K. What can I do to get these features or do I have to buy a new receiver?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 14, 2009 14 comments
Don't Hold Your Breath
I was wondering if you could provide any info about streaming from a Media Center PC to an Xbox 360 acting as a Media Center Extender. I asked Xbox tech support if there are any plans to allow streaming from a Blu-ray drive on a PC to an Xbox 360. I could not get any kind of straight answer. Any info you could dig up would be greatly appreciated and possibly keep me from spending 400-500 bucks on a standalone player.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 10, 2009 6 comments
How Do I Know?
Love my new Pioneer VSX-03TXH receiver. Love my new Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player. But how do I know if Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio is working? I have changed settings on both units and actually read the manuals of both units. Pioneer's website has a picture of the receiver with TrueHD lit up on its front panel, but I have yet to see it on my front panel. My units are connected together only with an HDMI cable. Also, as knowledgeable as I am about home-theater stuff, what is PCM?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 07, 2009 6 comments
What Black Dots?
I enjoy your segments with Leo Laporte on The Tech Guy radio show and podcast, but I really must disagree with your comments on plasma versus LCD. I agree that plasma blacks are blacker and that colors are more vivid. But I just cannot stand the matrix of black dots on plasma screens. I also dislike the reflective screen—the distraction of reflections more than offsets any loss through a non-reflecting screen.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 03, 2009 15 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: Mar 31, 2009 4 comments
Blu-ray Shy
I would like your thoughts on Toshiba's XDE DVD players. As one who is hesitant to adopt Blu-ray fully, I have had a PS3 from the beginning, just no standalone player. I'm thinking of replacing my worn out upconverting DVD player with an XDE model, although Toshiba is quick to point out that it does not output or produce native HD content. Seeing how fiber-optic Internet speeds of 100Mbps are within reach, should one really look at Blu-ray with all the trappings that come with it?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 24, 2009 7 comments
RPTV & PC
I'm planning to buy a 60- or 70-inch HDTV in a few months. The room where it will live is not totally darkened like a home theater. Besides watching TV and DVDs, we also want to hook it up to a PC. With this requirement, is LCD TV the way to go?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 19, 2009 8 comments
PS3 PCM
I was getting ready to buy a new A/V receiver to take advantage of the new audio formats Blu-ray has to offer, but I found out my PS3 will not pass Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD bitstreams—instead, it decodes them to PCM internally. Will the PCM signal be as good in quality? Or do I need to buy a new Blu-ray player and receiver? Or should I buy a Blu-ray player with 7.1 analog outputs and hook that up to my existing Denon receiver's multichannel inputs? It does not have HDMI inputs.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 16, 2009 4 comments
The Perennial Question
Would it be better with a thin budget to buy an AVR rather than separates? I was thinking about getting Denon's flagship AVR-5308CI receiver, but there are separates from Integra, Anthem, Marantz, and Denon that all seem to have similar features but are somewhat lower in price. What would be a good solution?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 09, 2009 0 comments
Ambilight Ambivalence
A buddy of mine had an older Philips plasma TV with Ambilight. The first time I saw it, I though it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen and decided I had to have a set of my own with Ambilight. However, the Philips sets seem to get pretty mixed reviews on Amazon. The availability and selection also seems to be a little scarce. Are the Philips plasmas and LCDs really to be avoided? And if so, is there an alternative you can suggest?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 02, 2009 6 comments
To Buy or Not to Buy
I have been saving to buy a new 50-inch Pioneer plasma this summer. Now Pioneer is getting out of the plasma business completely. Should I still buy? I'm worried about the possible warranty issues and getting repairs in the future.
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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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