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Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 03, 2010  |  9 comments
More Power!
Years ago, I was told that there were several ways to rate the power output from an amplifier, but only one of those ratings was the "true" measure—RMS or continuous power. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) got into the act back in the 1970s, requiring all amps over 5 or 10 watts to be rated in RMS watts with both channels driven. That requirement was lifted in the '80s, and now when I read power output specs, I don't know if they are RMS (root mean square), IHF (Institute of High Fidelity), or something else. Could you clarify this confusion?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 27, 2010  |  15 comments
Size Doesn't Matter—Much
What is the recommended size for a subwoofer in a room measuring 19x17 feet? How big does the sub need to be for home theater?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 20, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 21, 2010  |  3 comments
Video Degradation
In your response to Richard Zeddun, you wrote:
Scott Wilkinson  |  Dec 02, 2009  |  23 comments
Monster on a Leash
I currently have a Samsung LN52A650 LCD TV with a Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray player and a Dish Network VIP 722 DVR. Will Monster Cable's Ultra 600 HDMI cables with a speed rating of 4.95Gbps, 8-bit color, and 60Hz refresh rate be adequate with my setup?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Nov 18, 2009  |  1 comments
Great Idea
I have a DirecTV DVR, and I discovered that some channels display the SMPTE color bars after signing off, so I have recorded them to use when adjusting the TV's picture controls for broadcast content. The color-bar patterns I have recorded do not have 3.5 and 7.5 IRE PLUGE bars, only the 11.5 IRE bar. How do I adjust the brightness without the 3.5 and 7.5 bars?
Scott Wilkinson  |  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?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Nov 04, 2009  |  16 comments
Decisions, Decisions
I want to get a new pair of main speakers for my Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V receiver. I can't decide between the Klipsch RF-83 and the Polk RTi A9. Is one better than the other?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 27, 2009  |  15 comments
PIP, PIP, Cheerio!
Why is it difficult to find new TVs with PIP (picture-in-picture). I'm looking for a new set to watch multiple sports channels on, so motion blur is also an issue.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 20, 2009  |  16 comments
Breaking In Is Hard To Do
I recently purchased a Panasonic TC-P54V10 plasma TV along with a Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray player. I was thinking of getting a professional ISF calibration on the plasma, but my sales rep said that I should wait about 200 hours before having it done since the gas needs to settle (or something like that). Do you agree?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 14, 2009  |  First Published: Oct 15, 2009  |  6 comments
On The Bias
I recall some Philips TVs having a built-in ambient light—some type of glow from behind the TV. This was supposed to help with dark-room viewing. Since then, few if any manufacturers have followed suit, but I continue to see occasional articles that say this is a good idea because it helps make viewing less stressful on the eyes.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 07, 2009  |  15 comments
How Old is Too Old?
I have been considering buying a pair of B&W Matrix 801 Series 3 speakers. Sonically, I am impressed, but the speakers were produced in 1990, and I am not sure if $2000/pair is a good investment, age-wise. I just don't know how much life is left in them. The current owner says he mostly plays music at a low level. Is anything I could check on my own, apart from auditioning, that can give me a clue in terms of how the speakers have aged and what's to come?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Sep 30, 2009  |  10 comments
Burning Desire
I have a pretty fancy home-theater system, and I use DirecTV as my broadcast source. I would love to be able to burn widescreen HDTV shows to a DVD. My first choice is to burn DVDs in widescreen high def. My second choice would be to burn DVDs in widescreen, even if not high def. At this time, is there a good high-def DVD burner I could buy? Price is not an issue.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Sep 23, 2009  |  2 comments
Funny You Should Ask
I'm looking for a reasonably priced 42-inch HDTV. A standard-definition DVD player will be connected to it as well as digital cable, but no HD service. Plasma or LCD? I can go either way. It won't be wall mounted. I was thinking a 720p set would okay since we don't plan to have HD cable service, but I'd be very interested to hear what you think.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Sep 18, 2009  |  7 comments
Manual Labor
I purchased an SPL meter to level the speakers in my 5.1 surround system. I read an article in Home Theater magazine about how to use this device, but I'm still not sure how to do it. For example, I'm not sure where to put the dial—do I start at 80 or 120?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 26, 2009  |  5 comments
Goo for God
Have you ever reviewed any paint-on projection screens? If so, how do they generally compare to an actual screen? Also, is there a brand you recommend? I'm thinking about going this route for my church, not a home-theater setup.