Ask S&V

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
Al Griffin  |  Sep 23, 2015  |  16 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I am looking for a new Blu-ray player and have a question. What’s the difference between inexpensive models and ones that cost $300-plus? It seems to me that inexpensive models have as many features, if not more, than pricey ones. If it’s a question processing power or something else, does that make a huge difference in picture and sound quality? —Edwin Vela

Al Griffin  |  May 16, 2016  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I have been reading about the new TVs for 2016 that were shown at CES. I’ve also read about ATSC 3.0, the proposed new broadcast standard (also shown at CES) for 4K “over-the-air” transmission. Will any of the TVs coming out this year be upgraded to ATSC 3.0 via a software update? —Paul Binder / via email

Al Griffin  |  Apr 20, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I own a 720p-resolution Pioneer plasma TV. Every time I use my old plasma—now relegated to my photography studio after being replaced with a Full HD LCD model in the living room—I am blown away by the rich blacks and crisp color. It just looks better than LCD. With the arrival of 4K and HDR (finally, TV tech that can match the color gamut of the computer monitors I use for photography), I’m thinking it may be time for another upgrade. Are there any HDR-compatible UHDTVs that perform well enough to finally end my love affair with my plasma? — Ed Nazarko / via email

Al Griffin  |  Jan 03, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I’m using a Marantz SR5005 AV receiver rated at 100 watts per channel to power a 7.1 speaker system. My surrounds sound like they’re getting enough power, but I’d like to add three external 200-watt monoblock amps to increase output to the front left, center, and right channels. Here’s my question: Will the receiver’s Audyssey MultEQ automated setup calibrate the system in a way that accommodates the added power? In other words, will I still get full power from the front three channels if I use external amps and Audyssey MultEQ? —Todd Hunt / via email

Al Griffin  |  Jan 26, 2022  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I own an NAD T 787 A/V receiver that only supports regular HD video pass-through and Dolby True HD/DTS-HD Master Audio processing. This receiver features NAD’s MDC (Modular Design Construction) for hardware upgrades. NAD offers an audio module with Dolby Atmos support, along with outputs for two sets of height speakers. If I stick with my current 5.1 speaker setup, would the Atmos module upgrade improve sound quality? Or will my receiver simply downmix the Atmos soundtracks to 5.1/7.1 surround with no audible improvement? —Phil Tomaskovic, via email

Al Griffin  |  Jan 27, 2021  |  0 comments
Q I ordered an Epson 5050UB LCD projector with 10 lens-shift memory settings and am looking for a projection screen. Information on one screen manufacturer’s website says you lose 25 percent (over 2,000,000 pixels) and up to and 25-30% of brightness when using a lens-shift memory setting to zoom images to fill a 2.40:1 “scope” screen…and when a projector blacks out pixels during this process, it absorbs the light energy, creating excess heat. Is this information accurate? Also, should I instead consider using an anamorphic lens with the projector? —Douglas Bien, via email
Al Griffin  |  Oct 22, 2020  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q My new Denon A/V receiver has an eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) HDMI connection, and my TV has a regular HDMI ARC connection. Here’s my question: Will the Denon A/V receiver be able to decode both Dolby Atmos/Dolby True HD and DTS:X/DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks that are routed to it from the TV’s HDMI ARC port, or do I need to connect sources such as an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and streaming box directly to the AVR to make that happen? —Andrew Last, via email

Al Griffin  |  Jun 26, 2014  |  0 comments
Q I own a Panasonic TC-P60ZT60 plasma TV. I also have a Pioneer SC-1323-K A/V receiver, the first I’ve owned with HDMI connections.

Here’s my question. Having dialed in the Panasonic’s internal settings to my satisfaction, am I losing picture quality by routing video sources through the receiver instead of connecting directly to the TV? Some receivers are praised based on the video processing chips they use, but do these actually do anything to improve picture quality when the source is HDMI? I’m using a Comcast cable box and a 1080P Roku to stream home movies from a PC located in another room. I also watch DVDs on rare occasion through a standard DVD player.—Rich Wegrzyn   

Al Griffin  |  Nov 19, 2014  |  4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q Some of my friends argue that spending extra money on Blu-ray Discs is unreasonable since DVDs offer almost equal picture quality for less money. Worldwide, DVDs sell much better than Blu-rays, which many people still consider to be a format for videophiles. Do you think it’s possible that DVDs will ever disappear from the market? —Tomek Ciecwierz, Warsaw, Poland

Al Griffin  |  Jan 30, 2014  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q Both my TV and Marantz AV8801 surround processor provide video adjustments. If I tweak the settings for both, will they conflict with each other? Also, if the Marantz does a good job handling video processing, will there be any advantage to using a high-end player like the Oppo BDP-93 instead of a PS3 for Blu-ray playback?—Michael McGehee / Macon, GA

Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 18, 2010  |  0 comments
Going Wireless
I have some very good wired speakers. How can I convert them to wireless in order to have more flexibility in placement? I do not want wires going throughout the room.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 01, 2011  |  1 comments
I need a recommendation for wireless speakers. My in-laws have four sets of speakers throughout the house controlled with a hard-wired switch box, but the system crackles and pops so badly that they have stopped listening to music. In lieu of crawling under the house to rewire, I want to know if wireless speakers are a viable option. I was hoping that something like a wireless Bose Cube speaker system existed? We don't mind spending a bit on an initial set or two.

Greg Shaw

Al Griffin  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I just finished listening to the new Giles Martin remaster of The Beatles’ Abbey Road via a 24-bit/96kHz stream from Qobuz. For the first few tracks I felt like I was listening to the original album, but on a much better stereo system. Then the bad news came when I got to the medley on “side two” starting with “You Never Give Me Your Money.” Instead of a seamless flow between songs, I heard distinct gaps between the tracks. It really ruined the experience. Why can’t streams of album tracks that are supposed to segue do so without annoying, and at times jarring, gaps in the sound? There are lots of iconic recordings with the same issue. —Thomas E. Moore, Fairfax, VA

Scott Wilkinson  |  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.
Scott Wilkinson  |  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?