Whether it is the snowy picture, the big game or you just want to treat yourself, you have decided to replace your TV. But no longer is it just a TV; it has transformed into a home entertainment theater, digital media vault, and social networking system. To help determine what system solution will work best for each situation MY GUYS KNOW HOW has developed some steps that have proved useful when choosing the new system.
There are companies that sell products that can be used to paint the surface of a wall to mimic the properties of a projection screen. Painting the wall can be done with a degree of success, but comes with some serious performance depreciation. MGKH suggests the best practice of purchasing the properly matched screen to the projector that will be used in the system. What’s the point of having a big screen projector but watching a faded fuzzy picture? The projector is only as good as the screen that is displaying the image.
Everyone likes simple. Young or old, male or female, everyone enjoys something more when it is simple and easy to do. This is at the very core of MGKH’s beliefs. We constantly see and hear from customers that are struggling with their audio-video equipment. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. Watching a movie and listening to music should be enjoyable, fun and relaxing — not frustrating, calling your spouse to find the DVR recording from last night. MY GUYS are here to say the struggle is over!
One remote, one interface, one button operation takes the place of dozens of remotes. Take that basket of remotes on the coffee table and put them in the basement. We will tailor fit the remote solution to your exact needs. Want to watch a movie you rented? It is as easy as pressing the “WATCH DVD” button. With that, the TV turns on, the surround system fires up, the DVD player turns on, both the TV and surround receiver turn to the correct source and surround setting. You put the DVD in the player and you’re off to the races!
Oh man, it’s 8pm and the Dancing Stars are on! No problem! On the same remote you press the “WATCH TV” button. In a matter of seconds the DVD player pauses the movie, the TV and surround system switch to the cable box, you adjust the volume of the surround receiver on the remote and now watching your favorite dancing star with time enough to grab a snack. When you’re finished for the night, you press the “OFF” button: with one simple press, the TV turns off, the surround receiver turns off, the DVD player turns off and the cable box turns off. Later when you want to finish the movie you started, the system will remember where you left off on the DVD and start from that point. It is and can be easily yours with MY GUYS on your side!
Wireless internet has freed us from the constraints of being plugged into the wall. But that freedom comes at the cost of speed at which data can be transmitted. Anytime MGKH can, we opt for a wired connection over wireless. The reasons are:
These points are important because the information stored on today’s Blu-ray movies and high definition content is 10 to 100 times larger than the standard definition signal of yesterday’s DVDs. Often with a wireless connection, we see customers that encounter a “bottle-necking” effect where the picture is not clear or the playback is choppy. We like to use the garden hose/fire hose comparison. The garden hose cannot flow the volume of water needed to swiftly put the fire out just like the wireless signal cannot flow the volume of data needed to smoothly play back HD content.
Some consumers have found wireless will work for music or a standard definition movie playback but becomes unreliable with high definition viewing. We want our customers to enjoy all of the benefits of having digitally connected equipment, not just some of them. That’s why My Guys Know How strongly suggests wired over wireless.
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is the newest connection style that has been fully adopted into the digital technology world. It simply is a single connection that allows two high definition pieces of equipment to communicate with one another. Over the one connection it can handle audio, video, and in some cases internet information. Usually used for short distances but in special situations can bridge large gaps where two devices are further away. An example is a TV installed over a fireplace with the cable box in the cabinet on the other side of the room.
VCR friendly Dolby Prologic is the second generation of surround sound processing invented by Dolby Labs in 1987. It was an excellent attempt at creating a more realistic surround environment. But just like the cell phone has advanced from the “brick” or “bag phone,” surround sound has advanced also.
Dolby Prologic would decode an incoming stereo signal (left and right) and from it produce addition signals of audio to send to the other speakers in the surround system in a sort of audio trickery. In 1992 Dolby labs created Dolby Digital which was a major enhancement to surround sound systems. No more recording two channels of audio and playing them back on five speakers. Each of the five speakers in a surround system would have dedicated channels of audio. This provided better separation of sounds, thus creating an even more realistic environment.
Fast forward to today where we have multiple versions of high definition surround sound that covers up to eight independent channels of audio, all to provide the user with the most realistic sound of being in the event. So is Dolby Prologic surround sound? Sure, but unless VHS is going to make a comeback, it is time to consider some newer equipment that will make use of today’s surround technology.
Surround sound is audio that surrounds or encapsulates the audience in a fashion that the viewer perceives what they hear as if they were actually in the event. Surround sound is 50% of the viewing enjoyment of any motion picture, television show or sporting event. Having a big, clear, high definition picture is great, but the surround sound provides the audio elements of actually being at the event.
Surround sound systems come in multiple different sizes or packages. Not all surround sound systems are created equal and each kind of system has its place. MGKH is here to help you determine what surround system would work best for your budget and application.
Tomato, tamato. Everyone’s opinion is different but MY GUYS suggest hanging your TV with two things in mind. One, it needs to be at a comfortable height to view it. So if you plan on hanging your TV over a fireplace with a mantel that is 5ft tall and you’re going to be sitting on a couch that is 6ft away, you may want to consider an alternate location for mounting in the room. Two, the TV is a going to be considered a piece of furniture once it is installed so it is going to need to look good. That being said, you will need to pick a spot that is not so high on the wall that it is uncomfortable to watch and not so low that it looks ridiculous.
HD is short for High Definition, High-Def or what you should be watching. HD is the greatest revolution to TVs since color was added. What HD is, is a more focused, clearer, sharper image with enhanced coloring. The comparison is often made that standard definition and HD is the difference between looking out a screen door and looking out the same doorway with the screen removed. The details in what you are looking at become clearer and easier to see.
LCD is currently the more popular TV purchased. This is mostly because folks shopping for a new TV that walk into a big box store with little or no information about TVs, like moths to a flame they are drawn to the brightest set on display. They say, “well that TV is brighter. It looks sharper so it must be better.” TV manufactures know this so they add a setting in the TV call ‘STORE MODE.’ This is where the brightness, contrast and sharpness of the TV are superficially adjusted to achieve the brightest possible picture in a bright store environment. Not that this is bad but if you would like to buy a TV that best fits your viewing needs then here are the most important things to know about today’s TVs.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. It and its counterpart LED are based in the same principle technology where light flows through colored liquid crystals, much the same like sunlight comes through mini-blinds. These liquid crystals open and close to increase or decrease the amount of light coming through to achieve the desired color on the display.
Where the two styles of technology differ is that LCD uses fluorescent light, just like we have all seen in overhead lights only the light bulb in the TV is sandwiched flat and rectangular in shape. LED technology uses LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes. An easy way to understand what LEDs are is to think of many small individual light bulbs in a flat rectangular grid pattern. A lite-brite children’s toy or the Griswalds’ house are good examples of the pattern. But LEDs are much smaller than light bulbs and this allows LED TVs to be extremely thin, in some case only as thick as a number two pencil and brighter than standard LCD TVs.
Plasma, on the other hand, is based on the old tried and true CRT or “tube” television technology, also sandwiched flat. Generally speaking, this gives plasma some major advantages:
Plasma usually costs less than a comparatively sized LCD/LED. This is because plasma is still less expensive to produce and manufacture. The technology has been around longer but LCDs are quickly narrowing this price gap.
Plasma TVs display a picture with more accurate color reproduction compared to LCD/LED. There are several reasons for this, but we will stick with the primary one: the light produced by the plasma gas shines through a glass panel, thus is more pure and accurate. The light produced in an LCD/LED shines through a liquid crystal. LED technology and future OLED technology is very close on plasma’s heels.
Plasma comes standard with 600 hertz video processing compared to the best LCD/LED at 240 hertz. The fact is that plasma is in a gaseous state and can react more quickly than the liquid crystals can in LED/LCD. Why does this matter? The processing speed is seen by the human eye as how smooth an image pans across the TV screen. In football, the quarterback will throw the ball or in hockey a player shoots the puck. The faster pace movement of the ball or puck across the screen can be seen on an LCD as a blur or a trails effect. Some will even get motion sickness from watching it. The higher 120 and 240 hertz LED/LCD try to combat this problem but do not always succeed.
Plasma is available in larger sizes than LCD/LED. Not that you are going to go as large as 103” TV but the 60” range plasma is pretty common request.
However, Plasma also has some draw backs:
Plasma is a panel of glass so it will have a glare in direct sunlight. Most LCD/LEDs do not have this issue but some of the high end LEDs do. The sheen put on the high end units is used to enhance the panel’s coloring.
Plasma’s picture will fade over time. The time span is usually 20-50 years and is not noticeable on a day to day basis but still happens. LCD/LED will never fade.
Plasma consumes more energy than LCD/LED. Although it’s not enough to break someone’s budget (especially coming from a tube TV set), it’s worthwhile to mention.
Plasma is heavier than LCD/LED units, usually 10-25 pounds or more depending on the size.
Plasma is not as thin as LCD/LED, but plasma panels can still be very thin at 1.5
Plasmas only come in 42-103” whereas LCD/LED sets are 15-65”. Most TV’s below 32” are LCD only.
No matter what style of TV you are leaning towards, MGKH suggests that when buying a new TV, work with someone who is knowledgeable. It’s important to help you pick a TV that fits your family’s budget, will work the best in the room you want to use it in and looks good to your family.