Audio/Video Equipment

Streaming, Dvd and Blu-Ray

 

This Buyer's Guide has not been updated in a few years, but it still has a lot of good information.  Technology  has come a long way since then. So please feel free to contact us with questions.


Streaming: In a nutshell, streaming is accessing media (tv shows,movies,music etc) over an internet connection. Most people are using this type of connection to access the things they listen to and watch other than what they can get on their cable connection. Some of the most common devices used to stream are Apple TV, Roku and Firestick. Most,if not all, TV's are also "smart" and have the ability to access the internet via built-in equipment.


DVD Players:  There is not much to say about DVD  players now.  They are not out of style… yet.  If you care about quality  and want a new DVD player, plan on spending about $100-$150.  If you  don’t care about quality spend $50 and call it a day.  Make your life a  little easier and be sure your DVD player has an HDMI output.


Blu-ray Disc Player:  If you don’t have a Blu-ray  disc (BD) player and are thinking about maybe getting one, let me help  you make the decision.  Buy one!  Which one to buy is a different  story.  In the electronics world, you get what you pay for.  More  expensive BD players cost more for a reason.  It could be a better video  processor, audio decoder, streaming capabilities, etc.  You can get a decent BD player for around $200, but if you want a nice one, you’ll be in the neighborhood of $250-$350.


Is Blu-ray THAT much better than DVD?  Yes, yes, YES!!  Any disc (DVD or Blu-ray) is like a suitcase.  Most discs have limited space so they have to decide what they REALLY want  people to have i.e.: better picture quality, great surround effects, a  plethora of extras, etc.  DVDs have limited space and can’t fit all the  good stuff studios want to  give us.  Blu-ray on the other hand has  massive storage capacity.  Now the studios can give us everything we  want and more.  They have enough space for advanced picture quality and  the new surround sound formats.   Together they will blow your mind.  Add a heaping portion of extras and  interactive BD Live features and you have a full plate like never  before.  BD Live is a way for viewers to dig deeper into their favorite  films by seeing added footage, previews of future movies, and a  limitless number of other tricks and treats developed by the movie  studios.

Cable, Satellite and DVR's

 Cable TV:  Most people don’t realize this, but all  high-def cable subscribers are actually getting three different picture  qualities.  They are analog, digital, and high-def.  For example, Cox  cable has channels 2-99 as analog stations.  Channels 100 and above are  all digital except for the 700s which are high-def.  Analog is terrible.   The picture and sound quality is awful.  Digital is better-  not great, but better.  HD is where it’s at.  Some HD channels and shows  look better than others, but everything is still pretty nice in HD.   Cable has a lock on Padres baseball.  They also see very little  downtime, meaning their system doesn’t usually go out.  The DVRs in  cable boxes are terrible.  They are very low capacity and are infamous  for missing recordings.  The cable boxes themselves are clunkers as  well.  They need constant resetting and replacement which is usually  easy enough to do, but annoying.  Cable is great for those that want  easy and reliable.  Cable doesn’t go out in bad weather and can easily  be connected to several TVs with no additional subscription fees (unless  you want another cable box).


Satellite TV:  Satellite TV has only two picture  qualities.  They are digital and high-def.  Everything is digital except  for the HD channels.  That means you will have overall better picture  quality.  You also have access to an almost limitless number of  channels.  If you are a true sports fan, you don’t have any other option  than satellite.  For an extra fee, you can see every sporting event  happening anytime and in any place in the entire country.  The downsides  of satellite are possible loss of signal in bad weather and the fact  that you must have a box for every TV.  I guess you don’t HAVE to  get a box for every TV.  If you have TVs sharing a box, they have to  watch the same show.  Satellite boxes are also much more robust than  cable boxes and almost never need maintenance.


DVRs:  If you’re not using a DVR to watch TV, you  either don’t know what it is or you live in a cave.  I don’t mean to  offend anyone- especially any Geico spokespeople, but seriously… get a  DVR.  DVRs are not for people that watch a lot of TV.  DVRs are for  people that don’t want to watch a lot of TV.  Let me explain.  A DVR is a  Digital Video Recorder.  It’s like a VCR with super powers.  All you  have to do is tell it what shows you want to record and you’re done.  It  will find and record all the shows you want and you can even tweak the  programming so you can skip re-runs or add 30 mins to live events.  Now  you can sit down anytime and watch only the shows you want to watch with  the added ability of fast-forwarding through commercials.  Do you want  to watch the event at it’s normal time?  No problem, but make your life  easier by starting it when it’s half-way over.  If you’re watching an  hour-long show, you will have 30 mins of commercials you can skip  through.