Archive for the 'How-tos' Category

Setting your TV’s picture settings, new DVR from Dish Network

Week of September 28, 2003 Q:   I’m pretty new to this HDTV world and need serious help.   I just got a Mitsubishi rear projection HDTV and want to get the best picture possible.   What is the best way to tweak the picture on a television set?  Is the Avia setup DVD any [...]

Varying picture quality between cable companies, “Theater” picture setting on Toshiba TV

Q:     I am hearing that a DirecTV HDTV signal is far superior to a HDTV signal from my cable company.  Is this true? My cable company is now offering HDTV through its digital service but I understand that this is sometimes a very soft signal. Garbage in and garbage out really has never [...]

Matching speakers in a surround-sound system, hard-to-hear voices on DVD movies

Week of August 24, 2003   Q:     I am building a home theater system and have a Denon surround sound receiver that will be its center.  In my closet I have a pair of excellent Synthesis floorstanding speakers.  I bought them about 15 years ago for around $900/pair.  Would it be better to [...]

Evaluating laptop displays, a cheap, long and good subwoofer cable

Week of August 17, 2003   Q:     I recently bought a professional digital camera and am becoming quite serious about photography.   I want to buy a laptop computer to use with my camera and want to get the best screen possible.   What do you recommend? -Sharon, State College, PA A:   [...]

Getting the most from a shelf system, different video quality from channel to channel

Week 35, 2003 Q:     I have a Sony combination tuner, tape and CD stereo system that is about 13 years old.   It has always worked fine, but now the CD player does not work.  I suspect having it professionally repaired now would cost more than the whole system originally cost.   Any [...]

Unplayable rental DVDs, digital pictures and websites

Week 32, 2003 Q:     I recently started renting DVDs.   When I try to play them, about 50% give me this message: “cannot play in this format, please play another type of disc”, I am now afraid to rent any more DVDs.   What does this mean? My DVD player is almost four [...]

Connecting analog camcorder to computer, home theater systems and music reproduction, auto-loading photo scanner from HP

Week 30, 2003 Q:     I bought a Canon ES75 Hi8 camcorder.   The guy who sold it to me said it could be hooked up to the PC so I can download, edit, and make my own videos. I haven’t seen this anywhere else. Can it be hooked up to the PC?   [...]

Cable TV and front projection, Sima Copy Kit, printers and documents

Week 29, 2003   Q:     Can you hook up cable television through a front projector?     If so, is there anything special needed for the hookup? -Sam Mursau, Appleton, Wisconsin A:   You can use cable television with a front projector, but you cannot connect a front projector directly to the cable [...]

Speaker break-in, converting 8mm film to videotape

Week 26, 2003 Q) I am in a bit of a quandary with my new speakers.   I did my research on the web for a set of bookshelf speakers in the $250 – $300 per pair price range.   I listened to them at the store yesterday and they sounded great.   Now that [...]

Pictures on videotape, CD and DVD, selecting VCR input for dubbing, Onkyo CD player comments

Week 25, 2007 I am a teacher and have taken a lot of digital camera photographs this year.   I would like to transfer those digital pictures to a VHS tape to play on a VCR at school.   How would I go about doing this?   -Jenny Angelo, Beaumont, Texas A) If you check [...]

Projection TV convergence and repair

Week 24, 2003 Q) My husband and I “inherited” a big screen projection TV from my in-laws. It is around eight years old and the picture looks good, but it has two problems. First, people and objects have colored fringes or shadows around them, like you are watching a 3-D movie without wearing the special [...]

Videotapes and fading with age

Week 7, 2003 Q)   I have been wondering for some time about the impact of time on my recorded VHS tapes and have been unable to receive a reliable answer.  Some sources say the tapes decay with time, and some are more equivocal.  There are several aspects to this problem; such as, do the [...]

Tuning FM Signals with a Great and Inexpensive FM Antenna

Week 5, 2003    Q) I have a 17-year old JVC receiver, Model R-X500. Recently the FM reception has deteriorated significantly. I listen only to WQED and WDUQ. Other sources- CD, cable, tape – have not deteriorated at all.   The symptom is simply that the FM signal fades out suddenly and completely. This often [...]

Converting VHS to Digital Video, TV Bars Revisited, Displaying Digital Pictures with a DVD Player

Week 4, 2003    Q) I have a PC with an ATI Fury Xpert 2000 card, Windows XP, 512MB of RAM, and a 1.7Ghz processor. I would like to record my VHS video to avi files.   Surely this is possible? -Terry A) Yes, it is possible, but you need a way to import your [...]

Making a Slideshow on Videotape, Surround Sound and Cable, DLP vs. LCD

Week 3, 2003 Q: I have a digital camera and would like to make slide shows on videotape.   Is it possible to do this? -Jan Kovac, Sewickley A: You can transfer still pictures from your camera to videotape, though they will not look as good as when displayed directly from your camera.   Take [...]

Widescreen and Standard TV Format Mismatch, Side Bars (Pillarboxing) and Bottom Bars (Letterboxing)

Published December 7, 2002   Q: My husband and I want a 48 inch television. We have been told so many different things by salesmen we are totally confused. We were told that if we buy the 48″ regular screen HDTV there will be black bands at the top and bottom when everyone goes all [...]

Adding Audio/Video Inputs to an Existing System, DirecTV and HDTV, Zenith Silver Sensor Antenna

Published Nov. 16, 2002   Q)   My stereo system is already connected to my DVD player. I’d like to have stereo sound from my TV even when I’m not playing DVD’s. I have a digital cable box, a VCR, a TV with loads of inputs, but my stereo only has the two jacks and [...]

Grabbing Video Frames to Make Prints, Fuji Frontier Printer

Published October 26, 2002  Q.:  A friend just died.   His mom commented that she has no recent pictures of him.   I have VHS-C video of him driving our boat and would like to “grab a frame” of the video and print it as a 5X7 for her.   I purchased a Pinnacle Linx [...]

Recording from a Cable Box to a VCR

Published October 12, 2002   Q: I have AT&T digital cable. I am unable to tape [vhs] from it     I called and was told I cannot tape digital without a digital VCR.   I also was told I could not tape by pre setting the time & channel but only when I was [...]