Home > Podcast > AV Rant #190: The Return of Tom

AV Rant #190: The Return of Tom

July 22nd, 2010

Tom is BACK!!! Briefly. Not sure if he’ll have Internet next week so the last Rob episode will be held for another week. Tom talks a bit about Australia and how it differs from the US. Aside from the offerings on TV, he’s tentatively optimistic. Clint’s got some more thoughts on HTbaseT. Netflix is coming to another country that isn’t Australia so Tom doesn’t really care. Quickflix is no Netflix. Sound Advice rises from the dead. High end audio is coming to a big box store near you. Tom has a few thoughts about light control. Thanks for listening and don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley. To see our (mostly) complete collection of show videos, click here. To get our iPhone app, visit the iTunes store.

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  1. Rob
    July 22nd, 2010 at 23:12 | #1

    Tom’s back! w00t !!


    Thanks for the kind words, Clint and Tom. It was a lot of fun recording and I can’t thank Ted and Leif enough for joining me!

    Next week’s episode is, indeed, insanely long, and it really is all my fault since I barely let Leif get a word in edge-wise :p And to think, I went into that recording session thinking I didn’t really have more than one topic to discuss! Ha!

    Anywho, it’ll be awesome to get Tom back full time!

    G’day, eh!

  2. Rob
    July 25th, 2010 at 03:40 | #2

    My goodness, where are all the comments? I expected many more! Oh well, you’ve got me at least. lol :p

    On the topic of light control with a front projector:
    having used a FP setup for a few years in the past myself, I understand what Tom is saying. It is possible to use a FP display, even with some ambient light, but I think that what us “blackout” evangelists are trying to get across is that it is not optimal. I’m pretty sure Tom will agree that any FP setup will look its best with as little ambient light and as little light reflection within the room as possible.

    But there is a big difference between “optimal” and “just good enough to be useable”. I have to say though, I don’t agree that you can get away with typical lighting in a living room during the day. I was using a high gain, retro-reflective screen and cranking out some decent lumen levels from my LCD projector and it certainly wasn’t acceptable without drawing my heavy window curtains in daytime. I would even say that with dark shows (like Supernatural, for example) that even just the sunlight that seeped around the edges of my drapes was enough to render dark programme material like that almost unwatchable!

    So I can abide a little bit of ambient light. And for really bright content (like Football) even a fair bit of ambient light might be ok. But the closer you can get to pitch blackness, the better. And for optimal viewing, as little ambient light as possible is still a must.

    That’s my take. But then again, I’m the guy who looks at Kuro black levels and a local-dimming LED backlit LCD and says “those still aren’t REALLY truly black”. So keep that in mind :p

  3. July 26th, 2010 at 12:52 | #3

    One of these days someone will come up with some glasses that compensate for bad black level in displays… we can all walk around and calibrate other people’s TVs… maybe that’s not such a great idea…

  4. July 26th, 2010 at 16:45 | #4

    Tom, it’s great to have you back sir.


    We’re going to have to agree to disagree on that whole light control statement you snuck in there at the end. I don’t think you can compare it to a gas pedel on a BMW. I think it’s more along the lines of the salesman saying:

    “During the day this car is only going to accelerate and brake at half of what it will at night… is that ok?”

    Well that depends. If I only drive at night we’re golden. If I drive once a week (watch sports on sunday… which I don’t) that might be a deal killer.

    I’ve lived in a house with 3 other nerds where we had a projector in a living room and without light control, it wasn’t worth watching even at 110″ due to the wash out from the back windows. We ended up blowing a few hundred bucks on blackout curtains and the projector never really got turned off it was in use so much.

  5. Jason
    July 26th, 2010 at 22:56 | #5

    I’m big on the controlled lighting thing myself though. I have light blocking blinds and use a D65 backlight.

    After hearing Tom recommend a 60″ Sammy over a 50″ Pioneer I don’t think Tom’s big on video quality. It’s all about bigger is better, a philosphy that works for most people.

  6. July 27th, 2010 at 08:07 | #6

    Welcome back, Tom from Oz.

    Are you going to try kangaroo?

  7. David
    July 28th, 2010 at 03:40 | #7

    I was the one that asked Tom if I should go big or go best. He recommended getting the far bigger TV as opposed to the marginally better video performance. Many of my friends now have 50″ TVs and they honestly look small next to mine.

    I really wanted a Kuro, but I think Tom made the right call.

  8. Jason
    July 29th, 2010 at 06:00 | #8

    I just meant Tom, like most people, seems more concerned about the size of the screen than the image quality.

    Whereas for me personally I would rather go for a better picture than a few more inches at the same price. I can always adjust my viewing distance but a compromised picture will bug me forever.

    You could equate it with speakers I guess, functional floorstanders or great bookshelves? It all depends on your priorities.

  9. David
    July 30th, 2010 at 05:24 | #9

    I understand what you are saying about compromised picture quality, but the differences in quality in this case were minimal. I wasn’t pitting a Kuro against an Emerson LCD.

    This was a top of the line plasma against a middle of the line plasma. The upgrade in quality was minimal. And it was more than a couple inches. I wasn’t considering a 50 vs 52 inch set. This was 50 vs 58. Those 8 inches are massive, especially from my viewing distance. I watch from 8 feet away, and it is quite an experience.

    Had the Kuro been 55 inches, I probably would have been willing to go a little smaller for the best, but this case it was a difference of 35%.

    A 58″ TV has a 34.5% larger viewing area than a 50″! That is a huge difference. (1068″ sq vs 1437″ sq)

  10. Jason
    July 30th, 2010 at 05:59 | #10

    Sorry, my comments aren’t meant to discredit your decision or Tom’s advice.

    For yourself I’m sure you made the right choice. It is just not the choice I would make for myself.

    All I meant by my comment is that some people have different priorities although I acknowledge that mine are in the minority. I’m a hobbyist calibrator and it’s made me a little too critical for my own good.

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