My home is turning into Skynet


Not really. Well, actually, not really, not really, but that’s not the point of today’s post. Still, bear with me and at the very end I’ll give you the reason that may be why my home is turning into Skynet.

A number of recent posts have led to today’s post. The story is almost complete. Since you’ve surely been following along all this time, I won’t burden you with tons of links. I’ll just get down to brass tacks.

Okay, we’ve gone over, in recent posts, my decision to bring new advanced technology into my home. Specifically, it’s 4K time in the JMD hermit cave.

The battle between my innate frugality (not cheapness) and my love of technology is over. After viewing the extraordinary pictures at Best Buy, I am blinded by science.

So, let’s end this preamble and go over some impending goodies.

Play it again Sam!

With the upgrade to 4K, I also need to upgrade the Blu-ray player. That means moving into a 4K player.

Now, basic Googling will show you there just isn’t much available on 4K yet. A dab of streaming, a dab of live programming and only a few dabs of discs.

But…just like all the other new tech, it’s a’comin’. In the meantime, these new players have the selling-pitch-lovable feature called “upscaling”. Supposedly, this feature improves even your old DVD-grade discs. Of course, your Blu-rays are also supposed to be more impressive.

My feeling is…whatever. I think the Blu-rays and DVD’s looked pretty amazing on my old TV and player. If there’s more data in there the player can squeeze out, who am I to say no.

The other big choice for this player was that it’s one of only two on the market offering Dolby vision 4K sound. Considering I’ve gone all-in on Dolby Atmos, this was the logical choice.

Of course, my old Blu-ray player was also a surround sound system. That means I need something for the sound.

Katie, bar the door!

It’s the new thing! Everyone’s doing it! No, not the Frug. I’m talking soundbars!

Once again, leaning on my bleeding edge technology introduction, I wanted to match my sound to the TV. The TV employs the aforementioned “Dolby Atmos”, a well-regarded (and reviewed) sound format that actually adds to the 4K picture experience.

No, I don’t get it either, but I can say the sound is booming. And, this is one of the few soundbars that also includes a subwoofer. I need my big belly base!

A word about soundbars. I’m not sure I believe them. Yes, they offer impressive sound. But creating surround sound by simply (and literally) bouncing off the walls? Eh, call me Missouri.

Is my living room the proper shape? Do my nearby sliding glass doors hinder or help the sound? Will my angled ceiling cause degradation to the back of the room?

None of these questions were answered satisfactorily by the Best Buy salesman. And even if they were, I’d still need to see (or in this case, hear) the pudding.

Okay, we’ve got playing covered. And my ears should be happy. But, really, it’s all about the Big Kahuna, isn’t it?

Lights, camera, action!

Hoo hah! The TV for the ages. Well, my age, coincidentally, since as my eyes get squintier, my TV screens need to get bigger.

Realistically, my little 1,200 square foot home can’t really do “BIG screen”. So I settle for Big screen. 65″, to be precise.

It’s a slight uptick from my current screen (60″), but of course the big deal is 4K.

I’ve been bandying about the 4K name for a while and just in case there are a few of you who haven’t done the reading, here’s a quick primer:

– Despite its name, 4K is roughly only double (2 times) the resolution of regular HDTV’s. The “4K” comes from the fact that it’s resolution now goes to 3,840 pixels (the dots making up the images on the TV).

– Total resolution on a 4K vs. HDTV is 3,840 x 2160 vs. 1,920 x 1,080. The visual appears more than twice as awesome, though.

– That’s because, beyond the numbers, on your average widescreen TV, the yield is something like 8 million pixels on 4K vs. 2 million on regular HDTV. You can imagine (or maybe you can’t) how much more precise the screen images can be.

– In the “old days”, the recommended distance to watch a HDTV without distortion would be 3-4 times the height of the TV. For example, if your TV was 30″ high, you would need to be about 10 feet (120″) back.

– With 4K, you can sit twice as close. That means, you can get bigger screens in smaller rooms!

Okay, the primer is over. One final choice I made with the TV is that it is OLED vs. LED. I won’t make you sit through another “lesson”. I’ll just summarize by saying OLED provides sharper colors, deeper blacks and faster frame rates.

In movie terms: no blurs on fast-moving scenes and no “ghosts” on those black backgrounds. From a black perspective, this particular TV is unparalleled.

So, awesome, right? The Geek Squad will be here this Saturday morning to hang the TV and connect all the components. Except cable, for reasons we discussed yesterday. Meh.

Okay, you’re jazzed for me. I see that. But you’re still wondering about all that Skynet nuttiness in the beginning. Time for me to clear that up.

The new OLED TV is made by LG (Korean company Lucky Goldstar). The new 4K player is made by LG. The soundbar? Yup, you guessed it: LG.

But so is my refrigerator. And dishwasher. My stove and microwave: LG. Half my home is filled with LG technology. Even now, they’re refining their “smart” technology to get all the appliances to “talk” to each other.

How much more “AI” would they need to turn my home into Skynet? I don’t know, but if my appliances start acting up all on their own, I promise you, I’ll be back!

5 Responses to “My home is turning into Skynet”

  1. Steve Lewis

    My 4K TV experience has not been so good. There is a limited amount of 4K stuff available. As you mention, 4K Blu-ray players – I do not have one of these. I do have Netflix and Amazon Prime which has some 4K streams.

    I paid extra for the 4K Netflix option for a while but when I played the 4K streams, almost everything was too dark. I messed around with the TV picture settings but it did not help much. After researching the issue online, I determined this is a common problem and went to the lower Netflix tier without the 4K streaming. Results with Amazon Prime have been similar. I just watch stuff in regular HD now, which is fine.

    I hope you have better results.

    • JMD

      I’m not a big streamer and don’t subscribe to Netflix (I have Prime because of Amazon shopping).
      I expect most of my 4K content will be off 4K disks and just the upscaled current library. Based on what I have seen in the store, I am quite certain my needs will be met.
      As for the darkness – which brand do you have? Based on what I know, Samsung is the best for vivid colors, LG the best for sharpest contrast/blacks. Sony is more of a mixed bag.

  2. Steve

    I have an LG set. Other then the issue I already mentioned, the set has been fine.

    Please let me know if you are happy with the picture when viewing the 4K Blu rays. I very rarely buy content anymore, but I am still curious.

    • JMD

      Will do. Since the last time I used my Best Buy card was on my old TV (7 years ago), the card went inactive. Putting the charge on a new card gave me 10% “back” in credits.

      I can use those credits for content. I will advise as I get enough of a sample size.


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