Sound Advice: Streaming options depend on setup

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2013 - 1:31 PM

Q: My HDTV and Blu-ray player offer Netflix video streaming. Which one should I use with my Netflix account?

A: It depends on your TV, your Blu-ray player and whether you have a sound system.

Some Blu-ray players have outstanding video-processing capabilities. For example, Oppo players use advanced signal-processing chips that get the best picture quality out of any video signal, such as a DVD, video stream or a Blu-ray disc. The improvement is most pronounced with DVDs and video streams; Blu-ray discs look amazing even when you use a $79 player.

If your Blu-ray player has high-end video processing such as Qdeo or HQV (it will say so on the front of the player), use the Blu-ray player for the Netflix streaming. Panasonic players do a good job of video processing, as well, but they do not use Qdeo or HQV, opting instead for an in-house solution that is highly regarded if not quite at the same level.

Also, use the Blu-ray player if you have an external sound system using an audio receiver with HDMI. That way, the audio will be reproduced by the sound system and you won’t have to run additional cables. If you stream through the TV, you’ll have to make an extra connection from the TV to your audio system with an optical digital cable.

If neither of these scenarios applies, just stream it through the television. You will have one remote to control the streaming and volume, and you are likely to have the television longer than the Blu-ray player so if you ever replace the Blu-ray player you won’t have to set up your account again.

Controlling speaker volume

Q: I purchased an Oontz XL speaker for use with my TV set. It is a Sharp Aquos without a headphone port, and I use it with AT&T U-Verse with a Motorola VIP 1225 cable box. How can I control the speaker volume with my remote?

A: Many cable and satellite boxes allow you to configure their analog audio outputs for variable analog audio output.

Connect the cable box to the TV with an HDMI cable. Connect the red and white analog audio outputs on the back of the cable box to the Oontz XL using an RCA-to-miniplug audio cable. If you go to the AT&T U-Verse online forum (forums.att.com) and search for “VIP 1225 variable audio output,” you’ll find instructions on how to set the remote to control the volume on the Motorola box rather than the television.

Turn on the Oontz XL, and turn the volume all the way up. Now you will be able to control the volume using your cable box remote.

Most cable and satellite boxes have variable outputs, so this should work for those in the same situation.

Send questions to donlindich@gmail.com. Get more recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.

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