Sound Bars Explained

For the next 4 days (5th September to 8th September), we’re offering 15% of all soundbars online and instore – prices as marked. Here’s some information on Soundbars if you haven’t explored this option to enhance your entertainment setup.

If you’ve bought a large screen TV in the last few years, you would probably have been blown away by the image quality and design of the television. However, you probably weren’t so impressed with the sound coming out of the TV. And that is one of the compromises that comes out of such eye catching, slim designs.

If you’re looking for a more rounded cinematic experience, you could look at a full-blown home theatre system, but you may not want to have multiple speakers and wires, especially in a open plan area. This is where a soundbar may be your best option to enhance your movie watching experience while maintaining an uncluttered entertainment area.

Sound bars are really simply to set up. Sound bars should really be an extension of your TV, not the other way around, and this is really one of the mindset shifts that you need to make. Other systems like component receivers usually have all the inputs going into the receiver, bypassing the TV completely, and that is a more serious audio setup.

If you already have everything going into the TV, then all you need is to identify the audio output from the TV – it might be an optical output, or if it’s a newer TV, an HDMI output. This way, anything you watch on the TV, from free-to-air sports programs, music shows and broadcast movies to external sources like blu rays and DVDs, will have the audio passed from the TV to the sound bar.

Most sound bars now have a subwoofer as part of the package, and this really adds oomph to any images on your screen. Many models actually have a wireless connection from the main soundbar component to the subwoofer, so all the subwoofer needs is a connection to a powerpoint.

Another consideration is the actual location of your soundbar. Make sure you know the measured height of the TV from the base to ensure that the soundbar you are looking at fits underneath the bezel of your flat panel, to ensure you don’t block any of the image area, or indeed the infrared receiver to control your TV channel, volume and other menu functions.

Even if your flat panel is mounted on the wall, some soundbar models are also wall-mountable, complimenting your entertainment setup in a classy and eye catching way. The wireless subwoofer then finishes the setup with practically no visible wires.

One issue that many audio systems have is a visible delay in the audio matching of the audio and screen visuals. Most sound bars have a lip synching function to correct that phenomenon so that the screen and audio delivery is perfectly delivered.

Virtual surround sound provides an experience similar to what you might get with physical speakers, letting you experience the movie as the director and sound engineer intended, using the walls of the room to bounce sound so that it arrives to you from different directions. This delivers an even more refined sound space with just the front soundbar and subwoofer.

Bing Lee carries a full range of sound bars from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Yamaha.

Every store has their soundbars powered and ready for you to listen to. Pop in to any store and see how a soundbar can dramatically change your movie, music and even casual TV viewing experience. Visit our Soundbar page to see our complete line up.

Have a great week!

Samsung Series 8 Smart TVs – Your Entertainment Hub

Remember that movie with Tom Cruise called Minority Report? One iconic part of the film was the way Tom Cruise’s character used his hands to swipe the air to get information. At the time, that kind of technology still seemed to be fantastical. As we all know in the world of technology, things have a way of improving and developing at a rapid pace, and today, here we are with Samsung’s latest 8 series TV. In fact calling it a TV probably doesn’t do justice for what it can deliver in terms of content and interaction.

If you’re an avid watcher of free-to-air TV, then you will love the way this TV can help recommend shows that are currently airing on other channels or upcoming shows – and it does this based on learning your TV viewing patterns over time. You can use the TV to simply alert you, or help you set up recording these suggested programs using your own hard drive.

The 8 series takes TV discovery to the next level – you can ask it, with your voice, to help find shows you’re looking for. Whether it’s a genre like cooking or sport, or shows with particular actors, you simply use the Smart Hub remote and speak into it.

So let’s talk about that hand movement thing for a second, because on this TV, it works really well. I’m left handed and it recognised my gestures as easily as it would a right handed person. And you can do a lot with one hand on your Series 8 TV. Swipe between different panels of the TV, select and open apps, even change channels and adjust the volume.

As with all Smart TVs, you really need to have this connected to the internet to get the most out of it. And with Wifi built-in to the TV, it’s very easy to get this connected to your home’s wireless router. Once you have online connectivity, you can load in your Skype, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter passwords and get social from the comfort of your lounge.

Here’s a brief video highlighting some of the “smarts” of the Series 8 Smart TV. Click below for more details and to order online:

http://www.binglee.com.au/samsung-ua55f8000-55-series-8-3d-fhd-led-tv

Getting the Most Out of Your Home Theatre System

With a quality home theatre system, you can now enjoy the cinema experience in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve decided to make such an important investment, you want to ensure that you are getting the most enjoyable audio-visual experience possible. But maximising your enjoyment and your new theatre system’s performance is about more than plugging it in and popping a few speakers around your living room. Here are a few pointers on how you can get the most out of your home theatre system.

Viewing Distance

 

By simply changing your seating arrangement you can enhance your viewing experience. There is even a formula you can use to calculate the best distance from seat-to-screen. Simply divide your screen size (which is measured diagonally) by 0.84 to find your optimum viewing distance. If you haven’t got a dedicated theatre room or are still in the process of deciding which HDTV size is right for you, this is an important consideration to factor into your purchasing decision.

Speaker Placement

 

Many of us place our surround sound speakers according to where they look best or wherever we can fit them in with our other décor. But by better considering your speaker set-up, you can significantly improve the sound quality emanating from your system. There are a variety of online tools and placements guides that offer advice on the best distances and angles for achieving optimal sound, depending on the room’s dimensions. As a general rule of thumb, you should have a speaker to the left, right and directly underneath your television as well as two to four speakers behind you just above ear level.

Calibration

 

As much as we all hate doing it, it pays to read the Owner’s Manual. Doing so will give you an understanding of your components, menu settings, and an opportunity to experiment with them. Taking time to go through your AV receiver and TV picture settings pays dividends in better sound and picture quality. For a quick and easy solution, try one of the calibration discs included in most home theatre purchases to assist you with fine tuning the video and audio settings on your system. Many new AV receivers on the market also come with an automatic calibration feature.

Line Conditioner

 

Protect your system from power spikes with a quality line conditioner. Using a line conditioner will also improve your sound and picture quality. This is because as well as providing surge protection, these devices filter your AC power, eliminating the noise travelling through the AC line through to your equipment.

Quality Cables

 

Connecting your equipment with quality cables makes the world of difference and you don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive cables on the market. To maximise signal transfer, connections should make solid contact when plugged together. Good quality cables will stay in place and make secure contact.

Lighting

 

Having control over the lighting in your theatre room can immensely enhance your whole experience. Ensure that you can darken your room while watching movies and eliminate any sources of light that may reflect off the screen into your eyes while viewing.

Australia’s Digital TV Switchover: What it Means to You

Many Australians can receive free-to-air TV broadcasts via both analog and digital signals. Analog technology is out of date, however, so everyone around the world is converting to digital signals only. In Australia, the switch from analog to digital-only is taking place now through the end of 2012.

What Happens if I Don’t Switch to Digital?

Once the switch happens in your area, if you do not have a TV that can receive digital signals, you will not be able to watch any television programs, including free-to-air broadcasts.

Switching over to digital, however, means you’ll be able to watch your current favorite free-to-air channels plus additional free channels. You will also be able to view the TV program schedule on your television screen, and watch programs and movies in widescreen when available.

How Do I Make the Switch?

If you’re ready for an upgrade

If your current television is old and out-of-date, consider purchasing a new TV. This is the easiest way to make the switchover from analog to digital because all televisions offered by Bing Lee are digital ready – you don’t have to do anything!

If you want to keep your current TV

This isn’t the simplest option, but it is possible. Bing Lee has a wide range of affordable digital set-top boxes in stock that you can purchase to convert your old television to one that can receive digital signals.

What if I Have More Questions?

If you still have questions, feel free to call us! Our customer service representatives are digital TV experts, trained to answer all your questions and guide you to the product that is best for your individual needs. You can also chat with one of our team members online via Live Chat.

How to Go Wireless at Home

It’s the way of the future that we’ve seen in countless sci-fi movies: being able to access whatever we need from anywhere in the house – without wires being the proverbial ball-and-chain holding us back. However, when you can’t even see which wires go where, it’s completely understandable that many people find setting up their wireless networks a confusing task. So how can we make sure our walls and floors are uncluttered by a jungle of cords and wires? First, you’ll need to make sure the devices you want to use are able to pick up a wireless signal. Most recent computers, game consoles and smartphones can do this easily. Though, if you have devices that don’t, you may still be able to connect them to your network via wireless adapters that plug into USB or HDMI ports. Next, you’ll need the most basic component in any wireless network: a wireless router. This is the nerve centre of your new wireless network. Every model is different so when shopping around for one, make sure you ask for one with comprehensive installation instructions and browser-based consoles to make the whole process as easy as possible. After you’ve connected your router, the next step is to configure it. While you should have the instructions on hand, keep in mind that an important part of this step is encrypting your wireless signal to protect your network from unwanted connections. Microsoft recommends Wireless Protected Access (WPA or WPA2) wherever possible. While Wireless Encryption (WEP) may suffice, it is generally not as secure. If you have a large house or are experiencing poor signal quality for any number of reasons, it may be worthwhile to invest in a wireless bridge or repeater. While there are some differences between the two, they both receive a signal from your router and repeat it over its own area, broadening the signal area. Remember to buy models with a maximum speed which matches that of your network or you may miss out on the full potential of your connection. For best results, remember to place your router in a high position and away from large objects or walls as it’s easier to send a signal downwards with as much space as possible.

What is a Media Player?

These days, just about every kind of media we consume can be stored digitally. Where photos, music and video previously each had separate storage and playback devices, the information age now lets us enjoy all of them on anything with a screen and speakers. Enter the media player. Media players are essentially external hard drives equipped with the software to play or display image, audio and video files through your television. What this means is that it’s possible to enjoy all your digital-based media files from the comfort of your couch, or to bring an entire library of films and music wherever you go and be ready to set up wherever there’s a television. Commonly, they include additional USB ports for playing files from other external hard drives so friends coming over can easily share from their own library. Additionally, some are capable of connecting with your home network, letting you stream files directly from your PC to the media player or even browse the internet. A great feature of many media players is the ability to record programs from your television in high definition format. This is an essential feature for anyone who needs to catch up with their favourite shows but just can’t be home in time. Others may include a variety of fun features such as a digital camera or a karaoke system. An additional option is the portable media player. As the name implies, the main draw of this category is the ability to indulge in digital entertainment literally anytime and anywhere. While it’s true that that even mobile phones can play audio and video files now, dedicated portable media players will typically support a wider variety of file types and offer superior playback quality. Overall, the intention behind the media player is to be able to combine all the various types of media playback devices in the home into one and replace them all. From the stereo to the DVD or Blu-ray player and even the projector, this device is built on the rationale that no one household needs that many devices in this day and age.

What Does a Universal Remote Do?

Most modern homes have a number of entertainment devices including a TV set, DVD player, Pay TV receiver, gaming console as well as a hi-fi or surround sound system, each with its own remote control.   Instead of trying to figure out which remote control does what, why not just have one controller that does it all? That’s exactly what a universal remote does. Universal remotes can be programmed to consolidate the functions of all of your remote controls into one.  This means you can control a number of devices, regardless of their manufacturer, using one easy to use handset.   There are two kinds of universal remotes: multi-brand and learning. Multi-brand universal remotes come pre-programmed with the necessary codes to operate up to four standard electronic devices, saving you the complicated and time-consuming task of having to enter the necessary coding yourself. These types of remotes are generally only able to control the main functions of their associated appliances such as power, channel changing and volume control. Some features of basic, multi-brand universal remote models include:

  • A power button
  • Device selector buttons or switches that enables you to choose which device the remote is controlling, for example separate buttons labeled TV, DVD and Hi-Fi
  • A numeric keypad for easy entering of channels and information such as date and time settings
  • Up and down selectors for volume adjustment and channel changing

Learning or upgradable universal remotes have far more features than multi-brand remotes and because of this they are more expensive. Using infrared, Bluetooth or USB, these kinds of universal remotes can be connected to a computer to learn new functions and to recognise new devices. Basically, this type of remote is capable of learning all of the functions that are programmed into a device’s original manufacturer remote control.  This makes for an excellent long-term investment, saving you the hassle of having to change your remote as your home entertainment technology changes over time. Learning universal remotes also allow for macro programming, which means several commands can be programmed into a single button. So, for example if you turn on your surround sound system every time you turn on your Blue-Ray player to watch a movie, you can create a macro on your universal remote to do this all with the single push of a button.  Since the components of home-entertainment set-ups differ from household to household, so too will the commands programmed into their universal remotes. Some other features of learning remotes are:

  • Colour LCD display or touchscreen
  • PC connectivity, enabling easy programming and upgrading with guided online setup and live support.
  • The ability to access multiple devices without the need for changing modes, such as being able to adjust the surround sound system’s volume even though the remote is in DVD mode
  • Rechargeable long-life batteries

What to Look for When Buying a Digital Radio

Radio lovers can now enjoy an even better listening experience as this perennial medium goes digital.  Digital radio offer listeners an exciting range of new features including:

  • Interference-free reception and clearer sound
  • A wider range of stations – not only listen to the stations you know and love, but also enjoy up to 22 additional digital-only stations covering a variety of music and entertainment genres such as comedy, country, jazz and dance.
  • Easier to find stations as you tune your digital radio by station name rather than frequency.

Digital radio is a completely free service.  To tune in, all you need is a digital receiver or device containing a DAB+ chip such as a clock radio, iPod dock, portable radio or media device.  Digital receivers range from around $70 for a basic digital radio to upwards of $300 for a device for more functionality.  The more advanced features offered by digital radios are similar to digital set top boxes and personal video recorders.
If you are thinking about buying a digital radio, here are some of the features you should look for: DAB+ Logo If you are shopping online you may have noticed that there are many different types of digital radios available.  Only DAB+ enabled devices can receive digital radio in Australia.  When shopping for a digital radio, look for devices with a DAB+ logo. Electronic Program Guide (EPG) If you want the ability to scroll through and see the program schedule of your selected radio station, your device will need an Electronic Program Guide.  In general, EPGs are only included on digital radios with a recording function. Recording Function Look for a digital radio with a recording function if you would like to record programs to listen to whenever you choose.  Digital radios with this function will either have an internal memory or a memory card slot.  Check the memory capacity and find out the maximum number of programs that can be saved, since some devices will over-write previously recorded material. Pause and Rewind Radios with rewind and pause functions let you go 10 to 15 minutes back in a program, depending on the broadcast’s bit rate.  Devices with this capability will in the future allow users to download music directly to the radio’s internal memory and Electronic Program Guides. Intellitext Intellitext is a scrolling text display that tells you about the broadcast you are listing to.  If you want to be able to see useful information such as the title and artist of a song or scores and refereeing decisions during a sporting match, look for a digital radio with this feature. Presets If you want to be able to save your favourite stations so you can access them at a single touch, find a device that includes preset buttons otherwise you may be stuck having to access your favourites via a menu. Stereo Sound If you prefer to listen to the radio in stereo sound, go for a device that has two speakers or one that you can easily connect to your hi-fi.

What to Look for When Buying a Digital Set Top Box

With analogue TV transmission being progressively phased out across Australia by 2013, if you don’t already own a set top box, you will need to get one to continue to enjoy the entertainment benefits of television.  There are several good reasons not to wait for analogue to be switched off in your area. Without a digital set top box, you are missing out on tuning into several new Freeview channels and other benefits including the ability to record and replay live television. A set top box is basically a digital tuner for your TV set.  Most televisions nowadays feature an integrated digital tuner, eliminating the need to buy an additional set-top box.  However, for those with older televisions, set top boxes offer the cheapest avenue for going digital. Before deciding on exactly what kind of set top box you should buy, think about what benefits you hope to enjoy from owning one.  If all you want to do is be able to watch digital TV, a set top box without the bells and whistles is all you will need.  Expect to pay around $50 for a standard definition (SD) model and at least double that for a high definition (HD) set top box. However, If you are interested in not only watching Digital TV, but also enjoying its other perks including the ability to pause and reply TV, skip advertisements, record shows and access Video on Demand services you better opt for a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) instead.  Be aware that PVRs are dearer than set top boxes. Another option is to subscribe to a pay television service. One and two year service contracts generally include a set top box that enables you to receive digital pay TV and Freeview channels as well as including the functionality of a PVR. When buying a digital set top box, look for one with:

  • On-screen menus that are logically-sequenced and easy to understand
  • Automatic tuning
  • Front panel controls as well as a remote control
  • A remote control that is easy to use.

Installing a set to box is child’s play.  Just attach the digital set to box between your current TV and the aerial and you are ready to go.  However, check to see whether you will need a new aerial to attach your set top box.  In most cases new aerials aren’t necessary but older aerials may require replacing. If you want to enjoy the additional benefits a PVR has to offer, look for a device with:

  • A double or triple digital tuner. Having more than one tuner allows you to record on one or two different channels simultaneously while watching another.
  • An Ethernet port to access movie downloads from one of the many Video on Demand platforms.