You Asked 12: streaming audio, hotel TVs, and OLED burn-in

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In this chapter of You Asked: What’s with the agrarian differences in aggregate loudness amid alive apps, and is there annihilation you can do about it? And can annihilation be done to attenuate motion cutting on your auberge TV? And are attic archetypal or affectation archetypal TVs a acute buy?

Balancing alive audio

A man watches a movies on a Samsung HW Q990B.Digital Trends

The aboriginal catechism comes from Dan — a acceptable acquaintance and above videographer and editor at Digital Trends — who asked: Why are some alive apps so abundant quieter than others? And is there annihilation that we can do to antithesis the audio levels amid them?

I’ve been seeing this catechism asked the way Dan asked it, but this aforementioned affair causes some association to admiration if article is amiss with their system, like in this email from Shahnoor, who wrote:

Save on aggregate from laptops and tablets, to coffee makers and air purifiers, and acute home essentials like the Amazon Echo.

I’ve got an LG TV 2021 model, and I bought a Sony soundbar. The soundbar is great, but back watching Netflix or movies ,the audio is so quiet. I’ve heard that application a soundbar that is a absolutely altered accomplish from the TV can affect the affection of the sound. Is there any accuracy to it?


First, while application a casting of soundbar that differs from the casting of TV you use can sometimes absolute your acceptance to some high-level features, application altered brands is not activity to account the affectionate of audio frustrations you are experiencing.

The affair with Netflix actuality quieter than added sources you watch is the aforementioned affair that’s arresting Dan. The baseline loudness akin amid alive apps — and alike amid apps and added audio sources in your arrangement — is a botheration for everyone. And I’m abashed we accept bound accoutrement to fix it.

I accept the absolute botheration actuality is that there is no accepted to which agreeable providers are held. The way Netflix encodes audio is altered than how Hulu encodes audio, which is altered from how Disney encodes audio, which is altered from how Max encodes audio. And to accomplish affairs added frustrating, there are altered layers aural the audio alertness action that accord to this.

Are you accessible to go bottomward a aerial hole? I affiance we’ll do the quick bout here.

It starts with the agreeable creation. Hollywood movies accept badly altered audio than arrangement TV shows, which is altered than agreeable fabricated by creators on YouTube, and so on. So, as alive casework aggregate their library, they’re already accepting a boundless arrangement of assorted audio formats and quality. It goes added than that, but we’re befitting it surface-level here.

From there, the aggregate of compression activated is altered from one alive account to another. And, again, your cable or accessory provider uses capricious levels and qualities of audio compression, too. And back I allege of compression, I’m talking about both activating ambit compression — ascendancy over how loud the loudest allotment of a appearance or cine is and how quiet the quietest allotment is — as able-bodied as book admeasurement compression, which in about-face affects not alone the audio allegiance (or complete quality), but additionally the all-embracing loudness of the audio track. Generally, the added aeroembolism the audio book is, the louder its baseline akin is activity to be.

Ironically, some alive casework use activating ambit compression (DRC) in an accomplishment to accomplish the acquaintance better. Some association abhorrence agrarian swings in loudness, or they accept agitation audition the dialogue, so they crank up the volume, and again a loud moment comes on and they are absolute out of the allowance by action arrangement complete effects, or a big access complete effect. So, to advice abate that, they’ll accomplish aggregate added or beneath the aforementioned volume.

And, as I mentioned before, how anniversary alive account decides to bear that audio beck is different.

You ability anticipate that if article is accessible in Dolby or DTS, be it stereo or beleaguer sound, there would be some standards applied. But while DTS provides some standards, it additionally allows for a abundant accord of aesthetic authorization for the agreeable creators. And again the alive casework do what they will with the audio they get.

Adding to this already circuitous bearings are factors that are on the user end. There are altered audio settings accessible in anniversary app, as able-bodied as audio settings accessible aural the antecedent device, be that the TV itself, a alive box, a cable box, etc. And again there are audio options on the playback device, be that the TV speakers, a soundbar, or an A/V receiver.

Now that you apperceive how complicated it is, you can brainstorm that it would be actual difficult to break the problem, since, as users, we accept bound ascendancy over so abounding factors. But what I can do is point you against a few things that you can try that may help.

First, agreement with the audio settings aural the app itself. Let’s booty Hulu, for example. Hulu lets you adjudge amid stereo and 5.1 surround. It additionally lets you accept the affection of the audio, from low, to medium, to high. It additionally lets you about-face aggregate leveling on or off, which will at atomic advice accumulate agreeable on Hulu from accepted berserk from too loud to too quiet.

You can do this on a per-app base and agreement to see if you can get an app that is about too quiet — or about too loud — to be added in band with added apps you use frequently. It’s a abundant lift. But if you’re accommodating to experiment, you may appear up with a ambience you like.

Then there are the audio settings in your TV, and the audio settings in your audio device, if it is abstracted from the TV. Every casting calls it article different, but the tech is the same: onboard activating ambit compression and/or aggregate leveling. This will advice the TV speakers, but it won’t advice a soundbar affiliated via HDMI or optical cable. For that, you’ll appetite to about-face on the activating ambit compression or aggregate leveling affection in your soundbar or receiver.

But you apperceive what would be so abundant better? If there was a aggregate normalization bulletin in the metadata of a agenda audio stream, no amount the blazon or format, that helped audio accessories administer loudness after necessarily stripping out dynamics. I, too, appetite to accept Hulu alpha out at the aforementioned aggregate as YouTube and Netflix, but I don’t appetite to accord up the dynamics of the complete for that, which is what DRC and aggregate leveling force you to do.

Hotel TV settings

A TV on the bank of the Public Hotel in New York City.Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

A catechism from Dan: Are there any tricks to alteration the motion cutting on auberge TVs that don’t acutely accord you acceptance to the settings menu?

There are some tricks, but best of them accept to do with accepting about the hotel’s accomplishment to absolute your acceptance to the TV settings, and they don’t consistently work.

First off. It seems that some hotels accept absitively that motion cutting actuality on is in their best interests. In the aforementioned way they accept that the accepted account preset is activity to address to added of their guests, they apparently additionally accept abstracts that suggests added bodies appetite motion cutting on than those who don’t. And back they apperceive association like to blend with their TVs if they acquiesce it, hotels are accepting added able about locking bottomward assertive TV settings. They’ll let you about-face the bankrupt captions on and off , but if you appetite to change the account contour or the motion smoothing? It’s a toss-up, depending on area you’re staying.

With best auberge TVs, acute the card button doesn’t get you the TV’s card — it gets you the auberge infotainment system’s menu, area you can hire on-demand movies, as able-bodied as accomplish banquet anxiety or whatever. Some of them alike let you acceptance Netflix or added accepted alive services. So, the aboriginal move is to agreement with acute buttons that — well, you don’t apperceive what they do until you columnist them. My admired is the abstruse three-line button.

If you’re lucky, you can acquisition the motion cutting from there and about-face it off. If, however, none of those buttons get you to the TV’s settings menu, try application the buttons on the TV. Sometimes, one of those buttons will booty you appropriate to the settings menu. And you can assignment your way to motion cutting from there.

Sometimes you can draw the Ethernet cable from the aback of the TV, or from the box they zip-tie to the aback of the TV. This basically disables the hotel’s lockdown system, and you ability be able to get in the backdoor that way.

But sometimes, you’re aloof collapsed out of luck and you can’t acceptance the card or about-face off the motion smoothing. I abhorrence it because axis off motion cutting on a auberge TVs is one of my admired hobbies — additional alone to abutting a Chromecast with Google TV, alike admitting they actual acutely would adopt I not.  That’s fun. Except back I fail. That’s not fun.

But in those situations area I aloof can’t angle to watch the auberge TV? I aloof watch TV on my laptop.

Burn-in worries

An aesthetic angel of a angle and knife apparent in a amethyst acclivity on a Sony X95L mini-LED.Sony X95L Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Roy writes: I accept a boxy dilemma. I now accept an LG 75-inch Nano90 and I appetite to upgrade. My plan all alternating is to get the Sony A95L, but I am abashed that OLED is not the TV for me.

My ancestors and I mostly watch the account channels, sports, and kids channels every day for hours. As you know, those channels accept banners. Especially the account channels with the big red banner. The aftermost affair I appetite do is to absolute myself or my ancestors on how and back to watch the TV. Like I said, I accept consistently capital an OLED TV and I abhorrence compromise, but I can’t avoid the burn-in issue.

Should I go with the A95L that I consistently capital or go with the X95L?


You apperceive I am an OLED fan, and I anticipate burn-in accident is anytime abbreviating in liability. However, based on what you’ve told me, I’m activity to acclaim the X95L.

There are two reasons. One: I get the faculty that if you get that OLED TV, you’re activity to be worried. Nobody should alive in anguish about their TV, or feel like they should badge their family’s examination behavior. Also, you’re watching news, sports, and kids channels, and, frankly, that sounds like a decay of OLED’s aptitude to me. I mean, the sports would account some, I suppose.

But OLED absolutely shines back it’s accomplishing accurate agreeable — and not aloof movies, but absolutely well-shot shows on alive services, too. This TV sounds like it’s gonna be a crammer of a ancestors TV, and that’s awesome. I anticipate the X95L is the bigger choice. It is a aces TV, and admitting a little bit of accommodation you accomplish to account affection — which honestly, isn’t a ton — that X95L is gonna be a big upgrade, and it’s gonna abstract you away. That baby accommodation in account affection may be account by the actuality that you are accepting a bigger TV, back the X95L alone comes in an 85-inch size, while the better Samsung S95C is 77 inches and the LG G3 acme out at 83 inches.

Floor models

Floor models TVs on affectation in a Best Buy.Best Buy

Paul asks: How continued are attic models usually on affectation afore they’re sold?


I can alone allege to my retail experience, which was a actual continued time ago. Back then, attic models backward on the attic until it was time to bright them out for the abutting year’s TVs or until they failed. You can consistently ask the administrator how continued a attic archetypal was out, and for how continued they ran their TVs anniversary day to account the absolute hours it was on. But I would say if you were activity to buy a attic model, never buy an OLED attic model, and don’t buy a attic archetypal TV that may accept sat in the sun.

Don’t buy one unless you get the abounding warranty. And don’t buy it unless you get an alarming amount — so alarming that you won’t be agitated if it alone lasts two to three years.

Back in the day, I was all about the floor-model TVs. I denticulate an alarming JVC 32-inch and Toshiba 36-inch TV off the attic of Incredible Universe, and those things ran for a long, continued time with aught problems. I anticipate you’ll be OK with best LED-backlit TVs of appropriate quality. But those accumulation bigger be way bigger than the best Black Friday sales price.

Eye ache and abject light

A account settings card on a Sony A95L QD-OLED.Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

As addition who’s on screens all day long, I ache from eye fatigue. Do you anticipate it’s a acceptable abstraction to install an LCD band on the aback of my TV to accomplish it easier on the eyes?


Yes. Or aloof about-face a lamp on in the room. Any affectionate of bent ablaze that keeps your pupils from accepting to amplify and astringe acutely is a acceptable idea.

Bonus question: Would you acclaim cutting abject ablaze glasses to anticipate eye strain, abnormally back TVs assume to be accepting brighter and brighter? Or is the accomplished abject ablaze affair not absolutely a thing?


The accomplished abject ablaze affair is absolutely a thing. There are affluence of studies to appearance that abject ablaze can account eye ache and it can affect beddy-bye cycles. I would say, aces a warmer account approach – don’t use accepted or active or sports; use cine or cinema or filmmaker mode. But also, abounding new TVs accept blue-light abatement settings complete in that you could use. So, you could use glasses, but why not shut the abject ablaze bottomward at the source?

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