Ultimate Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are extended warranties worth the money?

A: Warranties come with most audio video components. Typically they last a year from the date of purchase on parts and labor. On most components this is sufficient because if something is going to break, it will generally do so early on. Selling extended warranties is a huge moneymaker for many stores and is not very cost effective for the buyer. An exception to this is the large screen TVs. These TVs are very expensive and an extended warranty helps protect your investment. An added advantage of doing business with Ultimate Installations is that we can provide you with an extended warranty for your TV at a much lower rate than those offered by other stores.

Q: What is Aspect Ratio?

A: Aspect ratio is how the image is displayed on the TV screen.

4:3 means the image is 4 units across and 3 units high. This is how all the old style TVs display their image.
4:3 aspect ratio

16:9 aspect ratio means the image is 16 units wide and 9 units high.

16:9 aspect ratio

Your image will be cropped if you try to display one type image on the other size screen. If you try to display a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen there will be grey or black bars on the right and left side of the TV picture. You can choose to fill the whole screen but you will get some distortion of the image (stretched out wider). If you display a 16:9 image on a 4:3 screen you will get the cropping above and below the picture. DVDs are produced in both formats with the 4:3 version referred to as "full screen" and the 16:9 version referred to as "widescreen".

Q: Does my TV need to be calibrated?

A: Today's TVs will give you a beautiful picture right out of the box. (Although the contrast from the factory is sometimes set too high and should be turned down.) As TVs age, their picture settings can need adjusting and calibration can improve on that picture's quality. Through calibration; adjusting the temperature setting will produce a more accurate color presentation, picture size can be optimized, brightness, contrast and other settings can be adjusted for optimum TV display.

Q: What is the difference between Satellite and Cable?

A: There are pros and cons for both satellite and cable. Let us address them individually.

The pros for cable are you can receive the standard package without renting a decoding unit. Some of the cons are quality of your signal on cable is dependent upon all of the wiring and equipment between you and the broadcast center working properly. Signal quality can vary greatly.

The pros for satellite are the signal is 100% digital, it is available anywhere you have a 'line of sight' to the satellite, the signal is consistent, it is mobile and is more DVR friendly. Some cons for satellite are trees and buildings can block the signal, you need to have a receiving unit for each TV and there is a charge for each one, you need to have a satellite dish on your roof (which some home owner's assoc. and apartments do not allow.) Satellite can be affected by severe weather.

Q: Should my system be ventilated?

A: Removing the audio video system from view usually means enclosing it in a cabinet, a piece of furniture, or closet. A few of these components, like the receiver-amplifier, can generate quite a bit of heat and so adequate ventilation of these confined spaces to dissipate all this heat can quickly become and issue. These audio video components have heat tolerance ranges and should not be operated if the temperature exceeds their maximum working temperature. The amount of heat an amplifier generates is a function of how loud the system is played, or how hard the amplifier had to work.

Some considerations for ventilating your audio video system:

  • If the components are not confined and not stacked on one another there is usually enough ventilation available.
  • If components are in a closed location with adequate intake of cool air from the bottom of the cabinet and vents on top to allow outgoing hot air.
  • Air conditioning can be vented into a closet with components.
  • Cooling fans are an option in confined spaces with little airflow. Fans have problems with breaking and can generate a hum. The higher the quality of the fans the more expensive and more reliable they become.

Q: Should I have my homeor business pre-wired?

A: Pre-wiring a home under construction is the best way to install any concealed wiring. It takes much less time and there is no need for drywall repairs. This translates into lower costs to you. It also enables easy installation of wiring for future enhancements and upgrades.

Q: What is a crossover?

A: On the inside of any quality speaker there is an electronic circuit which divides frequencies. High frequencies are sent to the tweeter. Low frequencies are sent the woofer. In a three way system the middle range frequencies are sent to the midrange speaker. This circuit is called a crossover. It consists of capacitors, resistors and inductors. The design of this circuit is extremely critical. While it is important to use quality drivers, ultimately it is the crossover that determines the quality of the speaker system.

Q: What is the difference between Dolby Digital and DTS (Digital Theater Systems)?

A: Dolby Digital Surround Sound and DTS are audio formats for DVD recordings. Many feel that DTS provides a fuller, truer representation of the original recording. The DTS codec (encoder/decoder) does not compress the original audio as much as Dolby Digital, so it is more like the original recording when played back. Dolby Digital has more data compression but the claim is made that the difference cannot be heard. Both of these formats present all of the sound bandwidth in 5 channels of audio and one channel of Low Frequency Effects (LFE) for the subwoofer. This arrangement is referred to as a 5.1 system (5 speakers and 1 subwoofer.) You can still hear the bass from your left and right front speakers without a subwoofer but you won't get the full effect without the subwoofer.

In a 5.1 system, a different audio signal is sent to each of the five speakers in the system. To get the full 5.1 effect all the speakers must be installed or some of the signal is lost. Another consideration is proper speaker placement to give the sound balance. And once properly installed, the listener is immersed in the listening experience as the recording artist intended.

DVDs are currently being re-mastered in the DTS format and are among the top selling DVDs on the market. These DVDs in DTS provide music in a format that must be experienced in order to be understood.

By the way, THX is a set of technical specifications used to standardize the performance of surround sound. This insures that any audio equipment certified THX would meet this performance level.