electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or mail to:
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
415 West Hunt Club Road
Ottawa, ON K2E 1C5
or fax to (425) 427-3019.
“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
a leading high-tech
to more than three
on radio and TV, and is
the author of 15 books.
He’s on Twitter at
Q: I love my new HDTV, but now I’d like
to improve the sound quality. What are
A: With so much attention given to the television
screen, it’s easy to overlook the other important element of your home theatre: sound.
Oh sure, your TV’s stereo audio might be OK
for watching the evening news or a rerun of an old
sitcom, but you can do much, much better for the
latest television programs, sports, video games,
music videos and movies. As George Lucas once
famously said, sound is half the movie experience.
You do have a few options to improve the
audio quality of your big-screen entertainment.
One is to buy an audio-video (AV) receiver, which
is required to decode and distribute a surround-sound mix to speakers spread throughout the
room. An AV receiver and six or more speakers—
including a subwoofer for booming bass—can help
replicate the multi-channel movie-theatre
experience in your home.
Instead of buying everything
separately, a “home theatre in a
box” is a convenient option that
includes the AV receiver,
speakers and, in some cases, a
Blu-ray disc player.
But not everyone has the
budget, room size or technical know-how to buy and
install one of these solutions.
A newer and increasingly popular alternative is to buy a sound
bar, a horizontal speaker that sits
just above or below the television
screen. Sound bars house multiple speakers
and can simulate surround sound for TV shows,
movies, music and video games. They’re generally
less expensive than an AV receiver and separate
speakers, and they’re easy to set up. Plus, they take
up little room, so they’re ideal for small rooms, con-dos and apartments.
Along with support for multiple movie audio
devices such as Dolby Digital Pro Logic II and DTS
Digital Surround, many sound bars ship with a
wireless subwoofer (to place somewhere else in the
Costco carries a variety of sound
bars and audio equipment in the
warehouses and on Costco.ca. You
can also find the latest smart-
phones in the wireless kiosks
in the warehouses.
room). Also, nearly all new
models have integrated
Bluetooth technology so you
can stream music to the
sound bar from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Q: I’m planning on buy-
ing an Android smart-
phone. Have any tips?
A: There are a lot of options
available. When it comes to features and prices, here’s a quick
; Visit the wireless kiosk at
your local Costco to see which
Android phones they carry. If you use
other services from the same company—
such as Internet, TV or home phone—you’ll
likely get a bundling discount.
; Make sure you select a phone plan
that works for you. You’ll likely buy
a voice and texting plan, as well as
a data plan (for online access,
including email, Web browsing, apps and so on).
Determine how many talk-time minutes, texts and data
(measured in megabytes or
gigabytes) you want to go
with per month according to
; While optional, an extended
warranty gives you peace of mind if
anything goes wrong with your phone.
Pick one up if it’s relatively affordable and
extends the existing warranty significantly. Also
consider a durable case and a thin, transparent
; Android phones come in all shapes and sizes,
so choose one that best suits your preferences.
Some Android phones have a physical keyboard,
for those who prefer it, but most offer touch screens
only. (If you’ve never used one, don’t worry—you’ll
get used to it.)
The great thing about Android is you can customize the look of the phone, including what your
home screen looks like, by choosing apps, widgets
and notifications. Many Google services are already
built into your Android phone, including Gmail,
Search, Maps, Google Drive, Google+ and You Tube.
Plus, there are now more than a million apps to
download from the Google Play store. C
Tricking out your TV
More in archives
On Costco.ca, enter
“Connection”; at Online Edition,
search “Tech Connection.”
■ Choosing a smartphone