-- L.R., Mount Lebanon, Pa.
A It depends on your TV, your Blu-ray player and whether you have a sound system or not.
Some Blu-ray players have outstanding video processing capabilities. For example, the Oppo Blu-ray players I wrote about a few months ago use advanced signal processing chips that get the best possible 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 pretty 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), I would use the Blu-ray player for the Netflix streaming. Panasonic players do a very good job of video processing as well, but they do not use Qdeo or HQV, opting instead for an in-house solution that is very highly regarded if not quite at the level as the expensive, high-end names.
I would also recommend using 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 any additional cables. If you stream though the TV you will have to make an extra connection from the TV to your audio system with an optical digital cable.
If neither of these scenarios apply I would 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.
Q After reading a recent article of yours I purchased an OontZ XL 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. Since I do not have a headphone port, how can I control the 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. If you look on the back of the cable box you will see red and white analog audio outputs. Connect these to the OontZ XL using an RCA to mini-plug audio cable. If you go to the AT&T U-Verse forums at http://forums.att.com and search for "VIP 1225 variable audio output" (don't use quotes when you search) you will 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 up the volume all the way. Now you will be able to control the volume using your cable box remote. Most cable and satellite boxes have variable outputs so this solution should work for all of you who do not have a headphone port on your TV and want to use the OontZ XL to improve your television audio.
Contact Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com and use the "submit question" link on that site.