Best Selling HDTVs

November 30, 2006

TiVo to Run Ads at End of Recorded Shows

Even though we all hate ads, they're obviously never going away. It looks like TiVo is trying a new ad strategy for recorded shows according to AdWeek:

NEW YORK TiVo upped its efforts to include advertising in its digital video recording service with its most intrusive effort to date. The company will embed ads after a recorded program plays.

The graphical ad unit, which TiVo calls a "program placement," appears at the end of a recorded program, on the screen asking viewers if they want to delete the show. It is designed to give advertisers a way to reach TiVo's more than 4.4 million subscribers, many of which fast-forward through commercial breaks. Burger King, General Motors and MasterCard are the first flight of sponsors testing out the ad unit.

TiVo's just taking advantage of space on their save or delete menu which doesn't seem very intrusive to me.

At AdWeek.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 29, 2006

Wal-Mart Testing Movie Downloads

We've told you about Amazon's and Xbox Live's Movie download services. Now Walmart is about to enter the movie download fray. According to FoxNews:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is edging into selling video downloads by offering buyers of the "Superman Returns" DVD a chance to buy downloads of the same movie, beginning Wednesday.

The world's largest retailer said Tuesday that shoppers have the choice of paying $1.97 to download the movie to a portable device, such as Apple's iPod or Microsoft's Zune, or paying $2.97 to download it to a laptop or desktop computer. For $3.97, customers can download the movie for both formats.

At FoxNews.com

At WalMart.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 29, 2006

Gift Idea of the Day: Samsung LNS2641D 26" LCD HDTV with Integrated ATSC Tuner

Looking for an LCD TV with an integrated HDTV tuner? Be sure to check out this great deal on the Samsung LNS2641D 26" LCD HDTV at Amazon:

Amazon.com Product Description If you're just entering the HD arena and don't want to break the bank on your first flat-screen television, the entry-level 26-inch Samsung LNS2641D LCD TV is a great fit for your budget and it offers many of the same video processing features as its higher end 51- and 52-Series siblings. It features an integrated HDTV tuner, 10-bit video processor, and a 3000:1 contrast ratio for smooth, vibrant pictures. It also includes dual HDMI inputs for simultaneous signal transfer of audio and video from digital devices and PC connectivity. The dual purpose pedestal stand can also be used as an articulating wall mount when it’s folded back. Additionally, the stand can be removed for wall-mounting via optional VESA compatible hardware (such as Samsung wall mounting kit WMTL2600).

The Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. DNIe improves contrast, white level, picture detail and incorporates digital noise reduction to improve lower quality video inputs. The 3D Y/C digital comb filter constantly analyzes the three dimensions of picture height, picture width, and picture changes-over-time to dramatically reduce edge image artifacts while improving transition detail.

While this is a smaller screen that's best for the bedroom or office, you'll really be impressed with the LNS2641D.

At Amazon.com


William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 28, 2006

Projectiondesign Model Two WIDE - Projection in Small Spaces

Want to add a projector to your home theater system but your room is just too small? Well you might be interested in the Projectiondesign Model Two WIDE projector. According to Pocket-Lint:

Model Two WIDE can project a 2m wide/90-inch diagonal image on the wall from a distance of only 2 metres, while most projectors require a distance from the projection surface of at least 4 to 5 metres.

The Model Two WIDE features DarkChip3 technology and is HD-ready. It features interchangeable lenses and delivers 1000 lumens of light. It operates at just 24dB so you'll be able to hear sound without any problems, and offers true optical vertical lens shift of 0-95%.

Very nice! At £4000 it might be cheaper to tear down a wall but hey it's still a neat idea.

At Pocket-Lint.co.uk

Projectiondesign Website

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 28, 2006

Xbox Movies Download Service Now Live - Prices Too High!

Earlier this month, we told you about the Microsoft's plan to offer movies and TV shows for the Xbox Live service. Well, the service went live on November 22 and as we promised, we've found the pricing for you. According to Afterdawn.com:

High definition TV shows cost 240 ($3) Microsoft points, while the inferior standard definition media costs a whole lot less at 160 ($2) points. Movie prices vary from 240 to 480 ($6) points, standard definition "classic feature film" will cost you 240, high def classic 360 ($4.5), a new release film in SD 320 ($4), and at the top a brand new HD film 480 Microsoft points.

The movies have a 14-day "rent period", during which you have to watch it, however the movie has to be watched within 24 hours from the first time it is launched.

Ouch! That pricing is just too high for a rental. We're also annoyed that you have to buy points first instead of just buying the movie or show. Still, we like the ability to download movies with the Xbox Live Service and hopefully we'll see the prices dropped a little in the near future.

At AfterDawn.com

Compare Prices: Xbox 360

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 27, 2006

Oklahomans Paying too Much for HDTVs

Here's an unbelievable article at Oklahoman.net:

The only thing that stopped Wilson resident Randie Case from getting a good deal on a 52-inch widescreen TV Friday morning was the state of Oklahoma.

Case's dreams of getting the RCA high-definition TV for $474 at Wal-Mart were dashed by Oklahoma's 1949 Unfair Sales Act.

The act prohibits retailers from selling merchandise below cost, requiring a 6 percent markup on items.

Case said she saw the ad for the early bird sale on TV and online.

The article also states:

Oklahoma was one of five states where the slashed price of the RCA widescreen — along with a handful of other Wal-Mart deals — was prohibited.

Wow! Maybe it's time to update a few state laws!

At Oklahoman.net

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Gift Idea of the Day: Sennheiser RS 130 Wireless Surround Sound Headphones

As we mentioned in our Holiday Gift Guide, a good set of headphones is essential for peaceful TV viewing. To enhance your viewing pleasure, you might want to check out the Sennheiser RS 130 Headphones at Amazon.com:

Amazon.com Product Description Experience total audio immersion and freedom with the Sennheiser RS 130 wireless headphones. With an SRS surround sound mode that can be switched on or off, and a design that completely encases your ears, the RS 130s are ideal for kicking back on the couch with a DVD when the rest of the house is asleep. Or, maybe you want to dance to the music from your hi-fi system while doing some laundry. With the RS 130s you can move around freely while enjoying audiophile-class sound wherever you roam. While many wireless headphones suffer from poor reception, the RS 130s have the problem licked with intelligent auto tuning and a self-learning automatic signal level control that provides maximum signal reception and a range of up to 150 meters. The headphones are lightweight, too, making them very comfortable to wear. The included transmitter and stand makes recharging the headphone batteries easy; simply hang the headphones on the charging cradle and you're good to go. With an operating time of approximately 22 hours, though, plan on spending most of your time enjoying rich sound and maximum mobility.

For the price, these are one of the best sets of heaphones out there.

At Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 28, 2006

Bones - The Complete 1st Season

Joan of Arcadia - The Second Season

Clerks II (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)

Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition

ArrowContinue reading: "Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 28, 2006"

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 25, 2006

Get Your TiVo Free After Rebates This Holiday Season

If you don't have a TiVo on your holiday list this might be the year to add one. According to eHomeUpgrade.com:

TiVo, the creator and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVR's), is offering consumers an unprecedented opportunity to get for their own homes or give as a gift to friends and family the most popular TiVo box absolutely free this holiday season. When they sign up for a new service plan, consumers will receive the TiVo Series2 which retails for $219.99 and which has the capacity to store up to 80 hours of their favorite TV programming, free after rebate. This versatile TiVo box empowers consumers to enjoy their favorite TV programs whenever they want, and works with all cable, satellite, antenna, and combination set-ups. This is a limited time offer, while supplies last.

The rebate details are:

As part of a major holiday campaign offering consumers widespread savings, TiVo is extending special rebates on a number of its most popular models, including: 80-hr TiVo Series2 DT (DT stands for Dual Tuner which allows you to record 2 shows simultaneously* while watching a 3rd), which regularly retails for $249.99, is now just $69.99 after rebate and service activation, and the 180-hr TiVo Series2 DT DVR which regularly retails for $349.99 for only $169.99 after rebate and service activation. TiVo products can be purchased at leading retailers across the country, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Radio Shack, and other major electronics retailers. Visit TiVo.com for more details.

You might want to jump on this deal before the holiday season ends.

At eHomeUpgrade.com

Compare Prices: TiVo

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 24, 2006

Holiday Gift and Shopping Guides from Around the Blogpire

Our editors have been hard at work coming up with the latest products to give as gifts this holiday season. Each of our different sites has their own holiday gift guide on various topics including: shaving, hdtv, gps, gaming, coffee and espresso, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, and more.

Make your holiday gift giving easier this season by visiting the holiday shopping guides below, and get your shopping done online without the crowds and hassle of ever leaving your comfy couch or computer chair.

Electronics - TV and GPS

Tvsnob Gg

Holiday Shopping Guide from TVSnob.com

Gps Lodge Blogpire Gg-1

Holiday Shopping Guide from GPSLodge.com

Natural Products & Organic Living

Reallynatural Gg

Holiday Shopping Guide from ReallyNatural.com

Shaving

Shaving Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from ShavingStuff.com

Coffee & Espresso

Holidayshoppingguide1 Ssc
Holiday Gift Guide from SingleServeCoffee.com

Sse Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from SingleServeEspresso.com

Games

Criticalgamers Blogad Giftg

Holiday Gift Guide from CriticalGamers.com

Liquor and Spirts

Liquor Snob Blogad Gg

Holiday Shopping Guide from LiquorSnob.com

Kitchen Related

Holiday Shopping Guides Kc

Holiday Shopping Guide from KitchenContraptions.com

Thecookingnews Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from The Cooking News.com

Baby Related

Supercoolbab Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from SuperCoolBaby.com

Poker & Casino Related
Holiday Gift Guide from CasinoSnob.com

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 23, 2006

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Oops! Had a slight accident with the Turkey this morning!

Hope you and yours have an awesome Thanksgiving.

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 22, 2006

My Experience with Circuit City's 24/24 Guarantee

Alright, as promised I finally tried the Circuit City 24/24 Guarantee. To refresh your memory, the 24/24 Guarantee is pretty simple. Basically, you order your Circuit City items online and specify in-store pickup. The items will then be ready to pick up within 24 minutes of receiving your confirmation email. If your order isn't ready for pick-up within 24 minutes, you'll get a $24 gift card. Here's the actual fine print at Circuit City's website:

The 24 minute Guarantee applies from timestamp on order confirmation email until the time order is ready for customer pickup. Guarantee excludes customer wait time in store lines. Offer valid on orders placed at circuitcity.com or by phone during pickup store's normal operating hours up to 30 minutes prior to closing. Guarantee not valid the day after Thanksgiving, 12/26 or 12/27. $25 minimum purchase. One $24 gift card offered per qualifying in-store pickup ticket, which must be claimed at time of pickup and is good for future purchases.

In the interest of disclosure: Circuit City contacted me and asked me to try the 24/24 guarantee and then write about my experience. They provided me with a gift card in order to try the service. They asked that I post honestly about my experience with no editorial input from Circuit City. Because I received the card by mail, my local Circuit City was unaware of the experiment.

I'll start by sharing the online shopping experience. The Circuit City site is pretty easy to navigate. The best part is that you put in your zip code and then when you look at a product, it will tell you if the product is available or not:

Overall, I found most of what I was looking for was available in the store. Probably the weakest point I encountered while shopping on Circuit City's website is the fact that almost all of the movies and music available online aren't available for in-store pick-up. Besides the issue with the movies and music, everything else went smoothly while placing my order.

ArrowContinue reading: "My Experience with Circuit City's 24/24 Guarantee"

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (9) | social bookmarking

Review: Oppo Digital LT-2007 LCD TV with DVD

Earlier this year we told you about the compact Oppo Digital LT-2007 LCD TV with DVD. Now you can read a small review of the LT-2007 at TMC.net. The reviews states:

In fact, I was very impressed with the DVD quality as well as the 181-channel TV tuner video quality, but still would have liked to have seen 1024x768 supported. Nevertheless, this combo device will most likely be used in kitchens, dens, and other small spaces "more as a DVD player and TV" rather than a computer monitor. As such, this TV/DVD combo this is a great product with a really cool stylish design that almost looks like Apple designed it. Most importantly the Oppo OPPO Digital LT-2007 has a small footprint due its integrated LCD, speakers, and DVD player that won't clutter your countertop or table -- and at just $599, this is a bargain for the amount of features you get.

If you're tight on space, you might want to check the review out.

At TMC.net

Compare Prices: Oppo Digital LT-2007 LCD TV with DVD

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 21, 2006

DL.TV's HDTV Special

This is from last year but we wanted to point out this great hour long video about HDTV from DL.tv. Some of the Topics covered:


  • Wondering what HDTV is? Robert Heron says it's two things: an HDTV screen and HDTV content.

  • Big glass tubes, front projectors, rear projectors, plasmas, LCD, OLED... they all have their strong points.

  • Plasma vs. LCD: why there's no such thing as the 'perfect' thin HDTV.

  • Going HDTV shopping this holiday? Loyd Case tells Patrick how to find his ideal HDTV.

  • Your HDTV checklist: Loyd's got a list you should check twice before dropping the big bucks on your.

  • Get the hook-up on HDTV connectors, and what you'll need to get your PC, DVD, cable or sat TV hooked up!

  • Wondering where to find the best HDTV content? Jim Louderback walks us thru his favorite sources, from TiVo to over the air

  • Trust us, that old UHF antenna is far from dead!

  • Looking for some of our favorite TVs? Check out the ultimate 'bang for the buck' guide to big HDTVs.

  • As always, we tackle your tough viewer questions.

  • And much more... this is a big one, folks, around an hour!

Like we said, this must-see video is older but still extremely relevant before you start your HDTV shopping this year.

At DL.tv

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 20, 2006

Curious About What the Wii Can Do?

If you have any interest in the Nintendo Wii, you'll want to start with this great FAQ at Engadget. It has several great questions like:

Does the Wii upconvert non-Wii games?

If you've got the component cables you can "upscale" old games to 480p / EDTV. Not that it's going to look any better, but the display doesn't change back 480i or anything.

and

How steep is the learning curve on the Wii? Is it worth the time investment to learn a new way of gaming?

Not very steep, most of the motions and gestures come naturally. Which is kind of the point -- they wanted to make gaming less about button combos on a 20-button controller, and more about natural, intuitive movements that people of all ages can understand and play with.

and

What are the load times for the games?

Nothing at all unusual for a disc-based console. Considering it's loading less data than the PS3 or Xbox 360, we might've liked to see those load times shaved down a bit. But it's nothing unreasonable, and doesn't clock into the minutes territory.

Overall the FAQ has 44 great questions that you'll want to check out.

At Engadget.com

Compare Prices: Wii

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Review: TiVo Series 3 HD Digital Media Recorder

Even though the TiVo Series 3 has been out for a few months, we haven't seen many reviews out there yet. We guess the lack of exposure has to do with how many people are willing to spend almost $800 on a box that requires a contract. Anyway, here's a small but decent review at HolidayGadgetGuide.FederatedMedia.net:

About six weeks ago, a Comcast truck rolled away from my house and I finally had my new Series 3 TiVo up and running. For the past year, I’ve been using Comcast’s HD DVR and it’s been a bear to use, buggy, and unreliable (my review). I bought a Series 3 TiVo on the day it was released just to get away from the old box. What follows are my impressions from my time so far with the new device.

Here's a couple of the high points that the article notes:

  • Hands down, still the best interface in recordable TV. I realized I was watching less TV and not marking new programs to be recorded on my old Comcast DVR because the interface was so cumbersome and time-consuming. The TiVo is just natural to use.
  • HD video quality is perfect, standard def at high quality looks great too, much better than the default Comcast DVR recordings. Since the 250Gb drive can record hundreds of hours of standard TV, I set it to High Quality (2nd highest) and was impressed as it was much better than my Comcast DVR’s standard def recordings.

And of course, one of the biggest low points:

  • The price is high. No doubt, the biggest drawback to the Series 3 TiVo is the price. Suggested list is $799 and if you shop around you can save about $100 off that price. On top of the high cost of hardware, you also have to pay for a monthly subscription in 1, 2, and 3 year increments (that range from $12.95-19.95, depending on length). This is definitely high end gear and it carries the price to match.

We definitely agree with this low point but we expect to see the price of the Series 3 to start slowly come down after the Holidays. Be sure to read about all of the high and low points in the article:

At HolidayGadgetGuide.FederatedMedia.net

Compare Prices: TiVo Series 3

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 21, 2006

Ice Age - The Meltdown (Widescreen Edition)

Alias - The Complete Fifth Season

Seinfeld - Season 7

Boston Legal - Season 2

Ice Age - The Meltdown (Full Screen Edition)

Columbo - The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons

ArrowContinue reading: "Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 21, 2006"

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 19, 2006

First Look: Monster AVL-300 Universal Remote

We've featured a lot of cool remotes here at TVSnob but nothing like the Monster AVL-300. Besides being a highly customizable TV remote, it also functions as a Home Automation remote. According to PopGadget.net:

I’ve spent some face time with the Monster Central AVL-300 home automation remote over the last two weeks. The AVL-300 remote is an all-in-one programmable home theater remote control, but it’s also a controller for Monster's IlluminEssence automated lighting systems. By integrating the two systems together seamlessly the company has produced a very powerful remote with a great feature set. However, that level of control adds a level of complexity that makes the learning curve for the initial setup a little steep.

The article states that overall:

The Monster 300 is a solid remote for controlling a full featured audio video system, and at $600 it’s priced within the realm of reason. Buying separate home theater and lighting controllers with comparable features would cost close to $600, and there’s a lot to be said for the convenience of having all the necessary features in the palm of your hand.

Of course at $600 this remote won't be for everyone, but it'll definitely be something to look at if you also need home automation control.

At PopGadget.net

Product Page at MonsterCentral.com

Compare Prices: Remote Controls

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 17, 2006

Vizio Drops Prices on Plasma & LCD HDTV Models Just in Time for Black Friday

For you professional shoppers out there you already know next Friday is Black Friday, the absolutely craziest day of the year to Christmas shop. So just in time for the Black Friday, Vizio has announced some great pricing on Plasma and LCD HDTVs. According to Vizio's Press release:

The Vizio brand continues to grow in product line, performance reputation and market share. Holiday shoppers aren't only looking for the lowest price -- they want a high quality flat panel high definition TV at the best price. This matches Vizio's theme, "Where Vision Meets Value." Vizio's holiday line-up starting Black Friday includes:
  • VX20LHDTV -- (new) 20" LCD HDTV $399.99 @ Costco (everyday price*)
  • VX32LHDTV -- (new) 32" LCD HDTV $699.99 @ Costco & Sam's (everyday price*)
  • VX37LHDTV -- (new) 37" LCD HDTV $999.99 @ Costco & Sam's & BJ's (everyday price*)
  • VP42HDTV -- (new) 42" Plasma HDTV $999.99 @ Costco (1 day sale price*)
  • L42HDTV -- 42" LCD HDTV $1199.99 @ Sam's (everyday price*)
  • GV42LHDTV -- 42" LCD HDTV $1299.99 @ Costco & BJ's (everyday price*)
  • GV46LHDTV -- (new) 46" LCD HDTV $1649.99 @ Sam's (everyday price*)
  • P50HDTV -- 50" Plasma HDTV $1699.99 @ Sam's & BJ's (everyday price*), $300 off Circuit City (1 day sale*, price to be announced)

* Actual pricing is set by retailers, therefore all pricing is subject to change

So if you're looking for a great deal on TVs while you're in the stores next week, I'd recommend printing this post and taking it with you.

At MarketWatch.com

Compare Prices: Vizio

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Watch Futurama Online - For Now Anyway

For you Futurama fans out there, I just ran cross this site that links to every episode of Futurama. The website claims it's legal because:

This site is legal as watchfuturama.com does not host any of the episodes or upload them we only link to them.

Sticking with the ol' Napster defense I guess. I'm still betting we won't see those links up for very long, so if you want to watch some decent quality Futurama online you might want to hop on over to the site.

Update: Check out the Futurama: Bender's Big Score trailer for the November 27, 2007 much anticipated DVD release!

At WatchFuturama.com

Compare Prices: Futurama

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

Wee with Wii!

Here's a cool video that gives you an idea of how the Nintendo Wii's funky controller I mentioned earlier works. Be sure to check it out:

Compare Prices: Wii

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Missed Out on PS3? - Still a Chance to Get the Nintendo Wii!

Bummed out because you spent 48 hours in a tent only to passed over when they started selling PS3s last night at midnight? Well, you still have a chance to score a gaming system this week when the Nintendo Wii goes on sale Nov. 19th. According to Wikipedia:

The Wii console is Nintendo's smallest home unit yet; measuring 44 mm wide, 157 mm tall, and 215.4 mm deep in the vertical orientation without the included stand (which itself measures 55.4 mm wide, 44 mm tall, and 225.6 mm deep). It is approximately the size of three standard DVD cases stacked together (approx. 4.5 cm x 15 cm x 20 cm). The console can be stood either horizontally or vertically.

The front of the console features a slot-loading media drive illuminated by a blue light and accepts both 12cm optical discs for Wii software and 8cm discs from Nintendo's prior console, the GameCube. When a disc is inserted, the light illuminating the disc port turns off. When there is no disc the light turns on, allowing the player to load discs in the dark. The ability to load differently sized discs is uncommon in slot-loading media drives, which typically only accept discs of a single size. Two USB ports (at the rear) and one SD card slot (behind a flap cover at the front of the console) are provided.

On of the coolest features has to be the controller:

The Wii Remote is a one-handed controller that uses a combination of accelerometers and infrared detection (in conjunction with the sensor bar) to sense its position in 3D space. This allows users to control the game using physical gestures as well as traditional button presses. The controller connects to the Wii console using Bluetooth, and features force feedback, 4KB non-volatile memory and an internal speaker.

The controller can connect to other devices through a proprietary port at the base of the controller. Perhaps the most important of these is the Nunchuk unit, which features an accelerometer and a traditional analog stick with two trigger buttons.

Did we mention that the Wii retails for $249.99? Add that to the fact that the lines won't be near as long as the PS3 lines were and the Wii looks like a steal this time of the year.

At Wii.Nintendo.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

James Lileks' TV Jargon Primer

James Lilek, the genius behind The Gallery of Regrettable Cheer and Interior Desecrations breaks down the confusing world of TVs and TV jargon. Here's a few definitions from his Star Tribune article:

Hi-Def: Makes regular TV look like crayon drawing smeared with Vaseline. Once you watch it, you cannot watch normal TV. My non-Hi-Def TV consumption has dropped 74% since I got an HD set. If the picture gets any better, I will watch no normal TV at all.

And my favorite definition:

HMDI: A special kind of Hi-Def cable that costs $100, because it is made of Leprechaun veins. There is no other explanation for it costing $100.

Be sure to read the rest of the great article:

At StarTribune.com


William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 16, 2006

Circuit City's 24/24 Guarantee Reminder

So I've gotten several emails asking if I've tested out Circuit City's 24/24 Guarantee that I mentioned last week. Well, I still haven't had a chance to try the guarantee yet but I should have a post up by Monday on my experience.

If you've had experience with the 24/24 guarantee, be sure to leave us a comment.

At CircuitCity.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

TVSnob 2006 Christmas Buying Guide - HDTVs, TiVo, PS3, and Other Vital TV Related Items

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Well, we here at TVSnob are here to help. We've compiled a small list of some of our favorite TVs and TV related items. Of course, we couldn't list all of our favorites but hopefully this will get you pointed in the right direction. While this guide is designed to help you easily shop online, feel free to print the guide and take it with you when you hit the mall. Please note that these items are listed from higher to lower price and other than that are in no particular order.

HDTV
Since we spend so much time talking about HDTV at TVSnob it only seems appropriate to start our list with HDTVs. This list could go on all day with the great choices out there but we decided to just put our top choices. You can also see more about HDTV in our HDTV Category.

Samsung HL-S5087W 50" 1080p DLP HDTV $1550.99
Panasonic TH-42PX60U 42" Plasma HDTV $1381.81
Westinghouse LVM-42W2 42" 1080p LCD HDTV $1298.88
Sony KDL-32S2010 32" Bravia S-Series LCD HDTV $1199.99
Toshiba REGZA 26HL66 26" LCD HDTV $749.99

CRT TVs
Not quite ready for the HDTV revolution? Well if you're just looking for a basic TV for your office or bedroom, here a few of our favorite non-HDTV models.

Sony KD32FS170 32" Trinitron WEGA Hi-Scan Digital Television $699.99
Toshiba 32DF46 32" Pure Flat Standard Definition CRT TV $367.19
Panasonic PV-20DF25 20" TV/DVD Combo $260.59
Sylvania 6424FF 24" Flat Screen CRT TV $222.19
Samsung TX-R2035 20" DynaFlat CRT TV $149.99

Projection TVs
With the advent of Flat Panel TVs, projection TVs aren't as popular as they once were but they still offer a great value for a large screen TV. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started.

Toshiba 72HM196 72" 1080p DLP HDTV $3059.88
Sony KDS-55A2000 Grand WEGA 55" SXRD 1080p Rear Projection HDTV $2199.99
Mitsubishi WD-57731 57" 1080p DLP HDTV $2199.99
Samsung HL-S5687W 56" 1080p DLP HDTV $1849.99

Projectors
If you're looking to build that killer home theater system, you'll want to be sure to check out a projector. You can find out more about projectors in our Projector Category.

Sony VPL-VW100 1080p HDTV-ready SXRD Front Projector $7,389.99
Sony VPL-HS60 Home Theater Video Projector $1739.85
Mitsubishi HC100U DLP Home Theater Projector $1049.77
Optoma Home Theater Projector and Monitor $699.99

Home Theater
If you want to get the most out of that fancy new TV, you really want to have a decent home theater system. Besides providing great sound, a home theater system offers a simple way to attach DVD players and other components to you system. More about home theater here.

Polk Audio RM6900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System, Titanium Finish $599.95
Samsung HT-TQ85 XM-Ready Five-Disc DVD Changer Home Theater System (5.1 Channel) $398.88
Sony HT-DDW900 Complete 5.1-Channel DVD Home Theater System with HDMI Passthrough $249.00
Panasonic SC-HT640W 5 DVD Home Theater System $209.99
Yamaha NS-SP1600 5.1-Channel Surround Speaker System (Black) $119.98

TiVo
Yep we love TiVo and we aren't ashamed about it. Here a few choices and be sure to check out our TiVo Category. Also note that Amazon now carries the TiVo Series 3 which makes us pretty happy.

TiVo TCD648250B Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder $709.99
TiVo TCD649180 Series2 180 Hour Dual Tuner Digital Video Recorder $336.48
TiVo TCD649080 Series2 80 Hour Dual Tuner Digital Video Recorder $249.99

DVD Players/Recorders/DVR
If you need a way to store your favorite shows and movies be sure to consider a DVR or a DVD recorder. Here are few of our favorites to get you started.

Insignia 10.2" 16:9 Widescreen TFT Portable DVD Player with Swivel Screen (See our Review)
Panasonic DMR-EH75VS DVD Recorder / VCR Combo with 80GB Hard Drive, HDMI, SD Card, and DV Input $420.38
RCA DVR10 High-Definition Digital Video Recorder $309.99
Sony RDR-HX900 DVD Recorder with 160 GB Hard Disk Recorder $299.90


Remote Controls
It's amazing how advanced remote controls have gotten. In fact, most of the remotes on this list can be programmed right from your computer or the internet. You can read more about remote controls here.

Philips RC9800i Home Entertainment Remote Control (See our Review) $217.38
Harmony 880 Remote Control $151.49
Logitech Harmony 550 Universal Remote $99.99
Sony RM-AX4000 Home Theater Remote Control $70.00

Wireless Headphones
A couple of years ago I received wireless headphones as a Christmas gift and I have to say it's one of the best gifts I ever gotten. Headphones are a great way to watch a game or a movie while blocking out the outside distractions.

Pioneer SE-DIR800C HDPH Dolby Digital 5.1 Wireless Headphones $299.99
Sennheiser RS 140 Wireless Balanced Headphones $135.99
Acoustic Research AW721 900 MHz Wireless Stereo Headphones $40.49
Sony MDR-RF960RK 900 MHz RF Wireless Headphones with Auto Tuning $72.34


Stocking Stuffers
Got all of your main gifts but still need a few stocking stuffers? Here's a few items to get you started.

Amazon Gift Certificate $5 - $5,0000
Apple 30 GB iPod video Black (5.5 Generation) $237.99
Axion 5" Portable Color TV $112.08
Coby TF-TV505 5" LCD Color Television $89.99

As we stated before, this list doesn't crack the surface of what's available but use it as a starting point for your holiday shopping. Enjoy and have a safe and happy holiday shopping experience.


William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

November 14, 2006

First Look: BenQ MP510 DLP Projector - Home Theater for Around $500

Some of the killer home theater systems out there are centered around projectors. The problem is projectors can get expense, especially when you consider the cost of replacement bulbs. For those who do want a projector for their home theater system but don't want to put out a lot of dough will want to look at the BenQ 510.

While it's an entry level projector, it's under $600 price tag makes it a great choice for the entry level home entertainment setup. According to the BenQ press release last week:

TAIPEI, TAIWAN, 27 October, 2006 - BenQ today introduces a new addition to its projector lineup with the BenQ MP510 multi-function digital projector, providing the best option in both value and performance. The MP510 features a brightness of 1500 ANSI lumens, SVGA (800 x 600) resolution, a 2000:1 contrast ratio, an incredibly 22dB whisper quite design and various application functions including 7 sets of picture modes and wall color correction function. The BenQ MP510 features a whisper quiet design that is able to reduce the operation noise to an incredibly quiet 22dB. This is achieved by an advanced cooling system which creates an effective sound baffle that effectively reduces the audible noise to a low 22dB - the level of sound lower than the human whisper, almost equivalent to the sound level of rustling leaves, therefore ensures undisturbed meeting or cinematic environment.

For those of you who have the BenQ 510, drop us a line and let us know what you think.

At BenQ.com

Compare Prices: BenQ MP510 DLP Projector

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 13, 2006

Japanese Retailers Sell 88,400 PS3s in first 2 Days

If you really want to sell a product, the key seems to be to overhype how hard it's going to be to get that product. It obviously works with gaming systems according to a report at MSNBC:

Sony Corp. sold 88,400 units of its PlayStation 3 game console in the first two days after the launch in Japan, leaving most stores without any stock, video game magazine publisher Enterbrain said on Monday.

Just so you get an idea of how big a deal that is:

The basic model of the PS3, equipped with a 20-gigabyte hard disk drive, sells for 49,980 yen ($425), while a more advanced 60-gigabyte version is retailing for about 60,000 yen.

Of the total sold so far in Japan, Enterbrain said 54,600, or about 62 percent, were of the more advanced model.

Wow! If my calculator is functioning correctly, that's around $40 million in 2 days. The PS3 was expected to be a big seller but that's stilll pretty amazing.

We'll keep on eye out to see how well PS3 units sell in the US when they hit the shelves on November 17th.

At MSNBC.com

Compare Prices: Playstation 3

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 14, 2006

Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Four

Arrested Development - Seasons 1-3

Columbo - The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons

Adventures of Superman - The Complete Fifth and Sixth Seasons

NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service - The Complete Second Season

ArrowContinue reading: "Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 14, 2006"

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 10, 2006

Shopping Online with Circuit City's 24/24 Guarantee

I hate Christmas shopping! There I said it. It's not the season that bothers me, it's just the crowds that drive me crazy. Of course, that's probably how most of us feel about Christmas shopping.

As of the last few years, my family has pretty much stuck to online shopping. The biggest problem is that the for procrastinators like us, the longer you wait, the slower and more unreliable the Postal system becomes. So what's my whole point of this rant? Circuit City has asked me to try out their 24/24 Guarantee. Basically it means I can shop online during store hours and then pick up my merchandise within 24 minutes after I get a confirmation email. If my order isn't ready for pickup within 24 minutes, they'll give me a $24 gift card. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it?

I really like the idea of shopping online and then running buy to pick up my merchandise at the local store. So next week I'll do a litlle mystery shopper test with Circuit City's 24/24 service and give you the scoop on how it works out.

Till then, here's a excerpt from a Press Release that was released last year andit appears all of the details and stipulations are the same this year:

RICHMOND, Va., Oct 03, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- With the busy holiday shopping season fast approaching, Circuit City Stores, Inc. has launched its 24/24 Pickup Guarantee(SM) for qualifying purchases made through its Web site, catalog or its telephone call centers.

Qualifying purchases will be ready for customers to pick up at their designated store within 24 minutes of purchase confirmation, or the customer will receive a $24 Circuit City gift card.*

"Many of our customers have enjoyed the convenience of buying products online and picking them up in our nearby stores," said Fiona Dias, Circuit City's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Circuit City pioneered in-store pickup for Web purchases and this guarantee takes our customer service promise to the next level. We know shoppers are especially busy during the holidays and they need to be able to count on prompt service."

Circuit City has offered in-store pickup as an option for its online customers since July 1999, when the company launched http://www.circuitcity.com. Web shoppers can check inventory in real-time to determine if the product they want to purchase is available for in-store pickup. The feature is extremely popular; about half of the customers who buy online from Circuit City choose the convenience of in-store pickup.

*The 24 minute Guarantee applies from timestamp on order confirmation email until the time order is ready for customer pickup. Guarantee excludes customer wait time in store lines. Offer valid on orders placed at circuitcity.com or by phone during pickup store's normal operating hours up to 30 minutes prior to closing. Guarantee not valid the day after Thanksgiving, 12/26 or 12/27. $25 minimum purchase. One $24 gift card offered per qualifying in-store pickup ticket, which must be claimed at time of pickup and is good for future purchases.

So stop by Circuit City's and check the details out and we'll let you know next week how our experience with the 24/24 guarantee went.

At CircuitCity.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 9, 2006

InFocus Play Big IN76 DLP Projector Review

While projectors don't fit into every budget, they definitely add that extra something to a home theater setup. HomeTheaterMag.com has a review of the eye-pleasing InFocus Play Big IN76 DLP Projector that starts out:

Back at the Home Theater studio, I was able to get a closer look at the IN76. Aesthetically, both the projector and its remote are striking. The IN76 employs smooth lines reminiscent of a classic 1960s roadster and a black case that blends well into a darkened home theater environment. The remote has a new feature that is ingenious in its simplicity. On the remote's underside is a trigger button that controls the remote's backlight. The light only illuminates the straightforward icons on the buttons and not the text affiliated with them. Overall, the IN76 demonstrates great aesthetic improvement over previous InFocus generations. The onscreen menu has changed very little. It's still functional and easy to navigate. Surprisingly absent from the menu is a tint control for the component input.

Overall the reviewer was pleased and stated:

In an industry that is constantly changing, there's always talk about the newest must-have technology. While that's great for those who need to be on the cutting edge, most of us are satisfied as long as a product does what it's supposed to do—specifically, what we paid for it to do. The IN76 is one of those products. It projects a great 720p image and does so out of the box. Its cost is comparable to that of a well-performing flat screen, too. If you're planning to upgrade to a projector, the InFocus Play Big IN76 definitely deserves a close look.

I have to say I really dig the retro look of the IN76. Be sure to check out the entire review.

At HomeTheaterMag.com

Compare Prices: InFocus Projectors

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 8, 2006

Tutorial: Installing MythTV on an Ubuntu System

Lately we've seen a big push to incorporate PCs into our TV viewing environment. Whether you want to use a PC for TV viewing or as a complete media system, MythTV is a great piece of PVR software for your PC. Since MythTV is designed for Linux and Mac OSX, you'll want to follow this nice tutorial we found for installing on an Unbuntu (Linux) based box. According to Parker.co.uk:


With the release of Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft), installing MythTV is now easier than ever.

Ubuntu is a great basis for a general purpose MythTV box and now comes with the latest version of MythTV (0.20) in its standard packages.

This guide focuses on DVB in the UK (Freeview), but much of it should be applicable to anybody installing Myth.

Oh yeah, did I mention MythTV is free? I knew that would get your attention.

Tutorial at Parker.co.uk

More details at MythTV.org

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 7, 2006

Microsoft to Offer Movies and TV for the Xbox 360 Live Service

Here's some interesting news in yesterday's press release from Microsoft:

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 6, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring an initial lineup of over 1,000 hours of hit TV shows and movies to Xbox 360™ gamers in the U.S. by the end of the year. Furthermore, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console to bring standard and high-definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution over the Internet directly to the consumer.

Beginning Nov. 22, on its first anniversary, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console in history to provide high-definition TV shows and movies directly to gamers in their living rooms. Xbox 360 gamers will have access to the full-length TV shows as downloads to own and movies to rent via download from the Xbox Live® network, the worldwide leader in online distribution of high-definition gaming and entertainment content.

The release also states:

The initial lineup of TV shows available for download to own and feature films available for download to rent will include a growing catalog of popular hits. Examples of content that will be available on the network by the end of year include the following:

  • “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from Adult Swim
  • “CSI,” “Survivor” and “Star Trek” from CBS
  • Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from COMEDY CENTRAL
  • “The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV
  • “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and ”SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon
  • “Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network
  • “M:i:III,” “Nacho Libre” and “Jackass: The Movie” from Paramount Pictures
  • “Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV
  • “Race Rewind” provided by NASCAR.COM
  • Select episodes of the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and the “UFC: All Access” shows from the UFC
  • “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1
  • “The Matrix,” “Superman Returns” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

No pricing has been announced yet but we'll keep you posted when more details emerge.

At Microsoft.com

Compare Prices at Amazon: Xbox 360

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Deal of the Day: Sony STR-DG500 6.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver

Did you know that great sound out of your television doesn't have to break the bank? In fact if you want a low cost entry level home theater receiver, you'll want to check out the Sony STR-DG500 at Amazon.com:

Amazon.com Product Description When you're ready to step up to 6.1 channel performance for a truly rich home theater experience, the STR-DG500 Home A/V Receiver is ready to take you there. Designed as Sony's entry level surround sound receiver, performance and simplicity are the key. The receiver sports 660 Watts delivered across six channels for an impressive 110 Watts per channel. When you add Sony's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration setup, you've got a system that is simple to set up, but is completely tuned to your unique home theater layout.


Digital Cinema Sound
Sony's original Digital Cinema Sound technology uses exclusive DSP technology to recreate the precise environment of three Hollywood Dubbing Stages where your movies are created. The result is true theater sound in the home from the source. You also get a huge range of other decoding technologies, including Dolby Digital Decoding, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIX, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital EX, dts 96/24, dts NEO:6, and dts-ES. All of these options give you great compatibility with the digital sound encodings in the latest DVDs and other media.

Digital Cinema Auto Calibration
Now the optimal speaker for your living room is only a press of button away. Simply place the included microphone in your listening position and allow the strength of Sony's Digital Signal Processing to take over. Speaker placement, distance, and delays are all adjusted automatically to ensure a worry free listening experience. Once you have your system optimized you can select from a variety of sound fields to suit the entertainment you're experiencing. Choose from three sound fields designed to optimize cinema, three for music, 11 for automatic format decoding, and one for two-channel stereo listening.


Overall, the STR-DG500 is a great entry level receiver for anyone looking to optimize their TV viewing experience.

Compare Prices: Sony STR-DG500 6.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

November 6, 2006

LG Introduces Awesome Dual Screen Refrigerator

Wow! What a cool fridge! LG has announced the LSC27990TT, a refrigerator that contains 2 TV screens. According to Engadget:

The main display is a 15-inch 1,024 x 768 number -- able to connect to a DVD player if you choose -- while its smaller counterpart takes things down to a wee 4-inches for use with LG's "weather and info center."

The LSC27990TT also has some other cool features:

Other non-traditional refrigerating capabilities include an FM radio, recipe bank, calendar, and digital photo album, as well as a "CustomCube" ice maker

Of course the LSC27990TT isn't cheap at $3600 but hey, my wife's worth it!

At Engadget.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 07, 2006

The West Wing - The Complete Seventh Season

The Sopranos - Season 6, Part 1

M*A*S*H - Season Eleven (Collector's Edition)

Beverly Hills, 90210 - The Complete First Season

JAG (Judge Advocate General) - The Complete Second Season

ArrowContinue reading: "Amazon DVD Releases Coming Nov. 07, 2006"

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 2, 2006

Consortium Formed to Develop WirelessHD

For me, one of the most exciting things about the future of TV is wireless television. Now it looks like some major manufacturers are making a serious attempt at bringing wireless HD to consumers. According to MSNBC:

The world's leading electronics makers have teamed up to develop a wireless technology to carry high-definition video and eliminate some of the cable spaghetti that links televisions with set-top boxes and other equipment.

Seven companies were to announce Tuesday that they formed the WirelessHD Consortium to free high-definition TVs from the tangle of cables connected to cable or satellite boxes, gaming consoles, DVD players, or even camcorders and other portable multimedia gadgets.

The article continues:

The format is designed to work within ranges of up to 32 feet — and within the same room — using the 60-gigahertz radio frequency band, said John Marshall, chairman of WirelessHD.

It will transmit high-definition video that has not been compressed digitally so users should experience the same image quality they currently get with wired HD-capable video connectors.

Sweet! While the article states that it'll be 2008 before we see any WirelessHD products, it's nice to see the work being started.

At MSNBC.com

More Details at WirelessHD.org

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 1, 2006

October 2006 Monthly Roundup for TVSnob


Can you believe next month is Christmas? Anyway, lots of cool things happened on the TV front last month like the news that Time Warner is going to offer customers DVR-like features without the hardware and that DirecTV is going to add local HD programming to 25 markets.

We also featured a few cool remote control reviews like the Logitech Harmony 72 and the Philips SRU9600 Universal Touchscreen Remote. Be sure to check out both reviews and any other of the TVSnob articles that you might of missed in October.

General News and Rants
Buying an HDTV Video from American Consumer
Place your Bets on the PlayStation 3!
Blogpire Podcast - Liquor Snob - All The News that's Fit to Drink 10.24.06
The TiVo Deal of a Lifetime
PlayStation 3 May be Delayed - Wow What a Surprise!
Still Confused about Blu-ray?
DVRs - What Accessories do you Need?
DirecTV to Add Local HD Programming to 25 Markets
Plasma TV to be Overtaken by Lasers?
BlogPire Podcast - Autumnal Festival Episode - Fun Fall Products 10.09.06
Win a Trip to the PlayStation Party 3 Premiere In Los Angeles


Deal of the Day
Deal of the Day: Akai PDP5073TM 50" Plasma HDTV
Deal of the Day: TiVo TCD649080 Series2 80 Hour Dual Tuner Digital Video Recorder

Reviews, First Looks, and Tutorials
My Remote Can Kick your Remote's Butt!
Time Warner Cable to Offer DVR-like Features Without the DVR Hardware
Philips SRU9600 Universal Touchscreen Remote Review
Install A Satellite Dish the Easy Way
Logitech Harmony 720 Remote Review


New DVD Releases
Amazon DVD Releases Coming Oct. 31, 2006
Amazon DVD Releases Coming Oct. 24, 2006
Amazon DVD Releases Coming Oct. 17, 2006
Amazon DVD Releases Coming Oct. 10, 2006
Amazon DVD Releases Coming Oct. 03, 2006

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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