Thursday, May 31, 2012

How To Choose A Home Theater System

When choosing a home theater system one must first consider there budget. In years past a home theater system was for only the rich, but with improvements in technology, home theater system are available for almost any budget. Costs range from $299 to $30,000 or more, depending on the components chosen and the size of your home theater system.


Most people try to achieve creating a movie theater in there home. Now of days a most theaters have surround sound system. Therefore in a home theater you will want to look for the following components, a large-screen television (usually 32” or larger), and a speaker system with a subwoofer (a loud speaker designed to reproduce bass frequencies) & front and rear (usually a minimum of 5 speakers) speakers for quality sound. You will also need an audio/video surround receiver, a DVD player, and a cable or satellite receiver. Most people also add a video recorder and a DVD recorder.

The big screen television

High-definition television (HDTV) is the most popular for Home theater systems. HDTV’s digital technologies give a much sharper & crisper picture quality, also an improved video field to bring the audience right into the middle of the action.

One of the things you must consider when you design your theater system is to look to the future. This way your system will stay up to date longer. To do this you will need to consider things like purchasing a high-quality, integrated HDTV monitor with wide screen display, because the conventional full screen movies we have enjoyed for years will someday be replaced with the movie theater style wide screen movies that more and more we are enjoying now. Even cable systems are delivering digital viewing services, which will only continue to develop.

Wide-screen HDTV monitors start at 27” for a traditional square shape and 30” for a wide-screen, and range up to 82”.

When considering a televisison for a smaller area you may want to look at direct-view televisions. For larger areas you can consider rear-projection or plasma televisions, Direct-view televisions don’t require viewers to sit so far back from the viewing screen.


Remember when considering your home theater system that sound is a very important part of the experience. You can buy a box system for as little as $200. You will want to look at different system and choose the one that best fit your needs and the sound quality that best fit you space and needs.

Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound has been the industry standard for years, says Craig Eggers, director of consumer electronics technology marketing for Dolby Laboratories. Dolby is now the North American audio standard for HDTV. This technology "delivers 5.1 channels of fully discrete surround sound audio to any home theater," Eggers says. This means the soundtracks are recorded with five main channels: left, center, right, left surround and right surround, plus a low-frequency effects bass channel.

Surround sound systems use a minimum of five speakers to bring the listener inside the viewing experience. Instead of watching the picture, you're a participant--just like at a movie theater.

These box systems also include various components such as DVD players or recorders, or am fm stereo, VCR players or recorders, some system may also include iPod or Mp3 technology.

This will complete the basic systems, but don’t forget that you may also want to consider a camcorder or digital camera technology for those home videos.

Once you have developed the home theater that best fits your needs the only thing left is to sit back and enjoy and don’t forget the popcorn.

Written by Kevin Hampton, visit me at

How-To Tips
Cables are an integral part of a home theater. Good cables will enhance the performance of your entire system, while poor quality cables can actually reduce quality. Look for the following when cable shopping:
· Look for cables with high-density shielding, gold-plated connectors and durable jackets to provide long-lasting, reliable connections. If you have the choice of using either digital or analog cables, choose digital to eliminate unneeded digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversions, which lead to reduced image and sound quality.
· When you're looking for the right cables, make sure you avoid generic cables made with low-grade materials and low-quality construction because they're highly prone to noise and distortion. Watch especially for connectors that fit loose or too tight, with inadequate shielding and unprotected solder joints.
· Be wary of manufacturers that don't provide information concerning the construction of their cables. Quality cable companies, such as Accell or Monster Cable, often will provide a cable cut-away illustration, providing clear visibility of their cables' material and construction.
· Finally, make sure to keep your cable lengths as short as possible to get the best quality sound.
Source: Accell Corporation

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Home Audio Speakers: Choosing A System For Your Home Theater Design

With over 500 models of home theater speakers available through a generous number of high and low-end brands, many consumers rely on salesperson to lead them in the right direction. Consumers with only a limited budget will undoubtedly flock to the cheapest option available to suit there needs. This however, nearly always results in a less than ideal sound system that fails to meet the expectations or needs of the owner. It is therefore a good idea to educate one’s self on the best brands, speaker styles and specifications that will fit a home’s needs before making a choice.

A home theater speaker system is typically made up of a front speaker, left and right speaker, a center-channel speaker, a pair of surrounds, and a subwoofer. A home owner may mix-and-match components but help from a professional is advised to make sure the speakers are all compatible. These speaker types come in varying sizes, sound output and design. The following are the types of styles in which these speakers may be found:

Floor-Standing speakers are the largest home theater speakers available. They can be shifted around the theater area or be moved to another home.

Bookshelf or Cabinet speakers stand independently, just like floor standing speakers, but are smaller and can be placed on or in entertainment centers or shelving to save space.

In-Wall speakers require no floor space, and can disappear if matching the walls. Their quality is usually very good, but they need professional installation and wiring.

On-Wall speakers are recommended for use with a flat-panel television. They provide exceptional sound as well as a pleasing aesthetic component.

Home theater owners or designers must determine the listening requirements and preferences for a specific room in order to create a quality home theater space. Room size and layout are important factors as this will dictate the speaker configuration. Logistics like electrical outlet placement, room size, and useable room space strongly affect the type of equipment that can and should be put in the room.

Home theater speakers are available in many sizes. However not all sizes are meant for all rooms. Large speakers are not advantageous for small rooms because they will need to be played at a much lower volume. This may cause distortion to the audio. Lower quality small speakers used in large spaces may produce a tinny or thin sound if they are unable to produce enough sound at a decent output level. Speakers of similar size may differ greatly in their sound output or reproduce different levels of sound unequally so it is very important to listen to various speaker brands and sizes and compare them before buying.

Speakers are available in a variety of encasement types - natural or laminated wood, metal, and occasionally plastic, but often preferences may be limited by brand or model. Speakers are as varied as tennis shoes so make sure you try on several and know how they fit into your home theater before making a purchase.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flashlight buying guide

Gone are the days when buying a flashlight meant one would automatically looking Maglite. While acknowledging the impact and the unprecedented success of Maglite design, LED, HID (High Intensity Discharge) and Xenon technology along with ultra strong coating materials means that the Lantern has evolved into a State where the stronger beam is not necessarily means the larger the flashlight.

When looking for a high performance, affordable lighting tools is easy to become swamped by the amount of brands in the market. Flashlight technology at the beginning of the 21st century offers a bewildering variation of the type of lamp, material of the body, body size, source range and price of energy. This guide is an overview of the salient points worth consideration when buying any quality flashlight.

In the same way that the legs measure length so measured brightness. lumens The higher the count of lumen, brighter and more the beam will show. Occasionally you can find the brightness levels measured in candelas or intensity, this describes a unit Candlepower light at source. Candelas/Candela intensity equals 12.57 Lumens.

Perhaps the most significant breakthrough in lighting technology was L.E.D (Light Emitting Diode). The L.E.D. produces light at the molecular level as distinct from a normal lamp that heats a filament, so using more energy to produce less light. As a result a L.E.D. will last a lifetime and dramatically increase the life of a battery. They do, however, vary in degree of purity. Like diamonds, at the point of production some produce clean white light while others have a very light shade of blue, green or violet.

Xenon lights produce a wide spectrum of light (including infrared) and can be made to have a high maximum lumen output by adding Xenon gas in the bulb light to be produced at a higher pressure, thus, but they are comparatively less efficient users of power. H.I.D technology (High Intensity Discharge) Xenon lamp uses a slightly different with the addition of an outer bulb and an inner tube with a partition of cerium doped quartz bulb in to block most ultraviolet rays. HID lamps have Lumen output of approximately 500-1000. Lighting technology can be described as a battle between the light and heat as energy to produce heat affect, which produces light. The undisputed master is the LED. Does light without the need to heat a filament, thereby increasing battery and bulb life. However the power of a Xenon lamp can be amazingly brilliant even harder the batteries.

Enclosure material progressed so far to be nearly indestructible if dropped and virtually water-resistant in very wet conditions. A good, quality Lantern will invariably aerospace aluminum body and a robust construction and design.

Manufacturers vary in quality and specialty. Surefire has a quality range of Xenon and LEDs with a wide range of accessories. Ledwave produce LED lights and Xenon excellent, powerful and reasonably priced. Nextorch can boast the extraordinary Saint, able to produce an enormous 450 lumens, plus a range of ergonomically designed, versatile LED, Xenon and rechargeable flashlights.

Navigate the maze of Lantern production is complicated and, ultimately, dependent on that work will request it. Lumen output to size ratio, durable material resistant coating/bulb and battery life are essential elements to be taken into consideration when choosing a lighting tool for last and perform over time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kitchen Lighting: Factors To Remember

Importance of a well lit kitchen

Kitchen Lighting is often the most over-looked aspect while designing the kitchen. In fact, a well lit kitchen is paramount in order to create the right mood, cook faster and function more efficiently. Moreover, the kitchen just does not serve as a cooking area but in most cases also as a dining and entertaining room. A well lit kitchen also obviates the risk of accidents and a well lit kitchen is always welcoming. A few factors need to be taken into account when designing the kitchen lighting. Rather than just focusing on the fancy fixtures that blend well with the kitchen décor; it is equally important to take its functionality into account. So, first set yourself a reasonable budget before going ahead with the lighting plan.

Eliminate errors and analyze the kitchen size

It is never a good idea to just install a single glaring bulb in the middle of the ceiling. Too much or too little lighting in kitchen areas will result in an imbalance which may visually overpower certain areas and create shadows in other areas. There are essentially 3 types of kitchen lighting: Task Lighting, Ambient Lighting and Accent Lighting. A balanced blend of all three creates a well lit kitchen. Therefore, a careful analysis of the kitchen size is essential to determine the kind of fixtures and lighting required in different kitchen areas. Be subtle and make sure you don’t overdo it. A well lit kitchen need not necessarily be glaring bulbs all over. The key is to blend and mix the right type of lighting (Task, Ambient and Accent) at strategic areas to improve functionality and enhance the mood of the kitchen.

Carefully create a balanced blend and go for a layered look

Task Lighting

Task Lighting is a directed beam of light that illuminates the work areas of the kitchen. Each work area of the kitchen requires its own task lighting. Be it chopping vegetables, mixing and measuring ingredients; everything requires separate task lighting. Every designated area should ideally have its own task lighting. Under cabinets lights too are a great option to install task lighting as besides offering great functionality; it can significantly enhance and emphasize the features of the kitchen. While fluorescents prove to highly energy efficient, halogens produce a clear white glow. Proper task lighting can prevent kitchen accidents as well. The island tops and kitchen counters need to be well illuminated with task lighting. On the other hand, a poorly lit counter may produce shadows and hinder or delay one’s activity.

Ambient Lighting:

As the term suggests, ambient lighting creates a welcoming ambience and creates the general feel and look of the room. It serves as a functional lighting and aids in maneuvering and moving around the kitchen safely. If the kitchen cabinets are built or placed half way through the ceiling; the extra space can serve as an ideal spot for ambient lighting. In most cases; the ambient lighting is most neglected and overlooked. This type of lighting should be well blended with other lighting.

Accent Lighting:

Accent Lighting is generally used to emphasize the architectural features of the kitchen as well as lend the ideal dimension and depth to a kitchen. The fixtures placed inside cabinets which have a glass front to illuminate the cabinet items like China and glassware may constitute Accent Lighting. Even over cabinet lighting or recess lighting accentuates the feel good factors of a kitchen. Track lighting can also be considered if the home owner has a small galley kitchen.


Installing dimmers is a significant factor that needs to be taken into account for kitchen lighting. With dimmers, the lights can be dimmed or undimmed according to the activity taking place in the kitchen or the time of the day. Moreover; dimmers create the right balance required in kitchen lighting. However; just installing one stray dimmer may not be enough. Separate dimmers for each lighting type would be ideal: Accent, Task and Ambient. The idea is to be able to adjust the lighting; as and when needed.

Research, Plan and then Implement

Planning ahead can save the homemaker a few dollars as well as get the right lighting effect within a stipulated budget. A lighting designer may also be very helpful in delivering the required effects as he would first carefully study the kitchen layout (such as natural light, ceiling height, finishing of the surface etc) and design the lighting accordingly. Also, do your homework and a good amount of research in advance. Information and ideas come in very handy when you most require it. Most importantly; don't over do. Be subtle; choose the right focal points and task areas and then mix well. This should lighten up the kitchen enough to get all your culinary tasks done in a jiffy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

How You Can Increase The Lifespan Of Your Projector Bulb Or Lamp

The replacement of projector bulbs is an all-too-frequent occurrence for anybody that has owned a home theater projector for any length of time. While a two thousand hour lifespan may sound like a lifetime to some people, rest assured it is not long before the projector lamp will need replacing. There are however, some general tips that can help to expand the life of a headlamp for the projection unit.

Do not touch the lamp with bare hands
One of the most frequent problems encountered is people replacing the bulbs with their bare hands. While this is fine for an ordinary light bulb, it is not a good practice for a projector lamp. The lamp in a projection unit burns much hotter than any regular light bulbs. The effects of touching it with bare skin are equally magnified and problematic.

Touching a projector bulb with the bare skin leaves traces of oil on the lamp surface. While this may seem a very minor detail, it is detrimental both to the bulb and the quality of the resulting multimedia display. The oils will get burnt onto the lamp and drastically reduce the lifespan. As the oil is baked into the surface, it actually diffuses the light being projected, reducing the lumens actually being sent to the refractive surfaces. The light will not be enough to project the image that has come to be expected from the home theater projection system. While the problem may not be noticeable at first, over the course of a little time, the quality will degrade to the point of not being viewable.

Turn off the projector power after turning off the lamp

It is highly recommended to turn the power on the projector to the “off” position only after having turned off the lamp and allowing it to cool. This will allow the cooling fans to do the job they were designed to do. While rapid cooling and heating result in repeated contractions and expansions of the bulb filament, it is much better that it be done more quickly with the cooling fans. Likewise, turning the projector on and allowing the cooling fans to run for a moment before turning on the lamp will help as well. This will add hours to bulb life expectancy and allow for longer hours of viewing pleasure on the home theater projection system.

Constant Movements

Constantly bumping or moving the projector, especially while it is hot can be very detrimental to the projector lamp. The filament in the bulb loses almost all tensile strength when it is heated during normal usage. It is much the same as the filament in a camp lantern. The principle is the same; the filament effectively becomes almost the same consistency as ash, making it extremely vulnerable to damage when it is hot. Even after proper cooling, the lamp filament is very sensitive. Care should be taken when moving the projector for whatever reason. While it is always a good idea to be careful with electronic equipment, some aspects of the home projector are actually a bit more sensitive.

It will usually be necessary to move the projector when cleaning the filters. As always, it is a good idea to move it carefully without jerking it around or bumping it any more than needed. Taking an extra moment or two to check the projector mount and make sure it is still securely fastened can also be beneficial and prevent slips and movement which may otherwise be harmful.

With a little care and a little preventative maintenance, the projector lamps will still need to be changed, but not nearly as often.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guide in Buying HDTV

I wrote this article originally for the HDTVetc magazine for the August 2003 issue, and it was later published on the HDTV Magazine in 2006. Consumers still go through the same struggle at national-chain stores today. I updated the article to include current HD equipment and technologies. Its tutorial substance and analysis are still applicable today, and are intended to help consumers in making the right purchasing decisions. Enjoy the reading.

The following topics are covered in this segment:

H/DTV and NTSC TV Systems, What are they?

The First Effort of the DTV Transition

Quality HDTV, or Quantity DTV, or Both?

Backward Compatibility with Legacy Analog TV for Digital Broadcast

Satellite/Cable, and the DTV Transition

Tuner Integration

The Effect DVD had for DTV

The Rush for Knowledge

You have been hearing about HDTV and decided to start looking for one. A friend of yours reminds you that the general knowledge about buying regular TVs from the CRT analog era is not sufficient to select a digital product today, so you quickly review what you read about widescreen, black bars, digital tuners and resolution, and hope things would clear out at the store.

You get into the typical nationwide consumer electronic store most people go to, and suddenly see several dozens of HDTV demo sets staring back at you. A salesperson is approaching you, the person's face is familiar; the salesperson is the one that sold you the new dishwasher two weeks ago; now the person is selling HDTVs with authority. At that point you start feeling worried, but you hang in there.

Obviously this store is not a quality dedicated A/V retail place. Many consumers make their purchases based on the uninformed advice of untrained staff from typical nationwide consumer electronic chains.

In the near past, a typical store could only have one of those HDTVs actually displaying HD, the only one that had an HD tuner; the rest were showing the same image from a video distribution loop not suitable for HD quality.

Today perhaps the whole store feed is all HD, and the sets that are staring at you show the same picture, but with different colors, contrast, image enhancements, blacks, whites, etc. because no one bothered to set them correctly. So you start wondering why HDTV is not consistently perfect as is being preached, is that what HDTV is about?

The sales person turns toward you and, in the middle of your consumer panic attack, tells you: "trust me, buy this TV, it would look much better at home once connected to an HD tuner". Would you buy a car without test-driving it?

Millions of people went through similar experiences since HDTV was introduced in November 1998. Fortunately, some improvement is gradually seen in the stores, especially in dedicated A/V retail stores, which should take more time to help consumers understand the concepts behind each display technology, and not just quickly sell the HDTV inventory with the red tags, as most national consumer electronic chains do.

Most consumers love red tag savings, and many leave the stores wallet-happy with a product they do not understand. Perhaps many of those do not actually want to understand because the HDTV technology has been introduced with a complexity level they refuse to deal with to just get a TV.

To illustrate the complexity of an HDTV purchase decision you might want to read Is HDTV Complex Enough?

The objective of the article you are reading is to help you make your purchase with more confidence, but first allow me to cover the following basic subjects about HDTV:

H/DTV and NTSC TV Systems, What are they?

You might already know of the US plan to replace our current analog interlaced TV system (NTSC) dated from the 1940's by a digital DTV system, by February 17, 2009. Curiously enough the idea started as "analog" HDTV until General Instruments proposed an all-digital system in 1990.

The DTV standard is composed of 18 digital formats grouped into two levels of quality, as approved by the ATSC (American Television Systems Committee) in 1995:

1) SD: Standard Definition, with 480i/p (i:interlaced, p:progressive) viewable horizontal lines of vertical resolution (rows counted from top to bottom), each line with up to 704 total pixels of horizontal resolution (counted from left to right), and with an aspect ratio (relation of width to height in units) of 4x3 (as regular TV), or widescreen 16x9.

2) HD: High Definition, with 720p and 1080i/p viewable horizontal lines of vertical resolution (rows counted from top to bottom), each line with respectively 1280 (for 720p) or 1920 (for 1080i/p) total pixels of horizontal resolution (counted from left to right), and only in widescreen 16x9 aspect ratio.

Note that, because is not complex enough, the horizontal lines (rows) are expressed as "vertical" resolution (480, 720, 1080), and the vertical columns made of the aligned pixels on the horizontal lines are expressed as "horizontal" resolution (704, 1280, 1920).

DTV was 15 years in the making before it went on the air in November 1998. HDTV is the quality part of DTV, but its implementation is not mandatory, SD is. I will use the term DTV only when addressing the digital TV system in general.

Later in 2000, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), allegedly to help confused consumers, created another resolution level in between: ED (enhanced definition).

This promoted the 480p SD format to ED level, leaving only the 480i format in the SD level. It also granted any TV the right to be labeled HDTV if capable to display only 810i lines of vertical resolution within the displayed image, rather than 1080i.

One can argue how much this intervention from the CEA helped consumers more than helped manufacturers getting rid of mediocre sets. But that was back when CRT based DTV sets were the strength of the market; now most DTV sets are fixed pixel displays and their resolution is clearly specified as a pixel count in both directions.

Our current NTSC over-the-air (OTA) TV system is 480i analog interlaced (actually 525i with 480i viewable horizontal lines of vertical resolution). The regular channels of digital satellite and digital cable could be compared to digital SD of broadcast DTV, but they are also transmitting dozens of channels in HDTV.

To facilitate the transition, broadcasters were given one extra channel slot from the FCC for the simultaneous broadcasting of the analog and digital versions of their programming. It is a large investment for TV stations to build a DTV facility with new cameras, production, equipment, etc.

When DTV is fully implemented, broadcasters have to return one of the two channels, analog over-the-air broadcasting will stop, and current analog TVs, VCRs, TiVos with analog tuners would stop "tuning" as well (but they will still work as display devices if fed with a 480i analog signal from a converter, VHS tape, DVD player, etc). This date was originally set for January 2007 but has been extended to February 17, 2009. Once DTV is implemented, the FCC will auction that spectrum of airwaves.

Most OTA terrestrial TV stations are already broadcasting DTV in SD and HD widescreen, and consumers are buying HDTV sets at accelerated pace every year.

The First Effort of the DTV Transition

Just a look back at CEA's 2003 statistics, on the first 5 years of HDTV approximately 6 million DTVs (of which only 300,000 where integrated with DTV tuners) and 400,000 tuner set-top-boxes (STBs), were sold between 1999 and 2003. By the end of 2007, the HDTV count was 8 times fold, and about 50% of households have digital TV sets, according to the CEA.

Back in 1998/9 it was not unusual for first generation HDTV monitors to cost $10,000, and HD STB tuners to cost from $700 to $3,000. It was expensive for early adopters.

By the end of 2007, a huge variety in technologies and TV sets was available for every viewing environment. DTV sets are much better in quality, and sell for a small fraction of the price they sold back in 1998.

Quality HDTV, or Quantity DTV, or Both?

We all love the incredible video quality of HD, however, since HD is not mandated within the DTV plan, it allows a broadcasting station to use the allotted 6 MHz space (for the HD channel), to multicast instead several sub-channels of lower SD quality, as it is actually happening on many stations across the US.

When sharing the same 6MHz total bandwidth, SD sub-channels rob about 2-3 Mbps each from the needed bandwidth of an HD channel that by itself should broadcast at 19.4 Mbps (if the station also multicasts an HD sub-channel). The parallel broadcast forces further compression of the 19.4 Mbps HD signal to a lower bit rate to make room for the SD sub-channel, compromising HD quality.

In many cases, more than one SD sub-channel is multicast together with the HD sub-channel. When the reduced HD bit rate compresses the signal beyond acceptable limits, it renders a lower quality image with noticeable artifacts, especially on fast moving images in sports, which are more evident, and unacceptable, on large screens (more on it later).

It might also be possible that the TV station desires to share some of the bandwidth for data-casting interactive services, or for mobile DTV applications for hand-held portable devices (because there will be no analog broadcasting to those portable devices as well). For more information, check the articles I wrote on the "Mobile DTV" series, where I analyze the potential impact of mobile applications on the quality of an HD channel when robbing from its bandwidth.

We all hope that HD will reign, and HD quality will prevail over the digital-quantity business models, and you have to encourage DTV broadcasters to do so, besides, most consumers bought an HDTV not a SDTV.

Backward Compatibility with Legacy Analog TV for Digital Broadcast

When the DTV broadcast is fully implemented in February 17, 2009, there would be backward compatibility with your current analog equipment, but there is a catch, in order for you to watch DTV terrestrial digital channels on your current analog TV you would need a digital over-the-air STB tuner connected to it. Your current analog TV would display an analog interlaced 480i version of the digital image.

There is no need to rush for the replacement of an analog TV that might be in good working condition if you just want to continue watching similar quality TV, but you would have to buy a STB digital tuner for broadcast DTV.

This applies also to your analog VCR, DVD recorder, TiVo, etc., if you want them to have broadcast tuning independence. A few years ago, DTV STB tuners were relatively expensive, in the $400-$1000 price range, imagine buying a $400 digital tuner for a $30 analog VCR, but they are gradually coming down in price.

The US government has approved a subsidy coupon program to help people purchase DTV tuners to facilitate the analog-to-digital transition so existing analog TV sets can continue to be used for broadcast digital DTV.

For that purpose, Congress approved a fund of $1.5 billion dollars, with an initial allocation of $990 million dollars to subsidize up to two $40 coupons per household. The coupons became available in January 2008 and can be requested by consumers until March 2009, to use them toward the purchase of two DTV tuners.

The two coupons cannot be used together to purchase only one DTV tuner, neither they can be used to buy another type of OTA tuner/DVR STBs, satellite STBs with broadcast DTV tuners into them, or cable STBs.

The tuners offered by this program are expected to cost in the $50-$70 range each; the consumer would have to pay the difference after applying the $40 coupon. According to the plan, the tuners would become available by mid February 2008 through the national chains of Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.

Although the subsidized tuners are designed to tune digital SD and HD channels, they cannot output the tuned signal other than 480i analog resolution to an analog TV. In other words, the subsidized tuners would not perform as typical HD tuners passing resolutions of 480p, 720p, or 1080i to HDTV devices for HD viewing. Their functionality is just to downconvert because their purpose is backward compatibility to analog TVs, but their price is lower than typical ATSC HDTV tuners with variable output resolutions and digital outputs.

Satellite/Cable, and the DTV Transition

If you are a satellite subscriber you already have the satellite STB you need for their digital SD/HD services. Additionally, most satellite boxes also have a terrestrial ATSC tuner if you want to get free local channels using a VHF/UHF antenna. However, DirecTV introduced a new model in late 2007 without antenna input; the local channels would have to be viewed from the satellite feed, a service they have already for most major cities.

If you are a cable subscriber, when the cable company decides to disable the analog feed to your household and supply only the digital feed, you would need a digital-to-analog cable STB to view the digital channels on each analog TV in your house, similar to the approach of the coupon program for broadcast DTV above, but you would have to lease or buy the cable STB, no coupons.

Cable companies were authorized by the FCC in late 2007 to continue their analog feed service for another 5 years (up to 2012) if they prefer, but they are not obliged to do so. Cable STBs do not have DTV digital terrestrial tuners into them so you cannot use their STB connected to a UHF/VHF antenna to receive free local channels.

Cable companies face at least two alternatives on the analog-to-digital transition between 2007 and 2012:

a) If their subscriber base is mostly digital, a cable company might have the incentive to make a large up front investment to acquire enough digital STBs to convert all the remaining analog subscribers as soon as possible to digital tier services, who would have to lease one digital STB for each analog TV. That would release the bandwidth occupied by the analog broadcast channels on the cable feed, which could be used for additional digital channels, and receive an increased revenue if those are premium, VOD, PPV, etc. paid services.

b) If the subscriber's base is mostly analog, a cable company might prefer to keep the existing mix of analog and digital STBs, and maintain the analog tier as long as needed until 2012. Since the cable feed bandwidth allocation for the analog broadcast channels must continue with this alternative, the company would have to postpone the potential growth of digital channels and services, but there will not be a need for an up front large investment for expensive digital STBs because there is no forced conversion. This option seems economical for both the company and the subscriber, because a subscriber would not be forced to lease a digital STB for each analog TVs that might be currently connected to the wall coax without a STB, as many non-primary TVs are in most households.

While the up front investment of a large number of digital STBs could be expensive to a cable company, there could be a partial offset with the potential revenue received from additional digital pay services such as VOD, PPV, or premium channels. Additionally, the number of digital STBs required for a full digital conversion of the cable feed might be further reduced when considering the growing base of integrated HDTVs with CableCARD tuners expected to increase in 2008 and 2009.

However, since the integrated CableCARD tuners within HDTV sets are only unidirectional, there might still be a cable subscriber's base that would still require the bi-directional capabilities of cable HD-STBs for VOD, PPV, and cable supplied programming guide. Each cable company would have to balance those factors until 2012.

Tuner Integration

In 2002 the FCC issued a "mandatory" plan to gradually integrate digital broadcast tuners into DTV monitors and other tuning devices, such HD DVRs. The plan has been already implemented in 2007 for all the sets larger than 13", and all DTVs on sale today are mandated to include digital terrestrial tuners (except for some industrial/professional models). In most cases they also include a cable on-the-clear tuner for non-premium unscrambled channels, or even include a CableCARD tuner for premium channels and services.

As mentioned above, the CableCARD tuners are unidirectional only, and lack the bi-directional features of Video-on-Demand, Impulse Pay-per-View, and cable-company supplied programming guide, for which a separate set-top-box from the cable company would still be needed until integrated TV sets are designed to have bi-directional capabilities on their integrated CableCARD tuners.

Industry analysts commented for years that economies of scale would bring down the price of digital tuners to the level of today's very low price analog NTSC tuners within TVs, but the reality is that STBs for ATSC terrestrial, or for cable, satellite, DVRs, etc. (not the down-converting government-coupon STBs) still have a high price, considering that comparatively, large HDTVs came down from the $5,000-$10,000 in 98/99 to more accessible prices below $1000.

More on this subject is covered further down.

The Effect DVD had for DTV

Most of the 6 million people that bought HDTVs on the first 5 years of the transition (98-03) did so NOT to view HD, but rather to enjoy playing widescreen DVDs at 480p. Even now in 2008, after Hi-Def DVD has been already introduced in early 2006, regular DVDs are still a favorite content for DTV, because they certainly display quite well as progressive 480p, or upscaled to 720p or 1080i/p to the native resolution of the digital set (by either the DVD player or the TV set). The same DVD played on an analog TV would only show the image as a 480i interlaced scanning.

In addition, an HDTV has the capability to show widescreen DVDs in anamorphic format displaying all the original vertical resolution stored on the disc, while 4x3 analog TVs would show the same DVD letterboxing the image between larger top/bottom bars in order to maintain the wider aspect ratio of the movie, and with less vertical resolution for the image itself.

Friday, May 25, 2012

High Definition Stalemate

For those who have not yet settled on which high definition disc to invest in, this article will help bring several issues to light. First of all, the potential video and audio quality remain alike between both formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. The difference lies in the laser that reads the disc; where the former uses the identical red laser used to read DVDs, the latter employs a blue laser that reads only Blu-Ray. Both lasers can decode an identical amount of information, called the bitrate. A bitrate can be labeled as the amount of "bits" decoded per second. Generally, the higher the bitrate the higher the quality of video/audio. So a bitrate of, say, 30mbs (megabytes per second) should be preferable to a meager 10mbs. The average hi-def picture, with its superior clarity and contrast, can maintain a bitrate between 15mbs-35mbs; compare this with an ordinary DVD, which averages 2mbs-7mbs.

With its ability to store and transmit at a higher bitrate, hi-def media easily trumps the quality of DVD. This higher bitrate allows for less compression, and thus can retain most of the clarity from the original master print of a movie; whereas a DVD will look blown-up and fuzzy. But the differences between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray begin with how they can be played. HD-DVD players have the advantage of backward compatibility, as it can playback DVDs. Blu-Ray players cannot, due to their unique laser, which completely isolates it from older generation technology. But the advantages of Blu-Ray lay in its inherent differences.

Blu-Ray players come equipped with Java software, which some believe to allow more interactivity with the user. This gives it the ability to have fancier menus and in-depth bonus options, such as picture-in-picture display. At the moment, bugs and slow performance have hindered some confidence in its support of Java, where Bill Gates complained that it was not user friendly enough to be used in PCs. Counter this with HD-DVD, which uses Microsoft's own HDi Interactive Format. It allows anyone to author simple content, where Java requires a more intimate knowledge of scripting.

If all the information so far sounds redundant, it is. The only thing that can make or break a hi-def entertainment center does not stem from the format at all. In fact, it all depends on what you choose to display it on. Be weary of interlaced televisions. Rather than playing back video at 1080p (progressive), the user gets short-changed with 1080i (interlaced). Progressive scan means that the picture gets scanned upon each frame; this results in a properly displayed picture, like a solid photograph, with no aberrations. Interlacing occurs when no progressive scan exists in the television, and so the picture gets displayed as a series of individual lines rather than as a single, uniform "photograph." In short, the fine edges in a progressively scanned movie may otherwise appear to be jagged, or even fuzzy, on an interlaced display.

The only reason to get invested in the so-called format war would be to avoid a costly personal investment if "your" format ever loses. Blu-Ray may be considered to be the superior technology, as its unique blue laser, while radically different and incapable of DVD playback, allows for exciting future developments. HD-DVD, largely compatible and user-friendly, is considered by some to be a static technology. Lately, however, Toshiba released its plan to market the format as cheaper, practical alternative to Blu-Ray. And, in the event that you still cannot make up your mind, there exists a combo Blu-Ray/HD-DVD/DVD computer drive that sells for less than $300.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hot Gadgets: Holiday Must-Haves for 2007

Each summer, consumer electronics gurus peer into their crystal balls to anticipate what hot gadgets will be considered must-haves for the upcoming holiday season. This year, those electronics taking center stage consist of some no-brainers as well as a few surprises. They're fun, they're innovative, and they're sure to be sold out by the end of November. Here's a preview of the hot gadgets that will be in the news and on almost everyone's holiday wish list:

1. Apple iPhone. Steve Jobs has done it again and designed a totally innovative device that's so much more than a mobile phone. With a gorgeous appearance, a bright three-and-a-half inch display, and an intuitive touchscreen user interface, the iPhone is captivating. And that's before you even get to the features, which include an exceptional cell phone with visual voicemail, a digital camera, email functionality, a web browser, an iPod for music, and SMS. The applications, such as Google maps, stocks, weather, notes, and so forth, are just as impressive. As is the $500 price tag. Nonetheless, the iPhone is sure to top many holiday wish lists.

2. i-Sing from Outrageous. Consumer electronics and toy company Outrageous has taken the "American Idol" phenomenon to the logical step with i-Sing, a specialized MP3 player that is, for lack of a better term, a next generation handheld karaoke machine. After buying MP3 downloads, users can load them into the player, then use proprietary software to input the lyrics of the songs - either the original lyrics or those written by the user. Users can then easily remove the original vocals from a song and record their own voices over the melodies while reading a display of the lyrics. With an internal speaker and microphone, as well as a high quality display and earphones, i-Sing can be used to create music that users can then upload to YouTube, MySpace, and other social networking sites. And, at around $129, i-Sing is a sure-fire hit.

3. Nintendo Wii. Although the Nintendo Wii gaming console has been out for almost a year, its scarcity will still make it a hot commodity this holiday season - and for good reason. With its innovative controller and Nunchuk, Wii has taken gaming to the next level. But the Wii is much more than a gaming console. It also offers Web browsing, shopping, photo sharing, news, and much more. Now that the use of the system is ramping up, there are an increasing number of video games available for the Wii - which will also be hot this holiday season.

Each year, several hot gadgets emerge as top sellers for the holiday season. This year, you can bet that the iPhone, i-Sing, and Wii will make the cut.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Find the Best Home Theater System

Everyone wants a home theater system, but when confronted with the choices in buying one, you can get overwhelmed. No matter where you look for a home theater system, there are varying types of systems and varying prices also. So you are able to get the best theater system your money can buy here are a few tips.

When you are first shopping for a system, they all look the same, or relatively the same, on the outside. But how they work can be a completely different story. To make sure that the one you are looking at works well, try it out! You may not think the store will let you do this, but you would be surprised at the length a company will go to have your business.

If you are looking at using your home theater system as a gaming tool too, then you should take your gaming system to the store to test it out. If it isn't compatible with your gaming system, it is better to know sooner rather than later.

So you have found the best home theater system for your needs and use. The next step is to compare prices. The biggest and most common mistake made when buying a home theater system is finding the perfect system, but not comparing prices before you buy. There is nothing more frustrating then buying a system at one store, then seeing it for less money, sometimes hundreds of dollars, at another store just down the street.

Don't forget the internet when comparing prices either. Many stores offer discounts through the internet, and sometimes the companies that make the systems will have cheaper prices than the wholesaler. Make sure that you keep in mind shipping prices, but you could save money even with the shipping costs. The internet might just be the way to go.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How To Choose A Digital Camera

Digital cameras have exploded in popularity in recent years. The convenience that they have brought to the market with the ability to review your pictures instantly and correct any imperfections by retaking the picture and the ability to store, edit, and email them from your own personal computer has fueled this growth.

It is now no longer a matter of if you need a digital camera, but rather which one do I choose?

First decide how you are going to use the camera. If simplicity is your goal, a simple point and shoot digital camera will do. If you wan the flexibility to be able to grow with the camera as you gain experience get a point and shoot that offers manual controls, this way you will have the best of both worlds – infinite options for creativity and the ease of an automatic mode.

The next item on your agenda should be megapixels. To keep it simple, the more megapixels the better the picture will be. So, how many megapixels do you need?
If all you are doing is printing or emailing photos, a 3 or 4 megapixel digital camera will work. If you are going to use it for more professional work and enlarging photos, go with one with 5 or 6 megapixels.

If you want uncompromising clarity go with a 7 megapixel or above. Just remember the higher the megapixels the higher the price!

How much zoom do you need? You have two types of zoom with digital cameras, digital and optical. Optical is the more important because it brings your object closer without losing quality. The digital zoom will bring the object in closer, but you sacrifice the quality of the picture. If all you do is take everyday pics a 1x to 4x optical zoom will do. If you take pics like sporting events, get one with a 5x optical zoom or higher. For really intense professional work choose a 10x or better optical zoom.

Digital cameras have evolved now to the point where you can get a great fully featured camera that will fit comfortably in your shirt pocket so don’t think you have to get a large one to get good quality. If you are using it for more professional use with large optical zoom and such expect to have to buy a larger one however.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Enhance your experience of Home Theater with HDMI cables

A high quality home theater is not only about high-definition televisions and DVD players. It is also about the cables used to transmit programming through these products. A type of cable that is proving to be a winner in excellent quality is the HDMI cable. HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, which is an audio/video connector interface used to transmit uncompressed digital signals.

HDMI provides audio/video cables that will connect electronics such as a HD-DVD player, a personal computer, a set-top box, a video game console or a Blu-ray Disc to a digital television or digital audio device. HDMI cable compatibility was also introduced to the world of digital camera and camcorder.

Why do HDMI cables?

The old adage, "If you're going to do something, do it right!" Any configuration of high-quality home theater is as good as the cables used to transmit digital information. You can have the HD-DVD player, better, more expensive in the world, but low quality cables will undermine the quality of image and sound because the transmission is simply not good enough or powerful enough for your system achieve its maximum potential. With HDMI, you're getting a high transmission quality to your quality system, which maximizes the quality of image and sound as you watch movies, use your computer, a video game, listen to music, or anything else!

Benefits and capabilities of HDMI cable

Regular analog cables convert the digital signal to analog and then send it to the television monitor. The signal is then converted to digital to be displayed, which can cause a loss of quality during the process. With HDMI cables, no conversion is required, so there's no loss of quality. HDMI cables transmit digital signals directly and also in its purest form, eliminating the need for compression.

Another benefit is that HDMI can support large-screen visualization, including plasma panels and LCDs, 625 p, 1125p or even 1440p high speed HDMI cables with 1.3. HDMI cables simplify the process of finding yourself why audio and video signals are transmitted over a single cable. In addition, HDMI cables provide users with an interface that works with any audio/video source. In other words, all your HDMI equipped components can be enhanced with pure image and sound quality. HDMI cables can support digital audio standard, as well as increased and video high definition and 8 channels digital audio. HDMI cables can also support future upgrades with plenty of bandwidth to spare.

Shopping for HDMI cables

HDMI cables come in different compatibilities, but fortunately the high-speed HDMI will support standard systems. If you plan to upgrade in the near future, it is a wise choice to go ahead and buy the high-speed cables or cable 1.3, which can carry 1080p 120 Hz video easily to any HDMI cable can support 8-channel audio, but not all cables will support special features like video Deep Color. With HDTV color depth, Look for a version number on the cables or for other tips on the packaging that the cable will support 30-bit Deep Color or True HD.

You can easily find affordable HDMI cables online. There are electronics stores online that offer all versions of HDMI cables along with other products, including computer cables, iPod accessories, computer fans, video cables, audio cables, chargers, adapters, mobile phone accessories, digital photo accessories and more.

Don't miss out on all your home theater system can offer. HDMI cables can bring you quality images and sound like never before!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fun With Digital Voice Recorders

Do you need to have a recording of your telephone conversations for legal, covert or even training purposes? There are many types of digital voice recorders available. Once such recorder has a five hour recording capacity and features a caller ID, which records two way conversations with ease. It also features automatic recording that works only when the telephone is in use.

There are other digital voice recorders that are small and will record up to thirty-five hours and can be used not only with your phone, but your Mp3, FM stereo radio, cell phone or phone recorder. It is voice activated and includes the date, time stamp, flash memory and a/c adaptor, and that feature continuous recording.

Maybe you don’t want to be bothered with purchasing the actual digital voice recorders but still want the benefits of one. There is a Call Recorder Card that records both sides of a conversation, whether it is on a fixed phone or a cell phone. The card contains 250 minutes of recording time, and retrieving your recordings is as simple as can be. You can call the access number listed on the card, or you can log on to a secure server, and retrieve the information over the internet. What an easy way to keep track of sales orders, conference calls, and other important communications that may have otherwise been lost.

Want to record you cell phone calls with a simple push of a button? There are digital voice recorders that can do just that, and they do it with a standard micro cassette, two AA batteries and a telephone handset that gives you easy, hands free operation each and every time.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How To Buy Your First Digital Camera

If it is your first time to buy a digital camera and you are as yet just starting out your foray into digital photography, it is understandable for you to be a little baffled when choosing what to buy for your first digital camera. After all, if you are not so confused and if you already know what digital camera you should buy, then you would not be looking at an article such as this one.

When starting out with digital photography, you need the best digital camera that is most suited to your level of expertise. Using a digital camera that is just right for you will guide you as you learn your way through the field of photography, as well as help you develop an appreciation for the art. The digital camera that you should use should be just right for you. Use a camera that is too advanced for you and you will only end up being frustrated, with the possibility of leading you to give up on photography. It is important that the camera you choose should just be right for you.

How do you get to choose your first digital camera, the camera that is just right for you? It all depends on your reasons for wanting to learn photography and the amount of time and money you are willing to invest on such a tool. Below is a short guide on how you should pick your first digital camera.

1. Go for SLR digital cameras. When given the choice of whether to go for a point-and-shoot camera or an SLR digital camera, go for the SLR camera. An SLR camera is actually easier to manipulate than a point-and-shoot camera. It is also the better decision to make in case you are thinking of getting a point-and-shoot camera and then upgrade to SLR later on, simply because it is more cost effective.

2. Get a camera that you love. Beautiful pictures are created if there is a good relationship between the photographer and his digital camera. So, when you go out to buy a digital camera, buy something that you know you will love using, no matter how many years pass by. It is like a marriage – you would want your camera to be something that will grow old with you.

3. Go for the latest model. If you can afford it, buy the latest digital camera available. Buying the latest model is a better investment than buying an outmoded, secondhand camera. You are not sure if there are broken parts inside the secondhand camera, and if there are broken parts, it would actually cost more to have it repaired because old parts are harder to find than new ones.

4. Buy a spare memory card to go with your digital camera. You will never know when you need extra memory for your digital camera and it is impossible for you to transfer all the pictures in your camera to your computer. Compact flash cards are the best and the safest memory cards around that are suitable for your digital camera. You can also use SD cards, MMC cards and other types of memory cards as long as they are compatible with your camera.

5. Get batteries with a decent lifespan. Digital cameras are notorious for sucking battery juice very quickly. So you would not find yourself in the middle of a shoot with a dead camera, which can be very frustrating, get batteries that have a decent lifespan. Also, remember to recharge your batteries after using them and keep a few batteries to spare just in case you forget.

6. Your lenses and your shooting style. There are many different lenses designed for different shooting conditions. There are lenses for poor lighting and for shooting at night. There are lenses for capturing pictures on fast speeds. Get a set of lenses that will suit the kind of photography that you wish to develop and will be focusing on.

7. Megapixels count. Cameras with higher megapixels shoot pictures with higher resolutions, therefore of better quality. Pictures with higher resolutions are easy to play with, and you can reduce the size of these pictures without worrying about them being blurry. Go for a digital camera that has the highest megapixel rating that you can afford to buy.

8. The design and the feel. Never buy a digital camera online unless you are sure that the camera has the features that you want and you will be using, and unless you are sure of how the camera would fit in your hands. Always go for a camera that does not feel too heavy when you lift it and has features that you would not get losing using.

Your first digital camera should be a camera that you would always love using, no matter how advanced you get with photography.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Home Theaters: Which ones should I invest in?

Going to the theatres is fast becoming out of fashion. Thanks to the advantages offered by latest technologies like DVD and satellite, folks are turning more and more to watching movies at home. Home theatres are fast gaining popularity as a good set offers one great advantage – You can watch your old favorite movies which are still on VHS tapes, something which you really enjoy. Moreover, the sound is a lot better with “surround sound” technology and so are the latest DVD players, which offer nice quality and can copy over VCR. The video display unit, however, plays a significant role in making or spoiling your entire experience. For most of us, the display unit is just a regular television, which produces sub-acceptable to fairly good images depending on the make and model of the unit, which ultimately results in people going for High Definition.

Now let’s analyze what to look for in a good home theatre setup- Quality sound, VCR to DVD players, and possibly a new T.V. set. We shall consider all these as if the money would be spent from our own pocket and that we shall be viewing movies as much as an average family in the U.S. does, which is roughly 20 hours per week.

The Logitech Z-640 6 Speaker Surround Sound System is being offered for a competent price of only $69 U.S. – price. Or if you are looking for decent performance, look at the Sony HT-DDW670 Home Theater in a Box System costing approximately $179 U.S. – price. Both of these will produce respectable sound without burning a hole in your pocket.

Coming down to the player unit, the Panasonic DMR-ES40VS VHS/DVD Recorder is a great deal, with its performance and efficiency, at an approximate pricing of $210 U.S. It comes in two color sets- silver and black and perhaps the best feature of this unit is that it can convert old VHS tapes, which we all have around, to DVD readily.

And now, enter the arena of display units, with HDTV sets which are available in a broad range in pricing and styling from the flat to the curved and from the small to the gigantic 50” Samsung HL-R5067W 50" HD-Ready DLP TV, costing approximately $1500 price, which is hard to turn down. But if you want your images projected across a wall, expect to shell out anywhere ranging from $1100 U.S. to several thousand dollars, and for obvious reasons, they aren’t all that popular yet. So if you own a regular sized counsel that holds the T.V., the books and records, then you might probably be going to look for something in the 32”to 38” range, and these are readily available in the market, ranging in prices from seven or eight hundred all the way up to thousands. Choosing a fairly nice television, the SAMSUNG TX-R3080WH 30" Wide SlimFit HDTV w/ Built-In HD Tuner, costing approximately eight to nine hundred, is worth mentionable with good picture quality, excellent reputation and all.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Home Theater Speakers

In a typical home theater setup, there should be six home theater speakers: two front speakers, two surround speakers, a center speaker and a subwoofer for the lowest frequency ranges. There are two ways to obtain all these speakers: buying each of them seperately, or buying a home theater speaker set.

Home Theater Speaker Sets

If you're low on budget, you should think about one of these. But remember: don't spare on speakers, they're very important. There are lots of cheap home theater speaker sets on the market, but you shouldn't buy one of them, because these are of poor quality. Usually, sets manufactured by well-know brands (Klipsch, Bose, for example) produce a decent sound. This way you'll still not spend as much as you would on separate speakers. If you're thinking about buying one of these sets, read our article on home theatres in a box.

Going One By One

So, you're serious about your future home theater, and want to spend a little more on the speakers? Buying speakers separately has many advantages: it's the best quality you can have, and another, often overlooked advantage is that you can don't have to buy the whole set at a time, so if you haven't got the money, you can still have high quality speakers in your setup.

Your front speakers should be the strongest members in your home theater speaker setup. If you have a small room, choose bookshelf speakers. Larger rooms will require larger speakers; in this case, powerful floor-standing speakers is the choice to go with.

I often hear that it is advisable to have the exact same speakers for surround and front. This is true, but it's not very practical: movie sound mixes don't use surround speakers as much as they use the front speakers. So, you can choose smaller and less-powerful speakers for your surround setup, it won't make significant differences anywhere except your wallet.

The surround and front units were good, old-fashioned hi-fi speakers used for a home theater setup. The case is different with our center speaker. It's a special speaker with unique frequency response. If it's possible, have the center speaker from the same brand as the surround and front speakers. This unit is also often overlooked, but it's very important, because this speaker is used for voices and talking in a sound mix.

The subwoofer is used to reproduce the lower frequencies. Sometimes, it's optional: the front speakers can be powerful enough to rock the house, and an additional subwoofer is not needed. However, in larger rooms, it's inevitable. Subwoofers require lots of power, and in most cases, they require their own power input (these are called "active subwoofers").

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Electronics tips: voicemail and Caller ID advantages for cell phone users

Cell phones are convenient for speaking when on the move, whether it's for personal or business use. They allow you to talk to friends or family without pay additional long-distance fees. They provide a means for you to chat with family or friends in emergency occur or when you need to ask a question at the last minute.

To go a step further and enjoy even more convenience, consider configuring voicemail and caller ID on your cell phone. These two features are often not used in mobile phones, but still, they can provide an easy way to capture missed calls and/or avoid unwanted calls on your cell phone. Here are some benefits that you like to use these features.

Benefits of voice mail

Voice mail on a mobile phone is similar to a cassette recording and answering machine, except without the machine. It can be configured in your mobile phone with your own personal message or with an automated message. Voicemail allows your callers to leave messages if you are not available to answer the call, or if you're on the line with another person. Voicemail will still have messages to you if your battery runs out of power.

Check your voicemail anywhere

Some cell phone plans allow you to check your voicemail anywhere, even from another phone (landline or wireless) in your home or outside, in a hotel while on vacation. This is very convenient when travelling if the battery of your mobile phone is out of power and want to see if someone called it. You can check the voicemail and call them back on a regular phone if necessary.

In addition, voice mail is still available when you are outside your home network. Even if your mobile phone is switched off, your friends and family can leave messages. This ensures that nobody calls repeatedly to get just a ringing tone or busy signal.

Benefits of caller ID

Caller ID allows you to save money, avoid unwanted calls and see who is calling to determine if it is an urgent call or not. With the caller ID, you can see who is on the line before answering the call. The screen will show usually a name or phone number, or both. It can also show that the caller cannot be identified in which cases can be a private number or a telemarketer. If you see that it's a number you don't recognize that you can refuse to answer and let them leave a message in your mailbox, if it's something important.

Allows the cell phone Etiquette

With voice mail and caller ID, you aren't always wearing about who could be called. You can disable its ringer or down to dinner or out for the evening and I know that you can check your voicemail messages later. You don't have to worry about calling interrupt your meal or entertainment. The other party can relax too!

With these great features, phones provide a convenient way to receive calls. You can buy mobile phones with recourse to these resources on shopping malls online to save money. Brand names are available for cell phones, PDA and other electronic devices like Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry. Online shopping also probably will lead to other great products to save you time and allow you to combine shipping on items. You can enjoy discounts on computer fonts, iPods, games, Xbox and PS2 and consoles and other electronics.

Shop online today for the mobile phone that fits your personality and needs to call!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It Is All About The Perfect Toy

Some of the best toys I had when I was a kid werent really even toys at all. There was a large rock by the edge a stream that ran along the back of our house. That rock was a canoe during my Native American play, a stage when I needed an audience, a fishing boat, a car, a planet, and of course, a rock in the middle of Nestaria, my beautiful make believe world where fairies came to play with me. A long stick had some great potential as did the long breezy leaves of trees and cat tails. Those memories are ones nobody could have ever purchased for me, and of course, the initiation of growing my developing imagination has paid off even today in the form of my career. As perfect as those toys were for me, I dont think many children would get overly excited to wake up Christmas morning or their birthday to find a large rock wrapped in bulky paper topped with a special stick.

At the same time, when a child is ranting and wailing and making one of those lusciously embarrassing scenes in public because they have been told that horrible temper tantrum word, “No,” I often want to suggest giving the kid a big rock and a special stick simply so they can learn that they really dont need the momentary object of their tantrum. But in todays world parents who give their children rocks and sticks for special gift giving occasions arent considered very good parents.

So, what is a person with a child to buy for to do? We all know that there are mind numbing warnings out there about the overuse of electronic toys and video games. However, these mind numbing toys can actually teach kids a few things like persistence, problem solving skills, eye hand coordination, and with appropriate parental interference, self discipline. Electronic toys really only become terribly inappropriate when a parent realizes what an excellent baby sitter it can be and allows for its near constant use. However, before purchasing any type of game console beyond the educational type, if its not your child, be sure to talk to the parent first. Its not really fair to dangle an Xbox 360 in front of the child and then force the parent to become the bad guy when they disallow its use in the home. It can get messy. Communication can prevent messes.

As for the electronic education gadgets, of which there are numerous types, there has been a tremendous leap forward in electronic education. Someone finally figured out how to make them intoxicatingly fun for kids. The pay off for these types of toys can be tremendous, as kids learn so much from them while being tricked, since they truly feel they are playing a game. You should still breeze this idea before a childs parent before running out there and snagging up electronic toys, as some parents are still resistant to the idea.

Venturing back into my land of the stick and rock for a minute, what made those the best toys in the world was their versatility. They lasted for years because they could grow with me, change with me, at my own command. As my games changed, my “toys” could change with me. Some very smart toy makers have created a few of these toys for kids that resemble actual toys and less like bits of nature. Toys that have these qualities may only last two years, but at least there is still a growing aspect that allows a kid to develop at his or her own rate while playing the games and fantasies that they construct in their minds. This type of imaginative play is phenomenally important to healthy development and learning skills.

Despite the fact that children will tell you that the best toys are those that provide them with simple entertainment, the truth is (and some day they will look back and willingly admit this) the best toys are those that encourage them to use their imagination, to create, to ponder, and even to destroy. Learning to live in this world is difficult. Learning to create in this world is a blessing. To learn to create something from nearly nothing is a huge gift. The old favorites like Legos and Play-Do are of course excellent for younger children, while art supplies, building toys, and toys that encourage creative play are perfect for school aged kids. Without the use of their imaginations, we strip children of their brightest chances, and we strip society with what they may have one day created had their imaginations been encouraged to fester and create.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Battery Chargers; What To Look For, What To Avoid.

Batteries, or dry cells are manufactured to supply steady and uninterrupted D.C power to different modern day gadgets that run with electrical energy. Batteries are generally lead-acid cells. Over 15 billion are produced every year and are sold worldwide. Many of these are alkaline-batteries which are discarded after being used for a single time. But there are also some which can be charged again and again after every use and are known as "rechargeable batteries". These should be kept at fully charged condition so as to meet the D.C. power demand whenever needed. Therefore suitable battery chargers are required to charge those types.

The different types of battery chargers are:

1) Medical
2) Automotive
3) Commercial
4) Industrial

These may be stationary or portable.

These rechargeable batteries are of high capacities. Rechargeable batteries, like Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries can be charged several hundreds of times and last far longer period in high drain devices.

By using these repeatable charging batteries people can save tons of money. When the charge goes down below a certain level it stops supplying D.C power to electrical instruments, then the battery needs to be charged to regain its capacity of supplying D.C power. Low quality chargers can even damage batteries and shorten their lifetime. The charger takes current directly from electric lines and induces the electric charge into the batteries.

The charging of these depends on different factors such as its capacity, its age, its initial charges, etc. Different chargers vary widely in this matter. There is a tendency of generating heat during the charging of rechargeable batteries which is one of the most commonly cited factors for the damage of these battery. The heat mainly generates due to the internal resistance and chemical reaction of the rechargeable batteries. Excessive current can also damage the battery after it is fully charged.

There are some automatic chargers which initially charge at a very high rate and continuously monitor the cell voltage to reduce or shut off the charging when the battery tends to charge fully. The battery chargers can take 1 hour to 8 hour of time for charging depending upon the design and ratings of these chargers. There are also different visual indications like LED on the battery chargers. These indicators indicate that the rechargeable type batteries should
not get overcharged and help them preventing them from overheating.

Nowadays there are wide applications of rechargeable styled batteries. These types are even used in power generating stations as a substitute of D.C current and emergency Lighting System. They are also used in vehicles like cars, trolleys, bus, etc. There are also some battery driven cars which run on streets completely based on battery-power and not on fuel.

The use of rechargeable batteries can also be found in laptops, IPods, cellular phones, electric wheelchairs, etc. Therefore suitable chargers are essential for the charging of these re-chargeable batteries.

10 reasons to go for body dryers

Technology has made our life more luxurious and comfortable. It has spawned many gadgets without which we can not imagine our lives. Body dryers are one more addition to this long list of gadgets which makes life a little more livable.

what is a body dryer?

A body dryer is a device used for drying the whole body without a towel after a shower or bath. The drying process takes place due to warm air being released by the blower. The body dryer comes with a pre-fixed blower housing along with outlet and inlet openings.

A body dryer is very similar to a hand dryer with the only difference being in size. As compared to a hand dryer, a body dryer is much bigger in size and helps to dry the whole body within just three minutes of operation. To use the body dryer, you simply have to stand underneath the ceiling-mounted unit, switch it on with the remote control and adjust the heating as per your comfort.

You are all set to enjoy the feeling of warm air. Since body dryers come with an adaptable temperature setting, they are perfect for homes with or without an electric shower.

There are quite a few benefits of using body dryers instead of towels to dry your body after a shower. Some of these are:

1. Body dryers help you to dry your body easily after a shower. It takes less effort than using a towel.

2. You don’t have damp, smelly towels hanging around in the bathroom.

3. Body dryers dry your body in a more gentle and relaxing way as compared to towels.

4. When it comes to hygiene, body dryers are a much better option than towels.

5. Body dryers are faster and provide better result than any type of bathroom heater.

6. Body dryers are particularly helpful in drying kids and pets after a bath.

7. If you have difficulty drying yourself with a towel because of mobility issues or skin irritations then a body dryer can provide a more pleasant experience.

8. not only are they easy to operate, they are also economical.

9. With body dryers you get less laundry work to handle.

10. The best part about body dryers is that they help in reducing the moisture in the bathroom by making it dry quickly.

With so many benefits, body dryers are becoming quite popular in countries like the UK, the USA, Australia and also developing nations. However, for safety reasons it is essential to buy a body dryer from a reputable company. When it comes to quality, you can rely on brands such as Triton as they are one of the best quality manufacturers of body dryers.

Before installing a body dryer in your bathroom, make sure that your home has good quality wiring or electrical supplies. In the UK, you can make use of the many well-known wholesalers, distributors and online retailers of electrical supplies for purchasing Triton body dryers along with other reliable electrical equipment like underfloor heating, storage heaters and galaxy showers.

3 Hot Selling Notebook Computers

The laptop market is an overcrowded field with literally hundreds of offerings available to consumers. Some laptops are very basic models with Celeron processors while others are full blown multimedia powerhouses. Featured here are three top models from the “plain Jane” to the middle of the road, to the fully loaded.

Dell Inspiron 1200 – It is possible to purchase a notebook computer for considerably less than $1000 and Dell offers several models below this threshold including the Inspiron 1200. This particular model is the price leader amongst laptops especially when rebates are figured in. A recent Dell advertisement has been touting the Inspiron 1200 for just $499 after a $150For rebate is received. What do you get with this model? Not a whole lot: an Intel Celeron M Processor 350 (1.30 GHz/1MB Cache/400MHz FSB); Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition; 30GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive; and 24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive. Surprisingly, Dell does include wireless capabilities in the form of a networking card.

HP Compaq nx9600 Notebook – HP’s acquisition of Compaq has produced a nice line up of notebook computers including this particular model geared toward those consumers replacing their desktop computer. Retailing at just over $1300 [before $100 rebate] this midrange offering is nicely loaded as it offers a 17" screen; Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition; an Intel Pentium 4 Processor with Hyper-Threading Technology; a 40 GB hard drive; a 12 cell battery; wireless connectivity; and graphics oriented software.

Sony VAIO FS675P/H Notebookspacer – The Sony Vaio name is typically associated with high performing, high priced offerings. The VAIO® FS675P/H Notebookspacer fits the bill as this workhorse retails at just under $2000. Chief features of this model are: an Intel Pentium M Processor 750 (1.86 Ghz); Microsoft Windows XP Professional; DVD+R Double Layer/DVD+-RW; 1GB RAM; and a 100GB hard drive. The screen is 15.4" Widescreen5 LCD with XBRITE™ Technology and all of Sony’s top digital software for photography, video and audio are included as standard equipment.

All three models attract different types of consumers, but each model is a standout in its respective class. Consumers are the winner when it comes to shopping for a laptop as prices continue to drop, new features are added, and technology improves with every new model marketed.

Batteries - Charging ahead

In these days of walk-and-talk and walk-and-work, battery chargers are as much a necessity to business as a microwave oven is to the kitchen. Cell phones, laptops, notebooks, and camcorders, just to mention a few.

But how do they work? Here are some types of battery chargers explained:

• Solar battery chargers: These little gems use the sun’s energy to recharge batteries. From car, boat and motorbikes to cell phones, DVD players and computers, there is a solar battery charger to suit.

• Automotive battery chargers: Most automotive battery chargers simply attach to the vehicle’s battery terminals and plug in to mains power. However, there are now new products on the market that work to prevent the battery from going flat in the first place. To comprehend how the process works it is important to understand what causes a battery to deteriorate.

Car batteries rely on a chemical process to provide power. The car battery contains lead plates in a solution of sulphuric acid, which act together to make and store electricity. Over time a residue of lead sulphate builds up on the plates, reducing the flow of electricity. “De-sulphating” technology reverses this process by using sound waves to dissolve the residue build-up.

Of course this won’t help if you’ve left your lights on at the train station …

• Industrial Battery Chargers: These are the big guys. With names such as ferroresonant, Opportunity Charging and Silicon Controlled Rectifier charger, these are heavy-duty long haul pieces of technology. Whether cold storage units, factory or fleet applications, there is an industrial battery charger to suit. Basically though, it is important that the industrial battery charger contains a voltage regulator of some description. This will ensure that the battery is not damaged while it is being recharged.

• Cell Phone Battery Chargers: It is very important to choose a cell phone battery charger that is designed for the model and type of battery being charged. Likewise, it is prudent to make sure that the battery is, itself, the correct one for the phone.

Choosing the correct battery charger will ensure that the connection points will be compatible and the correct amount of electricity is delivered. If too little electricity is delivered, the battery will not fully charge; if too much, it may overheat. Many cell phone battery chargers today do have a built in system to prevent overcharging, however, it is still important to ensure the charger and battery are compatible.

And to make sure that business, or life in general, isn’t inconvenienced too much due to battery recharging, many cell phone battery chargers now allow the user to make phone calls during the recharging process.

So, the next time you’re out and about walking the talk, spare a thought for the hard-working companion who makes sure your equipment is up to the job. And, the most important thing of all … never mistake that cup of coffee on your desk for your cell phone battery charger carriage.

Alarm Batteries for Home Safety

In a home, safety is a number one concern. Alarm systems help to ease the mind of home owners and business owners alike. Quality alarm batteries are crucial to keeping an alarm system fully functional. There are many brands of alarm system and many battery types.

Powersonic is one of the top providing brands of alarm system batteries. They manufacture sealed lead acid batteries that are ideal for any alarm of fire system battery. But they also manufacture a great number of other types of batteries suited for alarm systems.

Alarm batteries are not only sealed lead acid batteries. Many types used NiCad or NiMH batteries and battery chargers. These types vary greatly depending on type of alarm system so it is important to be familiar with all specifications including dimensions and voltage.

Most alarm systems use batteries only for backup power during an outage or power surge. Alarm systems are generally wired to the buildings electrical system for a main power source. It is important to have the wiring and installation done by a professional to avoid electrical problems that could result in shock or fire.

Check alarm batteries frequently to make sure they are fully functional. Read individual model manuals for instruction as to how to check battery, what type of battery to use, and the life of the alarm battery. Feeling safe in the home is one of the most important steps to having a happy home. Protect you and your family with the best alarm systems and alarm batteries.

About Home Theater Systems

Home theater systems are a setup in homes installed for the purpose of providing cinema quality video and audio reproductions. It includes television and video equipment with special audio systems incorporated - like surround sound. The objective of recreating the feel of being in a movie theater is actualized by placement of a movie screen across the wall, use of projectors and speakers having surround sound and special furnishings like upholstered seats and couches. For a standard home theater system the video display unit should be at least 40 inches and the number of speakers involved in the surround sound system should be at least five.

Features and utility of home theater systems

The home theater provides much better movie viewing experience than typical television screens. Television screens are typically square shaped and fail to provide the realism observed in movie screens. Home theater systems are designed to take care of this and provides a worthwhile re-creation of the movie house.

Home theater arrangements may comprise of a simple setup involving a DVD player fed through a stereo system and a larger, specially designed television set. Again, it may also constitute an elaborate arrangement whereby an entire room is professionally wired involving multiple speakers and projectors are set up together with a projection screen.

The home theater room housing the home theater system is usually a room without windows - much like a cinema. Such rooms are to be found in sophisticated, plush homes. Home theater system installation gives a touch of class, refinement and taste to the room and the home. You too may be looking for securing a home theater system for your home and want to settle down for nothing less than the ultimate in home theater experience. In this case you need to commission professional installers who will design the entire movie viewing room and gear it up for delivering the cinema experience.

Use of wireless home theater systems

The home theater setup involves considerable wiring. This is needed to connect the multiple speakers placed at various locations and the projectors and other equipment. However, wireless home theater systems have also come up now to ease out the trouble of setting up wiring networks. Though these are more expensive they often prove to be worth their value by being free from the numerous wires and the associated hassles.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Air Compressor Purchasing Guide

An air compressor is a valuable piece of equipment for operating power tools. They are better in terms of efficiency and are easier on you. The type you need depends on the tools you will be using. Good choices include a Copeland compressor, Husky air compressors or Quincy compressors.

Factors to Consider in an Air Compressor

Consider how often you will use air compressors and how it will be used. What tools will you be using and how much power will be needed to operate them? Some tools, like nail guns, don’t need high volume compressor. Others, such as drills or sanders do need high volume because they require steady air flow.

Set a budget for your purchase. The price for these machines varies significantly from brand to brand. Buying a used compressor is one way to make your budget stretch further.

The style of the pump is another consideration. The most common are direct drive and belt drive. Direct drive pumps will last up to five hundred hours. These take up less room in your workshop. They are well suited for moderate uses. Another benefit of these is that no oil changes are needed. Belt drive pumps require oil changes every five hundred hours and will last for about fifteen hundred hours. These are good for do it yourself as well as professional use.

Consider the power of the compressor. Consider both the horsepower and pound per square inch (PSI) pressure. Make sure it is more powerful than the most powerful tool you will be using. Check your tools before purchasing the compressor.

The tank size is another important consideration. These come in sizes from two to one hundred gallons. The more you will use the equipment, the larger the tank you will need. Always go a little larger than you think you will need. This will ensure that you can get the optimum use from the compressor.

Finding an Affordable Air Compressor

Shop around before purchasing air compressor systems. Compare brands and read reviews on the internet. Compare the machines and features of each. Similar machines can differ by hundreds of dollars.

Consider a reconditioned machine. In these, the machines have been completely inspected. Worn or damaged air compressor parts are replaced. Many of these have gotten very little use and are in nearly new condition. You can find equipment at a considerable savings. Look for a model with a one year warranty to be sure you are getting a quality product.

Consider shopping online. Often, the prices are considerably less than in some stores. Many ship straight from the factory, saving retail mark up. This savings can be significant. In many cases, you won’t need to pay sales tax on the equipment, which can add up. Many sites offer free shipping on these purchases, so it won’t cost any additional money for shipping.

Be free with wireless speakers

Wireless speakers give you the freedom to move your music to where you want it to be without the hassles of cables. Planning to have a party outside? Don't move your whole entertainment system outside while you can make use of outdoor wireless speakers which can move right along with the party.
Want to have hi-fi quality sound through your laptop computer? Why should you be tied to wires while using a portable computer? Make use of wireless speakers to give you the freedom to work or play on your computer where you want to, while having the high fidelity sound you deserve. Here are a few examples of how you can use wireless speakers to improve your way of living.

• Listen to your favorite music collection while taking a bath.
• Have a BBQ or party outside without having to move your whole stereo system.
• You can store all your favorite music on your computer and listen to it anywhere in your home.
• Listen to music while working in the garden.
• When your computer is doing certain time consuming tasks, have it play a sound when it is done with the task or when there is an error and have your wireless speaker notify you while you are lying next to the pool.
• Get the perfect surround sound effect by having the freedom to move the speakers to exactly the right spots without getting tangled in wires.
• Let your computer notify you of upcoming tasks or appointments by playing a sound through your outdoor wireless speakers, while you are washing your car.
• Let your wireless speaker notify you discretely of intruders by connecting it to your alarm system.
• Use you wireless speakers as a portable intercom system.

There are however a few things you need to watch out for when shopping for wireless speakers. Some are listed here:

Some wireless speakers may interfere with other wireless devices in your house like cordless phones. A good wireless speaker system will allow you to tune it to a different frequency to overcome these interferences.

Battery life
Battery life is not always too great on wireless speakers, as it consumes power to drive the speakers, internal amplifier and RF receiver. So, if you want to use your wireless speakers for extended periods of time, it may be wise to make use of the AC power adaptor. Now this may not always be practical - the whole idea of wireless speakers is to get rid of the wires. Rechargeable batteries might be the answer and some of the models even come with rechargeable batteries -something to consider when you need total freedom, even from power outlets.

Most wireless speakers can work fine within a range of 150 to 300 feet from the transmitter. (Which would be located at the source of sound i.e. your hi-fi or computer) The RF frequency is high enough for it to work through walls and furniture. You do not need a line of sight, but bear in mind that obstacles weakens the signal, and the more obstacles between the transmitter and receiver, the shorter the range will become.

Outdoor wireless speakers are claimed to be weatherproof, but if you do not need to use your speakers outside all the time, rather store them inside. This will definitely extend the life of your valuable outdoor wireless speakers. If you really need to leave it outside all the time, try to find a spot where it can be hidden from the most harsh weather conditions.

Not all wireless speaker systems include two speakers to give you a stereo experience. Especially the outdoor wireless speakers are sold as single units. This can easily be overcome by purchasing two speakers, obviously doubling the price.

Wireless speakers use RF signals which may interfere with other RF devices. Make sure that the frequency range is legal in your country. If it is sold by a reputable dealer in your country, this should not be a problem. Wireless speakers technology is still a fairly new technology and some still have issues to be sorted out. So you have to do your shopping wisely.


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