March 17, 2018

Advice for Buying a High-Def TV

If you are shopping for a high-def TV, you’ll need to decide which type you’d like. Will you go for LCD(liquid crystal display), plasma, or HD rear projection microdisplay? Let us offer some information and advice to make your decision a little easier.


These televisions are thin and lightweight with bright picture contrast. That is good in a room with a lot of light. The largest screens are 46 inches and the picture quality is not quite as good as a plasma TV.


These have the most lifelike picture, with 180 degree viewing angles. They are quite large screens, with nothing smaller than 42 inches.

HD Rear Projection

Cathode ray tube rear projetion sets are being phased out, but new hi-def flat screen have great picture quality. They are not meant hanging on the wall.

Your new TV can be wall hung and all the cable and wires hidden – no TV cabinet necessary. Although it is a job for a do-it-yourselfer, it requires some know how. Sets over 32 inches will be at least a two person installation job. Mounting requires a mounting kit with costs ranging from$100 to $200. Kits that swivel and tilt will cost more.

Before you go shopping, decide how large a screen you’d like, LCD is the best choice for for 42 inches and under. Plasma or rear projection are better for larger sets.

You can get a a high definition television without spending a fortune, or you can really blow a wad on one if you are inclined. For example, there is Samsung’s Slimfit which we found selling for $380. This has CRT technology and is only 16.5 inches deep. A pricier choice could be Sony’s Bravia which is 40″ wide and retails for about $1600. If you have the money, the Pioneer PDP-6010FD has two million pixels on an almost 60 inch screen. It also has four independent HDMI 1.3 inputs and a new room light sensor for adjusting to the viewing surroundings. This one will set you back about $4,000.

High definition televisions have a picture quality that is superior to analog TV and next year, over-the-air TV will be phased out. Analog televisions will require converters. If you are in the market for a new television , a high-def TV might just be the way to go.

I sing the body electric – Linemen fly to keep your microwave humming

I realize that every job probably gets routine after a while, but some jobs probably get the juices flowing more than others. Here’s one that that keeps the juice flowing to all of us.

So I did a bit of research, and hey its the real deal. YOU probably encounter faraday cages/faraday shields in your every day life too. They work on the principal that if you can get an electric current to flow over the surface of a sphere, the field at each point inside the sphere created by the current on the surface tends to cancel out creating an electrically quiescent area in the middle. Some interesting applications: Mobile phones, radios and wireless networks may have no reception inside elevators or buildings built using a virtual cage of rebar or plaster with metal lath.

Ever notice the light metal grid in the door of your microwave oven? Its part of a Faraday Cage enclosure that traps the microwaves inside with your food rather than out in the room cooking you.

According to WikiPedia, some United States national security buildings are contained in Faraday cages, intended to act as a TEMPEST shield, and possibly also as a mitigation against electromagnetic pulse.

Faraday Cage Underwear for the electrically adventurous
You can even buy
underwear with a built in Faraday Cage, but I wouldn’t advise testing them by trying a highwire act on your local high voltage lines. (and if you do, you better get life insurance first.

Analog TVs Being Tossed Out Next Year

According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), about 15 million televisions will be replaced by 2010 because over-the-air reception will no longer be available beginning next year.  The study also says that about 95% of those TVs will be sold, recycled or donated.  Forty-eight percent of households plan to keep their televisions and use a digital converter.

Consumers are far more likely to recycle, reuse, give away or sell analog TVs than throw them away,” says CEA’s Senior Director of Market Research Tim Herbert. “While some have speculated that millions of TVs would enter the waste stream, this new study suggests that is not the case.”

Recycling is an increasingly common way to dispose of unused TVs. In fact, according to the survey, consumers report recycling nearly 30 percent more TVs in 2007 than in 2005. That trend also extends to other CE categories. While only three percent more devices were removed from homes in 2007, twenty-seven percent more devices were recycled. At the same time, the number of CE products that end up in the trash is decreasing-down 7 percent from two years earlier.

“We see a very positive trend developing when it comes to consumer electronics (CE) afterlife,” notes Herbert. “A full 87 percent of consumers say it’s important to recycle their CE devices. Not only is traditional recycling an increasingly popular option for consumers, but the vast majority of consumers report that they give away or sell unused devices, which is also a form of recycling.”

Among those consumers that did report throwing away a TV in the last year, 42 percent reported that they weren’t aware of recycling programs for electronics.

“It’s terrific to see more consumers being more thoughtful and proactive about the responsible disposal of their electronics devices,” added Herbert. “However, there is still much to be done in terms of educating consumers about the options for electronics recycling.”

CEA’s consumer website, educates consumers about the responsible use, reuse and recycling of electronics and also includes a zip-code searchable database of electronics recyclers.

Consumer electronics recycling will be a point of discussion at CEA’s upcoming Washington Forum, to be held April 2-3, 2008 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. In the Thursday 2-3 p.m. session Analog Sets and Recycling, a panel of experts will discuss consumer behavior and what the CE industry is doing to educate consumers about the importance of recycling TVs. For registration information, please visit

Convert Your Mom to Digital TV

With the biggest change in over-the-air television since the 1930’s coming in February 2009, some seniors may need to take steps to continue watching their favorite programs once the digital television transition is complete. To encourage baby boomers to help their elderly parents, relatives, and neighbors get ready, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® enlisted actress Florence Henderson, best known for her role as Carol Brady on TV’s “The Brady Bunch,” to launch the Convert Your Mom public awareness campaign.”CEA’s member companies have filled retail stores with a wide assortment of affordable digital TV products, from low-cost digital televisions to converter boxes and antennas that are easy to hook up to existing analog TV sets,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO. “We know that one of the best ways to reach seniors is through their families. With Convert Your Mom we’re asking baby boomers to help make sure everyone is ready well in advance.”

Beginning with a satellite media tour hosted by Ms. Henderson in early May, the Convert Your Mom campaign will feature a special downloadable guide and tips for getting ready for the digital TV transition, among other elements.

The campaign will remind viewers who rely on an antenna and an analog TV set for reception, that they have choices to continue enjoying free over-the-air television.

  1. Buy a new TV with built-in digital tuner
  2. Subscribe to a pay-TV service like cable or satellite TV
  3. Purchase an affordable Digital TV Converter Box to receive over-the-air digital TV signals and convert them for analog viewing.

Dozens of affordable converter boxes are now certified by the U.S. government as eligible for $40 discount coupons that are being distributed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and digital TV sets are also now widely available for under $200.

More information about CEA’s ongoing digital television public education efforts can be found online at

Appliance Design Magazine’s Excellence in Design Winners Announced

Appliance Design magazine has announced the winners of its 21st Annual Excellence in Design competition.

Entrants were evaluated by an independent panel of three experts in the field of design. The products were judged by four criteria: aesthetics, human factors, innovation, and technical merits.

Products were entered into one of several categories. The winning entries, listed by category below, received recognition at one of three levels: Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

The Gold winners are listed below.  Note that three of our favorites here at are listed as Gold winners:

Electronics: Tatung VOIP Phone

Major Appliances/HVAC: Bosch Nexxt Laundry – Our Pick

Major Appliances/HVAC: Bosch Integra Dishwashers – OurPick

Major Appliances/HVAC: Indesit Moon Washer

Major Appliances/HVAC: KitchenAid Architect Series II Built-in Double Oven

Medical/Test Equipment: Gendex expert DC Intraoral X-Ray System

Medical/Test Equipment: Heath Decto-Pack Infrared Gas Detector

Medical/Test Equipment: Reichert TONO-PEN AVIA Applanation Tonometer

Outdoor/Leisure Appliances: Life Fitness X7 Electronic Adjustable Stride Cross Trainer

Small Appliances: One Touch Automatic Jar Opener –Reviewed here

You can see all the winners listed here.

Consumers Fail to Properly Back-up Digital Libraries

Americans are not backing up their digital photos, music, documents or other types of files, according to a new study released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. Results of the study, Amassing Digital Fortunes: A Digital Storage Study, show that nearly one in three consumers don’t see the need to back up their files, while nearly a quarter (22 percent) say they aren’t backing up files because it’s too time consuming. “The issue appears to be a combination of lack of awareness of storage options and ease of use,” says CEA’s Director of Market Research, Tim Herbert. “Generally, consumers don’t know how to back up their data and if they do, they’re failing to back up data because they claim it takes too much time.”

The average American adult has 1,800 digital files, totaling 310 billion digital files nationwide. With another 1,060 being added per user in 2008, the total number is expected to hit just under 500 billion by the end of the year.

“The sheer amount of data being amassed every day creates tremendous opportunities for the digital storage market,” says Herbert.

Photos (85 percent) and music (67 percent) comprise the largest percentage of stored files, making them more common than productivity files, like home office documents (59 percent), which ranked third.

Research results show that consumers are satisfied with their storage options. Eight out of 10 respondents reported using their home computer as their primary long-term storage option. For back-up, over three quarters of people surveyed (77 percent) burn their files onto a CD or DVD. Over a quarter (29 percent) of those surveyed copy their files onto more than one device, such as having a file on a computer and a portable MP3 player.

CEA offers several tips for consumers to keep digital files safe:

If you are saving content onto a CD, DVD, USB Flash Drive or other removable device, keep an extra copy off-site, like an office. This ensures your contents safety in case your home is damaged by events such as a fire, flood or earthquake.
Use an online backup service to protect your content from disasters and/or hardware failures.
Scan and clean your backup drives. Viruses can spread to removable drives and other network connections, damaging your music and photos.
Regularly defragment your hard disk drive. This will ensure your computer is running faster for longer with less wear and tear.
Establish a regular back-up schedule. Many external hard-drives come with software that can assist in the back-up process and help maintain a consistent schedule to ensure data gets saved even if you forget to.
For more tips on how to protect and archive digital content, visit

Tip: How to Clean Your Computer Keyboard

Computer keyboards are one of the dirtiest, germiest surfaces in the house. (So is the mouse.) Take a few minutes to clean your keyboard using supplies you probably already have around – just unplug it first. Next, turn it over a trash can and lightly shake out any dirt or dust that has accumulated. Clean the keys with a soft cloth lightly moistened with rubbing alcohol. ( You can do this to the mouse as well.) Finally, run a fabric softener sheet over the keys to cut back on dust-attracting static electricity. You’re done! A clean keyboard in under five minutes.

LG and GE to Share Patents

News from a trade magazine, reports:

LG Electronics has entered into a cross licensing agreement with GE Consumer & Industrial that will allow LG and GE to use one another’s patents for refrigerators and cooking appliances without paying licensing fees.

“We believe that this licensing arrangement with GE will enhance our ability to deliver winning products and move us further toward our goal of becoming one of the top global brands in consumer electronics and home appliances,” said Young Ha Lee, president and CEO of LG Electronics Digital Appliance Company. “Our long history of working together with GE will help us take advantage of this agreement even more quickly.

“This agreement is part of a win-win strategy for both GE and LG,” said Lynn S. Pendergrass, president and CEO, GE Consumer and Industrial—Americas. “We expect the synergies resulting from the strong relationship between our two companies will contribute substantially to the success of both GE and LG.”

LG and GE have collaborated on cooking appliances since 1999, both in technologies and product development. The companies say the new agreement will help the companies strengthen their competitiveness worldwide. It will be especially helpful to LG, it said, in its push to expand its presence in digital appliances globally. The company currently sells its products through all three of the top retailers in North America: The Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy.

LG has previously entered into key partnerships with other top companies to build its technology and customer base. In 2000 the company partnered with Matsushita’s air-conditioning division and in 2001 LG allied itself with both Microsoft and Intel in the home networking sector.