November 23, 2014

Flat Screen Shopping? Read On…

Americans may be curbing spending across the board, but many are still willing to lay down their dollars for a certain kind of luxury – the high-tech kind that hangs on the wall of your family room and makes you feel like you’re right there on the field at your favorite sporting event.

Even though sales of flat-screen TVs have yo-yoed in the past year and a half, overall, analysts view the industry as healthy, and likely to remain so. In fact, a recent survey by PriceGrabber.com revealed that 20 percent of the men polled consider a flat-screen high-definition TV a necessity rather than a luxury.

In 2009, more than 53 percent of American households have at least one HDTV, according to the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, the Web site ScreenSleuth.com reports. That’s an 18 percent increase over last year, the site points out.

Retailers haven’t missed the fact that flat-screen televisions are among the few big-ticket items Americans are still willing to buy. They’ve responded by lowering prices and offering deals and incentives. These deals, plus wider availability of products and services like designer wall mounts and HDTV programming make it a great time to upgrade your set to a flat screen.

Consider these compelling facts if you’re considering purchasing an HDTV:

* Some major discount chains are offering free shipping on flat screens if you purchase online and have the product shipped to a chain location near you. That means if the TV of your choice is out of stock in the store, you can buy it online and pick it up at your local store without spending anything on shipping and delivery.

* Manufacturers have started offering HDTVs with integrated Blu-ray players, so you can enjoy two of today’s hottest entertainment experiences in a single product.

* Most major cable companies now offer a variety of high definition channels – including movies and sports – so you can enjoy the full benefit of your HDTV.

* Online coupon Web sites offer coupon codes, discounts and deals on flat screens that will make you feel like you’re getting away with something. Finding an online discount is as easy as Googling the words “flat screen coupon codes.”

* Some manufacturers are offering extended warranties of five years or more on flat screens. That means your flat screen would likely be under warranty until the technology improves even more and you’re ready to upgrade to a new model.

* Increased competition, including a number of new manufacturers, has helped drive flat screen prices down faster than practically any other entertainment technology. Anyone remember how long it took for VCR prices to fall below $500? Or for video game consoles to cost less than $200? By comparison, flat-screen TV prices have fallen quickly and dramatically, with many quality options now costing less than $1,000.

* It’s easier and more visually appealing than ever to mount your flat screen on the wall. Clunky, intimidating hardware that held flat screens several inches away from the wall are giving way to sleek designer options like Super Slim Low-Profile Mounts from TV accessory maker Sanus Systems. Capable of supporting up to 65-inch flat screens weighing 150 pounds, the Super Slim mounts emphasize the sleek look of ultra-thin LCD, plasma and LED TVs by placing them less than an inch from the wall.

MicroFridge-Sized and Designed for the Dorm Room

MicroFridge, the industry leader in compact specialty appliances, today introduced the next generation in small space convenience. The new product line includes patent-pending Safe Plug® technology and also features a Dual Outlet Charge Station that enables people to safely and conveniently charge a range of popular electronic devices such as laptop computers, MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras and more.

Combining a spacious refrigerator, freezer and microwave in a single unit, a MicroFridge appliance is perfect wherever space is limited and there’s a need for food and refreshments – including hotels, college residence halls, assisted living residences, military housing, offices and at home too. The compact MicroFridge refrigerator features over two cubic feet of storage space, while the separate freezer boasts a 0.75 cubic foot capacity. For food preparation, there is a fully programmable 700-watt microwave oven. The refrigerator’s Smart Store Door allows the upright storage of two-liter bottles or half-gallon containers to eliminate leaks and spills that can result when storing tall containers on their side. And the roomy zero-degree freezer ensures that items like ice cream stay perfectly frozen.

The microwave features three, distinct “Express Cook” settings, along with pre-programmed recipes for soup, beverages, pizza and popcorn; the beeper volume is adjustable and can also be set to mute.  The patent–pending Safe Plug power management system technology is another feature that makes MicroFridge truly unique, automatically shutting off the refrigerator and charging station when the microwave is on, limiting the maximum electrical draw of the unit to just 11 amps.
“This reduces utility expenses and is good for the environment,” said Jim Russo, Vice President Product Sales of Intirion Corporation – the makers of MicroFridge. “Traditional refrigerators and microwaves can pull nearly twice that amount, potentially overloading electrical systems and creating costly problems.”
MicroFridge’s Safe Plug technology also enables users to operate both the refrigerator and microwave utilizing only one electrical socket. The blue plug on the refrigerator unit plugs into the back of the microwave with only the microwave plug required to power the unit. This oneplug-to-the-wall operation saves valuable outlet space as well.
The new Dual Outlet Charge Station makes MicroFridge the only company to offer this design and technology, providing exceptional convenience to safely charge personal electronics.  Located in the front of the microwave, busy consumers can power up their laptops, MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras, or any device that draws four amps of power or less. This eliminates the need to reach into inaccessible places to plug and unplug devices that require charging. And the integrated Cord Clip prevents cables from getting tangled or caught in the doors of the fridge or freezer while the Dual Outlet Charge Station is in use.

MicroFridge is ENERGY STAR rated and has achieved the highest rating for energy efficiency: CEE Tier 3 status. In addition, the Safe Plug technology further enhances the products’ energysaving benefit by temporarily shutting off the refrigerator when the microwave is in use.

Price and Availability
The MicroFridge combination appliance is used by college students across the U.S., and is also found in hotel and motel rooms, assisted living residences and on U.S. military bases. Models are available in classic black, white and stainless steel. The MicroFridge 2.9MF-7TP model combination appliance retails for $425.00 and is available for purchase, along with other models, direct from the manufacturer online at www.microfridge.com.

Repairing a Whirlpool Washing Machine -Video

Sometimes the hardest part of repairing an appliance, is knowing how to get the machine apart so that you can get in and get to work. A professional has seen a washing machine disassembled enough times to know when to push and when to pull. Here’s a great little video with instructions on how to take apart a Whirlpool Washing Machine to make repairs yourself.

Recall: Best Buy- Certain Insignia 26-Inch Flat-Panel LCD Televisions Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Insignia 26-inch flat-panel LCD model IS-LCDTV26 televisions

Units: About 13,300

Importer: Best Buy Co. Inc., of Richfield, Minn.

Hazard: The television’s power supply can fail, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Best Buy has received two reports of fires that included damage to the television and wall. One consumer reported minor burns to the hands.

Description: This recall involves Insignia 26-inch flat-panel LCD televisions, model number IS-LCDTV26. The model number is printed on the back of the television and the word “INSIGNIA” is printed on the bottom front. No other Insignia model televisions are involved in this recall.

Sold exclusively at: Best Buy stores nationwide, at ww.bestbuy.com, and www.bestbuyforbusiness.com from August 2005 through June 2006 for about $800.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled televisions and contact the Best Buy hotline to receive a gift card for the value of a replacement television.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Best Buy at (800) 233-0462 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT daily, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.bestbuy.com

Pioneer Leaving the TV Business

While Pioneer will remain in the home electronics business, focusing on audio products, DJ equipment and cable TV set-top boxes, they have, as reported in Twice.com, announced their intention to quit the television market by March 2010. They plan to emphasize “‘sound’ as they take advantage of extensive audio technologies and expertise developed over the years.

Pioneer said in a statement it is exiting the TV business because “recent market conditions have changed far more than initially anticipated, and Pioneer has decided to withdraw…after concluding there are no prospects for improving profitability under current conditions.” The company said it will continue to provide after-sales services even after the withdrawal from the market.

As with other Japanese consumer electronics makers, the combination of the worldwide recession and the exchange rate between the yen and the U.S. dollar and euro drove losses deeper than expected.

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Study Shows Consumers are Interested in Smart, “Connected” Appliances

In the not too distant past, it was the stuff of science fiction for people to have “smart” homes – those houses that lit up and co-ordinated timers, alarms, coffeemaker and dinner each day as you awoke in the morning and arrived home at night.

Today a study by Connected Home Research Council (formerly the Internet Home Alliance), the research arm of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), shows that the number of Web-connected households in the United States that consider the idea of a connected home “definitely appealing” has held steady since 2005.

One important finding of the study is that consumers would like their appliances to be part of this web-based system. Consumers are less interested in “automated” homes than having the appliances and electronic devices within their residences communicate and interact with one another.
“What consumers want most is an easy, seamless way to integrate their smart-home devices, their mobile device, their TV, their appliances, you name it,” said Whirlpool senior manager Carol Priefert.

Some findings from the study show that while many households have high speed internet access, not everyone is prepared to have their household appliances communicatiing yet.

Netflix and LG get Together

I have to admit that I have a fairly low tech house.  We are unquestionably the last house on the block to have the thinnest HD TV, but yet we still have more clutter around the television than we should.  At last count there were two remotes, the Wii with its remotes and nunchucks, DVD player (and its remote).  Enough!

LG and Netflix are going to eliminate some of the clutter with new high-definition LG televisions that can screen Netflix movies directly from the Web without an external box.

The televisions, which use broadband Internet technology, will be available in four models — LCDs with 42-inch and 47-inch screens, and plasma TVs with 50-inch and 60-inch screens.

Sharper Image is Back

Remember the vibrating chair and the nose hair trimmers?   Sharper Image, the company who filed for bankruptcy and closed its stores in 2008, is remaking itself and has plans for a comeback.
This time, Sharper Image will be selling a variety of home electronics under their Sharper Image name, but in independent stores nationwide, not in their own stores.

From the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas:

The assortment of products, which range from iPod®-compatible bedside stereo systems to design-savvy wireless audio components and stress-relieving sound soothers™, are designed, manufactured and sold by Sharper Image Products (SI PRODUCTS), The Sharper Image licensee for Home Audio. The Sharper Image Home Audio product line will officially debut January 8th at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (Central Hall, Booth 12838) and will begin shipping in Q3 2009.

“Modern consumers want products that provide cutting-edge technology while reflecting their own personal style. Our mission at Sharper Image Products is to create products that offer style and innovation while enhancing and simplifying our customer’s busy lifestyles,” said Lynda Rose, VP of Product Development and Marketing, SI Products. “The Sharper Image brand is synonymous with creative technology and timeless design. We’re confident that these new offerings will not only meet, but exceed consumers’ expectations.”

“We look forward to launching the other categories that we’ve licensed, including Home Environment, Health and Wellness, Men’s Gifts, Concierge and Men’s Grooming.” said Ron Ferber, President of SI PRODUCTS, the licencee of Sharper Image.

“We look forward to launching the other categories that we’ve licensed, including Home Environment, Health and Wellness, Men’s Gifts, Concierge and Men’s Grooming.”

You can read more about the Sharper Image product line, which will be released later this year, here.