Holiday Help Desk Cyber Monday special, part oneGet the lowdown on what tech gifts to give and to get this holiday season, plus special deals and bargains!
[ Music ] ^M00:00:09 >> Brian: Hello, everybody. Welcome to it. Kind of like last year just ten hours short. This is what passes for the Holiday Help Desk Marathon. I'm Brian Cooley. This I present to you is Dr. Tom Merritt. Not a real doctor, but a specialty nonetheless. Welcome to CNET's Holiday Help Desk. It's a Cyber Monday special. And over in our nook it's our friend, Deborah Althea. >> Tom: I'm not real special? >> Brian: She's here from cnetshopper.com. >> Tom: She's real. >> Brian: Deborah's real, though. >> Deborah: That's pretty good. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Deborah: Thank you. I'm here. >> Brian: Yeah, shopper.com's real. We're here for the next two hours taking your phone calls and answering your questions at 888-900-CNET. That's 888-900-2638. Well, last I looked one line open, so get a call. >> Tom: Just join us. >> Brian: Or join us in the chat room at live.cnet.com. Or if you're really shy you can just email us. Holiday Help Desk at cnet.com. We're here to help you out. Find the best tech products for holiday shopping. TVs, e-readers. Whatever you want. We use PSPs. We can answer. >> Tom: What'd you say? All right. >> Brian: We use PSPs. >> Tom: Just heard we and P go by the same time and I thought, well. >> Brian: Yeah. You've got to be careful with that. >> Tom: Still toilet training. >> Brian: We have a new puppy in the house. >> Tom: And we're not just here to help you figure out. And he got a new dog too. We're not just here to help you figure out what to buy, but also where to buy it for the best deal, and Deborah's in charge of that. She's going to help us do that. >> Brian: We need you. >> Tom: As well as our other shopping guests. CNET Cheapskate, Rick Broida. He'll be dropping in. And we've also got folks from Best Buy and CompUSA on tap as well. We'll find out what's hot and what's not. Where the deals are and cut through all the BS, we hope, by the end of this show. >> Brian: Like a knife through butter. >> Tom: Like a knife through butter that's warm. >> Brian: Now, did you spend Black Friday shopping at all? Did you get out there? >> Tom: I didn't. To be honest, no. >> Brian: I did. I did it online. >> Tom: Yeah. I didn't actually do shopping yet. >> Brian: [Inaudible] inside. So we had to find somebody who actually liked to go out and shop, rather than stay at home in their huddle like me and shop. And we, we found netbooks out there. People looking for e-readers. We sent Natalie Del Conte. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: The perfect woman for the job. >> Tom: Ooh, [inaudible]. >> Brian: Out to the streets of New York City to find out what happened on Black Friday. >> Deborah: Thanks, guys. It's Cyber Monday and we are leaving the office to see what people are actually shopping for, so let's go shopping. I mean like it's so hard. So what are you looking for this holiday season? >> Shopper: I'm looking for a netbook. >> Deborah: Uh-huh. Any one in particular? >> Shopper: Yes. >> Deborah: Which one? >> Shopper: That's a Samsung. >> Shopper: I was looking for a flat panel, 19-inch monitors that are square. But all the rage these days are the widescreen. >> Deborah: Any other gadgets you're coveting? >> Shopper: Ooh, gee. A flat-screen TV. >> Deborah: Yeah. >> Shopper: Yeah. >> Deborah: You and me both. >> Shopper: I'm going to get a new brainch truck. >> Deborah: A race truck? >> Shopper: A brainch truck. >> Deborah: What is that? >> Shopper: That's a truck full of cash. >> Deborah: Oh! >> Shopper: If they have any. >> Deborah: Where do you get that? >> Shopper: Well, I don't know. That's why I'm looking, you know what I mean? >> Deborah: I don't think they have that at Best Buy. >> Shopper: No, I'm. Actually I'm looking for an iPod. >> Deborah: Okay. >> Shopper: Oh, I just bought a game for my son. >> Deborah: What kind of game? >> Shopper: The Warfare. >> Deborah: Modern Warfare, uh-huh. >> Shopper: And the hockey. >> Deborah: NHL 2010? >> Shopper: Yeah, that's it. >> Deborah: That was about the third or fourth person who walked by and said they couldn't be on camera because they snuck out of work to go shopping. >> Shopper: We're off the Queen Mary II. >> Deborah: Oh, okay. >> Shopper: So we, we just got the subway in and we're just buying elec, electrical goods mostly. >> Deborah: Why would you buy them here? >> Shopper: They're cheaper here than in the U.K. >> Deborah: What's on your list? >> Shopper: A laptop. Hot toys, media player. And we're buying for other people on the ship as well. >> Shopper: We were looking for Mac Media but we didn't by any. So we're comparing prices to Sweden where we come from. >> Deborah: What are the things that you would get if you had the sky's the limit budget? >> Shopper: Well then, I would have a really beautiful young lady with a microphone throwing it in my face saying here's $100,000 because you're our 100,000th guest. >> Deborah: You're halfway there. >> Shopper: Okay. >> Deborah: And you already know what I want for Christmas because of our holiday wish list. Back to you guys in the studio. >> He's on it, right? >> Brian: Did that go left like I thought it did at the end? I don't know. Just me. >> Tom: I saw it. >> Brian: Anyway let's talk now to. Stay in New York City as we go to Andre Sam who's inventory manager at this huge Best Buy store at 86th and Lex in Manhattan. And Andre, you're not at Best Buy now. Where are you? >> Andre: I'm at home. >> Brian: Okay. So you've got your feet in like a hot bath there because you've been standing for four days, right? >> Andre: Yeah, they're soaking. >> Brian: And how was the. I mean I'm sure it was really, really busy. But tell me what really broke out for you guys over the Thanksgiving holiday blast. >> Andre: Over the Thanksgiving holiday blast we had a lot of great sales. Everything LCD televisions to laptops, netbooks, digital cameras, things of that nature. >> Brian: What was the hottest thing? What was the thing that was absolutely getting you nervous that you know what, we're going to run out? >> Andre: Um. >> Brian: I know there was something. >> Andre: I would say it's probably. >> Brian: You know there was something. >> Andre: LCD televisions if we have to say anything. We really didn't run out. We had great inventory levels, so the company did a wonderful job of making certain that we, our in-stock levels were really healthy. We had. Ife were running out of a particular model, there was always another default model to go to. >> Brian: Oh sure, yeah. We're not trying to make you look bad. >> Andre: Oh, no. >> Brian: But we know that there were. We know there's a run on stuff. We just want to know what the hot stuff was this week. What were people grabbing? You know, getting whole arms full? >> Andre: Most things were, you know, everything from gaming to Blu-ray movies. Those things were really hot. Blu-ray players were hot. You had digital cameras were extremely hot. And here again, like I said LCD, televisions and mobile computers. >> Brian: What's going on with the name brand thing? This is a year people are extremely cost conscious and they may put aside their interest in a prestige brand. And say you know what? I just want a TV for X number of dollars. Are you double-down on the second-tier of brands, and is that working? >> Andre: We actually have some great, our Best Buy manufactured brands. It's Dynex and Insignia. >> Brian: Yeah. >> Andre: Are our house brands. Those are doing extremely well. And you know, you're right because some of those individuals are looking to cut corners because of the economic downswing. And the thing is that those are great options to go with. You, you're still being to have a product that's packed full of current technology. And, you know, we're just able to cut the price on it. >> Brian: You know, there's a lot to be said. There's a lot being said this holiday season about the, the big stores like yourself and Walmart that have big retail presence. And Amazon over on the other side and some other pure play e-tailers there. Are you. What are you guys doing to make sure that people come in and try the gear and buy it there? As opposed to go back to their computer and make the deal there? >> Andre: What. Well, what we really try to do is one, we try to make certain that when the individuals come into our store they can really test drive the product. So we try. The functionality is, is extremely key for us and making certain that one, everything is displayed well. It's functional. They can get a good sense of what they're looking for. Also the blue shirts that are on the floor to assist, they're able to answer a lot of those, you know, detailed questions and drill it down so that you know what, this is. This is actually a personal shopping experience instead of just recommending something, and this is the same thing that they're recommending for everyone. >> Brian: All right. Andre, thanks for joining us from New York City. That's Andre Sam at the Best Buy at 86th and Lex. Obviously one of the Ground Zero stores anywhere. I mean just thinking about Best Buy in Manhattan that's like, you know, do you want to find more text shopping? I'm not sure you could. Let's get to the phones now and start getting your questions. And this is what the show is all about. Phones are open at 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. Dr. Merritt, where shall we go first? >> Tom: Let's start with my boys. Is this the Fat Emo [assumed spelling] kid? >> Eric: Hollah! >> Tom: There he is. >> Brian: What is up, Eric? You're leading up the Holiday Help Desk. >> Eric: How's is going guys? >> Tom: Good. >> Brian: We're doing well. What can we help you with today? >> Eric: Awesome. Well, I am particularly a name brand type of guy. I always go for big name brands. >> Brian: Luis Vuitton. >> Eric: [Inaudible]. Yeah. >> Tom: Moet. You're sipping some Crystal right now. >> Eric: However. You know, well, it's not as bad as it used to be. >> Tom: Uh-huh. >> Eric: So I'm looking for something. A flat screen TV, preferably LCD, under $800. >> Brian: Okay. Yeah. >> Tom: How about size? I didn't hear a size go by. >> Brian: Yeah, dude. Does it matter how big it is? >> Eric: Nothing smaller than 32. >> Tom: Thirty-two. >> Brian: Well, Deborah had one for $80 bucks. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Deborah: Yeah. >> Brian: But how big was it, Deborah? >> Deborah: It was seven inches. >> Brian: Seven inches. >> Tom: Yeah. All right. Well, it's not going to work for everybody. >> Brian: Unfortunately it's too small, too small for you. >> Tom: Nope. >> Brian: But closer, closer to the $800 line I've got a, an LG 42-inch. The LG 42 LH30. >> Tom: Uh-huh. >> Brian: We gave it three out of five so it's, it's a decent one. It's not, you know, our editor's choice or anything, but it's a decent one. And I'm showing prices as cheap as $729. >> Tom: Yeah. Seeing that one and that's, by the way, got a really good energy rating which is a new thing CNET's really doubling down on this year, you know. Because buying the set for a good price is one thing, but over the course of the year as you own it really can make a difference. As much you might shop for a discount it can be the difference in the power consumption. Also you'll find if you want to get in that price range, here's one from Samsung that is as low as $749 and this guy is. Oh, it's a 32-inch, so it's not going to be in your size range. >> Eric: Okay. Yeah, a little smaller. >> Tom: Yeah. Here's a JVC as well that's very reasonably reviewed. It's the 42P300, and that one's also getting three stars, so this is a trend. You know, where you're getting about three stars in that price of that product in, you know, at this moment. It gives you an idea kind of where the, where the sea level is. >> Eric: Okay. Awesome. >> Tom: These are good brands though. And, you know, a guy like you who's only going to buy the best, well, you know. I mean, you know. >> Eric: Yeah. Definitely. >> Brian: All right. Thanks, my man. We appreciate you calling. >> Tom: Take care. >> Eric: All right, thanks guys. >> Tom: Thanks, man. Happy holidays to you. >> Brian: Let's go to a, a more philosophical question. >> Tom: Oh, I like this. >> Brian: Now Sean is on the line. Hey Sean, you're calling from Colorado I, I hear. Or do you hear? >> Tom: Sean? >> Brian: Sean? >> Tom: Are you alive? >> Brian: Sean, wake up! >> Tom: Sean! Come to us! >> Brian: Sean from Colorado, we're going to put you on hold and get back to the phone. >> Tom: All right. Let's hold him right there. It's time for us to get into one of the more technical questions today, isn't it? >> Brian: You're talking about Hal? >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: All right. Hal? >> Tom: You ready? >> Brian: Fair warning. >> Hal: I'm here. >> Brian: Oh, he is actually there. All right. >> Tom: This is only. This is where we. This is where we leave the caller and Dr. Merritt in a room together and they don't come out until this one is solved. >> Brian: What can we help you with today, Hal? >> Hal: Okay. I have a couple year old desktop system whose mother board will not boot a. Or will not support booting a flash drive. And I've been seeing a lot of people having a lot of fun with this new chromium OS distribution that you can put on flash drives and start up. And so I'm wondering if there's some sort of a software driver or something that I can add that perhaps booting off a floppy disk or something that would allow me to directly boot up a flash drive. >> Tom: Yeah. Are you, are you able to boot off a floppy on that machine? >> Hal: Floppies, CDs, whatever. Except no, no support. And by the way there's no BIOS update for my mother board. >> Tom: Right, yeah. I mean short, short of changing your mother board I don't think there's any way, software or otherwise, to be able to make that USB bootable if the mother board won't do it. You just have to swap it out. But you might be able to slim down chromium enough to put it onto a floppy. That's. >> Hal: Really? >> Brian: That's where I'm going with this. I, I. I, I don't have the download link for you to do that. I do have at makeuseof.com a really good tutorial on making an image of the chromium OS that is bootable off of the USB. I'm trying to find out how much, how big it is when you use WIN32 disk imager and put it on the drive. It's pretty small. I don't know if it's small enough to get down to that 1.44 megabytes or whatever. But there are bootable copies of WIN XP and Linux that you could put on a floppy drive. So wouldn't it be beyond the pale that somebody could compress this chrome image down to where you could boot off of a floppy? Let me mess around with. Looking to see if I could find something and I'll, I'll put it in the show notes. It doesn't exist yet but, but maybe it could. >> Hal: How about through a CD itself which of course is much faster. >> Brian: Oh, yeah. Actually if you have a CD drive on that, that's easy. Then you just use. >> Hal: It's bootable, yeah. >> Brian: You just, you just use the same process that you would use for a USB drive and at makeus, makeuseof.com. And instead of sending it to the USB drive, you burn it to the disk and you boot off it. That's easy. >> Hal: Okay. So it, it's makeuseof.com. >> Brian: Yeah. I will, I will put this link up in our blog at blog.cnettv.com after the show. >> Tom: All right, Hal. Thanks for the call. Appreciate that. Well, let's go to Cleavon, I believe it is, in Brooklyn. He's got a question about a hard drive, and a big hard drive at that. Cleavon, welcome to Holiday Help Desk. >> Cleavon: Hey, how you doing, guys? Happy holidays to both of you. >> Tom: Thank you. You too. What can we help you with? >> Cleavon: Yeah. I'm just looking for a. I'm actually able to do some ray and hard drive cloning. And I'm looking for a good terabyte hard drive. I heard Tom and Raif [assumed spelling] were going back and forth for like the couple of months about some type of hard drive that it worked well for Tom but it, it didn't work too well for Raif. And I was just wondering if you got some feedback on that particular Sea. I think it was Seagate Barracuda. >> Brian: Yeah, it was the Seagate Barracuda. It was 500 gigabytes, so a half terabyte. And I've got it in this machine that I'm using right now. I have had no issues with it, except just in the past two weeks it has started to make this pause right here. I hear a, a thing, right? >> Tom: I hate that. >> Brian: Everything else works fine. >> Tom: Don't do that to me. >> Brian: There are. There are definitely people out there who have problems with it, and Raif has had problems with the Seagate Barracuda. Three times he had to get a new one. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: The third one is a charm though. It's working for him and he's using it right now. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: So there are issues with the Seagate Barracuda, but it is the biggest Mac drive that you can get. >> Tom: Oh, is that right? >> Brian: Five hundred gigabytes. >> Tom: Hard drives are funny, you know. If you look at the MTVF in the meantime between failures it would say that well, they never. They never die in your natural lifetime, but we know they do all the time. Sometimes within weeks or months. I've been on a string of Western digitals that have been dying one after another after another. But I know I've had good ones that work. So I don't know if there's, to be honest, a real difference you can glean by reading specs. >> Brian: The thing about the Barracuda is it comes with a three-year warranty. >> Tom: That helps a lot. >> Brian: But that helped Raif out. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Because when the first one was. It actually worked but it made a horrible noise, and so he sent it back. The second one they sent him. >> Tom: That's when you know it's working. >> Brian: The same thing, so he sent that one back. Third one works fine. >> Tom: That's a feature. It's not a problem. >> Brian: But that's why you don't need to buy extended warranties right there, because you've got a three-year manufacture warranty. >> Tom: You get three years. >> Brian: So, you know, make sure you have back-up in any of these cases. >> Tom: All right, Cleavon. Thanks for the call. >> Brian: We'll be back in a flash to take more of your questions. But first a word from Molly Wood and what she's looking for this holiday season. >> Molly: Hello, everyone. I'm Molly Wood from cnet.com here with my holiday wish list. You know, the stuff I'd want to get for Christmas if say, all my friends won the lottery or money was not object. Or if I was just making up a fictional list to go along with our holiday gift guide and I got to choose whatever I want. So that's what I'm doing, and here goes. First up, I want a Samsung LED TV, right? Hot! This is like a 42-inch television that's 1.2 inches thick. Ridiculous! It makes the whole house look better. Next up, a Barnes and Noble Nook. I know. I know. I already have a Kindle, but books are for sharing. And even if it's not perfect, the Nook makes some great strides toward being the first social e-reader. I like that, and I like the little color screen doohicky. Okay also, and you can make fun of me if you want to, but I want a Dyson Ball Vacuum Cleaner because I really like to clean. And that thing can clean! And that's just the kind of thing that you want when you're a grownup. You'll see. And I guess if you really pushed me I would have to admit that my personal wish list is probably not complete without the Gull Wing Mercedes SLS AMG because oh, my God! That thing is gorgeous. But let's be honest. What I really want for the holidays is good health, good cheer, and for next year to be better than the last for myself and the ones I love. And also the Motorola Droid. ^M00:15:37 [ Music ] [ Whooshing sound ] [ Music ] ^M00:15:42 >> Brian: Hey, thanks Molly, for sharing those wishes with us. Welcome back to Holiday Help Desk everyone. Live from San Francisco, we're taking your calls. Answering your questions on what to give and to get this holiday season. Speaking of getting, you have a chance to win a gorgeous 32-inch Viseo HGTV courtesy of our friends at Viseo. Go to crave.cnet.com. Look for the giveaway posting. Post a comment and you'll be entered to win that thing. In fact, every week day you'll have a chance to enter the daily holiday giveaway. We've got tons of stuff. It's clogging up Bonny's office over there, so please enter. Help her get back to work. Loads of goodies stacked up including netbooks, more TVs, $500 gift cards, cameras and more. Check out crave.cnet.com every day. And speaking of which. >> Tom: Yes? >> Brian: We had over 8,000 entries over the weekend for an LG HDTV that we started to give away on Wednesday. And I happen to have the name of the winner. You want to hear it? >> Tom: I do. >> Brian: All right. Congratulations, bartman682! Okay, I don't have the name of the winner. >> Tom: Is that a real name? >> Brian: I have the user ID of the winner. And hey, bartman, expect to receive an email from CNET shortly asking you to claim your prize. >> Tom: All right. Good stuff. We're giving away TVs and e-readers and iPods like we drop this stuff. We don't even pick it up. Are you kidding me? Anyway, the blog I check every day is CNET's Cheapskate blog by CNET's Cheapskate, Rick Broida. He's the best. He has 100 days of deals that are running daily through this holiday season. He's joining us now from the Cheap lair deep in the hinterlands of Michigan. Hello, Rick. >> Rick: How are you doing, guys? >> Tom: Good. Good-good-good. Now, you've been with us on all the short versions of the Holiday Help Desk that are happening during all other days of the week, until the 23rd, and that's when we're going to do the half-hour at 1:00 Pacific. Clue us in to what you've got for us today that's fresh. You've got some fresh ones. You put them up this morning, and then what happened? >> Rick: Well, you know what? This has. This has been the story of the season. That the stuff I've put up seems to sell out very quickly. And I like to think that's because all my readers are just swarming the stores to get these deals. >> Tom: You're doing your job. Yeah. >> Rick: But yeah, I put up four items this morning and three of them were sold out in a manner of hours. But you know, I don't want to leave people hanging, so if you go to the Cheapskate right now I just put up something brand new which is pretty killer. It's the game. The PC game Mass Effect which was about $40 when it came out last summer. And it is on sale from DirectToDrive which is a download service. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Rick: For $4.95. You can't beat that. >> Tom: Gees, and that should be how much? >> Rick: It should be how? It's $4.95. >> Tom: And it would be how much? >> Brian: And [inaudible] like $40 on it. >> Tom: Oh, wow. >> Brian: This is a download version? Not a VOX version? >> Rick: This is a download version so you, you know, you get it in a matter of a half-hour or so and you're good to go. >> Tom: Whoo! >> Brian: Five bucks. That's pretty good. >> Tom: Now of the four you put this morning, are any of those left? >> Rick: I think the 17-inch Dell laptop is left, but the rest are gone and with good reason. >> Tom: Okay. That was a. That was a Dell laptop and it's for on 17, 17-inch screens. It's a desktop replacement class machine with, with real specs. And all, all the right stuff in it there and $549. That included shipping? >> Rick: That was shipped and a little sales tax in some states. But what I loved about that machine is that you could configure just about everything. >> Tom: Including the color. >> Rick: So, you know, you want a face color. You want to, you want to spend a little extra on some upgrades you could do it. >> Tom: Yeah, you can go obsidian black, cherry red, ice blue, alpine white, promise pink, or jade green. Hum, that's part of the design studio. What are you working on for tomorrow? You got anything in the hopper that you're just sort of sitting on for a minute while you buy them for your friends and family? Or what's going on? >> Rick: No. I kind of wake up in the morning like everybody else and go, go scouting for what's good out there. But, you know, I got. I got some nice stuff lined up for this week. I, I can't give away any of the details now, but you know where to look come tomorrow morning. >> Tom: All right. Good stuff. Thank you, Rick. Rick Broida, the CNET Cheapskate. You find him at cnet.com/cheapskate. Great site to check. A great URL to check daily, because like he says fresh stuff goes up every morning. This isn't like some big, long lead time thing. He's working it on a 24/7 basis. >> Brian: All right. Let's get back to your calls at 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. I think Sean's back at the phone. Hey, Sean. >> Sean: How are you doing? >> Brian: Hey, sorry we missed you earlier. What can we do for you? >> Tom: Where'd you go, Sean? Crying out loud. >> Sean: You know the singularity must have gotten me. I don't know. >> Brian: Eh, well, it happens. >> Tom: [Inaudible] be around a fridge. [Inaudible]. >> Brian: What can we do for you today? >> Sean: With the move towards streaming and downloading media or keeping it in the cloud etc., is it worth it to invest in a Blu-ray player at this time? >> Brian: Good question. A little philosophical question here. >> Tom: Yeah. It really is. >> Brian: Should, should you buy a Blu-ray player? Well, with the, the deals out there, Deborah can say it better than I, but I know they're around $70 or $80 sometimes. I, I don't know what the cheapest ones are right now. It, it's getting to the point where, well gees, you know. A, a box set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all seven seasons, costs $90. So a Blu-ray player on top of that $90, that's pretty. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: That's, that's really cheap. I would say if you've, if you're thinking you want to do a lot of the streaming you either should buy a Blu-ray player with BD live, with the ability to, to go online, so that you can add some streaming into it with firmware upgrades. Or one that already comes with something like Netflix built into it. Or, or just get like a PS-3. Go ahead and spend the $299. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: And get a. And, and get a PS-3 Slim which has the Blu-ray player built into it. And also even if you don't care about the gaming has the PS-3 store and the ability to stream videos. Has a browser in there. It's, it's a little wonky on what it streams and what it doesn't do, the browser. But you have a lot more options than you would in a Blu-ray player. It just depends on what your budget is. >> Tom: Yeah. A lot of it has to do with budget. I'm a little skeptical still on Blu-ray. I mean we'll skeptical still on Blue Ray and we're very much bought into the idea that this stuff all goes network sooner or later. But it's a matter of how much later will you tolerate. If you want to get going now it's not going to be an all-network world for quite some time. We're measuring it in years. >> Brian: Even when it goes network sometimes you want that Blu-ray, you want that disk anyway. >> Tom: Yeah. I know. Especially additions. >> Brian: Maybe for a backup. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Or for extras or, you know. >> Tom: Yeah, there's are lot of. >> Brian: A lot of the things that aren't available on the streaming version. >> Tom: Yeah. There'll always be a market for the disk. It's just going to be, I don't know, at some point it's going, it's going to inflect down pretty quickly. But that's, you know that's. That's our point of view. But I'm, I'm a big fan about converting standard DVD players that'll take your existing library of disks and make them look near HD. Depends on how much of a videophile you area as well. If you're really going to pick out the quality on your set, and if you have a very good television then it starts to lean you that way. If you just are watching more for the content than for the presentation then, you know, you might not be too worried about getting to a true Blu-ray. You might be okay with a little softer picture. >> Brian: That help you out, Sean? >> Sean: That does. Thank you. >> Brian and Tom: All right. >> Brian: Thanks for calling. >> Tom: Thanks for calling. Don't you dare leave us hanging again. Did you hang up on him? >> Brian: Uh, no. >> Tom: All right. >> Brian: Let's move on to Nathan. >> Tom: Where's Nathan? >> Brian: Nathan's calling in from Pennsylvania. Hey, Nathan. Welcome to Holiday Help Desk. What can we help you with today? >> Nathan: Alrighty. I just had two quick questions for you. >> Brian: All right. Shoot. >> Nathan: What's the biggest monitor I can get for a computer to be either a monitor or like a TV for about around $200? >> Brian: Okay. >> Nathan: I think there was one up on the Cheapskate deal for 20. Or a 25-inch for $149, but it sold out. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Uh-huh. Yeah, so the. The, the idea here is to have a TV that you can use a monitor? Or as a. Or a monitor that's big enough to even watch a lot of video on it? >> Nathan: Basically either/or. I mean I want either, you know, a big screen monitor or a TV I can hook into a laptop. >> Brian: Okay. So you want it. You want it to be able to hook up to a computer. >> Nathan: HD [inaudible]. >> Tom: And you want it. And you want it to have a tuner in it, is that right? >> Brian: Well, that's. Yeah, that's the question. No, you don't care about that. >> Nathan: Oh, no. It doesn't have to have a tuner in it. I don't. >> Tom: All right. Okay. Just a monitor then, so. >> Brian: I know Deborah's been tooling around to see if she could find anything over there. Deborah, you got? >> Deborah: Yeah. I'm looking at an Acer, and we've got an Acer here at $199 to $249. We've got nine stores that are offering that particular product. >> Tom: What's the size on that one? >> Deborah: That one is a, let's check that out. That's a 24-inch. >> Tom: Okay. >> Nathan: Okay. That sounds good. >> Tom: Yeah, that's not. That's not too bad. Let's see. I, I saw. >> Brian: I think that's the best I can find too actually. You know, $200 for a, for a large screen. You're not going to be talking about 32, 42-inch televisions there. >> Tom: No. >> Nathan: Yeah. >> Brian: So you're. You're going to have to get your TV onto that through your computer. >> Tom: Yeah. There's not going to be a $200 built in, and let's face it. With all the different types of cable boxes and such these days that's not really make-or-break. You're going to find a way to get your video signal in. Not so much your tune signal. So that's what you're looking at. You can get a 24-inch right there. That Acer that Deborah's got. There it is right there, as low as $200. And those are out of CNET certified merchants. [ Clicking ] So if you have a problem with them we'll kick their ass for you. Ooh, ow! >> Brian: So was I going to ask you, Rudolph in the chat room says that Dell has a Samsung 24-inch for $180. >> Tom: Ooh! >> Brian: Might be a temporary deal. >> Tom: A little cheaper. >> Brian: You might want to. You might want to race over there and check that out as well. >> Tom: Yeah, a little cheaper. And Dell does do some really good monitors. I think it's hit and miss with them. They do some really good ones over the time. >> Brian: All right. >> Tom: Okay. >> Brian: Thanks, Nathan. >> Tom: Appreciate that one. Let's go to. Let's see. I'm going to take this one here on line two. This is Chad who's in North Dakota. He's got a question about something that comes up a lot when people are taking a lot of videos around the holiday time of friends and family. Chad, what's on your mind? How can we help you here on the Holiday Help Desk? >> Chad: Well first, happy holidays, and thanks for taking my call. >> Tom: Thank you. You too. Appreciate that. >> Chad: I, I have a relative asking me about transferring home videos to a DVD. And the hardware they have is I believe called Super HG Tapes. These little tapes that need to go inside of a bigger unit. >> Tom: Wow. It sounds like VHS-C. >> Chad: That's available to put into a regular VHS player in order to play it back. >> Tom: Okay. So that doesn't matter because yeah, what you do is you put those. It sounds like VHS-C or VHS-Compact where you put in an adapter and it goes into the deck. And so you get into a VHS deck. Now, to get that into the computer there are two ways to go about it. I'll show you one of the simplest ones, and they make these devices here. We don't review this kind of stuff. This is from Brookstone. Enough said. But it's $100 integral converter, so it's got the DVD burner and the digitizing card all into one device. You patch cord from your VHS deck into this thing. Hit play. Hit record. Go away and have lunch. When you come back it is real-time dubbed onto the, onto the disk. The downside is there's no flexibility to editing, cleaning things up, chaptering, that sort of thing. It's very rudimentary. The other way to go is to get a video digitizer which could be had from $49 to $100. You find a lot of these. Well, I'll find some names for you. I'm blank. >> Brian: Pentacle. >> Tom: The Pentacle. >> Brian: A guy's actually surfing the Web in the chat room pointed it out. >> Tom: Yeah, Pentacle. >> Brian: Pentacle makes a good one. >> Tom: Which I've never had good luck with. That's just me because I know they sell a ton of these things. I've had so many bum products from them, but there's another brand I'm thinking of that's really good. >> Brian: You could also do the VHS/DVD recorder combo. Those. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Those could be had for fairly cheap now. A couple hundred dollars. It's not going to bust you. >> Tom: If you have a lot of tapes it might be the way to go. >> Brian: And, and I use that. I use a Panasonic VHS/DVD recorder combo. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: It works really well. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Again, very simple. You don't have a lot of editing options or anything like that. But if all you want to do is take that tape and move it over. >> Tom: Get it on a disk. >> Brian: Yeah. >> Tom: Yeah. The other way to go is like I'm saying use a digitizer like a Pentacle product. They usually bundle them in software by the way, do to the video editing and the capture. And then you can really work on it. You can take out the junk which you kind of want to do. Family movies, if these are home shot things on VHS, are dreadful. If you're taking commercial films, this is your problem, and you're going to turn them into DVD's that different because that's actually well-produced stuff. But if you're going to take family movies and put them on a disk, take the time to clean them up and get them whittled down so they're worth watching. Otherwise, you're just taking one boring tape and turning it into a boring DVD and no one's ever going to look at it. All right? >> Chad: All right. Well, thank you. And thanks for calling my childhood boring. >> Brian: Aw! >> Tom: Aw! >> Chad: [Inaudible]. >> Brian: [Inaudible]. What did we do there? >> Tom: See? Yeah, but it was. All right. Thanks Chad. Appreciate it. >> Brian: How do you know? Maybe he was a secret agent [inaudible]. >> Tom: He might have been a secret agent. That's right. And a secret agent in a bottle. >> Brian: All right. Let's get one more call. >> Tom: What's he doing? >> Brian: Daniel in the U.K. Is this the Daniel I know in the U.K.? >> Tom: Who's the one you don't know? >> Daniel: I'm the one you know. >> Brian: Ah. It's better the Daniel you know than the Daniel you don't know basically. >> Tom: I don't know. Who knows? >> Daniel: I have a [inaudible] that's been a bit on/off recently. >> Tom: It's Ozzie Osborne, ladies and gentlemen. >> Brian: All right. [ Clapping ] >> Tom: Beautiful. >> Brian: What can we help you with today, Daniel? >> Daniel: Well, I'm sort of looking for like just a cheapish MP3 player. I don't need it to be like videos. Don't need to like apps and WiFi. I just need an MP3 player that [inaudible]. >> Brian: So you don't need the iPod touch, Zoon HD with the video? >> Tom: No. >> Brian: You are warming. >> Tom: He doesn't want any. >> Brian: Donald Bell's heart right now. >> Tom: He wouldn't be caught dead with that thing. >> Daniel: I've got. I've got my phone sort of videos and apps, so I just need an MP3 player. >> Brian: You want one that plays MP3s. >> Tom: [Inaudible]. >> Brian: Yeah? >> Tom: You know where I'm going? Clip? Clip Plus. Send this in. Send him to Clip Plus. >> Brian: Send him to Clip Plus? >> Tom: You with me? >> Brian: Yeah. Either that or the. >> Tom: We love them. >> Brian: Either that or the Shuffle. Now here's the thing. The SanDisk, the SanDisk plus. Ech. The SanDisk Clip Plus, on top of being hard to pronounce I know Sara Harbin, our, our producer here at CNET-TV. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Bought it because it was recommended and hated it. >> Tom: Really? >> Brian: So she, she had a hard time getting the music on and off of it. >> Tom: Oh. >> Brian: She like gave up with it. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Daniel I think is probably, is more used to dealing with technology hardship. >> Tom: Of course, you're stepping on some people that [inaudible] right now. >> Brian: No, it was. His chat room's name DanielinHell, so. >> Tom: I'm not thinking of him. I'm thinking of the girl. >> Brian: So he's, he's used to putting up with bad interface news and. >> Daniel: That's true. >> Brian: And technological crap. >> Tom: Right. > >Brian: So if you could deal with that it's, it's a better player. It's, it's got more options. It's got a screen. All of that. If you want ease of use, though, if you're like you know what? I don't want to mess with stuff. I don't want a hard life. Then I'd probably say the Shuffle. >> Tom: And realize we. >> Daniel: The Shuffle was the one with the controls on the headphones? >> Brian: Yes, right. Exactly. And that's another disadvantage to it. >> Tom: Yeah. Realize that. That have several low-cost MP3 straight-ahead players. If you go to CNET and you click on the Holiday Tech Guide up in the upper right, and then you're going to find our list of budget MP3 players and we've got several. The Clip Plus, the Zen Mosaic. And we've also got a couple other models in there including the Scion's Fuse. These are all well under $100 to way under $100, depending on the capacity there. >> Brian: Better overall players though. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: It's just that they might be a little harder with the music management. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: All right. I've got to take a quick break. We're going to be here another 90 minutes folks. >> Tom: Ooh, answer that. >> Brian: So hang with us. We'll be right back with more of your questions. >> Tom: Ooh, is that true? >> Brian: And some very good advice if you're about to buy a netbook. Stick with us. ^M00:29:43 [ Music ] ^M00:29:55 >> If you think all batteries are the same, consider this. These Duracell batteries were given to the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. Because when it comes to kids and healing, you're not just powering a toy. You're powering a smile. Duracell. Trusted everywhere. >> Molly: Hey, everyone. I'm Molly Wood, host of CNET TV's Mailbag. Here at the Mailbag we love to read your letters and emails. The lover mail, even the hater mail. And apparently you like it too because when we tried to make the show biweekly, boy, did you raise a stink. So we're back to every week and you can all just calm down. But don't stop writing in because I need you bad. Look for the new edition of Mailbag every Wednesday at cnettv.com. >> Last FM now on Xbox Live. Discover better music and explore endless personalized radio stations. Find out more on www.lastfm.com/xbox. ^M00:30:50 [ Click and whoosh ] [ Music ] ^M00:31:10 >> Brian: Okay. Well, thank you for that. Anyway, welcome back to the Holiday Help Desk. I'm Brian Cooley with Dr. Tom Merritt of course. >> Tom: Howdy. >> Brian: Keep those calls coming, because without you we're nothing. The phones are open. >> Tom: Well, it's warm, that's for sure. >> Brian: 888-900-CNET. >> Tom: Very. >> Brian: Or email us email@example.com. We also have a chat room open at cnet.com/live. You know what's really impressive? >> Tom: Yeah? >> Brian: When we answer the questions before you ask them. >> Tom: Of course. >> Brian: And we're going to do that right now, for some of you anyway, with our Before You Buy segment. Everything you need to know before you buy a laptop. ^M00:31:40 [ Music ] ^M00:31:47 >> Natali: So many choices when buying a laptop. Look who I have here. Oh, yes. Lucky running into you. >> Dan Ackerman: Good to see you. >> Natali: And especially considering we came here together. >> Dan: Right here with our laptops. >> Natali: We're here to talk about what are the right questions to ask when you're going laptop shopping? Because it can be so overwhelming. >> Dan: There are lot of choices out there. >> Natali: There are a lot of choices. There's Windows 7 now. Snow Leopard is also new. So what are the things that you need to ask yourself first and foremost when you go laptop shopping? >> Dan: I think the number one question you're going to ask yourself when you're buying a new laptop is what am I going to use this laptop for? Am I going to carry it around every day? Or am I going to leave it anchored to like my desk in my house or in my office? Now, if you're not going to take it around with you, then you want a bigger laptop. A 15-inch or maybe even a 17-inch. If you're going to carry it around every day you want something small like a netbook or an ultra portable. And if you're kind in the middle, maybe you'll leave it at home a couple of days or you'll use it all the time, all day long and you'll carry it around. Then the 13-inch is the one size that's kind of right in the middle there. Good for travel and good for using all day long. >> Deborah: So what's the deal with Windows 7? Every machine here is running it. >> Dan: Well, now Windows 7 is now, so any new laptop you're going to buy that's a PC is probably going to have Windows 7 on it which is great. Especially because Windows 7 scales really well. It works on low power systems like netbooks where VISTA really didn't. >> Deborah: Are there any specifics we should look for when it comes to specs? Because that can be confusing. I can see it listed all around here. >> Dan: Yeah. A lot of laptops are kind of commodity items and that the specs are mostly the same. But you want to look for probably a dual-core CPU. Intel's Core 2 Duo is the most popular. You want 2 gigs of ram if you're going to be running Windows 7. One gig of ram, if you've got a netbook you can get away with that. And obviously 167 gig or larger hard drive, anything bigger than that then they're probably going to have the 250 gig hard drive. And for wireless you want 802 1111N WiFi. >> Natali: And what about the price? How much should I really expect to spend? >> Dan: What's the best thing about laptops is the prices have really come down in the last year or two. With netbooks you can start at $299, maybe go up to $399. A little bit more if you want special features like a higher resolution screen. Regular 15 and 14-inch mainstream laptops, really $700 to $900 you're going to find a lot of good stuff in there. If you go to super premium $999 or above, you're either getting a Macbook or you're getting a big massive 17-inch desktop replacement with a lot of gaming horsepower. >> Natali: Good. The netbooks are so cheap. Can I get away with that being my main computer? >> Dan: Well, for a lot of people netbooks are a great option. They may not always be your only computer. They're more of a secondary or a companion machine to assist what you already have. Maybe instead of buying a new computer you get a netbook to go along with it. Because they have generally smalls screens, small keyboards. They're not super powerful. They're good for surfing the Web. Your email. Maybe for working on Word documents, playing back some music and that's probably about it. As long as you keep your expectations modest you should be pretty happy with a netbook. >> Natali: Okay. And what about sturdiness? I want something that kind of can bang around in my bag a little bit. What's the best material to look for? Plastic? >> Dan: Obviously a lot of laptops are made out of plastic. Some of the more expensive ones are made out of aluminum or magnesium alloy. And the reason some kind of rugged laptops have sort of rubberized coatings on them, those are a little bit more upscale. >> Natali: Okay. And I have to ask the partisan question. Mac or PC? >> Dan: You know, some people like Mac. Some people like PC's. If you want something that's not a super budget. If you're willing to spend $1,000 or more, a lot of people in that category definitely go for the Macbooks. >> Natali: And it feels like these retailers, they're trying to upsell you on the warranty. Do we need it? >> Dan: No. An extended warranty is one of those things we generally advise people not to buy. Laptopso are almost a little bit of a different case because there's really no user serviceable parts inside. You don't want to be cracking this thing open like you could with a desktop and trying to fix it yourself. A good thing to do is look into an extended warranty from the PC maker that actually makes the system because they're the ones that would be repairing it. >> Natali: So what are your recommendations this holiday season then? >> Dan: Well, there are a couple laptops I'm really liking a lot right now. This is the HP Mini 311. It's a netbook, but it's a bigger netbook. It's got an 11-inch screen and it's also got this new Invidia Ion Graphics chip. That lets you play definition video and do a little bit of very mild gaming on it. And the nice thing about it is they didn't raise the price. It's still $399. >> Natali: Wow. >> Dan: Even with the new graphics and the bigger high def screen. So obviously everybody loves Macbooks and Apple just updated their basic plastic $999 Macbook. Instead of making it cheaper, what they did was they made it a little bit nicer. Kept it at $999. Now it's got that unibody construction like you find in the Macbook Pros. It's got the big touch pad and it's got an LED back-lit display which is a little nicer. Uses a little bit power, a little bit better for the environment. And obviously it's a tiny bit lighter, a tiny bit thinner. If you're looking to get a Macbook and you don't want to spend more than $1,000, $999 right there. >> Natali: Okay. You like those too. What else? >> Dan: Well, if you like something that's kind of like a Macbook but you don't want to spend that much, there are a whole bunch of really thin 13-inch laptops out right now like the Toshiba T135, $600 to $700 depending on the configuration. One thing to look out for in this, make sure you get the kind with a dual-core CPU, not the single-core. >> Natali: Well, thank you so much for making this a bit less confusing. And if you want to make sure your laptop buying experience is less confusing, make sure you do your homework before you get to the store. Go to cnet.com. Read the reviews, watch our videos. It'll make the experience a lot less painful. Happy holiday shopping. I'm Natali Del Conte with cnet.com. >> Brian: Okay. That covers it all, right? >> Tom: It covers more than I expected. >> Brian: Right. Much most of it. >> Tom: Nat, thank you. Really good info there from our laptop guru, Dan Ackerman. Okay. Back to the telephones now. By the way, 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. Two lines open. We have really one line open right now unless you've got the secret hotline, which you don't. So where do you want to go next on this? >> Brian: You say that now. >> Tom: I say that now. We're about to publish it. >> Brian: Let's see. You know what? Christopher has been hanging on, being patient there. >> Tom: Forever. >> Brian: Let's. Let's say hello to Christopher. Thanks for calling Holiday Help Desk. Christopher in Virginia. What can we help you with today? >> Christopher: Yes. I would like to purchase a cellphone for my sister, but she lives in Panama. And she wanted something similar to the Droid and I wanted to know what else you, is there out there that could work in Panama for under $300. >> Brian: Well, there is something called the Motorola Milestone. Have you heard about that? >> Christopher: For Europe and Asia? >> Brian: It is for. It's actually available in the U.K. and Germany right now. It's GSM phone and it should work worldwide. I don't know how much it's going to cost unlocked though, which is what you're going to have to do. As far as being able to get a phone that's on a contract in Panama and getting it under $200 that's, that's more than I know. But the Motorola at Motorola.com/milestone, you could take a look at that. And it's. The thing is it's going to be more than $300 unlocked, I'm almost sure. It's probably around $599. >> Christopher: Oh, okay. Does it have a physical keyboard? >> Brian: Yeah. It's. It's the. It's the Droid. It is the exact same phone as the Droid. It's got the slide-out keyboard. It's got the Android operating system. It's just called the Milestone because it's the GSM phone available in Europe. >> Christopher: Oh, okay. Yeah, I think that'll, that'll do for it. >> Brian: All right. >> Christopher: Okay. >> Brian: Sorry I couldn't get it more in the price range you were looking for. But if you're looking for a Droid world phone that's it. >> Tom: That's it. Luckily you have the Droid world phone. All right. Thanks for the call there, Christopher. Appreciate it. Thanks for hanging on there. Let's go in now and talk about some headphones for an iPhone. Not the ones that come with it, but something's going to sound and work a little bit better. And that's going to be Joey here in Las Vegas. Joey, welcome to Holiday Help Desk. How can we help you? >> Joey: I'm looking to upgrade the stock headphone, microphone that came with my iPhone 2G. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Joey: Just wanted to see what else is out there. I'm looking at the Sure SC 115M-plus that just came out late October that's got 120. Just want to see what else is out there. >> Tom: Well, first of all one thing that we like a lot and we've been talking about a lot this holiday season are the Apple in-ear headphones as opposed to the Apple earbuds that came with your iPhones. So these are about $80 and they are, because they're an in-ear design as the name suggests, they kind of go in your ear and have neoprene cups around them that hold them in. They have two drivers per, so the fidelity's a lot better. And of course if you look down here they've got the control and the microphone built in on the lanyard, on the cord itself inline. So for about $80 you're going to get one that's really ideally tuned to that product, and we're very impressed and the sound quality is good. >> Brian: Yeah. I was surprised how much we like it, because the ones you get free with the iPhone itself. >> Tom: Aren't it. >> Brian: They're crap. >> Tom: Now, why don't you just mention the V-moda headset you like? >> Brian: Yeah, the V-moda Vibes. I, I've had those before. And if you get the ones with the cloth, the cloth cord they hold up fairly well, although I still lost one ear with them. I actually had to spend more than $125. >> Tom: [Inaudible] still going. >> Brian: Yeah, they. They reattached it pretty nicely, right. Now I lost one of the ears in the headphones. >> Tom: Oh. >> Brian: It went. It went bad. >> Tom: Don't get me excited. >> Brian: But, but there was no severed ear involved. >> Tom: So nothing gory. >> Brian: I went and spent a lot more money, like $299, and got the, the Etymotic. >> Tom: A V2 or? >> Brian: The, the iPhone Etymotic one and those are awesome. They haven't broken. They, they work really well. They're durable. But again, you've got to spend a little chunk of change for that, so $99 bucks for the V-moda is not too bad. >> Tom: Yeah. Anything from Etymotic tends to be really great. I believe, is this the Etymotic HF2? >> Brian: There you go. >> Tom: Yes. That can't right. These are $130. A lot less than you spent. >> Brian: No-no-no. >> Tom: Well, you got had. >> Brian: I, I bought them like two years ago so they, they might have been more expensive. >> Tom: Maybe they've just gone down, so hey. >> Brian: Because honestly at that price, I'd be totally recommending by the Etymotic now. >> Tom: The Etymotics. Okay. So the Etymotic HGFT. You see it's got a, a nice very, very handleable control in the middle there. Sometimes the controls are so small. Like on the Apple ones it's a tiny little sliver of thing. So you've got that going. We have a number of them here. One other one I'm going to point out to you also, if you want to go to a Bluetooth rig there's the Etymotic and in blue. Bluetooth headset on this guy. But again, this is a headset. This is not a stereo headset. It's just a communications headset. But there's a lot of choices. >> Brian: Ham, Hamiltus in the chat room says the Nokia BH504 Bluetooth headphones are also good for the iPhone. >> Tom: Oh, yeah. Blue. Yeah, because you don't get Bluetooth headphones. It will go into both ears and still use the coreless Bluetooth technology. >> Brian: Fifty bucks. >> Tom: Really? Is that all? >> Brian: Yeah. >> Tom: That's a good price. Okay. Let's go to our next call at 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. Do we want to go with the Pioneer Elite [inaudible]? We do. >> Brian: Yes, we do. Curt in Brooklyn. Welcome to Holiday Help Desk. What can we do for you today? >> Curt: Good afternoon, Tom and Brian. My question was about the Pioneer Elite Kuro. The authorized dealers like Best Buy and others have this for like $60, like over $6500. But then there's other stores like, like through your website. Other sellers like Power Seller NYC and Pavilion from Amazon Marketplace selling this way cheaper. But these aren't authorized dealers. And the difference is like Pioneer won't honor the warranty if you buy it through stores that's not authorized. So I want to know are these. Are these like trustworthy companies? Are these reburbished TVs? I know they've selling them as, well, advertised as new TVs. But since Pioneer won't like honor the agreement I want to know how these companies got the TV or [inaudible]? >> Brian: Deborah is the perfect person to answer that question for you because she works closely at shopper.com with collecting all these merchants. So explain that, that difference between authorized and not authorized. And let Curt know what he needs to consider. >> Deborah: Well, I think that you definitely want to go with authorized if you can get it. If it's. And these are merchants that we do look at and they do get authorized certification through Shopper. However, if it's price that you're looking at as well that's, that's key. I can understand that. I think that Amazon Marketplace is almost a sure bet for you if you're seeing them listed. Regular Amazon and Amazon has this particular item for $5800, which is below your $6000 price you mentioned earlier. So again I think if you can get it, for sure do it. But if you can't you have, we have certified merchants like Amazon Marketplace that are very secure, very safe. >> Brian: And what's the difference between authorized and certified? >> Curt: [Inaudible] Amazon [inaudible] Pioneer. They're just not an authorized dealer? >> Deborah: Correct. Authorized. Well, certified is a certified merchant. It's a store that is actually receiving stars for their, their ability to ship product. Have a, a good interaction with the clients. Ship on time. The prices are there. They're in stock when they say they're in stock. So we certify those merchants. Authorized is for the manufacturer itself. That they're an authorized dealer to sell that particular product. >> Tom: Hey, and Curt realize this also. As you go to look for a Pioneer Kuro or any Pioneer television, they got out of the business a few months ago. I mean they're about to go out of business February of next year. So Pioneer's exiting the television business. They're going to do a joint venture with Sharp. Spin off another brand, but Pioneer is getting out of the business where they're vertical where they make their own televisions and sell them under their brand. So some of this may be relatively remnant stuff. >> Curt: I understand that, but I was like if something might happen like. See, I know that, that on TV that, that'll be the last time they'll make it. But like I'm talking about like if something might malfunction and [inaudible] it's not covered [inaudible]. >> Tom: Yeah. If you go to an unauthorized merchant it's all you. If you go to an unauthorized merchant it's you. They're not going to [inaudible] on the warranty. >> Brian: Buy it on your credit card. >> Tom: That's another way. You're good. >> Brian: If your credit card covers warranty on electronics. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Deborah: Right. >> Brian: And you're going. And you're getting it from this so-called unauthorized which means that, you know, Sony just didn't want ot have anything to do with them on the warranty. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Buy it on your credit card and your credit card has. If your credit card has that warranty protection. >> Tom: But they do. And they don't have a carve-out for an authorized merchant to sell. >> Brian: And they. Well, yeah, check that. Good point. >> Tom: Yeah. All right, Curt. Thanks for the call. Good luck with that. >> Curt: Thank you very much. >> Tom: Good deal hunting. >> Brian: All right, everybody. Sit back. Are you sitting comfortably? >> Tom: Uh-huh. >> Brian: For a few minutes we're going to enjoy a holiday lesson in green from none other than Brian Tong. Take a look. ^M00:44:49 [ Music ] ^M00:45:00 >> Brian Tong: That little jingling you were just bobbing your head to can only mean one thing. It's really catchy and it's time for my wish list. So stop staring at this god-awful sweater. Thanks, Mom. It's time for the gifts I love this holiday season, so pay attention. All right. Let's check out my list here. All right. Now, my first thing is my laptop. It's dying on me. It's really a nice 13-inch Macro Pro would ease my pain and it's one of the few pieces of anodized aluminum that I would make out with. Okay? Let's see here. Oh, okay. Here. I also want to feast my eyes on a Panaonic 54-inch TCPV 10 Plasma. I would pretty give my left arm to get one of these. And it would also make finding the hidden R2-D2 Easter egg in Star Trek that much sweeter. Okay. Oh, now before I keep going let's be really serious here. The gift I love to give to all of our CNET viewers, and I'm being serious, is good health and blessings, great friends and family, and all the thanks for continuing to support CNET. And really just helping me keep up with my electric bills. All right. Let's go back to the list. This is what's more important here. My Bose. My Bose headset broke, so the new Quiet Comfort 15 would be awesome. So what, $349? Somebody has that to throw around. And let's see, I would. Oh, I still. I still need a puppy. I need a puppy and a. Okay, here we go. You know, it may not be the ultimate tech toy, but hello! A Snuggie. I, I would die for a Snuggie. It's like get. Oh, wow. Thanks. >> Voiceover: Brian, you're reading that right [inaudible] pretty soon here. >> Brian Tong: Okay. What? A [inaudible] would be nice. Oh, oh. Okay, okay. There's that Nook. That Nook, that e-reader with that color swipey touch screen. And an oh, there. What? >> Voiceover: And Brian, we're just going to wrap it up. >> Brian Tong: No-no-no. I don't. >> Voiceover: Let's call it a night, buys. >> Brian Tong: Okay, okay. I also want an Obama bobblehead because yeah, hey guys. Hello? Okay. Well, you know what? After that I would like. ^M00:46:49 [ Music ] ^M00:46:53 >> Brian: His list was so long they turned, they really did. They turned the lights out on him. >> Tom: Did they really? >> Brian: And he's, he was still in there this morning when we came in. >> Tom: Is this true? >> Brian: And started setting up the Holiday Help Desk. >> Tom: Honestly? >> Brian: No, it's not true. I want get out a few of the emails for the shy people who have sent emails to Holiday Help Desk at cnet.com while we have a chance. I'm not trying to say Lisa J. was shy, but she did email us from the Bronx. And says dear Help Desk crew, my 19-inch monitor just died this morning. We're all very sorry for your loss. >> Tom: We're sorry. >> Brian: So now I'm looking for good advice for getting a new computer monitor. I edit video. I do graphics, so screen real estate is a key. But I'm also a college student, so I need something below $200, preferably $150. If you can help I would greatly appreciated it because using my Mom's old monitor is killing me! I totally understand where you're coming from there. I did a little digging on my own with this email and found the Lenovo. What was. What was the model number on that? The Lenovo LV, L215P for $199. This is a nice, big 21.5-inch monitor. It's not the biggest monitor, but for $150 to $200 you're going to have the compromise some of that screen real estate. Deborach did some searching as well. She found a cheaper one. It's a little smaller though. >> Deborah: Right. That was a 19-inch. And let's take a quick look here. It's a multimedia LCD monitor, 19-inch. And I'm seeing price ranges of $189, $199, so it's right in that ballpark. >> Tom: Okay. >> Brian: All right. >> Tom: Good shopping right now. >> Brian: You got anything to throw in there? >> Tom: No. >> Brian: All right. >> Tom: Not on that one. Now Loranda I'd say with an HGTV basic, a classic I would call it, has an eight-year-old standard DEF-C RT television, and of course wants to get an HGTV to join the 21st Century. Now since those are the only TVs on the market, Loranda wants to know, are HGTV's going to play well with standard def 720P? So I'm a little, little mixed up in what you're saying there. 720P is not standard def, if you think that's what it is. That is just the lower tier of high-def with 1080I and 1080P being the upper tiers. >> Brian: Or is Loranda saying I've got a 720P television. >> Tom: Or I'm going to get one and is MB going to look okay. >> Brian: Yeah, yeah. >> Tom: SD's obviously going to look significantly worse on a high-def TV because there are more pixels to fill. That's what, that's what the high definition refers to. But there's not enough signal coming in to really fill them, so you tend to get a much more coarse image. Dr. Merritt has better luck with his than I have with mine. >> Brian: I just have a difference of opinion. >> Tom: [Inaudible]. Yeah. >> Brian: I think. I think the standard def on a high def, and I've got a 55-inch plasma. >> Tom: That's a big TV. >> Brian: The standard def looks fine. It looks better than it does on a tube television. >> Tom: And it helps to stand further back though. You know, it does. >> Brian: Yeah-yeah-yeah. >> Tom: It does, you know. >> Brian: You know, you're standing at, you know. >> Tom: Your neighbor's house. >> Brian: Nine hundred feet away. >> Tom: With binoculars? >> Brian: Yeah. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: It looks great. But, but it looks okay. >> Tom: Looks okay. >> Brian: It doesn't look as nearly good as high-def. >> Tom: Yeah. So realize that you want to make sure you've got high-def signals lined up as you make this jump into high-def era, so that can mean cable, satellite, over the air. Blu-ray from a game console or Blu-ray deck. And even internet streaming services these days are doing more and more high-def movies, so they're just starting on that. The other idea is to at least get an up-converting DVD player. If you don't want to buy a, a PS-3 or a Blu-ray deck or make the big jump into some kind of a digital cable package with HG, you know, there are a lot of what are called up-converting players in the vicinity of $50 to $65. What they do is they take all your current DVDs you already own and make them look near high-def. It can be a nice bridge when you're getting used to your high-def TV and want to figure out okay, what do I want to do now to get some great sources? But in the end, you want to feed on a high-def TV, high-def. High-def TVs don't make things high-def. >> Brian: Kayski writes hey, just wondering what are the cheapest prices and/or deals for the iPod Touch 32 and 64 gigabyte versions? Talking about third generation, Kayski specifies. Deborah has been digging in there. What are our best deals right now as of this broadcast for the 32 and 64 gigabyte iPod Touches? >> Deborah: Okay. Actually we have some great prices out there, and they are very fresh prices by the way. This information is updated hourly. And we have the iPod Touch third generation, 32 gigabytes starting at $279.95. However, I am seeing here as I look a little bit farther down Amazon has it at $269.99. So and again these are all certified stores. In addition to that we have the 64 gig and that's third generation, and those price ranges are $357, $358 up to $389. And we have nine stores that are showing that particular product today. >> Tom: Okay. >> Brian: There we go. >> Tom: Good stuff. >> Brian: Like that. And Dan, you know what? You can do, like you may not be as quick as Deborah but you can do a lot of that same research at Shopper.com. >> Tom: That's right. >> Brian: Just go through and drill down into the stuff you want. That, that's what they do. They keep it all up-to-date for you. >> Tom: Let's go right to the phones, shall we? >> Brian: Yeah. Why not? >> Tom: We've got. >> Brian: That's what we got them there for. >> Tom: They've been waiting patiently. I want to dive into this one here that has to do with a very significant issue about the pricing of TVs, and we've obviously had a lot of calls about that. And this is going to be the best deal on a 46-inch LCD but with a twist. Charles in Pennsylvania. How can we help you? Hello Charles, are you there? Oh, Charles might have stepped away. Charles, one more time. Are you there to talk about 46-inch [inaudible]. >> Brian: You know, while we're trying to get Charles I, I can clarify Sara in my ear earlier said I didn't get rid of the, the SanDisk Samsa because it was too hard. So much because it was too hard because it didn't work with iTunes. And it was [inaudible]. >> Tom: Oh. Bunch of bullshit. >> Brian: It wasn't. The music management isn't as easy without iTunes. >> Tom: Yeah. Well, it's much more [inaudible]. >> Brian: So she was like, you know. And she ended up getting the second generation Shuffle. I, I don't know if it was used or refurbed. But rather than that new one with the. >> Tom: Yeah. >> Brian: Controls on the earphones. >> Tom: Yeah. Yeah. Who we got on the phone here? One more time. >> Brian: She says it's new, she said. Look at that. >> Tom: Charles, are you there? Charles, I'm sorry. We've got to let you go. Don't make it that way. I don't want to lay anybody off on a holiday. >> Brian: Well, Charles isn't in charge. >> Dan: No, he's not. I think Charles is in the bathroom is where Charles is. We're talking about a game console because I want Tom to feel this one. And welcome to Randall in New York. Randall, I just threw Tom under the bus and you're going to join him there. Go! >> Randall: I was considering getting an Xbox 360. And I was wondering is, is the price difference between the Arcade and the Elite really worth it? >> Brian: Yeah. You know, Deborah, can you tell me what the current price difference is between the Arcade and Elite because I, I know it's. There's a standard retail, but there might be some deals out there, and that could make a difference. But honestly yeah, I think the Elite is better because you have a lot more functionality on the Elite. You have the ability to do a lot more things on, on the hard drive. You can, you could store movies. You can just store TV shows. Got a lot more space for saved games. So I mean I guess I should ask you this. Are you a big gamer? Or just kind of a medium gamer? >> Randall: Well, I, I play games pretty frequently, but it takes it. I, I don't play many games. >> Brian: I mean because the big thing you're missing with the Arcade is you're not, you dno't have that hard drive on top. So you know, if you're not going to buy any TV shows, you're not going to buy any movies, you're not. Maybe all you want to do is be able to put a CD in and play it. You play online a lot? >> Randall: Well, no, because I still have a Play Station II in the original Xbox, so there's not much online for that. But I think I would get into it. >> Brian: It sounds like for you actually the Arcade might be okay because you're not that interested in, in get. Are you just getting started in playing online. It doesn't sound like buying TVs or renting movies is a big deal for you. You might not take care of a lot of features, but you know, I, I'm still, you know. I'm still leaning towards the Elite because of the extra functionality there. >> Tom: Okay, Randall? >> Randall: Okay. Yeah. Thank you. >> Tom: All right. Thanks for the call. Phone are open at 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. Keep those calls coming. Also email firstname.lastname@example.org. We've still got some time here. >> Brian: Juan is calling in from Columbia. Hello, Juan. >> Juan: Hey, how are you guys? >> Brian: We're doing great. Thanks for calling. >> Juan: Good. Hey, I just want to know what did you think about the new lap, laptop. The Sony CW190? >> Brian: Yeah. It's very pretty, isn't it? It comes in a bunch of different colors. It's, it's pink and, and red and white and black and purple. You can get it with a couple gigahertz processor which isn't bad. And you can get two, two. Is it two? Yeah, you can get up to eight gigs of ram. It kind of depends on how you configure it. It looks like it can be configured to be a pretty screamin' laptop. You can add a Blu-ray player. You can get a, an Envidea GForce video card in it. So, you know, this isn't just a, a little plunky netbook. It's, it's. It's a pretty nice looking machine. Thing is with Sony though, what I don't like about Sony is they really lock you in a, in a lot of ways on upgrades. So if you're getting this. This is coming with Windows 7, but if you want to upgrade in the future, if you add things to it sometimes it'll void the warranty and stuff like that. That's, that's my only big broad issue with Sony Vios. But they're slick looking machines and, and they usually work really well. We haven't actually got this one into review yet. >> Juan: Yeah. What I was about price-wise you think it's expensive? Or [inaudible]? >> Brian: No. You know, I'm looking at the base configuration at $719, and that, that gives you a 2 gigahertz processor, 2 gigs of ram, 250 gig hard drive. That, that's seems decent. It's not a screaming deal by any stretch, but that seems about right for this quality of laptop. >> Juan: I'm thinking about getting that with 4 gigs of ram and 253 gigs of gigahertzs of the processor. I mean what else? Five hundred gigs of hard drive. >> Brian: Yeah. It's 4 gigs adds you $10.00, 400 gigs adds you $20-30. So you're not even, you're not even talking about $100 more. Maybe just a $100 more with you, with your processor upgrade. So, you know, $800. Again you probably can find a laptop out there that does the same amount for cheaper if you looked around. But if you're into the style of it, then this is a really nice looking laptop. >> Juan: Oh, okay. Thank you very much. >> Brian: All right. Good deal. Turkey boy. Before we get to some more calls and emails let's think back on Thanksgiving, shasll we? Did you. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? >> Tom: I did. A lovely time. >> Brian: Did, did they serve turkey? >> Tom: They did. >> Brian: Of course they did. >> Tom: Of course they did. >> Brian: And you served turkey too. In fact, I had five turkeys. Tech turkeys! [ Tom chuckling ] Nothing you want to eat and buy. >> Tom: What? >> Brian: Talk to the [inaudible] about tech turkeys. ^M00:57:26 [ Music ] ^M00:57:35 Hey, welcome to CNET Top Five where each time we meet we count down another hot CNET list. I'm Tom Merritt. As many as are listening in the United States sit down to dine on turkeys, the bird, we are put in mind here at CNET of another definition of the word. A person or thing of little appeal. A dud. A loser. So let's be thankful that we weren't the product manager for these products. The top five tech turkeys. At number five the Motorola TN30 navigation device. Antoine Goodwin noted its crisp graphics and intuitively designed menus. Unfortunately those were hard to appreciate behind its slow, unresponsive and extremely buggy operation that required a hard reset every other day. [ Turkeys gobbling ] Turkey. Coming in at number four, Twitter Peet, a favorite suggestion from people I asked about this on Twitter, oddly enough. It does what it does well enough I guess, but all it does is Twitter for $200. And it doesn't even show all 140 characters on the screen. Still need to carry those other devices that probably also Twitter. [ Turkeys gobbling ] Turkey. Up to number three, the Garmin newbie phone G60, and this one hurts. We, we so wanted it to be good and it is good at navigation as you might expect. But it fails as a phone. And the excelleramater doesn't always work. When Bonny Shaw says it's not the worth the money, you know, it's a turkey. [ Cow moos] Sliding in at number two the servers at Danger, makers of the Sidekick. Not only did the data servers go down, but also poor Sidekick users who were unlucky enough to turn off their phone during the outage lost all their data. Microsoft, who owns Danger, says they've restored almost all the data but still. [ Turkeys gobbling ] Turkey. Before we get to number one time for another Lame Price Question. One of the biggest operating system turkeys was Window Me. What was the name of the PR tour Microsoft conducted in 25 cities to introduce the world to Windows Me? Be one of the first 10 to answer correctly at blog.cnettv.com and you could win a turkey, in my opinion, a young Annakin Skywalker cup topper from Star Wars, the Phantom Menace. The turkey of all Star Wars films. All right, let's get to our number one, the top tech turkey of 2009 sitting deliciously roasted at number one. It's the Brother MFC 5890CN all in one printer. And I just need to quote from Justin U's review. Hands down the worst printer to take up space in our lab. From the irritating initial setup to the horrendous output quality and slow print speed, this device is the easiest way to flush $200 down the drain. [ Turkeys gobble] Now that my friends is a turkey. Well, that's it for this edition of CNET Top Five. Don't forget to enter our trivia question answer at blog.cnettv.com for a chance to win the cup topper turkey. I'm Tom Merritt. See you next time. ^M01:00:40 [ Music ] ^M01:00:45 >> Brian: Okay. That wraps up our first hour of the two-hour. Did you hear the cow in that video? >> Tom: Moo. >> Brian: Just got what? What was that? All right. Our, just our two hour summary of Monday Holiday Help Desk continues. We're right at the mid-point now taking the turn, coming up after a word from the sponsor. We've got more great deals from another huge internet retailer that's kind of right in the center of all this. CompUSA. That and more great deals from CNET's shopper.com. More of your calls at 888-900-CNET as the Holiday Help Desk continues. ^M01:01:10 [ Music ]