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Holiday Help Desk 2010: Black Friday TV maniaWe kick off the first show of the season with hot black Friday deals including $270 HDTVs and $3 appliances, plus CNET TV guru David Katzmaier doles out his holiday high def picks and shares some critical tv buying advice.
-Hello folks---- Whooh! -Hello! -That's stop quickly. We're---- -Your face is really closed up to that camera that scared me. -This is about Holiday Helpdesk, all the various parts of it. Welcome to it is our 6th year, and we're here to answer your questions about holiday technology gift buying. I'm Brian Cooley with Molly Wood, Brian Tong and for the next 45 minutes or probably a little bit less today, we're gonna be taking your calls and questions regarding the best tech gifts for either yourself, if you're a self-giver, or for the people around your list. And of course, we're counting down to Black Friday 2010. We've brought in some special guest to help us out on this show as well. We've got the Cheapskates that would be Rick Broida. Hello, Rick. -Hello, guys. -There he is, Skype in. There's Rick from the Cheapskate bunker, and we've also got David Katzmaier, CNET's TV guru. Hello, Katz. -How is it going, Brian? -Good. Good to have you here. We're also be talking to John Vincent, at blackfriday.info a little bit later on the hour. He'll have a preview of what we can expect to see on sale as we get down to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the Cyber Mondays, it'll be coming after that. -I know where. We're gonna be here to help out all season long. This is our first show of 5 unlike the 22 that we did last year. -Lot less. -We'll---- That turns out was about idea and my voice is already going, so let's be honest, five show sounds good. Well, you know, we'll be here every Monday between now and December 28th at 1 p.m. Pacific 4 p.m. Eastern is the live stream, but you can get all of these later at cnet.com/live. -Now, for all of you guys that are joining us live, you can call in with your questions. We're gonna do our best---- -I'm in. -or just throw all the question to David Katzmaier---- -No. -to answer them. The number you can call us is 1-888-900 CNET, join in. We also have a separate conversation going on in the live chat room. So if you guys wanna be a part of that, you can jump into that as well. And if you wanna e-mail us, send your e-mail to email@example.com . -And of course, we mentioned, we've got Katzmaier, David Katzmaier standing by from New York. I wanna get right to Katz before we get to some shopper deals here and talk a little bit about what's going with some of the TV questions we're getting coz we have a lot of those---- -Uh huh. -coming in. Katz, a couple that came on the e-mail that we want to ask you about here. A lot of folks were confused by this whole refresh rate thing and how much they should buy into on this. That seems to be a big one this year. People asking where is the price point break or it's worth at 60, 120, 240, what number of hertz is worth the money versus overbuy? -That's a great question, Brian. I mean, in general it's overbuy for all of them. You don't really wanna use 240 hertz as, you know, this is the one feature that I really wanna get. -Yeah. -The problem is that they build better picture quality, you know, unrelated to hertz into those slightly more expensive TV. So I consider 120 hertz to be the baseline at this point for this year's model line ups. Sixty hertz is the entry level and I've seen some big picture quality differences between a 60 and a 120; 120 is sort of the mainstream and then, the 240 is generally the more expensive one now. You know, you do get a little bit of picture adjustment option when you use 120 and 240 hertz. You have the ability to turn on or off the smoothing feature, which, you know, some people like to look of "I really doubt it," that's more of the facts and other things. But, you know, if you wanna have that option then, you know, you wanna get a 120 or 240. -And the other about this is they get to match it to any other gear you're using. Is there like a matching level of output from a DVD player or a cable box or is this just all by itself? -That is a great question because people use it in the stores as up sounds. But, you what? You need a 120 hertz cables, you need 240 hertz [unk]. That's all BS. You can use the---- any 120 hertz or 240 hertz or 60 hertz TV with pretty much any source out there, the exception is 3D, of course you need a 3D TV for a 3D source. -That's what I like about that guy. He calls BS1 [unk]. -Yeah, calls BS on everything I've asked, in fact. -Now, David, there's a lot---- -240's BS. -moving on. -different sources of BS. I can't wait to find out like television BS, right? -That's why you're saying now the Vista. -No, no, no. -But this is the year when you're supposed to go 120, right? Because per---- It seems like we have been saying up until, you know, maybe today---- -Yeah. -that 60 hertz was still fine for people who were bargain shopping; unless you were gonna do Blu-ray. -Uh-huh. -Yeah. I mean, the 120, again, they are associated with the TV's that are gonna give you better great picture quality in general. So I'm not saying that that is the feature, you know, that you really should use as the end point like, "I have a TV of 120 hertz." It's just that, you know, this year the 60 hertz models are generally gonna be a little less good picture quality---- -Uh huh. So, if it 's a 100 dollar difference, you know, I'd personally it's worth the stuff enough. -Yeah, those 60's are pretty bottom feeder sets at this point. Now---- -Yeah, that's about. -none of those TV's matter if you don't get the right price. So, we're here to help you throughout the show not just find the right product, but also get the right price on it and to help you find those prices, BT is keeping an eye on what's going with our expert partners over at shopper.com, who also send us their hottest deals just before the show every day for the next few Mondays as we do Holiday Helpdesk. -Yes, so what we have here on shopper.com some of the top deals of the day. We're gonna point out a few of them. The first one that we have here is an Xbox 360. It's the latest version. It's the Xbox 360 Slim with a 250 gig hard drive. It also is bundled with the Connect, which is one of the hottest gifts for the holiday season. Normally, if you add up the bundle together it's $299 for the Xbox, $149 for the Connect, but you're getting this package for $380 plus free shipping from Dell. -Wow! -So if you guys go to---- So it's about $70 less. If you guys go to Dell's website, that's where you'll be able to find it. It's this little itchy bitchy thingy right here. But I promise you that that deal is good to go. So I'm---- I mean that's gonna a killer deal if you're looking for something. Another deal that we have now---- This is a question kind of I also wanna toss back to David---- A lot of Black Friday deals are television sets that are 60 hertz. A lot, you know, most of them are 60 hertz televisions where you're gonna get some sweet deal like here, we have a Samsung 40. We also have a Sharp AQUOS. Now, David, is there also when you play video games, does the refresh rate make a difference because there's more ghosting on 60 hertz TV's versus 120 hertz when you're gaming? -That's not necessarily true. Yes, there is a slightly more ghosting on a 120 hertz or 240 hertz TV's, but the problem is that extra video processing can introduce lag. So sometimes we've seen where the lag for the difference between when you move the controller and your giant screen actually moves---- -Uh huh. -can be a little bit more if you have the 120 hertz or 240 hertz smoothing options enabled. So that's something to watch out for. A lot of the game modes for example on these TV's, they just get rid of all that processing and turn all those TV's into essentially 100 or essentially 60 hertz TV's anyway to, you know, kind of eliminate that possibility to lag. -Okay. -I don't---- I gotta say, I don't even care what you guys say. 450 bucks for a 40-inch 10 ADP widescreen LCD TV. -This is great. -is absolutely fun with me. -It's big enough it's flat done. -I don't even look at the hertz. I'm not gonna lie. -Right. At that price, you don't need to. That's cheap. I mean, Katz, we're getting a little point now. Almost for a TV's cost what they used to costs. You know, when the end of the CRT era happened it was, you know, kind of a $400 TV was a pretty good TV. We're almost back to that now on flat panels. -You're gonna put me out of a job, guys. Yeah. The prices are actually a little bit [unk] this year. -Not likely [unk]. -That's why we're here on Holiday Helpdesk. -We were wondering internally like, "Okay, so when is 32-inch TV's, when do they gonna be, you know, less than 400 bucks?" -Yeah. -Because forever they've been, you know, about $399 and this Black Friday deals I've seen it for $251.99 for the 32-inch flat panels---- -Uh huh. -and that is ridiculously cheap, you know. -Yeah. -And if you're just gonna throw up, you know, a 40-incher in a bedroom or a place where it's not really, you know, that big of a deal, you know, you don't really care what the video quality is like, then you know what? Those are great deals. -Uh huh. -Yeah, so just quickly. These two deals, the Sharp AQUOS 40-inch, $450 for free shipping, that is from Sears; and the Samsung 40-ich 10 ADP TV, $498, free shipping from Best Buy. -And as long as we were talking deals, we've had Cheapskate Rick Broida in the bunker waiting for us to go to him and give us some more of the deals. What do you got? You're there in Michigan, you're in the dark, you're looking up deals---- -You got mustard on the walls. -You know what? That's his home. -Why is this happening every year? -I don't care. -Every year, poor Rick Broida joins us live via Skype and we make fun of his house. -And gets his yellow walls jacked around. We always do that. -This is so weird. -It's orange. It's tangerine. -All right, what do you got for us this year, Rick? If you have not hang up in---- -Aside from a hang-up button on Skype, what else do you have? -Excuse, I just---- I gotta---- I'm sorry, you can make me cry. -We loved you coz you're cheap. -Well, not to repeat, basically, everything you just said, and thanks so much for stealing my [unk] big deal to talk about. -Yeah, but you're the best. -Today's Cheapskate deal is a Phillips 32-inch LCD panel for the low, low, low, low price of $269. Now, I know somebody mentioned just a bit ago that on Black Friday we may see some sets like these creep as low as 200 bucks---- but come on, if you're gonna go stay online at 4 o'clock in the morning in the cold, I mean, this is Michigan right here. It's cold outside. So if you wanna have this delivered to your door for $269---- today is the day to get it. It's available from Target, and pretty nice-looking panel. It's 60 hertz, but you know what? I've got a couple of 60 hertz sets [unk] one behind me, and it's beautiful. I have no complaints. The hertz is indeed a bunch of BS. -I don't know if that's about the hertz, I'm---- -You heard it here. -That's a great price, though. -That is a great price. -Yeah. -That's a better [unk] and done. -That's an impulse purchase. -That's not bad. -Uh huh. -That's impulse buy. -Hertz. -Yeah, all you are right, and don't forget if you check the Cheapskate post today at the button, the bonus deal is 3 bucks worth of free tunes from Amazon, no strings attached, just pop the code in and you got 3 songs that you can download. -And do you have any tips, Rick, for what might becoming on Black Friday coz I know that we, you know, we talked at New York Times, I had an article today about how sites are already rolling out deals. But have you heard about anything special for Black Friday? -You know what; I wanna keep those cards close to the best. -You devil -Cheapskate for that, but you know what? The whole month has been one long Black Friday. I think we just might as well call it Black November now and be done with it. -Yeah. -We're gonna have a month of Cyber Mondays, right? Because people are sitting on the fence from what I've heard as consumers waiting until the real last minute this year. -Well, it's funny. The deals I'm seeing now from vendors that I'd, you know, I get e-mails about, it's the warm-up deal to Black Friday or it's the last chance free early just before Black Friday. Don't miss the deal. The whole month is one big Black Friday celebration now. -All right, good news all around. Rick, thank you, we'll see you next Monday on our episode 2 of Holiday Helpdesk. Rick Broida, folks, the CNET Cheapskate: cheapskate.cnet.com, right, Rick? -Close; cnet.com/cheapskate. -Same idea. -Just flipped it around a little bit. -Different [unk] structure. You know, we'll talk about that after this show. All right, thanks a lot, Rick, appreciate it. -Thank you. -Before we get to some of your calls, though, and the phones are opened at 888-900 CNET, 888-900-2638. We have 2 calls waiting and 2 lines open, so jump in there. Before we do that, though, let's take a look at CNET's top pick in televisions coz we've had a product spotlight every weekend on the show. This, of course is such a go-to item because you give the gift that is for the whole family. It's great for the holiday. Let's take a look at the product spotlight with out own David Katzmaier. -Hi, I'm David Katzmaier from CNET.com, and this is---- -Yes. -the Panasonic TC-PVT20/25 series. This is our holiday pick as the top overall TV for 2010. This is Panasonic's flagship TV for the year and it's also a 3D television. We'll get to all of that in a little bit. But first, it's worth taking a look at the styling of this set. Panasonic went very conservative around the edge of the TV. You'll find a standard glossy black, although it's actually a little bit bronze colored, and it has swivel stand here, and some chrome accents. But otherwise, it's not really more remarkable than a lot of the other TVs out there. Turn it to this side you can see it's definitely not an LED TV. This is a plasma. It's about 3-1/2 inches thick, but of course, still plenty thin for most people. It's definitely a flat panel. As we mentioned, one of the principal capabilities of this set is 3D. It comes with one pair of 3D glasses. The additional pair is around a $100 to a 150 bucks a piece, and of course, you need for each family member. But, once your family is equipped with those glasses and you put in some 3D content, this TV does a pretty darn good job at displaying and the 3D is very impressive-looking. It also has fewer artifacts than a lot of the other 3D TVs on the market, and of course, its excellent performance with 2D also translates pretty well over into 3D. On the downside, the Panasonic lacks the 2D to 3D conversion found on a lot of the other 3D TVs on the market, but I really don't think that that's big of a deal. If you wanna turn your 2D into 3D, we found some issues doing that with some processing out there. So, we don't really miss it. Aside for 3D, other features on this TV include the internet capability offered by VIERA Cast. You can use that service to access Netflix videos as well as Amazon Video on Demand, Twitter, even Skype if you buy an optional speaker phone attachment. It doesn't have quite as many content options or quite as much customization as a lot of the other competitors, but it's still pretty good for your basic streaming services. Panasonic also threw in a good selection of picture controls although, again, there's not as many options as is found an LG or a Samsung, all those competitors, but it does offer the capability to play around with things like gamma can color temperature. We also appreciated the THX mode on this TV. It was excellent. Again, you can kinda just put it in THX mode and forget it for a lot of your critical viewing for movies and such. Speaking of critical viewing, we really did think this was the best overall performing TV this year. Its real strength is black level performance. Now, Panasonic, in the past, has had some issues with the black level actually getting a little bit lighter over the lifespan of the TV. We tested this one over the course of 2010 and it does actually get lighter, but not to nearly the same extent as the others. And again, when it levels off, it's still really the best on the market in terms of achieving those nice, deep black. So, we really don't think the black level fade is anything to worry about on this TV. THX mode does offer excellent color accuracy. You get great skin tones and excellent primary and secondary colors. The TV also has very good video processing. It handles 1080p/24 correctly, although we did see some slight artifacts in that mode. So, purists might wanna keep it at the 1080p/60 mode. You do have that choice. As we mentioned, 3D performance is another strength on this TV. Its crosstalk was among the best we've seen, which means that it doesn't have very many ghostly outlines that are seen on some of the other competitors around 3D objects. Also, that black level and color accuracy translates very nicely into 3D, although It's not quite as accurate as some of the Samsung models we saw. Connectivity on the Panasonic is very good. You got 4 total HDMI inputs, 3 on the back and 1 on the side; 2 component video inputs; a PC input; 2 USB ports; and even an SD card slot in addition to this LAN port for the wired Ethernet connection. Overall, the Panasonic TC-PVT20/25 series, while pretty darn expensive, is the best overall performer we tested in 2010, and that's why it's our pick as the best TV for holiday shopping this year. -All right, folks, David Katzmaier, TV guru there with his product spotlight. Hey, Katz, you still with us, I think. Quick rundown on some of your picks in the holiday gift guide at holiday.cnet.com. -Yes. So aside from that Panasonic, that's really the most expensive pick in there and that's kind of if you have, you know, all the money in the world to throw it your Christmas gift, but most people don't. So I think the best bank for the buck this year is actually Panasonic as well. It's the TCP G20/25 series. You can get the 50-inch with around a thousand dollars now. And for an excellent performing plasma, 50-inch, it's really, it doesn't get any better than that. For LCD, I really like the 46-inch Samsung LN46C630. It's also available in larger and smaller sizes. -They just refused to name these days [unk] do they? Great! -Do you notice how Katzmaier remembers every single letter---- -He does. -and number? -Usually like, "Well, that's the HCT 2479GRL53." -And if I use that voice it'll suddenly [unk]. This is the video XBT3SB Series, CNET editor's choice. And again, that's a pretty good performing television. So Visio has a reputation for being, you know, a bargain basement brand, but they actually came out this year with some pretty good LED-based LCDs including our editor's choice, the XVT-3SV Series, pretty darn good as well. So, and then finally, the one that I've---- it's kind of like the less expensive one in the market for this pick is the Panasonic S2 models. Those are really inexpensive and you get all the benefits of plasma. The 46 is about $700. But, you know, you don't have to worry about LCDs, the off-angle can be initially, for example, and it doesn't have the quite to picture quality some of the other ones we've talked about, but it's, you know, excellent bank for the buck. -And Katz, real quick. When people asked about different models of TVs, you mentioned that the S2 Series you just said or something---- -Uh huh. -within a series of television in different sizes, I can assume they all have the same guts? -Yeah, pretty much, though, and we assume that they all have identical picture quality. The manufacturer says much the specs are the same now. Now, they will vary sometimes; larger models might have slightly different picture quality than the smaller models. -Yeah. -But we just review one size in the series and apply the review to all those models because, you know, there is something like so many things you can [unk]. -We had it all day. Yeah, because anyway, a lot of folks will ask what about this and all they've asked about is a different size, but they think it's a different TV because the size is built into the model number. -Yeah. -So they should know that within the series you've spot that in there, it should be the same television. -Hey, David, a quick question, 3D TVs for people that---- -Yeah. -wanna know should they get them this year or should they wait until next year? -I think it's a wait-until-next-year situation, unless you're already shopping at the high end of the market and, you know, in that case, you're gonna probably notice that all the TVs are looking at a 3D, anyway. If you go out and look at and make 3D your priority, I think next year is really the time to do that coz there's gonna be a lot more choice among 3D TVs, but they're gonna be a lot less expensive. It's gonna be just another features sort of like internet was this year, and you know, it's really a good year to wait, and also the glasses technology I think is gonna get a lot better next year. The active glasses are gonna get better and I think they're gonna get less expensive as well. So there's a couple of good reason to hold out. -Uh huh. -All right, sit tight on that one. It is time, by the way, to get to your questions: 1-888-900 CNET 2638 is our phone number. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I believe we have a call on the line now, yeah, which one are we doing here? -We're gonna go to line 4. -All right. -This is gonna bring us to a Nathan. Hello, Nathan, Pennsylvania, right? -Yeah, we're good. -How are you? -All right. I just want---- I have a quick question about the Slingbox SOLO. -Uh huh. -I have Verizon's FiOs TV. I just wanna know if that was the compatible or not. -Oh, interesting question. So, he's got FiOs fiber two of curse, fiber to the premises to be strictly technical from Verizon there as opposed regular cable. This should make a difference. -What? -It doesn't matter how your content gets to your Home AV Center. The Slingbox picks it up from the Home AV, and then---- -just put it right back out. -Yeah, it seems like this will work. -Yeah, I mean, a few more questions, though, I mean, is that---- is the IR blaster compatible with set-top box, -Yes, it is. -and are they compatible with Netbooks by chance like will it look already on one of those? -So, Katzmaier says yes to the IR blaster question and---- -Yeah, I have used with FiOS at my house, but I'm not really sure which one to do---- -Yeah. -with the Netbook. -In terms of, I mean, streaming video to a Netbook is always a little dicy, right? It's just doesn't---- they don't seem to---- except for there's---- the 1hp-menu that does HD video. -Yeah. -Other than that, the video is not gonna look that good. -Well, it can actually. -Well, yeah, I mean, going on---- -It can? -Yeah. -I have this computer dual core at them. -Yeah. Well, [unk] should be fine definitely. -Yeah, all right. -All right. -Yeah. -Yeah. -And what's the best price you guys can find for the Slingbox? -Yeah, Nathan, right now, I did a little hunting for you. Retail, obviously goes from $179. Right now, out of all the deal sites, the best one I found at the moment was Amazon. They're selling it from $149 with free shipping, so you have to actually add it to your cart and once you do that, it'll show up the price for $149. So that might be your best, but at the moment, there might be something like comes on Black Friday. I haven't seen any in the ads. But, $149 looks like the spot, the hot spot right now. -Any previews for Cyber Monday? Have anything in store for that? -We tried that. We've tried---- -We've tried. -to get some deals that at Rick Broida, but turns out---- -At damn Broida, he's like a clam. -I know. You're gonna have to tune in for Monday for Cyber Monday show---- -Yeah. -to find out what the good deals are [unk]. -Okay? That's how we do that. Nathan, thanks for the call---- -Thank you -appreciate it. Let's stay local here, guys. Thomas is here in San Francisco. Let's see what he's got on the we tip. Hello, Thomas. Welcome to Holiday Helpdesk. -Yeah, thank you. I recently bought a new monitor, which was great because I have a computer problem. I'm wondering if you know the best site to answer technical questions like that or---- and/or borrowing that best place to buy a computer around $500 and type of computer---- -Anywhere, I mean, computer are so generic. Desktop, we're talking about, right? -Yeah, a little meticulous. -Yeah, desktops are like brain-dead now. Go spent $400 anywhere on anything in its name brand and you've got, unless you're doing something intensive, gaming, video editing, something like that. That's probably I can think of. -I would say actually, in general, probably the safest advise is to go to COSCO coz they have a pretty good selection---- -Oh, yeah. -and it doesn't matter coz you're buying computers anyway and they have that awesome return policy. -Uh huh. -They still do that. You can return it like within 20 years---- -It used to be 20 years---- -and get full credit---- -for everything now. -forever---- -I think it's down to more like a year for electronics. They lowered it for electronics and it might be---- -It's still nuts. -90 days, but 90 days is still way better than any---- -Yeah, nuts, yeah. -nuts. -other retailer and they usually just have really good prices. COSCO for electronics? -Yeah! Buying computers is really easy right now; even laptops have almost approached the generic stage, so you're good on whatever you get there for its name brand. -Yeah. -Thanks, Tom, appreciate the call. -One more caller here and which one we like, guys, do we wanna go Apple-like devices or TV tuners for laptops? -Let's go with Bruce at line 1. -Go Bruce, Bruce. Bruce, North Carolina. You heard BT. It's go Bruce. -Go, Bruce, go. -Bruce, Bruce. -Yes, yes, yes. -Wake up, Bruce. -I'm here. -We will strap you down, shave you with the bowie knife and pour a wood [unk] down your gullet. Don't make us do that. -I don't wanna have to do that. -I don't even know what that is. -I'd like to do that, too. -What can we do for you, Bruce? -I will try to ask impulse, you know. -I mean, what else can we do for you, Bruce? -Okay, this Apple-like devices no---- -Apple TV-like devices. -Correct. -Okay. -Those---- None of these seemed easy enough for grandparents and things like that. Are these any easier than say an Xbox streaming? -Oh, yeah. Let me take this one, guys. -There are way easier than that. Yeah, Katz. -Wait. -Go Katz, go. -So, my father, Bruce, terrible tech, but I just finally convinced him to get a plasma TV a couple of years ago, but he's a Netflix junky and he loved it. What I recommended at the time was a Roku. And the guy plugged it in. He had the high-speed internet, so that was a prerequisite, but once you have that plugged in, it was easy. I never got a tech support call from dad about the Roku, and he loves it because---- -Yeah. -it allows him to use his Netflix streaming pretty much to his heart's content and take full advantage of that: $8.99 a month, although now it's $7.99, right guys? -That's true. -Yeah. -[unk]plan, yeah. -$7.99 for streaming only, no DVD. -This close---- -I gotta say---- -Yes, so---- -And I have a Roku right here and you can see, it is how dead simple it is, you know. It's a pretty straightforward series of ports. It's either your colored RCA jacks or your HDMI, and this is the remote. -It's real easy. -Not scary at all. -Yeah. -Yeah. -A Roku is definitely my pick for just dead simple. -Roku is so simple. -Yeah [unk], that's one Molly showing right there and, you know, they say it takes 5 minutes to hook it up, I mean they lie; it takes maybe 2, and the other 3 minutes I spent trying to slice the little purple jeans tab off the side of the box, so---- -Yeah. -all in. -That's about---- -5 minutes, max. -that little thingy. -Really easy. All right, Bruce, go Roku and go Bruce. -What about content. Are the content providers, they're gonna be there at 6 months to a year from now? -Which---- are there any specific one? -Roku's content is Amazon video on-demand; they're not going anywhere. -Uh huh. -Netflix and Hulu. Hulu is kind of [unk]. You don't know what's gonna happen with them, but you know, 2 out 3 ain't bad, and they've got a bunch of another ones like MLB on there that also gonna be around. So---- -And a bunch of---- -Anything at---- -and that's not really a problem. -You can get all your CNET Podcast on there, too. So you're pretty much that up. -But, no YouTube and nothing Apple-oriented, bear that in mind. -Yes. -That's a big, big car---- Hey, Katz, what's the story on YouTube on Roku, why not? -That's a great question. I absolutely don't know, maybe coz nobody wants to watch, you know, YouTube on---- at their televisions. I've heard that there is, you know, that the YouTube---- -Or 50 jobs---- -apps on---- Sorry about that---- on you know, the TVs are, you know, relatively underused. I think a lot of it has to do with search, Brian, coz this is search-based thing---- -I don't know. -you don't wanna have a keyboard there sitting in front of your thing. -Well, that's interesting, yes. -It's about really a browse- friendly environment, although YouTube will Leanback, is trying to change that. -Even Leanback requires a keyboard to do search stuff. -Yeah. -It's very searchy. -So, you know, I could see Roku adding that, maybe in the future if people demand it---- -Interesting. -but, I think they have heard much about it. -Yup. -Yes, staring YouTube without a keyboard is kind of not gonna happen. -Simple. -Interesting. Okay, good stuff. All right, folks, we will take more of your call. We got just a little bit of a time for a few more. We have a liner 2 open at 888-900 CNET, 888-999-2638. We're gonna let Katz go. He's got a hard out. Katz, thanks for joining us today. -See you later, guys. -Thank you, David. -Great! Good stuff. And tell me about---- -Happy holidays. -Thank you, you too. Have a good Thanksgiving. We'll see you under the side. We'll be talking to John Vincent coming up after a short break. He is our Black Friday deals guy we've got here on the show and we've got someone like that on every episode at Holiday Helpdesk. We're back with that and more with the Holiday Helpdesk continues call: 888-900 CNET. Holiday Helpdesk back in a flash. -Can you really rid the world of terrorist? Why didn't the government prepare for the worst? Have you ever said to the president, "I think you're wrong?" The story has just breaking. I'm Katie Couric in the heart of New York City in [unk]. In above the oil trench zone. Here in on board [unk]. -A world of difference every evening, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. -Your TV maybe beautiful, but it only does TV. -Thanks, man. -What if you could control everything you love about TV and the internet all on one screen? Movie, shows, web videos, e-mails, social networks. One of the TV of tomorrow is here today. Say hello to Smart TV. Imagine the possibilities with the performer of Intel inside your TV. -There's a new way to watch 60 Minutes on the iPad. See our stories anytime, anywhere, available in the Apps Store now. -Hey, welcome back. -Hey! -After a short [unk] look at Brian Tong. Here's Molly Wood. -Am I supposed to talk or you're talking now. I knew I was---- -I was thinking. -No, not, we were talking about other things, that's what happened. 1-800-900 CNET---- 888-900-CNET 263 is our phone number if you wanna call us, mess what the hell Brian Tong and I were talking about in the break. -Uh huh. -Important things. Very important things. -Holiday Helpdesk rolls on. -Rolls on. -All right, folks, as we mentioned before the break, we've got our Black Friday deal of our specialist today, John Vincent from the website blackfriday.info that obsessively specializes on Black Friday deals. They're harvesting these things all the time that they're finding them from variety merchants. John is on our show, this time, last year during the 2009 Holiday Helpdesk. So, first of all, John, welcome back. Good to have you here. Tell us about your site, so folks know what it is you do. -All the different Black Friday ads from all the major retailers. So, all you need to do is just go into blackfriday.info and you can see basically a hundred different Black Friday ads and easily compare to see what's gonna be on sale this Black Friday. -Now, not going do you have them, but tell us when you have them. Do you get an early drop on these, how do you harvest them and get me a leg up as opposed to me just going out and googling. -Yeah, exactly. We have these ads, really expensive ads. You know, we've had all the major ads for at least 2 weeks now, and basically, it's just in charge from the company or people at work in the printing presses, they linked them to us---- -Those are called spies. Call them what they are. -Yeah. -Right. -Spies basically sent us the ads and we posted them up [unk] people to see. So you can easily just plan your shopping and I don't know what's gonna be on sale on Black Friday, and not [unk] almost early Black Friday deals. -Okay, tell us about some deals. Give us some examples. You gotta a couple coming up from Target, for example. Everyone's got a Target nearby. What do you like there? -Yeah. I did the best deal Target. It's a Westinghouse 40-inch 10 ADP LCD HD TV that's on sale for about $298. The regular price is $549.99, so it's---- -reap. -perfect. -goes off the regular price. So, it's pretty good. The only problem with that is [unk], so the problem we're gonna 10 [unk]. So, if you really want that TV, make sure you get the Target around. -Aren't all these things like this TV that we're looking at here, aren't all of these door busters when we say Black Friday special or any of these decently stocked? -Some of them are decently stocked, I mean, you know the deal with Target [unk] they have $3 kitchen appliances. It's like a toaster or sandwich maker. -Wait, how much? -$3? -Shut the front door. Hello---- -Always scares me. -I just woke up from a [unk] that one. -Always scares me [unk]. -You're gonna have hundred of those because it's only $3. -Okay. -[unk], you're not gonna have this money. -There's a two-slice toaster. Got it. There's a [unk] electric hand mixer---- -Yeah. -And the two-slice sandwich maker. -Hello! -Now, we're talking. -$3. Guaranteed the works 3 times. We also got some stuff coming up at Walmart. We always think of Walmart and cheap. So you really got [unk] see if it's gonna be from Walmart and be cheap enough for us to say, "Oh, that's interesting." -Yeah, Walmart has an [unk] 15.6-inch laptop, 2 gigs of RAM, 250 gig hard drive for $198. [unk] for laptop, it's a pretty good deal. -Really. -It's not a gaming laptop, it's not a video-editing laptop, but you just surf and allow to do an e-mail. It's not that bad. -That's amazing. -15-inch laptop. -$200 for a laptop. -for a $100 less than a Netbook, right? -That's remarkable. -Basically, it's pretty impressive. [unk] machine. It's a real machine, it's not some a name, unknown. -I mean, it's not that bad. -Okay, so just because we wanna take a left turn here, what do you got a J. C. Penney? Work with me on this. -J. C. Penney---- -I love you, John, but I gotta hear about where this fits in. -So, they've got a lot of [unk] on sale. The only retails for $180. On Black Friday, it's gonna be $38.88. So if you have planning a trip, going way somewhere, get a 5-piece luggage set for only 40 bucks. That would be all. -I love---- I just love Black Friday in the insanity of it all. You know what, let's go ahead and kick off 140 bucks on this luggage set. -We'll get a way to it. -Why not? -Okay now---- -Why not? -$38, let's round it $40. -5-piece. -and it's 5-piece---- -5 pieces. -$8 a piece. -Yeah. -You really want the piece of luggage that cost 8 bucks, that's amazing. -There are no pictures that we can show you, but I'm---- it doesn't matter. -No, it doesn't matter. -3 times just like the sandwich maker. -They made out of cardboard. -It can be Camel when it's worth it. -I love it. -What's wrong about Camel? -I'm sorry, I mean, I should---- the present company accepted, yeah, all right. -It's like, that is my luggage. -That's my life. Camel is my life. -All right, John. Hey, thanks a lot for joining us. John Vincent at blackfriday.info and these are great, great deals from a whole variety of categories in some way we didn't even expect. Good stuff there, and of course, Black Friday deals are what they specialized in there at blackfriday.info. Let's get back into some calls and e-mails. -Yeah. -We got a lot of these stacked enough and that's really kind of why we're here to answer your questions. Where do we wanna go on the phones the next guy, we have tablets? -Yeah. All right, let's do tablets. -Let's go to tab. -Let's do one on there. -Let's do that. -I like that. -All right, here's Andy. Andy is in Missouri. What do we got to show you, Andy? -I will just question about the [unk] you guys the opinion between the Apple iPad with the Samsung Galaxy Tab---- -You know, this is gonna so bloody in here. -Me and my wife have been looking to get one. We both have Android phone. They're very comfortable. The marketplace [unk], but we didn't know how the screen was and this would be worth. You know, we do a lot of traveling, but, you know, I used them most for e-reading and maybe some movies like web browsing. -Andy, you're in luck. We just, not only that we just shoot in a price fight between the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the iPad, we have them both---- -We have them both. -in set. -Yeah. -in house. -And I would say, with the price out, we have 3 judges that talked about the pros and cons. One of the things that we mentioned right off the bad is that if you an Android user, you'll obviously be very comfortable with using the Galaxy Tab because the OS is no different than a stack Android OS on the phone. There is actually nothing that differentiates it that makes it necessarily a different tablet experience, which is a plus or minus depending on who you're asking, but you'll be very familiar with it right off the bad. Another pro of the Galaxy Tab versus the iPad is the size, and what I mean by that is depending on what devices you already have in your house. If one of these, the iPad or the Tab might fit differently for you, so, for example---- -Yeah. -people that have like a -Uh huh. -10-inch Netbook already, they may not want a 10-inch iPad that's touchscreen, they might want a smaller---- -Uh huh. -device like a Galaxy Tab---- -Yeah. -the complimented that 7 inches. -So, here---- -Yeah. -Hold them up side by side. We have the Galaxy Tab here---- -Yeah. -And you can kind of see the size is different coz 7-inch like, you know, we've talked about that sounds bigger than it is and it is relatively small when you hold it. It's about the size of a Kindle. -Yeah. -It's half the size of an iPad and a little off. -But it's also half the weight of an iPad. -Yeah. -And if you're gonna use it a lot for e-reading, I think that's something you really wanna consider coz I have definitely found---- -Okay. -in my iPad usage that I was using it a lot of books and I went back to my Kindle for a lot of e-reading because it's just---- -Yeah. -really heavy. -Yeah -Yes. -For---- It's just heavy to hold for that one. -I have like---- Yeah, I have a 17-inch laptop that we use in the living room, but it's a little big and cranky for that kind of stuff and we're just sitting in the living room [unk] Netflix or something---- -Uh huh. -It would be nice to pick up that up instead. -Oh, yeah. -Yeah, I mean, I will Netflix streaming on the iPad, it's beautiful, and I entertained my son with it a lot. -Yeah. -And you are gonna have the air place out already, right, in terms of bouncing the video---- -Yeah, it just came out---- -from the iPad to the Apple TV. -just came out today. -So you can't do that with the Samsung Galaxy. -One other thing to let you know just a heads up is the one main thing that came across albeit that was---- just so evident is the battery life on this. It's---- even though the Galaxy Tab says it has 7 hours and the iPad has 10, it's the way they're optimized in standby time, and I can tell you the Galaxy Tab pretty much proofed out after like a night and a half, whereas the iPad, I mean, I can use this thing, leave it off, pick it up 3 days later---- -That's a lot of weight---- -and it still run---- -in that battery. -And so, that's gonna---- also, from a usage sampling, I found out that to be kind of annoying with the Tab versus the iPad---- -Right. -if you time out power. -Yeah, I would say, one thing---- -Right. -to consider with the iPad, though, there are rumors that are pretty credible that there is a new version coming in---- -Yeah. -around April or March and so---- -I see, that's why we were kind of wondering if we give out for Christmas and maybe wait for the middle of next year---- -Yeah. -and kind of let the Tablet fight it out for a little while. -You know what? -Yeah. -I would go with one of those $140 Kindles, the new Kindle for e-reading---- -Yeah. -coz you're not really gonna wanna read that much anyway, so give that---- -Yeah, we---- -for Christmas, and then get the new iPad when it comes out in April. -You---- -Okay, sounds good. -Yeah. -Yeah, new iPad and the all thing has to make you a little nervous---- -Yeah. -that's the only problem right now. -Definitely. -Really. Apple, you know, Apple will always got something big coming out in January. It always drives holiday shoppers nuts because whatever---- -Yes. -category it is; iPhone, iPod, iPad, there's something new coming in January and it's like, "Ah, I'm about to but a dinosaur." All right, thanks a lot, Andy, appreciate the call. -Thank you. -Good stuff. -Good luck. -All right. Let's go to Kevin. He's in Rhode Island. He's been sitting here for hours whiling way much of his adult life waiting for us to talk to him. Kevin---- -We love you, buddy. -except our apologies for keeping you sit in there in little Rhody. What's going on? What do you got there? What do you got to question about? -Hey! Hi, I'm looking---- I've been looking at a TV tuners throughout for a laptop, and what I've been finding is---- I find---- I wanna do a gaming on as well. So, I found a few, but they seemed really just shutty like---- I get like 4 frame rate [unk] maybe if you guys have a good suggestion for like something good quality ones for kind of low price. -Okay. Now, you mean an over-the-air TV tuner that goes into these days USB, that's what you use, right? -Yeah. -Okay, I used---- there's still be PC cards -the cable, too. Like an actual physical cable TV plug that in or something like that [unk] here. -You---- Are you a MAC or PC user? Because, I mean, I know off the top of the head some MAC ones, but---- -Ah, PC. what's the---- Okay. -PC guy. -Let me see. -We have a Plextor that is USB-based---- this is really old, I don't wanna show you that one. Lot of these things were cards for desktops, but I know that there are a number that are USB-based for over-the-air high def. That's been a pretty strong market. -Yeah. -I don't know about cable end to a laptop through a USB. That's an interesting mix. -There were---- I mean, that's why I was in shock the time I had knew there's an Elgato Product, but that's MAC only that does that. -It does [unk], -Right. -Yeah, but it's only MAC only, so I wasn't sure about off the top---- -Really. -that with PC. -And looks like there is one---- -One that's recommended. -the Diamond ATI Theater, a USB TV tuner for a Window 7, watch TV anywhere they say, with a small---- a little USB device that can convert your TV shows into various formats, which is kind of nice MPEG, AVI, DIVX and so on and so forth. Let's see support for ATSC and DVB-T Broadcast digital TV support, which you want, and looks like it's about 52 bucks on Amazon. -Can you tell if it has a cable input on or it is just over the air? -Let see here. -Coz that's the thing is kind of tricky. -Yeah. -Yeah. -But once I found---- -When you---- -or using like---- they have the ability to record and it's like stream recording capture to your TV and game to your laptop. -Yeah. -Yeah. -And that's [unk] the one I have been finding, but they were like usually like, $200 and $300. -Uh huh, uh huh. -Oh, yeah, too much. -Right. -Too much. You wanna spend like 50, 60 bucks on this kind of thing. -Yeah. -It's basically a dangle you just wanna hang on there. -Yeah, you---- take a look at this Diamond one on Amazon, the ATI TV Wonder HD 750. It looks like it's about $65 and it looks pretty full feature. They can't find out---- -Yeah, Diamonds is gonna be a good line for that. That's a good---- -That is a good line. -Yeah, Diamondmm is their web site, Diamond Multimedia, Diamondmm. They have a whole bunch of tuners there in their line up. But we don't see anything exactly that jumps out immediately---- Which one you looked at, the 750? -Yeah, that sounds pretty. -Yeah. They only get it---- that's only model they make, either a PCI card or USB. So---- -Uh huh. -And that seems to have the best user I've used that I can tell. -Yeah. -And actually in 2009, it was a CNET editor's choice. -Oh, nice! And it's got a nice remote. Okay, hope that works out---- -[unk] do with that. -for you there, Kevin. -All right, thank you very much. -Thanks a lot. -All right. -That was a tricky one. -That was tricky. -Wow! I'll never take that caller again. -I was totally not gonna take that call. -I hate me for giving that. -How about wants you to go to David there online 4 [unk]. -All right, good, hey! Coz David got a softball for us. Hey, pitcher, what do you got? David in Texas. -Hello! -Welcome to the Holiday Helpdesk. -I have a question. I have a brightly living room, get a lot of sun. I do have the mini blinds, no curtains, just the way we have it decorated. -Uh huh. -What would be a better television, plasma or LCD? -Oh, I wish Katz was still here. -I know. I just wanna---- I always get---- I can never remember which one has the shiny screen. -I found just leave to it. -I think LCD has the shiny screen. -Yeah. Plasma is usually---- it has a more matte finish. Do you think it [unk] backlight TV help, at this point---- -Well, that's interesting. -coz we've talked a little bit about the backlight TV is just an option this holiday season. -Well, there is---- Yeah---- here's what you can do. You can look at, you know, whether it's a LED, LCD or a standard LCD, which is use fluorescent tube basically or a plasma, it kinda doesn't matter, in your case, how they get it as long as it's got a really high brightness. -Uh huh. -And that's a spec that I think we call out in all our reviews. I'm gonna check---- it was a Sony Bravia I'm gonna look at just for an example and---- -Okay. -I don't know if we call it out as a specification of if it's something we note when it's notable. So, let me just check that out. If so, then I can point you to that and say go look for and I forget the metric that used to measure brightness, but that's the thing you want; you want brightness, and you wanna look at a plasma because if you've got light coming off a reflecting surface, you don't want that shiny LCD laminate over the front of the panel. -Uh huh. -Okay. -That's gonna kill you with glare. -So, quick thing, I mean---- -So, we've got 2 issues here: glare and brightness. -Yeah. Another quick thing just like if you just did a little quick generic search, the recommendations have said that LCD screens are typically brighter than plasmas, making them better for viewing in rooms with bright---- with lots of light---- -Yeah. -going into them. -And you just wanna look---- -But they're glary. -And you just wanna look---- -Right. -for what---- they have different finishes---- -Yeah, they have different---- Yeah. -Some have high glare than other. I don't think LCD is uniformly necessarily super glow---- glare-prone. Interestingly, though, the best recommendation that we have for LED-based LCD TV is what seem to be the best in terms of kind of a uniform light distribution is that VIZIO XVT-3SV series that is also Katzmaier's pick on the Holiday Helpdesk. -Yeah. Don't get nervous about Vizio. They just passed Samsung numbers came out today as the number LCD maker. -Yeah, knocked out. -So, they're not 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th. They are the number maker of LCD TVs period. -Yeah. -So, a very good brand. -Should I look for the brightness of for the matte screen? -Yeah, the brightness is called out in our reviews. Well, look at the screen, they all be varying levels of shiny, but the LCD tends to be glare glossier than plasma as a class, although they are very---- they do very, but the thing to look for in our reviews is the measurement of foot lamberts, that's the measurement of brightness coming off the screen. So, you can just search that. It's not in the specification block; it's in the actual body of the review. -Okay. -So, you just do a little control and have to look for foot lamberts on any one of the TVs that we're reviewing. You should find a mention of it, and for example, 55 is considered bright. I don't know much about the index on that, but 55 is considered a bright set, so recently reviewed Sony Bravia---- -Okay. -that we've thought was very bright and good potentially for your applications. -All right. -All right, thanks, David. Good luck with that and just go buy some drinks. -Looks like line 2 is here with the rescue for us, actually, on the---- to the USB tuner question. This is how we do this. -I love the caller. -Yeah. -We're doing our job, yeah. -We proud source the Holiday Helpdesk. -You call, we google. Hello, Zach in Tampa. -Hello, Brian, Molly, and Brian Tong. -Hello! -Make us look---- -[unk] my last name. -Make us look good. -I do that, too. -That's right. I actually have a solution and this is something that I have, that I used on a regular basis at home myself. The Win TV line has been compatible with PCs for a long time and I actually used the Win TV HVR-950Q, and there is a---- -It's a Hauppauge product. Yeah, those were good. -Yeah, yeah, and it's---- I love it and actually, it has a game mode that comes with a software now that will remove---- it doesn't do recording very well when it's in game mode, but it removes the delay from the cards so that you can actually play games at a pretty decent rate and it's got a whole 650 frame a second. I've been using it at home like I said for months now, and I actually really like it. -That's cable and air or just cable? -That does cable and air. It comes---- -Beautiful -with the miniature antenna. -Stone. -You can also connect to another external antenna. I've used it to connect a noble cable TV [unk] to it, and it has a breakout cable that you can connect the composite and S-video, too as well. -And looks like---- -That's great. -that one is 99 bucks. So---- -Yeah. -not so bad. -So, it's a little more, you know, then you might wanna spend normally, but if you're looking for a great portable solution for something like that, I highly recommend it. -And Amazon has got it for $62. That's a nice price. -There you go. -Beautiful. -From our dear friends at J&R Music World. -Your guys are the best. -Love J&R. -Zach is the best. -the best. -You got it awesome. -Thanks for saving our bacon. Bloody. -What? -You're a PC TV tuner maniac. -[unk] like none of us do that. -Before we start tearing up, we're gonna let you go. -All right. -All right, Zach, thanks. -Thank you, thank you. -Appreciate it. -You're very welcome. -TV tunes son of a---- All right. Good stuff. We wanna get another e-mail or call in here, guys? Where do we stand? What's the boss said? Boss, what do you wanna do? -Boss says---- -Okay---- -we gotta go. -it's a wrap. We're tuckered out. All right, folks, we're back at it again, Monday, Holiday Helpdesk happens every Monday through December 20th, and it's gonna be happening like this one has here live at 1 Pacific, 4 Eastern, and you can go to email@example.com in case you're catching us on a replay and didn't know where to find it originally, that's where you find us. You can also e-mail us at the same address, firstname.lastname@example.org . And the phone lines, of course, are open whenever we do it live; it's 888-900-CNET- 888-900-2638. We're back next week and we're gonna be focusing on the imaging sector. We've got CNET's camera and camcorder expert, Lori Grunan, should be joining us from our New York office just like David Katzmaier did on televisions today. So if you've got a steel camera or video cam request, then be with us next us, we'll have that all covered. Again, 1 Eastern and 4 Pacific right here on the Holiday Helpdesk. Have a great holiday and we will see you next week. -See you, bye! -Bye folks.