Welcome to the CNET Holiday Help Desk, our annual extravaganza of tech shopping advice.
I am Molly Wood.
-I am Brian Tong, here in the studio with all of our decorations, all the holiday spirit.
It's looking good.
For the next 45 minutes or so, we'll be taking your calls and your questions about tech holiday shopping, which means don't call us if your motherboard is doing something
weird because we can't fix that.
But if you do wanna know between-- you know, whether you should buy Kindle or Nook Tablet, we're gonna actually-- we're gonna work on that one.
-Yeah, and of course, we're gonna bring in a bunch of guests, a bunch of experts to help us out here in studio.
Donald Bell, our tablet guru, CNET's own Donald Bell.
He is here to help us out answer your questions.
So I'm sure you guys are gonna have a lot of those.
Also, we're bringing in our resident cheapskate, the myth-- the man of legend, Rick Broida back here in the studio every year, comes and delivers.
-There he is in the bunker.
-So he's just gonna be here joining us
and we'll also check in with John Vincent.
He's the web master of the popular blackfriday.info website.
Pretty much you can't miss it if you're looking for Black Friday deals.
It's one of the places to go, so he'll give us a preview of some of the best deals and, you know, snag whatever you can on arguably one of the best shopping days of the year, if not the best.
-Yeah, and those deals are starting now, so it's already getting kind of crazy.
We'll be having-- we'll have a Holiday Help Desk show every Monday between now and December 19th.
So get those questions in.
For sure, if you're joining us
right now live, the phone lines are open.
So call us up 1-888-900-CNET (2638) is our phone number.
You can, of course, join us in the chat room.
We're at CNET.com/live and the chat room will probably answer a lot of your questions before we even get to them.
And, of course, you can e-mail us.
If you're watching this later on Demand.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>.
-And we'll take those e-mails in our show and it helps us too 'cause we can do a little research and get you like really good answers 'cause sometimes when it's on the spot--
-What are you gonna say?
-I'm just saying
sometimes when it's on the spot, it may not be--
-a good answer.
I am an awesome googler.
-Some are easier than others.
How about that?
Some are a little easier than others.
-That's why I'm trying to head off the motherboard questions now before we get to it.
-I'm not guaranteeing quality.
-Yeah, I know.
No one is.
-Although he is sitting there in a pile of tablets, so it may not be quality but it's eye candy.
Look at that.
Alright, it's time though.
We're gonna start off talking about deals because we've got Rick Broida you saw there from Skype, from his home in Michigan,
or as we like to call it, the cheapskate bunker.
-It's the bunker.
-What's up, Rick?
-How are you doing, guys?
I'm here in the mustard yellow cheapskate lair.
I'm trying to get from bunker to lair this year.
-You know, CNET, we transitioned from yellow to orange so I think it might be time to update the color.
It's close to the CNET orange.
-Well, I'm not-- if I turn this around, you'll see my other wall.
It's kind of orange, so--
-Themed very nicely.
-Yeah, it's CBS Eye orange.
It's what that is.
-There you go.
we're taking off Black Friday week here and I wanna talk about that in a minute.
But first up, let's talk about a sweet Saturday deal.
-American Express is doing what they call Small Business Saturday, which is this Saturday, the day after Black Friday.
And what it means is that when you walk in to any local independently owned small business and plunk down your AmEx card by at least $25 worth of goods or services and you will get a $25 credit on your statement back
from American Express like free money and 25 bucks worth of money.
-Also, I have definitely been seeing a lot of shop local initiatives, so I wonder if there will be more deals like that, you know.
It's sort of-- that's a hard one to publicize a national deal if you're a local business but that's one-- that's a clever way to do it.
-Right, and I really wanna tip my hat to American Express for really trying to support small business with this promotion.
It seems like kind of a win-win for everybody.
That's very cool.
Alright, what else is going on
Anything else that we need to know?
But I'm crushed, by the way, that the Samsung Blu-Ray player with Netflix for 50 bucks is already sold out.
-How was that gonna last?
It was like on the 18th.
You knew they were gonna just eat that alive.
-I know but I was clicking in slow mo like [unk].
-Don't worry, there will be more.
I guarantee it.
-Yeah, that's true.
-I guarantee it.
That's-- I don't see the last of that kind of deal, but one other one I have for you today is actually a great iOS app called Tales2Go and what this does is it streams
audiobooks, kid's audiobooks to your i device and normally Tales2Go has a subscription rate of 10 bucks a month for kind of all-you-can-eat audiobooks, but they are offering a holiday special called Tales2Go Happy Holidays Edition, which for $0.99 gives you 20 Christmas classics, holiday classics that you can listen to for life.
There's no subscription required and it's just a great app.
If you have kids or you're even a school teacher, just kind of a
great way to listen to these classic stories for very cheap.
I'm a little distracted 'cause I'm typing that into my iPhone right now.
-That's good for--
-For my kids.
-That's good for everyone that has kids.
Keep him distracted.
This happens every time we get Rick Broida on the line.
I'm like, "oh, really?" Pardon me.
Pardon me while I purchase that.
-You're gonna get burned again.
You got the slow click problem.
-I know, exactly.
I'm like I can't wait now.
I have to actually do this live on the air.
-Did you buy the-- one of the headphones from Rick Broida last year?
-These ones, the ones I'm wearing right now.
I don't remember this.
-They're like some monster headphones that I got at one of your-- one of your sweet deals.
-Alright, what do you-- what do you think are gonna be the hot categories this year?
What are the big trends this Black Friday?
'Cause to me, I gotta say I'm seeing one already, and I think you know what I'm gonna say here.
-Tell me what you're gonna say.
-TVs seem to be a fire sale territory.
-Yeah, let me preface this by saying that in the last couple of years, I've been a little, you know, unexcited about Black Friday
kind of thinking that the deals that the stores are pulling out were not that much better than the deals that I've been writing about all-year round.
-But I really think that this year, we're seeing some pretty heavily slashed prices on a couple of items in a couple of different places and I give you a couple of my favorite examples that I found so far.
Best Buy on Black Friday will have a 42-inch-- 42-inch Sharp HDTV for $199.99 which just blows
every other TV deal I've ever seen out of the water.
-That's really incredible.
-For $199, that's insane.
-Best Buy-- Best Buy at least--
-If that's too--
-Sorry, go ahead.
-If that's too big for you for some reason, they'll also have a Dynex 24-inch HDTV for $79.99 and you could use that as a computer monitor as well, and that's just really incredible.
That's also at Best Buy.
-You could just tile them.
You can get like 14 of them.
-And then I'd like a bunker of awesomeness with all the different news feeds and stuff.
-Next time you see me, it's all gonna be TVs back there.
-That is un-- so that one, that $199 is an in-store only right?
So some of this--
-It's a door buster.
-I feel like I'm seeing a little more enticement now.
Maybe it's always been this way but I feel like I'm seeing some deals that I get all excited about and then they're in-store only.
Is that a change from last year?
Are they always trying to get you into the store?
These are always, you know, [unk] design to bring you in the door and--
-I think the difference this year though is that there's actually reason to go and stand in line and, you know, fight with people on--
Okay, not really, but there's actually a reason to get excited and maybe go and fight the crowds a little bit to score some of these sweet deals.
-Rick, have you ever been in a fight on Black Friday?
That's-- because, you know, if you wanna get some real [unk], you gotta kinda come clean.
Like, you know, have you ever elbowed an old lady just to get a CD or DVD?
-He still is like "no comment."
-Just chucked her with your shopper cart?
-So is there enough enticement do you think to get it?
Because it also seems like we're seeing great deal-- I mean the combination of the economy, you know, and the shopping fervor, there seem to be great deals online too.
Do you think it's worth it to get up and go in person?
-You know, I think it depends.
A lot of people I think just go for kind of the experience of it.
They just-- you know, they like to get up in the middle of the night and go freeze to death for many hours just for the chance to say that they, you know, got this incredible deal.
You know, it really depends on what kind of person you are.
I will say the caveat
that I always tell people is that, if you miss this deal, just wait a little while because there are always lower prices around the corner, maybe the exception this year being hard drives but if you miss out on Black Friday, don't worry, there's always Cyber Monday.
-Did you [unk] say hard drives because they're just so low priced anyways?
They're so commoditized or--
There appears to be the makings of a hard drive shortage.
-I've actually seen hard drives prices spiking in the last week or so.
that actually may be-- we may not see that many hard drive deals this Black Friday.
-Yeah, there has been a bit of a shortage.
Alright, we're gonna-- we're gonna let you go there, Rick.
Thank you very much.
We will see you next Monday and I'm gonna try to stay on top of the deals so I don't just sit here and heartbreak.
I got my app downloaded by the way.
My kids are gonna be fired up tonight.
-Alright, thanks guys.
-You could just subscribe to his blog and then you'll know exactly when it posts.
Everyone should do that.
Bookmark it or subscribe to the RSS Feed of CNET.com/cheapskate.
Get a new deal everyday.
-Alright, thanks Rick.
We have Donald Bell here to answer-- help us answer your calls and questions about tablets or the best tech gifts in general, your e-mails.
The phone lines are open.
If you have a question, call 1-888-900-CNET (2638).
This is probably the last time over the next 5 weeks that you're gonna have like an opportunity to call us.
While you get those calls rolling in, let's have a look at CNET's top pick in the tablet category.
-The Apple iPad 2 is not just a tablet.
This is the tablet.
And in this product's spotlight, I'm gonna show you what it's all about, why there's nothing else quite like it.
There are 2 main models of the iPad 2: one that connects to the internet using a combination of Wi-Fi and 3G from AT&T or Verizon and one that just relies on a connection using Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi models are priced at $499 for 16 gigabytes, $599
for 32 gigs and $699 for 64 gigabytes.
Versions with 3G are available on the same capacities but are priced at $130 higher.
All of them come in either black or white and all of them do the same thing.
It just comes down to how much storage you need and how many ways you want to connect to the internet.
So what does it do?
Well, I like to think of the iPad as a cross between a smartphone and a laptop.
Like a smartphone, it's using a touchscreen interface filled of little apps that can be used for checking e-mail, browsing the web,
checking your calendar, getting directions and more.
You also get Apple's built-in app store where you can find things like games, Netflix streaming video, Amazon's Kindle e-Reader software, stuff for kids, stuff for work, you name it and there's probably an app out there for it.
But so what?
You already have a smartphone, so why get an iPad?
Well, that big old 9.7-inch screen gets you in a ballpark of a laptop experience.
So that means it's easier to type on, movies pop, web pages appear at their natural
size and there are games here that just aren't gonna be on your smaller screen smartphone.
Let's also not forget about battery life.
The iPad 2 clocks in at around 10 hours of mixed use which is far better than you're gonna find on a laptop.
Another advantage the iPad 2 offers over a laptop is its thin, lightweight design.
The weight of the iPad 2 is 1.3 pounds and it measures just 0.34 inches thick.
That's almost half of the thickness of the original iPad.
The iPad 2 offers 2 cameras,
one on the front and one on the back, which people really wanted on the original model.
These cameras don't hold up to the kind of photo quality you find on the iPhone, but they make it possible to record HD videos, take self-portraits, and participate in FaceTime video calls with friends and family.
Now with the introduction of iOS 5 on October of 2011, the iPad has a few new features to keep things interesting.
There's a Messages app now that allows you to instantly send text and photos to any other iPad, iPhone or iPod
A Reminders app helps you make sure work of daily tasks or manage multiple checklists of things you'd like to accomplish.
The Newsstand app down here collects all of your magazine and newspaper apps into one place.
And running behind it all is Apple's new iCloud service, which gives you a way to back up all of your data and settings without having to manually connect the iPad to your computer.
Now a few other small changes have been introduced including the ability to split your keyboard for easier thumb typing.
There's a notification bar now that pulls down
from the top and 4 finger gestures are here for quickly switching between apps or pulling up the taskbar.
Now the iPad isn't your only choice when it comes to tablets.
Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy tab and dozens of others do an admirable job matching and in some way succeeding what the iPad can offer.
Some have better screens.
Some work over high-speed 4G connection, but there's still something missing.
One obvious thing is design.
The iPad's mix of glass and aluminum is unmistakable, and most
of the competition still uses a plastic construction that just doesn't measure up.
Still, we're not a nation of design snobs.
The real reason the iPad has been such an unbeatable success is that it's such a fun product to use.
The navigation is intuitive.
The app store feels like a candy shop.
The games are topnotch and the iTunes store is stuffed with all the best music and video content you could ask for at prices that are very reasonable.
No one else has been able to put together that kind of design, content, and ease of use in quite the same way.
So that's the Apple iPad 2. It's a CNET editor's choice and the top pick for our tablet category.
If you're picking one up for yourself or someone else, we recommend grabbing a cover, some headphones and a screen cloth since none of those come included and they're all very handy to have around.
CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell showing you the Apple iPad 2.
-Welcome back to the CNET Holiday Help Desk, I'm Molly Wood here with Brian Tong and Donald Bell, taking your holiday tech shopping questions.
It is the season-- this might be a tiny bit of a tangent.
-I'm sure you know I do that.
But don't you think Thanksgiving is kinda getting in the shaft?
I feel like we went directly from Halloween to Christmas season.
Do not pass go.
Do not collect $100 and do not cook your delicious
turkey at all.
Start shopping now.
-I think once you're eating that turkey, you're gonna feel like you're home at Thanksgiving.
-The economy hangs in the balance, Molly Wood.
There's a lot at stake, alright?
-Is Black Friday bigger than Thanksgiving arguably?
-Arguably, it's overshadowing--
-the turkey bird.
-Get in the shaft man.
But I got a-- I do think the tablets and e-Readers are like the talk of the town speaking of back to the shopping.
And so we have Donald here to talk about the top picks.
I have-- I think the salient question just came in in chat from
Endless who says, "Is there a tablet that you would recommend besides the iPad, the Fire and the Nook?" Is it-- are we just out a 3-horse race?
-No, no, absolutely not.
In fact, I still feel like our top-rated tablet right now for Android tablets--
-is the Sony Tablet S which I think is probably one of the underdogs and kind of the least talked about awesome tablets out there.
It's-- yeah, it's one of the ones I was waiting for all year because it has Sony's absolutely impeccable design
sense about the whole thing.
-Show that design here.
You show one of those.
-Then, show what's up.
-It's got the like the cool--
-It's got that wedge shape to it.
-Yeah, that wedge shape.
-It's very light.
You're not saving any money over what you pay for the iPad and that's the real big catch to the whole thing.
Is that you'd have to be a serious Android fan to really want this or, you know, there's also Sony nets out there who would love to have this too.
-Well, doesn't it integrate with the PlayStation?
It has some--
-It has a built-in IR remote control into it, so then there's a lot of thought
going into how this thing can act as a remote control for not just Sony TVs but any kind of IR controllable home theater device.
So there's a lot of functionality in here that you're not gonna find in the iPad.
There's also like PlayStation 1 gaming, which I don't know how many people are really eager to--
-rekindle those PlayStation 1 games on a tablet.
-But it's there and it's another little thing that Sony does right.
It's a cool tablet.
But, in terms of what I would actually be recommending to people--
-if I just didn't know them or what their preferences was, whether they're Android people
or Apple people, yeah, it does still come down to the iPad and Kindle Fire.
-And then really-- and then really it comes down to what's their price bracket, right?
-I can't-- there's 2 ornaments where-- exactly where your eyeballs are.
This is kind of awkward.
-You actually look like a talking ornament right now.
It's pretty great.
-Yeah, you too.
So, would you say-- would you say though tablet, what were you gonna say?
Well, I don't get.
-What's going on?
-This is a family show.
Let's just keep it rolling.
-What's going on here?
-Okay, I don't know.
Anyways, I don't know what we're talking about right now.
-What was the question?
-But the question was with the-- with tablets and all that, if someone just asked you point-blank is it one of those things where you would have to ask price first or would you immediately say throw out the iPad in their directions and see how they take it?
-I mean I think the iPad is-- it's like the nuclear weapon, like it's just-- it blows everything else away.
-Done and done.
-It's like just don't even-- like the thing that you're considering it against is
less than half the price, so it's kind of a different ballpark.
-But yeah, I think there is-- no one is gonna unwrap an iPad and just chuck to the side.
-Well, if you're buying it for them.
-And if you're kinda like-- are there people who would get a Kindle Fire and be a little bummed out, do you think?
I mean-- is there-- 'cause it--
-I feel like it's a slightly different audience but it's possible that someone would say "I want a tablet" and then--
I mean I think the-- for one, if you're getting, if you're a kid, just the gaming selection between
the Kindle Fire--
-or even the Nook Tablet and with the iPad offers, it's just [unk].
-It'd be like giving your kid the off-brand cereal, you know.
-Are there-- to that--
-Not as sweet.
-To that point, are there any other inexpensive tablets that are good other than the Nook and the Fire?
So if-- are these the-- are those the budget options?
Are there 10-inch models that, you know--
-Yeah, there have been a lot of budget tablets out there year-round and the prices on that kind of standard
Android tablet experience just seems to be going lower and lower.
-There's things like the-- even the Samsung just recently revamped their 7-inch tab, Galaxy Tab Plus now.
And that actually has some of the same built-in remote control functionality of what the Sony Tablet S has.
But it's still around that $300 range.
-And I think the real takeaway here is how much both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet-- it's not just a matter of how inexpensive
they are but how simplified they've made the whole experience and how just frictionless it is to actually get into the content-- getting content, streaming content with the device without having to log in to 16 different apps and, you know, figure a way around it.
That's pretty-- I've played with it a little bit.
It's pretty nice.
Alright, should we-- we will have more of our own questions for Donald, but do we have a caller--
-who wants to chime in here?
-Let's take a call-- we do have our phone lines open.
Really, this is one of the few opportunities you're gonna be able to get
to call us directly without waiting.
-Without being on hold, yeah.
Do it now!
-Honestly, so-- and this is our first show, so we're gonna go to Derek.
Derek is on line 1. Derek, can you hear me okay?
Derek, you're on air.
-Are you there?
Derek is calling us from Minnesota.
Is that correct?
-How's the weather out there?
-It's nice and white.
Now, Derek, what's your question?
I know you have a lot of things that you're looking for
related to TVs.
But maybe if you could kind of bring it together and see what exactly you're looking for today?
Well, okay, I'm the tech person in the entire family.
My stepdad wants a new TV for his bedroom.
He says at least 42 inches, 1080p.
It doesn't have to be network-compatible, but since mom does the Black Friday thing, I'm just kinda wanna say here's a sheet of specs that you're gonna look in a TV, any TV will be fine just as long as it has the specs that will be good
in your bedroom.
-You know you just-- I don't know if you heard our show earlier, but when you said 42-inch 1080p TV, you've pretty much hit the nail right on the head when we were talking about there's a Sharp LCD television set.
Now, I don't know if you wanna go in-store but it's a Best Buy offer and we'll talk to our buddy from Black Friday, JohnVincent.info, later 'cause he might have some other suggestions for you.
But, a door buster but you do have to be in the store for Black Friday at Best Buy.
It's $199 for a 42-inch Sharp
That's a 1080p TV.
That absolutely blew our minds.
Now, a lot of times there are only about 10 of these in a store, right?
It even says there's a minimum of 10 per store.
I'm not sure how crowded, you know-- Isn't Best Buy's headquarters in Minnesota?
I think so.
-Oh, yeah, it is.
-Yeah, they are.
-Yeah, that's their--
-Anyways, I don't know why I randomly brought that up.
But, you'll find a lot of 42-inch TVs, but a 1080p one for $199, that's pretty crazy.
-That's pretty ridiculous.
-You can always bring $299 and buy in the parking lot, probably on some shady deal.
There's that too.
-That's gonna help.
-So, I would say though, if you are just looking for the sort of basic specs, you know, 1080p is obviously the one to look for at least 120 hertz.
-I mean I don't think anybody is selling anything that's lower than that.
But you'll find higher prices on the 240 hertz models.
You could probably skip 3D I would think if you're really looking for a great price.
And then to me, the biggest deal spec that you wanna look for is enough HDMI inputs.
So you want a minimum of 4,
so just tell them look for like 1080p, 120 hertz or more, at least 4 HDMI inputs, and it'd be pretty awesome if there's USB.
-Well, it sounds like-- Derek, you're the one.
-And then after that, it's just the cheapest one, you know.
-But Derek, you're kinda-- you're the one that's kinda looking for this TV for him right?
-Yeah, I'm kinda saying here are the specs.
Doesn't matter what brand of TV.
Doesn't matter who makes it, whatever.
But, you know, the specs that you'd want for your bedroom and say, you know, here's a DVD, pop it in and it'll look great.
You know, even when you're talking about if brand doesn't even matter, you know, Wal-Mart has some killer deals on their
TV sets and again, we'll talk to John Vincent a little bit more about that later.
But if that's the case, you pretty much have a really broad range of TVs that you could get for your dad that are gonna be readily available for Black Friday from anyone.
If-- 'cause it doesn't sound like you have too many hard core stringent requirements--
-other than at least 42 inches, 1080p, let me find the best price, right?
-And you are definitely I think gonna see-- 'cause it looked like your price range is $500 or lower, you're in.
-Your parents are definitely getting a TV this season.
-Alright, thanks guys.
-Alright, thanks Derek.
Thanks for hanging.
I just-- I just found US Appliance is just like-- the TV deals are blowing my mind right now.
There's a 59-inch 1080p 3D plasma HDTV with 3D glasses for $627 plus free shipping.
-A 59-inch television.
-What's the brand?
-Where is this?
-From US Appliance.
It's over at the CNET Marketplace.
-Is that a special deal from us or--?
-Yeah, it's one of our special deals.
-Oh, it's one of our CNET special deals.
-If you guys don't know, by the way--
-Okay, where would we go?
-go to CNET.com and click Marketplace because we have this new amazing thing if you haven't seen it already.
It launched a few weeks ago and it is basically where you can find technology deals, like we're negotiating specials, we're leading out to other people's deals and it's sort of-- you know, it's like if you combine the cheapskate blog with CNET Marketplace, you are pretty much gonna save a metric ton of money
That is not a guarantee though.
Don't be like--
-I think, yeah--
-I do not warrant the metric ton claim.
-I gave up measuring my money in metric tons long ago.
-It gets-- it gets awkward--
-because the scales-- you don't get to import the scales and it's kinda like [unk].
-That's an insane deal.
I kinda wanna-- like that one's-- yeah, that one's blowing my mind right now.
I kinda want it right now.
-Who wants a 59-inch TV for the bedroom?
$627 free shipping.
-This is why I buy-- this show-- this show
costs me a lot of money, a lot of money.
Alright, should we drop line 1 there--
-and go on to the next call?
-We'd like to take on line 2. Alright, we have Nicole from Omaha, Nebraska.
Nicole, how are you doing today?
-I used to live in Omaha.
It blew my mind when I found that out.
You started talking about the Target at 120th in Maples.
My first super-Target.
-It's freaking me out 'cause I just muted my TV when you picked up.
Oh, I love Omaha.
I miss it.
Give Omaha a big hug for me.
-A big hug for Omaha.
-It misses you too.
-Nicole, how can we help you out today?
-Well, I'm thinking of getting my dad a Roku for Christmas.
-He is a TV guy but he is so far not a tech guy.
-And so he's never gonna have a computer in his house, so I was wondering what's the best minimum internet I could do?
like what upload or download would I need for like the Roku and the wattage?
-Oh, so you're saying you're looking more for like kind of
cable-- cable plans I guess?
-Yeah, because I'm not sure whether I should go cable internet or DSL or this cellphone MyFi might even work.
-Yeah, I would definitely probably lean against--
-I'd lean to the cable.
-against the MyFi, you know.
-DSL and cable depend-- again, it all-- a lot of these things depend on your area, what they're offering.
But even DSL would-- for the most part, should be able to handle, you know, the Roku streaming.
But if you really want the best
reliable image overall, in general, cable is gonna give you the best success in general.
-That's what I was thinking too, but then the cost of the cable started [unk].
-The savings that you would get--
Cable gets a little--
-from having all of the streaming.
No, I don't--
But you need a minimum I think, a minimum of 1.5 megabits per second to make video streaming work.
And that is-- that still is gonna be there stated speed and you may not get it depending on congestion.
So, I don't know.
I have found DSL to be--
pretty unreliable service.
-It's certainly hating you, yeah, hear this.
-I'll just stick up for DSL over here.
I'm a DSL customer and I stream Neflix on it works out.
You have to deal with a couple of headaches when they adjust the bandwidth on like--
-They better rid of it.
-But the actual, the technology in the Roku or in the device you're streaming from.
It's pretty smart and being all to the depth, the slower and faster connection.
-It actually is.
There have been times when I've had trouble browsing on a computer or on the iPad and I haven't had trouble streaming a movie.
So, they do optimize and then you can actually change the settings within the Roku.
You can make it use 0.6 megabits per second for Netflix and for any streaming,
-And that actually people report that does work pretty well.
So, it may be that it's worth trying out DSL.
The good thing about these companies is like you can sign for DSL package that's 1.5 or 3 megabits per second and if it's not working, a lot of times you get a really a good deal Campcaster whatever for going back.
-So, you can play them most each other.
-So, my final question to that would be
if I go with DSL, should upgrade the Roku to have the Ethernet connection versus Wi-Fi.
-Oh, if you can do that, then you're line, then you're in.
-if there is a possibility of plugging the Roku over Ethernet, you will be fine with DSL.
It's really the Wi-Fi over DSL that would be the concern.
-Yeah, and that's actually how I have my house wires like the routers in the back of the house and if I will differ line on Wi-Fi, it would not do it for me, but I have.
I use one of the power line adaptors.
We can actually route the Ethernet signal through your house's wall socket and get it to the other end of the house and those like-- Those are under 50 bucks, I think, for those adaptors.
So, it's another solution for, if you're trying to figure out.
If you have to hook it up on 1 side of your house.
It's not conveniently located to where you TV is.
Try to look around for the power line Ethernet adaptors
-That can quickly and cheaply get you on other side of the house.
-That is a really good call, yeah.
-Thanks a lot.
Thanks a lot Nicole.
-Should you want one more phone?
Are we good with that?
-I don't know
-Yeah, wanna take--
-Let's just do it.
We gonna keep on going through calls.
-Yeah, we got calls, let's keep doing it.
-Alright, we know Donald here is the tablet master.
So, we have here calling us from Redwood City, the bay area, and he calls and he has a question about Barnes and Noble Nook.
I think you will be able to handle this Donald.
-I hope so.
-Hey mike, how are you doing today?
-Very well, thank you.
-Excellent, thanks for calling in.
Now, what's your question today?
-I'm calling to what you think about the Barnes and Noble Nook Color, but not the Nook color itself,
but the referred version of it.
Barnes and Noble now is selling it for $149 and even though the new nook tablet has come out at $149 especially, the Nook color seems really attractive.
-What are your thoughts on that?
-It's pretty cool tablet especially when it came out, I will say, over a year ago.
It was this lone awesome device that was one the first to breakdown under like that $300 level, and there is a huge community people who've already figured all the best RAMs
and ways to hack it and get custom versions of android on it.
It's still is.
You will run for like the bottle neck of just it's kind of processor and the actual hardware that's, you know, under the hood, but you can do a lot with it, absolutely.
For $149, if you're techy and you're interested in tweaking out or like not just tweaking it out, but you know, making it cooler than it probably is out of the box, go for it.
Now, as a device, to give to somebody as a gift,
I think the nowhere out of the box experience of the Nook color still pretty good for magazines and books, but it's not gonna be as hot and heavy on the media streaming as what the Nook tablet is gonna give you.
-Right, so if you want it just as a fancy reader gift, absolutely.
In fact, I just recommend it to someone that they buy the last model, Kindle.
-Over the $79.
We'll get to that in a minute.
That's a whole other election of buying advice.
Alright, thank you.
I hope that answers your question.
-Sure, it does.
Thanks very much.
-So, let's-- we're gonna-- The calls are still open, and we're gonna keep the phone lines open, but right we wanna go over to Jon Vincent, our webmaster of blackfriday.info joining us via Skype.
Hey Jon, how's it going?
-It's going good, how are you doing?
-Back for a third year of the holiday help desk bringing you all the deals all in 1 place
-and waiting patiently [unk]
-I know, thank you.
-Longer than some of our callers.
-We do sneak a couple of calls in their way of holidays.
-So Jon, for those of us that are listening or the people that are listening that are not familiar with your site, can you kind of tell them about it, introduce it and what you guys go over there.
So, I ran the website blackfriday.info.
I've been doing that since 2005 and what we do is we get all the blackfriday adds from all of the major retailers just put them on 1 place for you, so you can easily see all the TV deals, all the computer deals, easy comparing, build the shopping list and we show you how you can get some of these deals online on Thanksgiving morning too.
-Oh, see I'm a big fan of that because
-unlike Brian Tong, I'm not dragging my little butt out there.
I'm telling you sometimes, it's kind of fun and twisted to go to a black Friday thing.
That's all I'm saying.
Jon, how has Black Friday evolved through the years.
Do you think it has gotten less crazy, more crazy.
Are there same amount of people going to the stores, like what's happening with Black Friday.
Is cyber Monday gonna shut it down?
-I think really black Friday has gotten really crazy.
I mean, this year, the stores are open like the midnight.
Normally, they open around 5 a.m.
or 4 a.m., but now just cutting the thanksgiving dead.
-I shouldn't say.
-I told you thanksgiving was getting the shot.
-I don't want people who just ate turkey to be driving on the road.
-That tryptophan or whatever it is.
Do not drive under the influence of tryptophan.
-Do not do-- don't do the turkey drive.
-And then on-- it seems like one trend is that retailers are releasing their own deals early.
Are you feeling like you're competing against them?
What's that about?
-I think so, yeah, I mean this year for example,
Wal-Mart posted their Black Friday on the Facebook page before I even got it, so they just went up, you know, eye sight and really just beating to the punch, but I quickly got their ad posted on the site, e-mailed our million plus foot fans and told them what's in the add.
-Yeah, I even-- just this morning I got an e-mail from Best Buy and if you're a reward zone member, they sent us all the Black Friday prices and gave us today to purchase them online before they release some out to the stores as well.
So, you see a lot of retailers doing things like that, right?
-Are you also-- Jon, are you seeing deals from like deal aggregations from Groupon or Living Social.
I got a note today about how Living Social it gonna try to blow it out with their own deals.
It's like you've got deals and deals and deals and deals.
-Exactly, I mean I think, Groupon or Living Social, it seems like everyone has a Black Friday sale.
It doesn't matter what in retail you are.
So, you're gonna see things from Groupon and Living Social, but most people are gonna go to, you know, Wal-Mart, target, Best Buy, and even Amazon.com too.
-Yeah, for sure.
Now, Jon one of the questions is we talked about a little earlier.
What are the big trends that you're seeing as well for Black Friday this year?
-Well, the biggest trend really is the midnight openings, how they just try and get people into the stores earlier than ever.
Another big trend is that a lot of these deals you can buy online really Wednesday night into Thanksgiving morning.
This also kind of flipped to switch on their websites.
You can get most of the Black Friday deals.
You can't get that the sharp 42-inch TV 499.
You're not gonna get that online, but you'll get-- there are other.
Dynex 24-inch LCD HD TV at $79 and that's quite-- they'd say they will have that online.
-So, we highly recommend, you know, visit blackfriday.info.
We'll tell you exactly when all the [unk] are set would sale at Best Buy's website you can buy them.
-And then, very quick, are you seeing any other trends?
It seems like TVs are definitely the hottest deals.
Are you seeing any other trends in terms of electronics deals?
TVs are huge, also, computers, laptops.
There're always cheap laptops every Black Friday.
This year is no different and also just other random items like luggage sets seem to be on sale.
I know it's not tech, but it seems like, you know, this year, there are really [unk] luggage sets.
If you're gonna travel, now is the good time to buy.
-I have actually referred of that thought.
-That's a good thing, that's a good thing.
-Jon, we're gonna hit you with one of viewer e-mails
because they were coming in and they are all about TVs and this user wrote in and said, "I'm looking for a new LED TV, LG or Samsung, and was basically wondering who has the best Black Friday deal on TV set, out of Best Buy, HH Gregg, I don't what that is, Sam's Club or Wal-Mart.
Do you have any suggestions?
Like are there any store you're seeing in particular that seemed to have best TV deals?"
-I think best TV deals are definitely at Best Buy, but you know, one thing to keep in mind is, again, most of these TV deals will not be available online.
You will have to stand and line at the store,
and people are already lined up right now waiting to get those TV deals.
-Are you serious?
Are you serious or you're joking?
-A series of people in front of Best Buy right now.
-Oh my gosh.
-Can't wait some of these deals.
-There's no hope for me.
-**, oh no, the guy with the gun is getting that $199 sharp TV.
We need to get a camera crew at the Best Buy, that's exciting.
-But Molly, I've got too.
-Add on that note Jon, we're gonna-- We're gonna not embarrass ourselves further.
Thank you very much, appreciate your advice as always.
We look forward to seeing you back here next year.
-Okay, great, thanks a lot.
-Alright, thanks Jon, appreciate a lot.
-And everybody take it out blackfriday.info to have all the deals in 1 place.
Yeah, alright now, before we get to more calls, let's check one of CNET's top gifts-- the top gifts in the e-reader category.
- I'm John Falcone, Executive Editor at CNET, and this is the Amazon Kindle Touch.
Amazon was a pioneer in the e-book reader field, but this is the company's first touchscreen E-Ink model.
It's got the exact same 6-inch Pearl E-Ink touchscreen found on rivals like Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch and the current Sony Reader models, but the Kindle Touch has some important distinctions.
First off, Amazon store is, in our opinion, the best e-book store on the web, and the Kindle Touch gives you direct access to that store via Wi-Fi or, on some models, free 3G wireless.
So you can browse and buy books,
magazines, and newspapers at your leisure.
Another Amazon advantage is Amazon Prime.
It costs $79 per year, but that entails you to free shipping and thousands of free videos on other devices.
On the Kindle Touch, Amazon Prime membership grants you access to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, which lets you read thousands of e-books for free with a limit of one new title per month.
That's in addition to support for borrowing e-books from your local library, another feature that's now supported on the Kindle.
The Kindle Touch is also one of the few E-Ink readers to support audio.
In addition to playing mp3's and audible audio books, the Kindle Touch also offers text to speech on many books, so you can have the book read to you.
You can listen over the built-in speakers or connect to your headphones.
Beyond those extra features, the Kindle Touch is a great E-Ink reader.
Unlike LCD readers, there's no glare and the screen offers the look and feel that's very close to that of the printed page.
Texts sizes are adjustable and page turns are faster and more responsive than that on Kindles of years past.
Using the touchscreen is simple and intuitive and you can tap on anywhere to get a dictionary definition, highlight texts, make a note, or share passages on social media networks.
Except for the home and standby keys, there are no physical buttons.
You just swipe or tap the screen to go forward or back.
If you keep the wireless turned off, the battery lasts for weeks.
The Kindle stores hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers and everything you could buy is stored in a Cloud as well so you can access your e-books through Kindle apps on other tablets and smartphones, and you'll never run out of space.
At around 7.5 ounces, the Kindle Touch is basically the same weight as the Nook Simple Touch.
If you want an even lighter model, you can opt for the stepdown Kindle, which tips the scales at under 6 ounces, but it doesn't have a touchscreen.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Kindle Touch is its price.
It starts at $99 for the
ad-supported Wi-Fi version and $149 for the ad-supported 3G version.
I found the special offer ads to actually be pretty useful with everything from discount e-books to local merchant offers.
If you don't, you can upgrade to an ad-free version of either model for an extra $40 after the fact.
The worst thing we can say about the Touch is that its accessories cost extra.
You'll probably want to invest in a case and even the AC adaptor will cost you $10; though any USB port
or cellphone charger should use it up just fine.
In the final analysis, the Kindle Touch is a world-class E-Ink reader that includes some useful audio features at no extra cost.
It's a steal at $99 and an enthusiastic editor's choice.
I'm John Falcone, and this is the Kindle Touch.
-Welcome back to CNET Holiday Help Desk everybody.
Thanks for joining us.
Molly Wood is here in the house a well as CNET's own senior editor, Donald Bell, Mr. Tablet, MP3 player if those even exist anymore.
-I got it.
-we'll see creepy eyebrow movement.
-Yeah, and then, you know, you guys, we have our phone lines open and you guys can still call us with questions about tablets, also, you know, MP3 players.
There's probably gonna be some crazy deals on those.
-You can already pick up on MP3-- They give them away with a new bank account now.
I just have a bit, really?
I feel just sucked kind of a big one on iPod Touch actually on one of our sites, marketplace, I think.
-Yeah, and I will say that's a good point.
I-- heading into this before the Kindle Fire blew away everyone's expectations.
I was a big booster of the iPod Touch is being a good tablet alternative to parents or getting asked by a $500 iPod by kids who wanna play those games.
-If you wanna give that same, mostly that same game selection, but on a smaller device for $199, think about that.
-Oh and then you can get the Woogie.
I love the Woogie.
Have you guys seen the Woogie?
-Do it, do it.
-Thank you Brian Tong.
There is this little.
-Teach me how to love you.
-It's a little stuffy, a little stuffed animal thing, and then it has a little
-Hey, let me pull up while talk about it, keep talking about it.
-pouch for your iPod Touch to go in, and then there is room for the headphones to come out and so kid can have like a little personalized stuff animal, iPod Touch viewing station.
-Yeah, because I was trying to reclaim my iPad, which did not work.
-But, the Woogie is freaking adorable for the youngster to
who want to [unk]
-Yeah, here you guys going--
-I think you want Netflix
-This is the Woogie here,
-Oh where they come--
-just give it a second to load.
This is the Woogie.
-Look at the Woogie.
-And it's only like 20 bucks.
-This is like a killer Christmas gift.
-Just the like the evolution of the Chumby basically.
You can get [unk]
-This is how it uses--
-My biggest problem with it.
I will say I'm gonna get a box cutter and it's
-Yeah, spring beds.
-It's not that good.
-On the front, on the pouch.
-I tell you [unk] cut off its legs.
There's something horrible, I think.
-The hard part about is like the plastic--
-A mitten with the Woogie
-is like the plastic is there protect it, but then it kind of gets I the way of using it.
-and my son knows how to do that, I don't know.
I don't feel like you need that.
-An important thing to bring up too, which is that iOS devices like the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch are really the only devices out there that I seen that do a really good job at including parental controls for locking out features from your kid.
You know, the Kindle Fire at $199 does not have that.
-It's so pretty.
-But if you wanna be all to prevent you youngster from going on to the internet or downloading apps until, you know, they've drained your bank account, the iPod Touch or the iPad are gonna best choices for that.
-Alright, let's go ahead of the phone lines.
On line 1, Jamal calling us from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jamal, how are you doing today?
-I'm good, good, how are you doing?
-Thanks for calling in man.
This is excellent.
Now, you have a few tablet questions.
You're [unk] and you have 3 that you're thinking of.
Can you kind of let Donald Bell, the tablet guru know what you're thinking?
-Well, I'm thinking about the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Tablet, and the Toshiba
-And I'm looking not just--
I just want a good tablet.
I already have Mac, that sucks.
So, I need the Apple, anything, my girlfriend, she has that too.
So, I'm trying to stay on the open source android market.
So I'm just really I don't which one or better one for me, you know, that's just a good tablet all along.
-Sure, yeah, that's a good-- It's a great question.
-I like carrier brand now.
I like that.
-And then is his girlfriend is a lucky woman too.
-You hook her up with an iPad 2, he knows her thought.
-He knows, what's up,
There is interesting thing about the whole rush of honeycomb tablets, which is that every manufacturer really has to deal with the exact same specs.
-So, the are all based around the same processor, the same kind of RAM configuration, essentially the same screen technology.
So, really when you boil them all down aside from the brand behind it and whatever text support they might be able off you relative to each other, you're pretty much looking at the same device.
Now, there are some advantages Toshiba.
In particular, they have removable battery, which can give--
You can swap out batteries.
I think even with the battery has slightly better than average battery life.
It also has some screen technology built in to it that will do upscaling of videos.
You can better than average video quality, but if you're just looking on price, I think he Asus typically sells for less.
-Is that the one that also has the little keyboard?
-Has the laptop though.
-I like that.
-I'm a fan of that one.
-And the accessory also adds extended battery life to it too.
There's a separate battery pack
That's in that keyboard.
-Not to throw to much into the mix, but we also do have that Sony Tablet S here, which is also an Android tablet in that same price range that is something kind of new.
This is one I hadn't seen.
I don't think this one has the HDMI out though, right?
-of the other 3.
-It's got a wireless DLNA capability for streaming to, you know, most DLNA compatible TVs, but nothing that's a direct output, but I'm suspecting that
this doesn't gonna come down in price too much before the holidays, but the tablets you are mentioning,
-They probably will--
-especially the orginal Xoom, a lot of those are gonna be slashed heading to the holidays.
-Alright, I hope that helps.
-Yeah, and one more question about the-- another source I have new Asus coming out, new Xoom.
Should I wait or it is gonna be a while?
-It depends on what price you get them at, and even if you do, they are still essentially running the same honeycomb technology.
There is a lot of like the future
for what I'm saying for CES and a lot of android tablets moving on is tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich.
So, Honeycomb, it's a great operating system, but I think, they let it run and no one can reach down there to buy it up.
-So, if you invest in a Honeycomb tablet, anyone that has been released over the past year is gonna work well for you.
You can get at least a good year of enthusiastic use of that before something else Android Ice Sandwich might temp away from it,
-but anyone of those that you mentioned is gonna be a suitable tablet for you.
-And you just look for the best deal
-on it probably.
-Alright thanks Jamal.
-Hi, thanks Jamal.
-Thanks for calling in.
we're gonna go to another line.
Jordan from Coronas calling in.
Jordan, how can we help you out today?
-I was wondering about, sorry, I was wondering about with deals with a Xbox 360 and I got turn my radio, I'm sorry.
-You're good, you're good.
-You're the first one of the year.
-It happens every show.
-It happens every show.
-We actually predicted.
We actually predicted there would a person that did that, and you just happen to be in, but we still love your call.
-I feel like we should send you a sticker.
-Alright, well, I was on the bandwagon for the week.
I bought it when it first came out.
-I was read for it and now, you know, the Wii is coming down, but now I'm looking at 369.
I wan advice the system after the fact.
-So, you're looking for.
-So, I'm wondering.
-Now, my girls want to connect, but they don't have a bundle with the connect.
-Now, we have the PS3 that has Blu-ray in there.
-Which one is good?
I have 3 kids, 13, almost 11, and 4.
-Alright, so I got to tell you.
I think the way you wanna go is definitely the connect because that is just the most fun, I think, the family can have at this point.
-And I do see that Wal-Mart is gonna be offering a 4 gigabyte connect bundle with a $50 gift card for $199 on Thursday.
So, that's the 4 gig Xbox 360,
the slim model that doesn't have as much on board storage, but you are gonna get the connect
-and that's, I mean, $199 bucks is great.
-You know, that's a killer deal.
I mean the Connect alone
-That's just done.
-is like 129, 149-ish and the console itself.
So, you're getting all that in a $50 gift card.
-So, if there's any deal
-to go look for and you're looking the best you wanna get, so--
-Yup, I think that's the one.
-That will be it, okay.
-Alright, good luck and we're gonna keep it rolling.
-What about the Wii, may I ask what do you think gonna have on the Wii.
-Well, they are releasing new version.
So, I would just--
-Have the two--
-The Wii-- if your kids will play with it, it's alright, but you know, it sounds like you're ready for the new fresh thing, and the Xbox 360 that's gonna get you through it.
So, I would say, go with Xbox 360 honestly.
The games are great too, so.
-For your family?
-Alright, thanks a lot Jordan.
We really appreciate it.
Next call, we're gonna take Dave from Clearwater.
David, how can we help you out today?
David from Clearwater, can you hear me?
-How can you help us out today?
or how can we help you out today?
-I can help you out by a good-- I have a bunch probably 30 or 40 2-hour video casette, 8-mm video casette
-Taken in the 90s or so mostly.
-and of course those camcorders along since went away, but I would like to retrieve those family memories that are on their and I've looked online and I can't find the machine to play them back
or I really like to convert them to digital.
-Yeah, David, you know what, I have a suggestion for you because a lot of people ask for some of these.
-And when you have specifically the tape format that you're talking about,
-It doesn't necessarily always make sense to invest in buying the hardware and doing it yourself
-and a lot of times you really can do it more cheaply at a video service business.
You know, you have sometimes there now like use to be maybe photo stores, but they also offer digital video conversion.
There're also services online
-That you can send your tapes in and then they convert into a digital format for you.
I really think
-that's probably a better way to go.
-I've looked, typically, those are around $25 a casette, and they-- so times 40, makes 800 bucks that I thought I could buy something a lot cheaper than that.
-Yeah, I mean, you can't.
There are options out there.
There are kind of, you know-- There are things for like 100 bucks that use your projector and the video camera and then convert it digital formula, but those ones, I'd be a little nervous about
from most of the converter technology I've seen is.
-What you're talking about-- This is video tape, not film.
-Right, yeah, yeah I know exactly.
-It's doable and there are definitely devices that can do it, you know.
It really a sort of about how comfortable you feel with the technology.
The ones that I've seen out there ION audio makes a bunch of-- actually, they kind of specialize in some turn tables that you can plug into your computer over USB.
They make like slide scanners.
They can convert all your slides.
I believe I've seen
-VHS decks that they sell that will also hook into your computer for converting to digital too, but they are out there.
-but I haven't.
I actually know, but I haven't seen any, just specifically says 8-mm.
-Right, what, so--
-I do play VHS.
I do play some of that other mini VHS, but I have not seen the machines.
They must be available because.
-Yeah, it looks like--
-It's available, why the services-- They must have something to do it.
It looks like one way to do it is with the high 8 or digital 8 player or recorder that has audio or video out.
So, as long as it has that auxiliary out connection.
Then you can sort of playback and capture the video or you can use a fire wire connection if it has that.
So, you wanna actually find the high 8 or digital 8 player or recorder?
-That's right and that's what I-- I've googled every version of that phrase that I can think of,
-but nothing comes up.
-and this is why I always go back at the service.
I hate to say it, but if it's sort of like.
If it's family.
I mean really though.
If it's family archival, heirloom stuff
-It might be worth that investment because frankly, you know, they're gonna do a good job.
-Yeah, they will--
-and it's-- and I don't know.
We keep coming back to that with this hardware.
I think that's part of the reason the services keep cropping up.
What I would say is I know Goupon is all over this.
In fact there is one called Digital Pickle that's got a bunch of Groupon deals.
It might be worth like signing up for some of those coupon services and waiting for a really good deal to come along in one of these.
-That's kind what I would do.
-You see, I did do a couple of casettes recently and they are all 2-hour casettes.
Well, you know, I just started and ran it until the end and it turned to be 2 hours and 15 minutes and that made it comes back on 2 DVDs, but 2 hours on 1 of 15 minutes on the second DVD.
-Yeah, another thing is just kind of the investment in storage.
-whether it's on your local computer, so
but like we said, I think we
go for the services and hopefully that helps you out.
-Thank you very much.
-Thanks a lot.
-And we're getting the hook.
It's is time for is to wrap our first holiday help desk show of the season.
Sorry, to those of you that we left hanging.
Please call us back next week at 888-900-CNET or e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org our e-mail address.
We will be here next Monday taking your calls and questions.
Thank you very much Donald Bell.
-I'll be here.
-Next week, we will have woot.com.
You don't get [unk].
Next week, we'll have woot.com and then our HD TV guy, David Katzmaier, who I think is gonna have a lot of questions coming his way
-So, call us up.
eastern noon, Pacific next Monday, happy shopping everybody.
-Alright, we'll see you guys.