[ Music ]
>> Hey everybody, good to have you back. I'm Brian Cooley, it's Holiday Help Desk. Dr. Tom Merritt [phonetic], who prescribed me some Ambien last night, how's is that working out for you?
>> Just fine, I'm close to being -
>> [inaudible] a little housekeeping.
>> [inaudible] close to the holidays here.
>> Mm-hmm, some housekeeping for the show.
>> I need to pick up some tips.
>> Pick up this tip right here.
>> Yes, Holiday Help Desk -
>> Good to be here.
>> -- show number 17. Does it show?
>> Are we aging? We are. This is aging, right?
>> Oh, there's some gray in my heart. What have we got? We've got six more of these.
>> That's right, December 23 is our last.
>> We're doing them right up until December 23rd, but you continue to amaze us with your wealth of questions, so keep it coming.
>> Don't insult the audience. 888-900-2638. We need their calls. 888-900-CNET.
>> Or their emails, which would be email@example.com. So it's me, the doctor, and Tristan Reinhart is here from shopper.com.
>> Hey, Tristan.
>> And he'll be our shopper snooper, looking for great prices for stuff. We're going to be talking about some of the hot stuff they've got ready to roll. But remember, the phone calls are the key here at 888-900-CNET. Also a chatroom is open right now at cnet.com/live, you can find us there.
>> And free prizes as we give away everyday.
>> Free good stuff.
>> Today's crave holiday prize -
>> What you got?
>> -- is the Canon SD940 -
>> What you got there [inaudible]
>> -- courtesy of our friends at newegg.com, we'll be talking to them later in the show. If you just want to go to crave.cnet.com and read, that's fine, but you can also go to the Give Away posting and post a comment, you'll be entered to win the SD940.
>> That actually is a pocket camera, a very compact one, but we just posted a ginormous [phonetic] image of it on our review.
>> Right, that image is like three times the size of the actual camera.
>> It barely fits in the browser.
>> Depending on how big your video screen is right now.
>> Right, this is on the little Mimo which is actually I think 1024. But anyway, that is a great camera, one that I recommend all the time, just like when people ask me, "I need a new pocket camera," this is a go to unit for me, so it's a really good camera.
>> Depends on how big your pockets are.
>> Well true, it doesn't fit in a little skinny cocktail dress, but that's a whole nother [phonetic] discussion.
>> Let's talk about something else for a moment.
>> How about deals?
>> [inaudible] CNET shopper. Tristan, what do you like? You guys have daily deals everyday, but what are you loving today?
>> So HP has this $500-off coupon that you can apply to most laptops, not all, not the hottest ones, not the smallest ones, but the smallest one you can apply it to is called a DM3T HP Pavilion.
>> Pulling that up now. Hang on, let me show folks how to get there. So you go over to Shopper.
>> [inaudible] funny, this little link [inaudible] and you go to the Deals up here in the upper right. You drop down to Today's Deals right there, and then this is right near the top, it's our second product. Look at this, just before we started the show it was like number two, now look, it's like down the list because more deals came in in just a few moments, including a pair of underwear and an eggbeater.
[ Laughter ]
>> I love this website. And then a birdhouse, and then we get to the DM3T [inaudible] and there it is.
>> See, that's the beauty of the internet, is you can buy all four of those things without getting any funny looks from someone at the counter when you check out -
>> -- because it's the internet.
>> Right. It's like condoms, whatever you buy with them is funny, here it doesn't happen.
>> Beautiful. You can buy that eggbeater and the underwear and the laptop.
>> No one is going to say, "You've got a weekend coming up."
>> Make some eggs, surf the web.
>> Oh yeah.
>> Do whatever you need to do.
>> So I notice when I clink the link it goes right to the HP configurator [phonetic] so we're hardwired into that site.
>> Okay, so you have to trick it out enough to be able to apply the coupon because there's a minimum. I think it's about 13.99 or 12.99.
>> Then you can knock off the 500.
>> That's right.
>> Okay. So if I go in for this cheap old Bare Bones unit at 744, I can't take off the 500.
>> But when I spec it up -
>> -- and ram it up and whatever else it up -
>> Really trick it out, then you take off the 500.
>> Bajing [phonetic].
>> Good to go.
>> Here we go.
>> You could also apply it to other models like the BB7, the bigger desktop replacements.
>> All right, so I'm going to go [inaudible] 764. Doctor, let's add a nice processor here, let's see what we've got. These are all taking the price [inaudible] I want to add - oh, here we go.
>> Yeah, no worries [inaudible]
>> Let's go all the way.
>> [inaudible] processor.
>> It's good to record [inaudible] We can't get a quad but that's okay, we'll go to [inaudible] and let's get that price [inaudible] 969, now we're going to ram, okay, here we go.
>> Ram it up all the way.
>> Give me 8 gig. As you just said, ram it up.
>> We're at 1244.
>> Don't get fresh.
>> 7200 RPM hard drive.
>> No, you want a 1 gig solid state.
>> No, I want storage.
>> Okay, let's go 500.
>> I want fast and massive.
>> You want the 7200 [inaudible]
>> Okay, there we go, and now we're definitely in coupon zone, right Tristan?
>> Yes, I believe so.
>> And now we can [inaudible] $500 off of that and get a really good price on a well spec'd [phonetic] laptop.
>> I should also add that there are a limited supply of those coupons.
>> There are like 1,000 of them so you've got to hurry.
>> 1,000. All right, so it's not stupid limited, it's a reasonable number for a large audience like we're talking about.
>> Okay, good stuff. Tristan is standing by to help us snoop out deals as you call in for them as well. Speaking of standing by, we've got Rick Broida, the Cheapskate, standing by as well. Hello, Rick. You sleepy [inaudible] What's going around today?
>> The holiday spirits.
>> We were all drinking last night, that's why
>> It wasn't you guys though, I was riveted.
>> Yeah, I'm sure you were. I'm going to rivet you.
>> [inaudible] out that notebook.
[ Laughter ]
>> Oh really?
>> Wow, okay, I'll put you over my knee later, that'll be riveting.
>> [inaudible] television.
>> Let's talk about your deal, Mr. Smartass, what have you got for us?
>> I'm sorry, shouldn't drink before a show.
[ Laughter ]
>> Today's deal is one of the Creative Vado, is it Vahdo [phonetic] or Vado, I'm not sure. Vado HD pocket camcorders.
>> Yeah, Vado.
>> What do we think it is, Vado?
>> I think it's Vado.
>> We'll call it Vado.
>> I think Vahdo would be a European pronunciation.
>> Where I'm from it's Vado.
>> Which is on sale for $99.99, which by itself is just kind of an okay deal. But what sweetens this a little bit is that Creative is throwing in a couple of accessories in the form of a case and a USB charger so that you don't necessarily have to charge it by plugging it into a USB port on your computer, here you get like an AC charging, it's kind of nice.
>> Okay, there's the kit now. Yeah, we see the kit.
>> Pretty sweet.
>> Yeah, the case, the wall to USB, that adapter alone is really useful, it's great to have one of those.
>> Yeah, that's about 50 bucks worth of extra stuff, and the closest you'll ever get on the flipside of things, those things start at about 200 bucks and go up from there. So pretty nice price for 100 bucks.
>> And that's an HD flash camera as well folks, it's not a standard [inaudible] so that's in the current keeping with the technology, so that's nice. All right, Rick, thanks a lot.
>> Appreciate it.
>> Thank you guys.
>> Go back to sleep. Rick Broida the Cheapskate.
>> Cnet.com/cheapskate, if you'd like to leave just a series of Zs.
>> Slash sleepy, if you want to put that there. If you want to go catch him live on his sleep cam.
>> Good times.
>> Let's get to the real meat of show now.
>> Time for your questions, call us, 888-900-CNET, 888-900-2638. Let's start off with surfing the web. Andrew in Florida, welcome to CNET's Holiday Help Desk.
>> Hey Tom and Brian.
>> How's it going, man?
>> Well we were talking earlier about the router radiation thing.
>> Right, you were saying you sleep with the router under your bed.
>> Yeah. Well it's actually been conking out on me recently and I just want to know if you have a recommendation for a new one, what you think I should buy as a new one?
>> Okay, but you want a wireless router, right?
>> Our best wireless router is actually the TP-Link TL-WR741ND, it is a wireless Lite N Router, but we don't have any prices on that.
>> That's what's odd.
>> Not a well-known brand. I don't know TP-Link, do you?
>> It's an entry level wireless end router, I don't think that's what is going to be best for you, Andrew.
>> I think what we're looking at for you is either a [inaudible] or a D-Link [phonetic] but I know you said you like Belkin. What do you like about Belkin?
>> I don't know, it's just something we always went with.
>> Just brand loyalty?
>> [inaudible] router. Yeah.
>> Well here's a net gear we like a lot, the WNDR3700, dual-band, wireless, and gigabyte on the wired side. You know, we're giving it great reviews but what I like is that the users even give it a better review than we do. So to have those in [inaudible] or even if the user is a little bit higher -
>> And you almost never see that.
>> The users are harsher than we are.
>> They're harder than we are.
>> So I get a good feeling about a router like that. You know, and to be honest, I'll check over at Amazon once in a while to kind of cross check what our users and reviews say. And this brings up another one that we also like which are this series, the WRT series of Linksys routers, they have this kind of pseudo saucer like shape, you spot them instantly there. But they get really good reviews from us, and as you can see, this is sorted by best selling. I don't know why this [inaudible] thing here on the left still shows up, that's like 1995.
>> Yeah, that's [inaudible] that's what you'd get that for.
>> Oh, right.
>> [inaudible] used and put like Tomato router or -
>> To run that Tomato router. Yes, that's what people are doing with that one. But yeah, this is a very hot router here which is the WRT, and I'll go pull one of those up here. If you go into CNET's wireless routers and just go search by most popular, you're going to find this net gear which is kind of this square bulky looking one, this series here - yeah, these two, I don't know the difference between the specs on the premium edition versus non. They have a different model number, there must be something significantly different. But they're both in, one may not be gigabyte in the back.
>> Maybe USB.
>> Yeah, neither one is a storage router per se.
>> Yeah, [inaudible]
>> I think it's the gigabyte.
>> It's [inaudible] the gigabyte and who knows whatever other premium proprietary features for them. But yeah, we're liking the WNR2000 for your needs. This TP-Link, hmm, don't know. And the WRT series over there from Linksys. And those are all going to be, I think [inaudible] had for 100 or less, it would be a lot less in many cases.
>> All right.
>> All right.
>> That's [inaudible] prices. I think you should do a top five routers, Tom.
>> Yeah, that's a good idea actually. After the first of the year, maybe I'll make that -
>> Done. I'm going to write that down.
>> You write that down right now while we go into our next question which is going to be about iPod docs. And this one coming in from Michael, he's in Pleasanton, right here in the Bay area. Hello, Michael, welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Hey guys, happy holidays, how's it's going?
>> Thank you, happy holidays. Doing well.
>> Actually it was about iPod stereo decks is what the call was about.
>> I've read the reviews, I was kind of looking for your personal opinion, Cooley, on a good deck for the iPod.
>> Okay, I'm going to steer you away from Bose, you've got a good budget, it says here under 500 bucks, is that right?
>> Yeah, that's like sky is the limit for you, I don't think there's an iPod doc more than that. The Bose ones I think touch up to that level, they have a couple. I just find them overpriced, to be honest, and I know too many of them that just have broken. So they sound great, but you know what, you can do better for less. There's one that I'm digging here, it's an Altec Lansing, this is kind of an old warhorse, it's been around for a while and you can find it in a lot of places. Let me roll over here and get you some pricing for example. 95 to what, $116. You'll have enough money to go buy a few more iPods after this one.
>> Buy five of them.
>> Yeah, go buy five and give them away, send one to me. You can get an idea of the form factor here, it's kind of this square panel shaped thing like so, and it does have radio reception, it's got a little clock in there. I think it's just FM radio though, not AM if I'm not mistaken. Yeah, there's no AM if that matters to you.
>> No, no.
>> Okay. This is FM only, it is not a streaming device, so there's no internet radio per se, so it's FM, and the only thing that's a little bit weird about it is it does, if you can see here, have this kind of this ugly looking antenna, if you look on the right-hand corner there, it sticks up, kind of like a chrome antenna that looks a little bit almost like a joke, it's a little bit 1950s. Another one to look at is the JBL, I think it's the IM600, is another one that's been around for a while. IM600, hang on. iPod doc, I'm just Googling on the fly here.
>> Another one is the Griffin Evolve, just keep that name in mind. That's got our highest rating, 8.0 out of 10 or 4 stars. That is a little more expensive at $350, it's to my mind overpriced, but it's the first wireless speaker system, so that's kind of the [inaudible]
>> Oh, okay.
>> -- that pushes it up over the top.
>> Okay, wireless speakers are a whole nother thing on there. This is the iPod 400HD, this is a JBL. This is over at B & H, one of our certified merchants. So this guy here is going to be I think a little better looking deal. I've always liked the JBL audio sound on iPod docs, I think it sounds as good as a Bose in most cases when they're similar priced, or similar class, which this one will be a very nice one. $185 for that, that's from B & H anyway, and it's got an HD radio FM tuner, so it will get FM and HD radio as well song tagging. So if there's something you like, you can press a button, it will tag to your iPod, your iPod then the next time it syncs will reach out to iTunes and say here's that song you wanted, do you still want to buy it? It will remind you, so that's a nice feature.
>> Oh, definitely.
>> I'm kind of big on that one, so yeah, go to the JBL400IHD, I think that might be the sweet spot for you.
>> All right.
>> Good stuff.
>> There we go.
>> Thank you.
>> Okay folks, keep the calls coming at 888-900-CNET, 888-900-2638, we're going to get back to more of those, we've got some emails as well we might be jumping on here. We're going to take a really short break now, when we come back we always check in with one of the merchants who we work with and this time it's going to be New Egg, Michael [inaudible] from newegg.com is back here when we come back with more of the Holiday Helpdesk in just a moment.
[ Music ]
>> If think all batteries are the same, consider this, these Duracell batteries were given to the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, because when it comes to kids and healing, we're not just powering a toy, we're powering a smile. Duracell, trusted everywhere.
[ Music ]
>> Everywhere you look, new gadgets are popping up. To get the real story on them, there's really only one place to go, cnet.com. Discover something new at CNET.
>> Last FM now on Xbox Live. Discover more music and explore endless personalized radio stations. Find out more on www.lastfm.com/xbox.
[ Music ]
>> Yeah, make a fruitcake. Oh, hey, welcome back to Holiday Helpdesk, we are taking your calls.
>> Oh, I work with one.
>> 888-900-CNET, 888-900-C-N-E-T. Call us with a question.
>> That's right. And now it's time for us to get into our merchant check-in, our pulse taking we do everyday on this show. Let's see what's going on out there in the actual merchant channel. Today we've got newegg.com, Michael [inaudible] is here joining us from New Egg. Hey Michael, tell me, first of all, how are things driving right now because we've got this kind of mentality that time is running out. Are you feeling like we are getting to a point where it's getting dicey on either stock on shipping, where do you guys stand? Well we're still good on the shipping part of it, plenty of inventory to go around. On the shipping portion, of course that we are running against the clock. If you want delivery on or before Christmas Day, then we're in the final 72 hours here on Friday. We have our cutoff using regular UPS ground.
>> Any orders placed after that would have to be expedited at the customer's choice of course. Up until all the way Wednesday where we can do same-day delivery in those areas where we actually have physical warehouses. So we are running a little bit against the clock. We're running some good specials, you know, last minute buy type things. We have some hot products that are still doing very well. I think we're doing good for now.
>> Tell me about this local present same-day delivery. I didn't know you guys had anything like that.
>> Yeah, this is something new for us that we're launching in three key geographical areas where we have warehousing, southern California, Memphis, and New Jersey. And then it reaches out a certain area around those points, it's not quite a circle, where customers on the website, by IP address, we can determine where they're at and they'll have an option for same-day delivery.
>> Interesting, I didn't know that. All right, so that's interesting. I'm looking at your 24-hour sale you guys have got going up here [inaudible] on the right-hand corner of the site right now.
>> Yeah, that's a new one.
>> And this ends at midnight tonight, and you have one of these everyday, is that right?
>> No, no, no, these are selectively done. We're running a little bit heavier on our promos right now trying to create sense of urgency because we are running up against the clock from a shipping perspective.
>> On the top right you'll see the 24-hour sale. If you go to the left there you will see the link for our latest email blast that went out yesterday, a holiday sale. And then tomorrow we'll have our last minute deals email blast which will really prompt people to say okay, we've got some extra deals -
>> -- that we're trying to get to our customer using UPS ground, most of that now is done through free shipping.
>> Let's take a couple of the deals in the 24-hour rush, here. You've got an Alpine PND for 120 bucks, the PND K3.
>> 119, free shipping on that guy. Looking into some other items, you've got a Samsung 24-inch wide screen LCD monitor, free shipping, free shipping. First of all, is that going to be sort of a rule of thumb, everything under this 24-hour promotion is free shipping?
>> Yeah. It's just like every part of retail nowadays, we're all competing with each other, it's a very stressed economy nowadays.
>> There's less dollars to go around, everyone wants to do a good job in catering to the customer. So it's definitely fierce competition out there. If you're a customer, you will have your choice of a diversity of promotions. From an online perspective, one of our most effective weapons of course is to subsidize freight, either to buy it down to a certain dollar level like you see from some of our competitors, or in most cases, you know, nothing sells better than free. So we've been using that very aggressively.
>> Interesting. And the one I like here and my favorite is the Micathermic Ceramic Wall Mounted Heater. My office is so cold. My office is like 50 degrees.
>> Yeah, we've been selling a lot of heaters just the last two weeks or so.
>> I'll bet.
>> Even in southern California here we've finally got some snow on the mountaintops and it's really been changing.
>> I'm impressed, something that big and relatively heavy I would think, free shipping, love it.
>> All right, Michael, thanks a lot.
>> Appreciate your time. We'll talk to you a little later. That's Michael [inaudible] there from newegg.com. Again, the 24-hour thing is not everyday, so if you something you like there, maybe swoop in and at least take a look at it and see if it's going to work out for you. Okay, back to our calls, right?
>> Well actually, before we [inaudible]
>> In fact, let's not. I was just thinking, what if we do something else for a change?
>> I need a see a video about a TV.
>> I knew you did, I didn't want to hold you up, didn't want to cause any angst.
>> I appreciate that.
>> Let's go there and take a look at the Panasonic TC - we're dancing - P54S1.
[ Music ]
>> Hi there, I'm CNET senior editor, David Katzmaier, and I'm with the Panasonic TCPS1 series. This is the 54-inch member of the series, but this review also applies to the 58 and 65-inch versions. We also reviewed a 42-inch here earlier in the year to apply to the smaller screen sizes, but we figured we'd throw in another review later in the year to cover the big ones, and this is one big TV. These are actually Panasonic's entry level model in the plasma line of the [inaudible] P resolution, so it does have a really good price point, especially compared to a lot of the other large screen TVs out there. Being an entry level model, Panasonic did cut out a lot of the features on this TV, but we'll get to that in a second. First off, the styling is a lot like a lot of the other TVs out there, it's a lot of glossy black. Panasonic did round the edges, the speakers are hidden. There's a little bit of a silver accent mark here along the bottom. The stand itself doesn't offer a swivel, but it is obviously substantial enough to support this really large screen. The feature set on this TV is relatively sparse, you won't find any interactive features or [inaudible] compatibility or even a lot of picture adjustments, that was one big issue. We really couldn't do much with the color on this TV, you can kind of flip around a bunch of presets. We really like the ability to be able to go in and play with more of the many [inaudible] that's not the case on this entry level model. Connectivity is adequate, around back you'll find two HDMI, two component video, and no PC input. There really is no way to connect a computer unless you use a digital connection. Of course it does work fine by HDMI. There is a third HDMI input here on the side panel so [inaudible] three is pretty good. The picture quality on this TV was a highlight, we really did like the black levels on the Panasonic plasma there, among the best we've seen and that's really, really good for such an inexpensive relatively TV. The color on the other hand was not all that great. Again, the inability to adjust it kind of makes it less accurate than a lot of the other sets out there, especially in the [inaudible] little [inaudible] look to some of the colors in comparison. But on the flipside, you do get really good color saturation and nice richness on this TV again on the count of those good black levels. Given the good blacks on a lot of the other TVs' performance characteristics this is an excellent performing TV for the money. That's a quick look at the Panasonic TCPS1 series and the 54-inch and larger models. I'm David Katzmaier.
[ Music ]
>> Okay, now do you mind if we go back to the phones?
>> I feel much better now.
>> Can we go back to the phones? What are waiting for?
>> [inaudible] I don't know, [inaudible] had some issue. Let's go to Ean [phonetic], Ian, I never know on this one.
>> Is it Ean?
>> I know Ians and Eans.
>> Young Ean.
>> All right. And he wants you to ask the question [inaudible]
>> I'm just listening, I think he's got his volume turned up, I'm listening to my own voice come out of his [inaudible]
>> Really? I don't hear anything.
>> Hello, Ean?
>> Go ahead, Ean.
>> I'm looking to get a DSLR, and I was looking in like the 450 and under range. And I was like looking at the Nikon D40X. Is that a good camera or am I going to want to get something different?
>> D40X, you're not going to do bad with that at all. Let me pull the review up on that one here, we'll step through it very briefly just because you want to know what's good and bad about it. So with the kit lens, 18 to 55 millimeter which is kind of a typical package. We're looking at our best price, well our only price, on [inaudible] Amazon Marketplace. Let me check with Tristan on this in a minute. A little over $1,000, about 1100. Is that our best price, Tristan, on a D40X?
>> I was looking more at the D40 since the review says it's really good for beginners. But the D40X, let me pull that up.
>> All right. The D40X we've got here is $1100, we give it a very good, and here's our summary on it, which I'm sure you've looked at. It's comfortable, it's got a compact body, it's one of the smaller ranges of SLRs. Does very well at high ISO equivalent, so if you do a lot of limited or low-light shooting, good for that, which I happen to like a lot. And it's a 10 mega pixel camera. On the other hand, as usual it's got kind of a slow light gathering kit lens, that's typically the case anyway. You've got to pay extra for the software to handle its raw output file format. And if you're getting a DSLR you might be into that because you're obviously doing some pretty serious photography. It doesn't have automatic sensor cleaning, so if you get any [inaudible] inside there, it's not going to automatically ultrasonically vibrate that off of the sensor.
>> How would I clean it if I did get anything.
>> A little spit and a Q-tip, that usually works for me. No, kidding. What have you got on the price?
>> I'm seeing 1099 from Amazon Marketplace, but you said 450, right, so you might have to go for the D40.
>> 450, who had 450?
>> Yeah, I found it on eBay for -
>> Oh, eBay?
>> Oh, that's [inaudible]
>> I was looking on eBay, I can get it for a lot cheaper.
>> eBay? Is that for an X or a regular D40?
>> No, that was for the X.
>> Okay, D40X, I just want to go see this deal and find out what the hooks are. That's always an interesting angle to this thing. Cameras and accessories, digital cameras, and let's pull up this D40X you supposedly found, young man. Oh yeah, you did.
[ Laughter ]
>> There's one that had two lenses, two Nikon lenses, the [inaudible]
>> Yeah, I'm seeing a few here and that seems to be like the package price, for folks that are [inaudible] But this is a pre-owned camera you're talking about, right?
>> Yeah, I wouldn't be buying it new -
>> Right. Okay.
>> -- because I've had one camera before.
>> All right. So yeah, if you want to go new, it's a very different price point, but it looks like you've got about the right price. If it's got a couple lenses and other accessories, you know, the key there is to make sure the lenses are operating properly, that's always the delicate part of a camera kit. But anyway, we like the camera lot, but big difference whether you're willing to accept new or not. If you're willing to accept the used one from a reputable seller, then it wouldn't bother me, I'd save 500 bucks in a heartbeat.
>> All right.
>> [inaudible] that's half off.
>> Good camera.
>> Thanks, Ean.
>> Appreciate the call. Thanks for joining us on Holiday Helpdesk. Gina on the line from Kentucky. Welcome to Holiday Helpdesk. Gina, what can we help you with today?
>> Hi, how are you all?
>> We're doing all right.
>> Thanks for calling.
>> Well good, thanks for taking my call. I've actually never bought a television myself, I've always had somebody else give me theirs or buy me one.
>> Lucky you.
>> Yeah, but they're all analog and I don't have HDTV or anything else.
>> All right.
>> I'm looking to buy one for my parents to put in their bedroom, and I don't know what size would be the best one that they could see, because if I get one that's like a 19 or 20-inch, I'm afraid it will be too small.
>> How big is the room?
>> I'd say about 18 x 20, something like that, it's a pretty good size room, and they're probably going to hang it up on the wall or up in the corner somewhere.
>> Yeah. Because the thing you've got to figure out is how far away are they going to be when they're viewing it.
>> Yeah, that's the thing.
>> So are they going to be like 10, 12 feet away you think, roughly?
>> I'd say so, probably.
>> Is the headboard against one end of the room and the TV is on the opposite wall?
>> Yeah, their bed is kind of like in the corner.
>> And is that the long way, is that the 18 or more foot length of the room?
>> Actually I think it's wider than it is deep and their headboard is like on the smaller part [inaudible] one side or the other.
>> All right. So without sketching out the room, let me say that the rough rule of thumb is this rule of four that has kind of been used for 16 x 9 widescreen displays, a different rule for 4 x 3 but no one buys those anymore. I'm trying to remember what it was, I think it's 4 to 1, so for every four feet of viewing distance is it one foot of screen size, so you are minimum, so you are let's say four and a half. You could go to a 46 and it wouldn't be overkill. If it's as long as I think, but I'm thinking a 42 is more like what you're looking for to be reasonable.
>> 42, yeah, I'm trying to do the calculations along with you there.
>> 42 seems like it's [inaudible]
>> I think it's good for a bedroom set because you're not having an optimal viewing experience in the bedroom anyway.
>> You might want to air on the 46 side depending on the price.
>> Yes. Right.
>> At that point I would look at what's available 42 to 46 inches. Sometimes amazingly, the 46-inch TVs, you might find some that are cheaper, especially if you don't care about going 1080P.
>> Yeah, I was going to ask about that [inaudible] the TV, does it really matter on the size? [inaudible] would probably be fine in there.
>> It's a matter of taste I think at that point. 720P looks really good, especially if you've been living with standard def all of your life.
>> Right. You're not going to see as a big of a jump from 720 to 1080 as you will from standard def to 720.
>> No, not even close.
>> So it depends. If your parents are real picky in video files, then they're going to want the 1080P, but they might not care.
>> It's in the bedroom, so if this was really going to be a critical viewing set it would probably be in the living room, so imagine, this is more of a casual viewing watching broadcast television, which a lot of it's not going to be in HD, especially if they don't have HD service yet, that's the key. Remember, if they only have standard def service, boy, this stuff can look pretty crummy, it's a big let down from what you could have. So think about getting them into, if they have available, cable, satellite, whatever it is, with HD or over the air.
>> Or just over the air.
>> If you have some decent signals -
>> [inaudible] an antenna [inaudible]
>> Where do they live, in the boonies or whatever populous?
>> Oh no, they live in the city and I think they do have HD, it's just that all of the TVs in their house are not HD, they're all analog just like mine.
>> Okay, so it's you whose house has never had HD and only had hand-me-down televisions.
>> I'd say there's an LG 42-inch TV available right now for $649 and that's as cheap as you're going to see for TVs that size. If you wanted to be cheaper, you could live with a 32-inch, it's going to be a little small for that room. Those run around 3 or $400. But in that size range that we're talking about, the LG 42 LH20 seems to be one of the better choices for you, or the LH50, which we gave a little bit better rating, it's more expensive though, 829.
>> And bear in mind two things, the 720 to 1080, the difference in resolution is usually a big difference in price because of the resolution plus they bundle more features on the 1080 sets, typically higher refresh [inaudible] things you probably aren't going to care about. And secondly, the best way to make an HDTV look good is to back up. That's the dirty little secret about HD. If you want to make a 720 look better, just back up a little bit because your eye will much less detect the size of the pixels. It is really possible to sit too close to a high def TV. It was different with analog televisions, they stayed kind of mushy and smooth all the time, but getting too close to an HD television is really a bad idea.
>> [inaudible] from going with the smaller -
>> -- well the smaller end of the scale there -
>> -- going to 42 or the 46.
>> Yeah, not tiny, but 42 will be fine, they'll sit a little further back as well. I think you're going to look good with a bargain. And don't forget second tier makers. I don't have any top tier TVs, I've got Magnavox, I've got Westinghouse, I've got one I can't even pronounce.
>> Vizio is good.
>> Vizio is really good.
>> It's a really good brand if you're looking to save a few bucks.
>> And so don't be afraid of those second-tier or the brands that are not Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, et cetera.
>> They're not really brand-name type people or anything like that, they just [inaudible]
>> Good enough is good enough this year, so go spend a few hundred bucks.
>> I think 42-inch, 720P TV, off brand, or second-tier brand sounds like it's going to work fine.
>> That's exactly what I would and did do with my own money.
>> So go do it.
>> Thank you so much and have a fun holiday.
>> You too.
>> Thanks, Gina, you too.
>> Okay, bye.
>> Thanks for the call.
>> Shall we squeeze in one more before we go?
>> I think we can. Yeah.
>> Yeah, let's talk to Bryant about ways to get HD programming on your computer. Welcome, Bryant to Holiday Helpdesk, what can we help you with?
>> Hi Tom and Brian, thanks for taking my call.
>> Absolutely, thanks for calling.
>> I have a cable DVR, like a TiVo, but it's [inaudible] Magnavox that the local cable company provides, and I would like to record my high definition programming onto that and then get that programming from the DVR into my computer, which I can share with - well I've actually got a laptop and a desktop. What would be your opinion on the best way to do that?
>> There's a few different ways you can go about it. What Windows operating system are you running?
>> I'm actually running XP on the desktop and I've got Windows 7 on my laptop.
>> Okay. So for the XP laptop you're going to want to go in and install the media sharing, it's one way to go about this. The Zune software is one easy way to get that installed. And then on the Windows 7 laptop you've got Media Center built in, so you're good there. And there's a way to do media sharing from your DVR to the Windows Media Center if it's built into the DVR, but we don't know kind of DVR you have.
>> So if you have DirecTV DVR or TiVo you're fine. What kind of DVR do you have?
>> Damn, I can't remember.
>> It's your cable company's?
>> Yeah, it's the cable company box.
>> I'm a little nervous about that.
>> So then you're going to have to do something else a little trickier, and it might cost you a little more money. The Slingbox is your easiest way to do it but it's going to cost you 200 bucks. You hook a Slingbox up to that DVR and then you can install the Slingbox software on any of your computers that you have and access that DVR and watch it on the computer. That's your perfect solution.
>> Oh yeah, that sounds great. The DVR only has HDMI out. Would the Slingbox have an HDMI in?
>> Yeah, you're going to want to get the Slingbox HD which I think is something like 50 bucks more than the other Slingbox. But it does have an HD in -
>> -- so you'll be cool with that. Now make sure when you go to the store, there's little dongle [phonetic] that you have to get for that to use the HDMI cable, and I think it's something like 29.95.
>> Oh, interesting.
>> Even though it's got an HDMI in it, they didn't get the licensing to include the DRM decrypting when they first built the Slingbox HD, so you have to buy that separately so that you can use the HDMI cable, but [inaudible]
>> Okay, so the Procedure HD for example, is the Slingbox you'll be looking for and then you can make it happen. That's probably the easiest way short of there being, you know, if you Google around, once you get the model number of your DVR, maybe there's a hack for it, I don't know, but this is [inaudible] way to do it.
>> Yeah, that sounds great, that'll be great.
>> Sling it.
>> So I will need the dongle and the Slingbox?
>> Sling it.
>> And the Slingbox. Then the software will be free once you get the box, you just download that on your computer and you should be set.
>> Well fantastic, I appreciate the help guys.
>> All right, thanks, Bryant.
>> Have a happy holiday.
>> You too.
>> Have a good one.
>> Before we wrap up we need to announce the winner of Tuesday's Crave holiday giveaway, a $300 Energizer package that includes batteries by the way.
>> That's good.
>> Chargers and other accessories as well. Winner's CNET username is -
[ Drum roll ]
>> TSI, spelled the Russian royalty way.
>> Kind of.
>> I know that how to spell that in Cyrillic actually.
>> That's what scares me.
>> Any, congratulations. You'll find an email -
>> See what I work with?
>> -- from CNET in your mailbox and you'll have a limited time to respond, so -
>> So get up on it.
>> -- don't ignore it.
>> Get on it. Make sure your actual email address is in your forum -
>> Username, your profile.
>> I get that a lot on Top 5 in the lame prize giveaways. People post on the forums to win, and then they have a bogus email address.
>> No email.
>> You thought you were so clever keeping us from snooping and sharing your address which we don't do anyway. All right. Now coming up tomorrow, it's BT and Molly Wood and Comp USA will be on with them to give you some great deals that they've got going on, that's of course tomorrow. Holiday Helpdesk once again tomorrow at 1:00 Eastern, 4:00 Pacific and we're back here -
>> That's 4:00 p.m., Eastern, 1:00 p.m. Pacific.
>> Same idea, whatever, you know, the time that's it's always at every single damn day. And we're back here on Monday, me and Dr. Merritt, and that's the last time you're going to see us, so if you really want to hang with the A team, we'll see you back here on Monday. Wow, did I say that? Okay. Happy Hanukah. Bye folks.
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