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Who’s the Lucky Winner? (Of Circuit City’s Former Customers)

circuit-cityWith the recent resignation of Circuit City from the retail face of consumer electronics, what will happen to the business of Circuit City’s former customers? Results do not look promising for consumer electronics specialists like dealers and small businesses, who undoubtedly would give customers a more personal and service-backed purchasing experience. In a survey, it was revealed that 66% of Circuit City’s customers would be taking their business to Best Buy (55%) or Walmart (11%). The remaining 34% of customers could be considered potential specialty customers for a smaller CE business or an audio video dealer.

Of the customers who would be turning to big-box stores to satisfy their CE needs, the following reasons were given for their choices.

40 % Price

29% Product Selection

22% Store Location

The lukewarm news for CE specialists is neither great nor terrible, because these customers who shop based on price and location are not as likely to appreciate the benefits of working with a CE specialist anyway. They are mostly transactional customers who do not require a high level of customer service, and are not necessarily the ideal candidates to which CE specialists market. So, unfortunately, there may only be a precious minority of CC customers that will become customers of CE specialists, like Advanced Technology Services.

With Circuit City on the verge of their liquidation sale, consumers are already starting to shop elsewhere. A tidbit of advice: don’t forget your local businesses and dealers! Businesses like Advanced Technology Services help you get the best return on your investment in the consumer electronics you choose to purchase. Along with the personal customer service you receive during your purchasing decision, you will find a selection from higher quality and feature-rich products and services, as well as continued support over time as you use them. Also, many dealers like Adv. Tech Services are experienced in consulting to help you find multiple solutions to your CE desires. We offer products and services in several areas of residential, commercial, and mobile applications from internet connectivity to audio video equipment to home security. Contact us so we can help you get started down the road to your technological goals!

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March 6, 2009 Posted by | Industry News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sony Presents New Product Line

sony imageAt the Sony dealer show in Las Vegas this week, several new product lines for home theater design were disclosed, including , networked Bravia HDTVs Blu-Ray players, A/V receivers, and Home Theater Systems. Though these exciting upcoming releases have been introduced, most of them will not be available for purchase until later this year.

The latest version of networked Bravia LCD HDTVs has been dubbed the W-series. The TVs from this series use Motionflow120Hz technology and the BRAVIA Engine 3, which both contribute to a smoother, clearer, sharper picture. Models include the 52-inch KDL-52W5100, 46-inch KDL-46W5100, and 40-inch KDL-40W5100.

Among the Blu-Ray players that were shown are a couple of stand-alone players, which range from $300-350. These models are the BDP-S360 and BDP-S560, which both deliver full HD 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema output and will be available summer 2009. Two other players are the DVP-FX730 and DVP-FX930, portable DVD players that are priced at $130 and $190 respectively.

The HT-SS360 is an integrated A/V receiver, which supports full HD 1080p video and high-resolution audio, costing $350 and available in May 09. In addition, the STR-DN1000 receiver ($500) is available July 09 and includes four HDMI inputs and three component inputs, analog connections, and S-Air technology. Other models of this receiver range from $150-300.

The newest Sony home theater systems include models BDV-E300 and BDV-E500W. These are Blu-Ray sony_davdz860w1home theater systems which boast wi-fi capability for using BD-live access and S-Air wireless audio compatible systems. They also feature Sony’s Digital Media Port which allows for music playback options for diverse accessories. The BDV-E300 costs $600 and is S-Air ready, but optional modules must be purchased separately. However, the BDV-E500W costs $800 and is integrated with various S-Air capabilities, which allow audio to be transmitted up to 164 feet away from the main system for rear surround sound speakers or up to 10 AirStation devices in the home. Three other home theater systems presented were the DAV-HDX587WC, DAV-HDX589W, and DAV-HDX285 systems, which range from $300-430, run on 1,000 watts, and include a five-disc DVD/CD changer.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | General Information, New Products | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Audio/Video Input for Dummies (AKA beginners)

HdmiNo Fear.  We’re Here….To un-confuse you about audio-video inputs.  Don’t enter the boxing ring with your electronics salesperson unprepared.  The following descriptions of various types of input types should help clarify the differences in TVs and devices you may be shopping for in the near future.

HDMI:  High Definition Multimedia Interface

This is the most advanced form of video input available currently and will deliver both video and audio signals to your home theater system.  The cable port is a flat, thin shape which is featured on most HDTV’s that are being made and sold today.  The HDMI input allows a digital signal (perhaps from an HD DVD player or Blu-ray player) to be passed through without being converted to analog, which helps to retain maximum picture quality.   HDMI also supports audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master audio.

DVI:  Digital Visual Interface

This term usually applies to digital projectors and computer displays, as well as some older HDTV’s.   This input only delivers a digital video signal.  You can try using a DVI to HDMI cable if you want to hook up your HDTV to a DVD player with DVI output.

Component Video

This input uses an analog signal, which is different from the two digital inputs listed above.  Component av Video is supported by some devices, like Xbox 360, yet some manufacturers do not allow the signal to pass through component video because it doesn’t support DRM copy protection.   Though a salesperson may try to sell you on HDMI, component video is capable of transferring a beautiful digital signal as well from an HD device to your HDTV.  The component video tri-input is marked with a “Y” and “Pb” and “Pr” accompanied by the green, blue, and red ports.

S-Video:  Separate Video

Carries purely a video signal and was created around the same time as high-end VHS players.  This works for standard-def images, but are not compatible with HDTV signals.  The S-video input does better for a screen that is 32 inches or less and the cable connection may give you a hard time due to the small pins which must be aligned perfectly to be inserted properly.  It transmits via a two-part signal.

Composite Video

This input is lower quality than all the others mentioned above and only transmits via one signal.  It’s RCA cable attachment is simply user friendly and is available on most HDTVs.  We recommend using all other connections type first if possible.  Don’t be a dinosaur lover.

These are all options to hooking up your home theater systems or signal distribution throughout your home or office.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Senate puts DTV Conversion Delay Bill Back In the Race

The “DTV conversion delay” bill, which was defeated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, may be on its way to revival.  A similar bill was passed with unanimous support in the Senate on Thursday.  The bill was a bi-partisan proposal by Senators Jay Rockefeller, democrat, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, republican.  It not only delays the date that broadcasters will be required to change from analog to digital signal from Feb 17 to June 12, but it proposes that the stations will be allowed to change over sooner if they choose to do so.   Now that the bill has passed in the Senate, it may be brought up for a vote in the House, for which it would only require a majority vote to be passed.  In the previous vote, under other certain rules, a two-thirds majority vote was required.  The vote was 268-158, meaning that if the voters repeat their decisions, the bill will pass in the House unanimously.

The Nielsen Co. has been referenced heavily in this continuing battle for TV signal conversion.  Although the company has stated that over 6 million households are unprepared for the change, 94% of the country’s citizens are ready to go!  Isn’t there a better solution for helping the remaining estimated 6%, rather than holding up something that has been in the works for 10 years now?

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February 4, 2009 Posted by | Digital Conversion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

House Votes Against Delaying Digital Conversion

house-of-representativesHouse Votes Against Delaying Digital Conversion When brought up for vote in the House of Representatives, the bill proposing a delay of the digital broadcast conversion from February 17 to June 12, was defeated. It did not receive a two-thirds majority vote, which was needed to pass the bill. The vote was 258 in favor (236-Dem, 22-Rep) and 168 against (155-Rep, 13-Dem). The bill could be brought up again for regular floor vote, in which case, it would only require a majority vote to be passed. The “mostly” democratic support of the bill to delay the conversion is based on the fact that they believe that a large number of households (6.5 million) are unprepared for the conversion, a statistic which is confirmed by the Nielsen Co. These citizens are particularly among the poor, rural, and low-income representation of Americans, who either live in areas that receive major stations through analog signal or can’t afford to purchase the equipment necessary to receive signal after the conversion. The government has made coupons available for $40 toward the purchase of a digital conversion box; however there is currently a wait list of 3.2 million requests. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration is only sending out new coupons as older, unredeemed coupons reach the 90-day expiration. Joe Barton, republican congressman of Texas, is pushing for legislation that will aid in this problem without postponing the conversion. Most republicans feel there is no need to delay the conversion. Those against the bill believe that it would incur heavy costs for public safety agencies and wireless companies who are waiting to use the spectrum that will become free after the conversion. Television stations, as well, would be required to pay more to operate both systems for several more months, an expense that is most likely not built into this year’s budget. In addition, Jonathan Collegio, of the National Association of Broadcasters, has voiced that the Nielsen Co.’s statistic on number of unprepared households does not take in to account those who have purchased a converter box and not installed it; those who have requested, but not received coupons; or those who subscribe to cable or satellite television for their home theater system. The Obama administration has not made a comment in reference to the outcome of the vote.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Digital Conversion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital Pushback!! Is it happening

Currently being debated in the Senate is a bill that would push back the date of the analog to digital broadcast conversion to June 12, approximately 4 months past the current deadline of February 17.  The bill was proposed by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, John D. Rockefeller (Democrat, West Virginia), and is likely to be strongly supported by President Obama, who has already called for a possible postponement after the $1.34 billion budget was maxed out.   digit-al

The main concern is that many consumers are not ready for the changeover.  This conclusion was drawn after a report from Nielsen Co. stated that approximately 6.5 million households were unprepared for the transition.  Many people are not anticipating the changes that are necessary in order to view channels on home theater systems or mobile satellite TV.  At the same time, opinions have been voiced by public citizens that these remaining people have had plenty of forewarning, but have chosen to ignore the upcoming change.

Disadvantages of the possible pushback include confused consumers, dual broadcasting costs for television companies, and the fact that the organizations that had planned to use the newly available spectrum space will be scrambling to change plans.  This possible delay also leaves public broadcasters with the fear of a lack of funding, due to the fact that they will have to continue to pay to operate both the analog and digital signal with an already slashed budget for FY09.  The bill will still allow television stations to crossover before June 12, though it may also cause confusion and frustration for the viewers.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Industry News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America: Not Ready for the Digital Switch

By Dawn Hatchard

Everyone, in theory, is supposed to be ready for the analog to digital switch for television reception. The big day is slated for Feb. 17, 2009.

The government has been educating Americans with commercials about the converter box, coupons and the deadline since January, 2008. Are you one of the estimated million people who has been procrastinating getting your government coupon for a converter box?

With 10 million coupons yet to be redeemed, there is a lengthy waitlist for the issue of new coupons. Apparently, they have exhausted funding and ran out of the coupons themselves. This may be particularly troublesome for rural low-income families.

If you are simply a procrastinator you have other alternatives. Going without your fix of evening news, daytime court shows or favorite network sitcom may not be necessary.

This could very well be your golden opportunity to update and upgrade your home entertainment experience. Satellite services are more affordable than ever, offering more channels and HD satellite quality for less than you spend a week on your favorite beverages.

Rabbit ears and rooftop antennas may be troublesome to obtain decent reception, not to mention unattractive. Similar reception issues are expected with the new digital system. There may be less fuzz in the picture, but there will be lag and pauses in programming as your converter box searches for a signal.

With satellite services, even the most rural residents get the reception needed to follow HDTV Switchprogramming. The major Satellite television companies also offer free DVR (digital video recording) capabilities built in to their boxes. DVR is the best thing since motion picture itself, trust me on this one. It also happens to be user friendly. You will not be able to imagine how you ever watched TV without it.

January 13, 2009 Posted by | Digital Conversion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Government Runs out of DTV Coupons

By Jonathan Ruspil

Well it looks as if the Government has overspent once again. If you are looking to upgrade converter-boxyour home theater systems it is time to do it now. The Associated Press has reported that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has already used up all of its 1.34 billion dollar budget that it allocated for DTV coupons. These coupons are good for 40 dollars off the price of a DTV converter box that will be needed come February 17th 2009.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has been lobbying congress to give them more money towards the program or allow them to issue more coupons to full fill the demand it is encountering. The NTIA is projecting (according to the AP) that roughly 350,000 coupons expire each week from people who fail to use them within the 90 day time period they are given. So although they have run out of money technically they are getting 350,000 coupons back each week to reissue to people that are on the waiting list. If you have not applied for a coupon yet you can apply for one at DTV2009.gov. The quicker you can sign up and get on the waiting list the better.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | Digital Conversion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

February 17th – Everything Goes Digital: Preparing for the Change

Are you prepared for this big change?

converter_box_program_dtv
One simple thing you can do to guarantee that you will be able to continue viewing your favorite television shows once the changeover from analog to digital signal is complete. Order cable or satellite service! Some cable companies are primed and ready for the transition from analog to digital signal. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about putting a dent in your checkbook, because cable and satellite can be as inexpensive as $14.99/month for basic service. Basic service offers 24 channels and you will still be able to catch Dancing With the Stars, The Mentalist and all your favorite shows.

Another solution is to purchase a converter box. These boxes range in price between $50 and $70. The government is currently offering a $40 coupon toward the purchase of a converter box (maximum of two per household). Each coupon is valid for 90 days and is good for only one box. In order to get your coupon(s), visit the website at http://www.dtv2009.gov or you can call (1-888-DTV-2009) to have one shipped to you. The converter boxes can be complicated to set up, so feel free to contact us with any questions at contact us.

A third option is to replace your current television with an HDTV that comes ready with a digital tuner. This will eliminate the need for the extra piece of equipment (the converter box) in your entertainment cabinet. Retailers nationwide will be trying to increase sales in response to this change in technology, so be on the lookout for great deals on electronics from your favorite local shops. Look for deals on brand like Pioneer Elite , Pioneer , Samsung , and LG . Advanced Technology Services has a great line of products as well and is motivated to help you find the exact TV you are looking for. If you don’t have the money for a new television right away, try one of the first two options mentioned above instead.

The advantages of switching to digital are that the quality of sound and images are so much greater than they were with analog. Digital allows for more programming choices because it is much more efficient than analog due to the rate of compression. If you have cable or satellite, digital service provides more channels and includes some high-definition channels. Once the crossover to digital is complete, you will encounter fewer problems with your programming, due to the fact that digital is not affected as easily by double imaging and noise.

To some, hearing the words “February 17th” may bring the same feeling of dread as the words “April 15th”. There is no reason to be worried if you are informed and you know you are in good hands. We want to be here for you to help answer your questions and find the products and services you need during this time of change and in the future, so don’t hesitate to contact us

January 6, 2009 Posted by | Digital Conversion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Getting the best picture on your HDTV

Have you purchased a new HDTV only to get it home and be disappointed by the quality of the picture? Is it just not quite as crisp, clear, and vibrant as it was at first sight? Is the surround sound puny compared to the boom you felt at the store? If your electronics salesperson did not explain the importance of HD feed alongside the purchase of an HD television, Advanced Technology Services is here now to repair the damage. HDTV and an HD feed go together like bread and butter. You can’t have one without the other and be satisfied.

These six “need-to-knows” will provide answers your problem:

1. An HDTV set requires an HD feed

You won’t get an HD picture on your new set unless you contact your provider for a set-top box and/or a satellite dish upgrade. Be sure to ask about HD-specific plans and the offering of HD channels. If you use an over-the-air antenna, a high-def tuner box may be a necessary purchase.

2. SD is still common for most programs

Most major broadcast networks display news and a prime-time show in HD, but the majority of other programming is still broadcast in standard-def. The SD signal is not able to be converted to HD signal for an HDTV, so these programs must be watched in their original format. Many programs are broadcast secondarily in HD on a different channel from the original. These channels will be found further down the list in the triple digits.

3. An HDTV will display an SD signal with poor quality

Be prepared: The HDTV screen multiplies the low-quality of the SD signal in the same way a low-megapixel picture distorts when you zoom in on it. The small screen size of your old tv hid these imperfections, but your larger-than-life flat screen is meant for bigger and better things.

4. SD screen size is not wide screen like HD

That short and stout picture you can’t get rid of comes from an SD screen size (4:3) that is being stretched to fit an HDTV with a 16:9 ratio. This can be easily fixed by adding sidebars to the SD channels through the settings menu.

5. Proper configuration is essential for HDTV, cables, and set-top box

Even if you have an HDTV and HD feed, incorrect wiring set-up can prevent the HD signal from being viewed as it should be. One of the following 3 inputs must be used: DVI input, HDMI input, or the component video input (RCA type – which is often red/blue/green). Check your television’s display and output settings as well to insure that 720p, 1080p, or 1080i is selected, whichever is correspondent to your HDTV’s resolution.

6. Standard DVDs are not converted to HD by an upconverting DVD player

Upconverting DVD players do not change SD signal into HD, they simply adjust the screen size to 1080i or 1080p. The quality of the picture will not improve just because it is viewed on an HDTV. If the original source is SD, you will be viewing an SD picture. Blu-ray and HD DVD players are the only DVD players that produce a true HD signal.

If you are still shopping for an HDTV, these manufacturers are all producers of high-end sets that will tickle your fancy:

Samsung Mitsubishi Pioneer Pioneer Elite Toshiba

December 31, 2008 Posted by | HDTV | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments