SACRAMENTO, CA - With Black Friday a few days away, News10 did some digging to give shoppers some must-have guidelines before they step into those stores Friday. Black Friday deals
What to consider when shopping for flatscreen TVs
- Viewing Distance
However big your TV is diagonally, you should be twice that far away for viewing distance, for example 60-inch TV = 10 feet away for optimal viewing.
So, if your TV is going in a small room, don't buy the biggest TV; if your TV is going in a moderate to large room, go ahead and splurge for the 82-inch screen.
- What Do You Like?
Are you a sports fanatic, do you like high-action Blu-Ray DVDs, or are you a gamer? Or perhaps all three? Usually LED technology is the highest grade quality picture that any TV maker is putting out for sale these days. It's also the most energy efficient, therefore it costs more.
Plasma technology provides a great viewing picture, but for higher-end gaming (PS3, XBOX 360) some of the shadow detail gets lost, because plasma uses a black palette in its color grade.
- 3D: Bigger is Better
3Dtechnology is huge this year for both plasma and LED technologies. Some 3D TVs can actually convert any standard 2D picture (or video game) into 3D. It isn't always perfect, but tends to work better for video games.
And of course 3D televisions don't have to be used just for 3D broadcasting: they provide the cutting edge in HD video for regular 2D programming. With that in mind, the 3D technology is best when experienced in the "immersion" environment. Simply put: bigger is better but keep in mind viewing distance.
- Don't Forget the Audio
These flatscreen TVs are amazingly thin, they have wonderful picture and look great on your wall. But the audio technology is (almost) always lacking. George Lucas says: "Audio is 50 percent of the (viewing) experience."
Just know that you'll probably want to spend around $300 for a sound system to compliment the amazing picture on your new TV. Audio components are usually sold right next to their flatscreen counterparts.
In other tidbits, you can buy a flatscreen TV for under $400 and pend up to over $4,000 depending on what your personal needs are and what your budget allows.
3D TVs usually come with separate viewing glasses that also have to be powered up. Most units come with a pair of viewing goggles. Extra goggles cost more, so it's tough to have each member of, say, a family of six, enjoying a 3D experience in a living room all at once.
Hot or not: Gaming Consoles
When it comes to current generation gaming consoles, all the big buzz is about motion control. The XBox 360 has Kinect. The PS3 has the playstation move. The Wii has Wii controllers.
Here's the lowdown on Kinect for XBox. Thanks to a depth sensing camera, this system is totally hands-free. There's no controller.
"It's very free-forming. you can move around and your movement will control the games," said Game Guys expert Barry White. Among the pros: It can handle multiple players. One of the cons: It does take a lot of space.
Then, there's the PS3 or Playstation Move, sort of like a cross between kinect and the Wii. For this, you need a controller or wand. A plus: It's got really accurate motion tracking.
"It's got lots of games that are of high quality," said White. However, it requires a wand, sometimes two for each player. "It's probably the most expensive of all the motion control units," White said.
The Nintendo Wii is all about the remote. Among the pluses: It's got an extensive game library. And, starting from scratch, the Wii is the least expensive of the three systems. Among the drawbacks: It's not high-definition and it has the least accurate motion sensing of the three systems. Gamer Maia Posten said that's what sets Move and Kinect apart from Wii.
"With Move and Kinect, graphics are up to speed. Character on screen moves as fast as you do," said Posten.
For avid gamers, Kinect and Move are something to look forward to, but whether or not it's in your price-point remains to be seen. Expect to pay anywhere form $150 up to $450 for XBox and Kinect. Sony Playstation 3 with Move will start at $399. The Wii will cost $199 for everything you need.
Simple Guide to Smartphone Shopping
For the text savy holiday shopper, Santa's little helper isn't a spy, little elf, but a smart, little phone.
Smartphones are fastly becoming the best gadget for organizing and informing your everyday life, but shopping for a Smartphone can make you feel anything but.
That's because there are now three operating systems on the market and dozens of new mobile models. Apple, Android, and Windows 7 are all making competing smartphones that allow the user to perform several tasks and access copious amounts of information, all at their fingertips.
"It's all about the applications. That's what these phones are known for," said Rudy Ramos, mobile manager for Best Buy in Tracy. "You can do anything from reading electronic books, banking, Myspace, Facebook, and play games."
Ramos listed the top selling, hi-tech brands this year as: Apple's iPhone4, Samsung Epic 4G, Samsung Evo 4G, Blackberry Torch, Droid X, and Droid Incredible.
Not all smartphones are available on every mobile service plan. For example, Apple's iPhone is only available with AT&T.
By Brandon Atchison, Suzanne Phan and Leigh Paynter