Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Free Shipping on Thousands of Products
Award-Winning Customer Service

TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for the ‘Technology News’ Category

Mini Systems Get Big at CES 2014

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Back in the 1980s, there were two things about the music that were big: the hair, and the boomboxes. Thankfully, both style and technology evolved, and the D-Battery-powered, shoulder-mounted cassette stereo went the way of the teased, crimped, bleach-blonde mane. Those looking for a portable, all-in-one music system were presented with numerous options of stereo mini systemsThese classy, compact stereo systems were designed to fit in with either the boardroom or dorm room crowd, saving space yet still putting out respectable sounds. And for a while, the boombox languished in obscurity, a relic of times past. A few quick stops at CES 2014, though, and it looks like these sonic beasts have not yet given up fighting.

At the LG exhibit, our man on the ground demoed the new LG X Boom CM9730 boom box, which features a face-melting 25,000 watts of power. I don’t know how much power that is, but I’m pretty sure you can jump start a dump truck with this thing. The X Boom is not for the weak of heart, or those short on space for that matter. Each of the two speaker units is roughly the size of a shetland pony, and LG’s specs show that the entire package tips the scales at over 350 lbs! LG bills the X Boom as sort of party-in-a-box, putting out the kind of power needed to replicate the dance club atmosphere in your home, backyard or hopefully-neighborless apartment. Further bolstering its party cred are an auto equalizer that adapts to musical genre; the Smart DJ system, which gives users the ability to add samples and other sound effects to music; and integrated LED lighting that changes to the beat of the music.

Inputs include standard CD tray and dual USB inputs. The USB inputs give the X Boom a couple neat tricks, including the Jukebox function, letting users create custom folders and playlists from a flash drive, while USB-to-USB recording lets users swap music with their friends. Twin jog-dials make navigating external files a breeze, and act as DJ mixers when the music’s bumping. And one feature we always love: the LG X Boom supports wireless streaming from any Bluetooth device, so you can go deaf to any song available via streaming services.

(more…)

CES 2014 Coverage from Abt Electronics

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

CES 2014 COVERAGE JOSH ADAMThe 2014 Consumer Electronics Show is currently underway in sunny Las Vegas, so we let a few Abt team members escape the arctic Chicago weather to get the scoop on the industry’s best upcoming products. As info from our guys on the ground filters over, we’ll be bringing you photos, videos and specs on the hottest new  TVs, cameras, computer products, home theater equipment and much, much more. Keep your eyes on the Abt Blog for in-depth articles, follow our Instagram feed for behind-the-scenes pics and of course check out the Abt Youtube channel for videos of our CES coverage.

Panasonic Ending Plasma TV Production

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

ST60_cnetEditorsChoice_hdr

Panasonic announced last week that it will officially be ending its production pf Plasma HDTVs this December.  It comes a surprise to the industry as Panasonic 2013 plasma models were critically acclaimed and widely considered to be the best plasma TVs on the market.  CNET even awarded the Panasonic TCP65ST60 series plasma a 5-star editor’s rating.  In a press release Panasonic states:

Until now, due to the superiority of the picture, Panasonic’s PDPs [plasma display panels] have received high appraisal and there has been firm demand from customers worldwide. However, due to rapid, drastic changes in the business environment and a declining demand for PDP in the flat panel display market, it was judged that continuing the business would be difficult and a decision was made to stop production. 

The company will end sales of plasma TVs for consumer use and PDP-related products for commercial use, such as Interactive Plasma Displays, with the products for FY 2014 (ending March 31, 2014).

Panasonic has made plasma televisions since 2000. But the shift toward LCD for large-sized displays as well as small and medium-sized ones, have changed consumer interests.  Abt Electronics still has a variety of great Panasonic Plasma models, even the award winning Panasonic Plasma ST60 series models.

Technologist Tuesday: 4K to Stay

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

4k logo

Smartphones were around for a while before Apple brought us the iPhone.  What then happened to the Smartphone industry? It exploded.  Apple’s product became insanely popular and the competition began to mold new products around this newly energized Smartphone market.

When we look to the current market of Televisions, we see so many different kinds of TVs.  Most choices are easy to filter through:  LED vs. Plasma, Do I need built-in Wi-Fi for web apps? How big should I get…etc.   What about 4K? Should I buy a television with a 4K resolution?  For some, the price tag of a 4K TV will quickly answer that question.  Others may simply be asking why should they spend the money on a TV with a resolution that broadcasting companies haven’t yet embraced.

Here’s a quick 4K (Ultra HD) review:  When a 4K camcorder has recorded video and you watch it on your new Ultra HD TV, the resolution is 4 times higher than a 1080P television.  You have to see it.  The quality is amazing. The Abt demonstrations we have showing you 4K qualities will leave you in a frozen gaze.  When programming that wasn’t recorded with 4K cameras plays on your 4K TV, it will look better than a 1080P TV.   How much?  When you’re close to the screen (8-10ft) you’ll notice it.  What about content?

(more…)

Technologist Tuesday: Hurray for Comcast IMAP!

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

url

Do you have multiple devices to check your email?  Do you wish that when one device reads, deletes or moves a message that all your other devices automatically sync to these behaviors?  iCloud, Gmail & many Yahoo email customers already experience this.  Then again, many of you Comcast emailers that have just cleared an inbox of fifty messages off your Smartphone cringe at the fact that then you get in front of your computer; you have to do it all over again.

People that have Comcast email address are on POP email.  That means that when I email your comcast.net email address, a copy of that message goes to the server (checking your email on a browser) and every other device that has access to receive email on your account.  If you delete the message from your Smartphone, it still will show unread on your computer and tablet.  If you mark 100 messages as read from your computer, they’re still unread on your tablet and Smartphone.  Annoying isn’t it?  Comcast has finally caught up to all the big boys.  Just go to https://xcsignup.comcast.net/onboardingapps/imap, enter your Comcast email address and password.  24 hrs later (they say, my transition took about 10 hrs) you’re POP services were transferred to Comcast’s new IMAP servers.

(more…)

Technologist Tuesday: Technology Forecast

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

josh davis-technologist

Welcome to the Abt Electronics technology forecast.  I’m your Technologist, Josh Davis.  There’s lots of change in the air so let’s get to it.  We’ve got a massive eruption of new Google product and software on its way from Mountain View, CA.  The new OS 4.4 Kit Kat will really hit the Smartphone and tablet industries hard.  You’ll also see the excitement of the new LG Nexus 5 Smartphone & Asus Nexus 10 Tablet last all throughout the week and into Tuesday.

Come Tuesday we’ll have a 99% chance of a new iPad series announced alongside the new Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks  and maybe even a sprinkling of new Macs.  The fog Apple’s announcement cast should clear just in time for those that bought their just released Microsoft Surface 2 & Surface 2 Pro tablets.  However, just when you think this technology typhoon is going to give, Nikon’s new D610 and Asus’s Transformer Book T100 are going to appear all throughout the country followed by a seriously needed and much anticipated update to Windows 8.  You can expect to see a great deal of sunshine and smiling faces when Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 (free for Windows 8 users) brings backs millions of start buttons on PCs across the country.  Right when windows users feel the warmth of familiarity, a front of new Windows hardware will sweep across the nation.  A slew of Nokia & other company Windows phones and tablets will be on all our radars.

And now, your extended forecast: November should start off with heavy amounts of preorder customers receiving their new Fitbit Force bands, HTC One Max & LG’s new G2 Smartphones.  Still within early November, Apple’s new products will temporarily flood the market followed by frustrating availability conditions prior to holidays and possibly lasting into January.  Meanwhile, Microsoft’s new Xbox One and Sony’s new PlayStation 4 will be the talk of the town.  These systems haven’t seen a refresh for 7-8 years!  We can all most definitely expect large scale parental fighting spread like wildfire across the US deep into the holiday shopping season.

You’re umbrellas are going to have to be made out of cash to weather this storm.

Good Luck,

The Technologist

Technologist tuesday- iPad Rumor Roundup

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

josh davis-technologist

To make sure you’re up to date, here’s a current iPad overview:

Today’s full size iPad is known as the 4th generation iPad.  It is the only Apple product to feature the Oct. 2012 A6X processor.  This processor has twice the speed and twice the graphics as its predecessor the A5X (iPad 3rd Generation).  These iPads hit our shelves November 2012.  The iPad 4th generation has a 9.7” screen and comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB & 128GB capacities. They are due for an upgrade.

When these full size iPads came out, a new iPad was also launched:  The iPad Mini.  The iPad Mini features the A5 processor (same as the new iPod Touch).  The iPad Mini has a 7.9” screen and comes in 16GB, 32GB & 64GB capacities.  They are also due for an upgrade.

What should we expect these upgrades to be?

No one ever really knows what Apple will unveil.  Apple has been criticized of quickly losing themselves as the mainstream, innovative leader they became.  That’s debatable.  There’s no doubt that Apple’s 2013 business year hasn’t exactly shocked the consumer electronics world with a new successful product line or major update (yet).  However, there’s one thing that Apple has always done well.  They know how to keep a secret.   The following information is a result of scouring Apple rumor websites and looking to the internet to shed some light on what we should expect to see in the next week or so.

(more…)

Behind the Abt Curtain!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

By reading this I’m confident that you know the store Abt.  You may also know that we’re one of the largest independent single-store appliance and electronics retailers in the country. Our history on our site also breaks down how we were founded and who we’ve become.  Here are 15 things we don’t talk about:

1) Bob Taylor and the Amazing Woodshop

abt woodshop

Abt is a store that’s always changing.  We’re always building.  One thing about Abt is that we try and keep everything under one roof.  We staff people that can sell, support, service & deliver everything we offer.  Behind the curtain, we act the same way.  We have our own maintenance shop (we call “the woodshop).  This staff is made up of a crew skilled to fix or build just about anything in our store or on our grounds.  To manage this team of skilled craftsmen, Bob Taylor sits at the helm.  The woodshop he runs is second to none.  There’s even a dedicated part of our warehouse that’s stocked like an aisle of building supplies store.  There’s really nothing this department can’t do.  They can take on just about any project.  The strength of this department is almost as fascinating as the strength of Bob Taylor’s Arms.  He has a glorious history of not only dominating any opponent in an arm wrestling competition, but most of these battles somehow have ended with some surface of glass shattering.

(more…)

Technologist Tuesday: Consumer Cloud

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

josh davis-technologist

Ironically, the sources of all cloud-based services are giant data centers plastered to the Earth.  However, the obvious “cloud” element to these services resides in their wireless capabilities.  Do you own an iPhone, Android or Windows phone? Do you have important information stored on your home computers?  If you do, Apple, Google or Microsoft and many cloud based backup companies offer you a grocery list of cloud services.  These cloud-based services have come a long way.  Massive updates in the last few months have really pushed them to new limits.  Knowing your Smartphone’s cloud based service options and picking out a cloud based home backup service are two good simple ways to take advantage of the mighty cloud.

Smartphone Cloud Service breakdown(Apple/Microsoft /Google)

Apple’s iCloud Core Services: 

icloud

 

The Good:

  • Photo Stream is an amazing and fully automated solution for ensuring your pictures easily flow among all devices and can be shared.  Also, the sharing quality is better than most big software photo companies.
  • Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Reminders & your iCloud.com Email sync seamlessly throughout your Apple hardware

The Bad:

  • If you’re Apple ID doesn’t end in “icloud.com” then you’ll find some limitations to this service.  Notes & Mail primarily (however, it’s usually not a big deal as there are ways around it)
  • Also, This system is just fantastic if you have all Mac product.  Throw a PC with Outlook into the equation and it starts to get sloppy

The Ugly:

  • When Apple turned “Mobile Me” into “iCloud” they got rid of idisk.  So now, Unlike Google’s Drive or Microsofts Skydrive, Apple’s data hides inside it’s apps.  Word docs hide inside Pages, Excel files hide inside Numbers, Powerpoint presentations hide inside Keynote and PDF files hide inside iBooks.  Want to save something other than that in your 5GB of storage?  Too bad.  Want to organize your docs into nice categorizing folders?  Think again.
  • 5GB Free total storage for below services
  • Backup:  Cloud based backup system for iOS devices
  • Mail, Contacts, Notes, Reminders & Calendar syncing: affirmative
  • Find My iPhone: Cloud based app to find, message, lock or wipe iOS device(s)
  • Pages, Numbers & Keynote: Cloud based apps similar to Word, Excel & Powerpoint.  Each App is also going to store its corresponding file types. Exa:  you can store your word docs inside the app Pages.
  • My Photo Stream&Shared Photo Stream: Automatic Photo syncing cloud service

(more…)

Technologist Tuesday: iPhone 5S Camera: Focus Beyond Hardware

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

iphone 5s camera

One of the most touted iPhone 5s improvements Apple discussed was its amazing new camera.  The new 64-bit A7 brain behind the camera and dual LED smart flash are a first of their kind.  They stressed the importance of the camera’s new 15% larger image sensor & increased f/2.2 Aperture.  It’s these core elements that significantly affect the quality of a smart phones image.  I took a look at the many phone cameras out there and compiled some info.  Compare Apple’s new iPhone 5S to the HTC One (one of the best camera phones made) that came out 6 months ago.  HTC has not only a higher max aperture but already features the same size image sensor and even adds optical image stabilization.  Nokia’s Lumia 1020 not only has an insane 41MP camera, but it’s image sensor is double the iPhone 5S!  It’s very clear that these Apple improvements to the camera are significant compared to previous iPhone models.  Although, it’s also clear that compared to the industry, this technology is already getting stale.

Comparison

(more…)