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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for July, 2008

Getting Ready To Go Back To School

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

For the Abt blog enthusiasts, I’d like to introduce myself to all the readers who stay current on the latest and greatest news and products here at Abt Electronics. My name is Scott Shefler and I’m the Marketing Summer Intern here at Abt. Getting the chance to work at the storefront on 37-acres of land in Glenview, Illinois has been an amazing opportunity. Being a customer of Abt my whole life I was able to witness their 7,500 gallon fish tank, two-ton rotating granite globe, and more recently their 103-inch Panasonic Plasma. Not to mention the fresh baked cookies on the weekends. Having spent the past 8 weeks at Abt I’ve gained a great insight into the inner workings. With over 1200 employees and growing, Abt is a small town of hard working employees with their main goal of truly keeping customers happy. This summer I’ve worked with a great staff to help build and grow Abt’s website (abt.com) through merchandising and marketing. As for me, coming this fall I will be entering my senior year of college at the University of Illinois – Champaign.

Featured Back to School Products

From a seasoned college student I’m happy to announce that all week long I’ll be featuring a new product that is a must have for students entering college in the coming months. Luckily for you I know all the best and most popular gadgets that every student wants. If you’re looking for that perfect going away gift for your son, daughter, niece, or nephew, stay tuned and find out what every student is dying to have.   —by Scott Shefler

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There’s Something Fishy Going On Around Here

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The tank is so clean you hardly notice it’s there. It’s almost like there’s a bunch of fish just floating around in the air. Then, as you catch a glimpse of the shark and start to dive for cover, your fellow shoppers bust out laughing and fill you in on the Abt Saltwater Aquarium, a 7,500-gallon tank that houses a school’s worth of exotic fish.  

“The inspiration for our aquarium came from seeing the large fish tank at the Mirage in Las Vegas, which sparked the idea that we could do something like that, on a smaller scale, here in our store,” says company CEO Bob Abt. “It makes a great display area for our cameras and camcorders and gives customers something interesting and colorful to view as they test them out. A lot of kids on field trips and from day camps come here to see the fish, and it’s really educational and a lot of fun for them.”

 

Abt Aquarium

 

There are more than 100 fish in the aquarium, including a leopard shark, moray eels, puffers, triggers, and many other species that enjoy the tank’s artificial coral reef, modeled after an actual section of the Great Barrier Reef. To keep this 20-foot long, 8-foot deep aquarium in pristine condition, a diver enters the tank twice a week to give it a thorough cleaning.  

When you visit Abt, we like to have you relax and enjoy all the attractions and boutique shops within our store. You might even catch the fish watching some of the nearby TVs (they’re currently enjoying “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel). But don’t stay too long past closing time. We’d rather not have our customers end up sleeping with the fish.      by Graham W.

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Don’t Let The DTV Transition Snow You Out

Friday, July 25th, 2008

During the hot summer months, the thought of snow might be a welcome escape from the scorching temperatures. But seeing snow where you normally see a nice TV picture, even in the dead of winter, likely would make your own temperature soar well above the 98.6 that’s recommended by 9 out of 10 TV doctors.

If you own an older television and receive your telecasts through an antenna, things are going to get really snowy for you next February, and it won’t just be the white stuff outside. There are a few steps you can take to prevent this from happening, but I won’t go into all the details here—I’ll let Jon Abt explain it in the video below:

Still confused? Then take a look at our DTV Transition Guide in the Buying Guide section of our website. That made things worse? Sorry. Try this: Abt also is offering a series of classes, held on the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m., which will cover everything you need to know about the DTV transition. If you’d like more information about these and other “How To” classes at Abt, click here.      —by Graham W.

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Sony Elevates Its Home Theater Receivers

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Three new audio/video receivers have been released, courtesy of Sony, that are designed for upscale home theater set-ups. These receivers are part of Sony’s ES (or “Elevated Standard”) lineup and offer features such as automatic speaker calibration, lossless audio decoding for Blu-ray movies, video upscaling to 1080p high-definition output, and Sirius and XM satellite radio compatibility.

The STRDA2400ES ($799) and the STRDA3400ES ($999) models are 7.1 channel receivers with 100-watt power amplifiers and four HDMI inputs. The 3400ES adds a 12-volt trigger, IR repeater, and high-definition video distribution to a second zone. The STRDA4400ES ($1499) also is a 7.1 channel receiver, but it packs a 120-watt power amplifier along with six HDMI inputs, high-definition video distribution to a second zone, and audio distribution to three zones.

Sony STRDA4400ES receiver

Sony STRDA4400ES

All three models employ an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI). The 2400ES has a basic icon-driven graphical interface, while the 3400ES and 4400ES feature Sony’s Cross Media Bar-style (XMB) graphical interface, much like the GUI found on the PSP and PS3 video-game consoles and newer Sony TVs.

“Companies are listening to consumers’ demands for easy set-up and easy integration of their audio/video components,” says Abt audio buyer Jim Kozicki, who attended Sony’s recent dealer conference in Quebec City. “Sony is trying to create a family of products that will pull all the worlds of entertainment together and simplify people’s lives. The GUI on these new receivers will make the audio/video experience easier for consumers to navigate.”

To see all the Sony products available at Abt, visit the Sony Store located in our Atrium area or click here to shop online. —by Graham W.

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A “Hole-In-One” For Autistic Kids

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Earlier this week, the “For Autistic Kids” Foundation held its 7th annual golf benefit at the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois. The foundation was established by Ricky and Bob Abt along with the entire Abt family to benefit some of the 1.7 million individuals in the U.S. (including Ricky’s son Willie) who are autistic. Autism is a lifelong neurological disorder that robs children of cognitive, communication, and social skills.

Willie Abt at FAK Benefit

 Willie Abt speaking to the guests

The Glen View Club

The Glen View Club 

 

The charity event attracted 230 golfers and 300 total guests who took part in the benefit’s dinner and silent auction, which included game-used and other autographed sports memorabilia. Corporate sponsors included: Aon, Allstate, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Electrolux, GE, LG, Maytag, Miele, Panasonic, Sony, and Whirlpool.

FAK Benefit auction items

 Items for the silent auction

This year’s benefit was a great success, and the Abt family would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to all who participated. Your extraordinary generosity is greatly appreciated.    by Graham W. 

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High-Tech Gadgets For Summer Fun

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Want to stay on the cutting edge this summer? Take a look at this video of Abt sales manager Josh Davis, who showed viewers some great new gadgets during a recent appearance on Chicago’s NBC Channel 5 weekend news.

Here are the details and Abt links for the products Josh mentioned: The Outset Digital Remote Meat Thermometer features two probes so you can monitor two items at the same time with the remote receiver. Solio’s Hybrid 1000 Solar Charger has a solar panel and battery so you can charge virtually all of your electronic devices using the sun’s energy. The Margaritaville Key West Frozen Concoction Maker has pre-programmed automatic settings and will shave ice and blend it with your favorite ingredients. Twenty20’s VholdR Wearable Camcorder weighs only a few ounces and can be mounted on a helmet or just about anything else, allowing you to shoot hands-free action videos. Finally, the Sony High Definition Handycam Camcorder gives you full high-definition recording along with a 2.7″ touchscreen LCD and built-in zoom microphone.

If you can’t have fun with all this stuff, you’re just not trying. by Graham W.

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New Innovative Refrigerators From Miele

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Miele, the Gütersloh, Germany-based appliance manufacturer, has become a significant presence in the American market in recent years. The company’s line of kitchen appliances consists of cooktops, ovens, ventilation hoods, coffee systems, and dishwashers, but recently Miele released its first line of refrigerators, the “Independence Series,” and Abt has one on display in our showroom.

Abt was chosen by Miele to help gauge customer reaction to its new refrigerator line. “The response has been outstanding,” says Miele sales representative Bill Dodd. “We wanted to expand our line of products to offer customers a complete line-up of Miele appliances for their kitchens. Our goal was to create something different and better.”

Miele Refrigerator exterior

Miele’s refrigerators offer several innovative features, including the MasterCool control system, the ClearView lighting system, and the RemoteVision monitoring system. MasterCool is a food-driven menu system that sets the proper temperature and humidity for the type of food in each of four separate cooling zones. ClearView provides halogen-based lighting from the top and sides of the interior so that even normally dark areas are illuminated. RemoteVision uses wireless local area network (WLAN) technology to connect with Miele’s monitoring center to provide temperature and performance data, which can then be used to notify an owner about any potential maintenance requirements.

Miele Refrigerator interior

“This is a high-quality appliance from one of Europe’s top manufacturers,” says Abt sales manager Joe Klett. “Its temperature control system offers flexibility and is very easy to operate. It also helps to keep food fresh for a longer period of time.”

To see the complete line of Miele products available at Abt, click here.       —by Graham W.

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Start Your Wine-ing

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

When summer rolls around, it seems a lot of people turn to beer or those tropical mixed drinks for their parties or when they’re just lounging around the yard or patio on a lazy weekend. But why stop drinking wine, especially when there are several convenient ways to store your favorite varieties so you can enjoy them outdoors?

We carry wine refrigerators in all sorts of sizes and styles to help you start or maintain your wine collection and keep a well-rounded supply on hand to please all palates. Smaller sizes work great as part of a patio or deck outdoor grilling set-up. The Sub-Zero 15″ Under-counter Wine Storage Refrigerator is only 34″ high and 15″ wide and can hold 26 bottles (750ml size). It features a full-view glass door, roller glide shelves, low-voltage interior lighting, and several design options.

Three Wine Refrigerators

Sub-Zero, Cuisinart, and Jenn-Air Wine Refrigerators

Cuisinart’s Stainless Steel Private Reserve Wine Cellar is a bit smaller at only 16″ high and 16 1/2″ wide, making it lightweight and easy to carry. It holds up to 12 bottles on its three removable chrome racks, has a double-pane tinted viewing window, and its interior light offers a permanent “on” option. The Jenn-Air 24″ Overlay Under Counter Beverage Center holds 22 bottles of wine along with other beverages and food items. It stands 34″ high and 24″ wide, features three temperature zones and three roll-out wine racks, and offers freestanding or built-in installation.

These are just a few of the many wine refrigerators you’ll find at Abt, including larger models that hold as many as 166 bottles. Also great for outdoor entertaining are the DCS 24″ Brushed Stainless Steel Outdoor Refrigerator and the DCS 24″ Outdoor Beer Dispenser.     —by Graham W.

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Four For The 4th

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

To help you kick off your 4>th of July celebration, we thought we’d offer up four things that might make your holiday weekend even more enjoyable. First, if you’re traveling anywhere, it really helps to know the quickest way to get there. The Garmin Nuvi 260 GPS navigation system is easy to use and features turn-by-turn voice directions that announce the names of streets. The color touchscreen makes it simple to enter your destination, and an auto re-route function provides fast off-route and detour recalculation.

Want to make your trip more enjoyable for your passengers? The Clarion 15.4″ Overhead Entertainment digital monitor is like having a theater in your car. This rear-seat system has a built-in DVD player with a high-resolution LCD monitor, and it includes a wireless headphone transmitter, two headphones, and an infrared remote control with on-screen display.

Clarion DVD

If you plan on staying close to home for the 4th, the Weber Q 100 Liquid Propane table/outdoor grill is great for the beach or picnics in the park. It features a 189 square-inch total cooking area, porcelain enameled cast-iron cooking grate, push-button ignition, and a removable drip tray for easy cleaning.

Weber Q100

To let others enjoy your iPod tunes while you’re cooking, bring along the Altec Lansing inMotion iPod portable audio system. This compact unit syncs and charges all dockable iPod models and uses rechargeable Li-ion batteries. It also has an FM radio, SFX stereo field expander for a heightened stereo effect, Superior Bass Enhancement technology, and a full-function remote.

The only thing left to do is enjoy the fireworks!       by Graham W.

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Great Gourmet Grilling Gadgets

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

All your friends are coming over, and they’re expecting some great summertime food and fun. The pressure is on, so you’d better deliver some top-notch grillin’ gastronomy. Even if the girl of your dreams let you buy the grill of your dreams, now is not the time to be caught without all the extra things you’ll need to make this the best cookout of the summer.

The right grill accessories can mean the difference between a successful party and a complete conflagration. One good rule to follow is—If you can’t really see it, don’t try to cook it. The Weber Grill LED Handle Light (Model 7516) is great for when the sun has gone down but your guests’ appetites haven’t. It attaches to your grill and uses three bright LED lights to help keep you from turning your food into charcoal. A handy tilt sensor automatically turns the lights on or off depending on whether the grill is open or closed.

Weber beeper thermometer

Weber Barbeque Beeper Digital Thermometer

This being the space age and everything, who wouldn’t want a thermometer that signals you when you’re away from the grill to let you know the food is ready? Weber’s Barbecue Beeper Digital Thermometer (Model 6438) will do just that. All you have to do is clip the remote on your pocket or belt, and the unit will send you a signal when your food has reached your desired temperature setting.

Steven Raichlen grill basket

Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Grill Basket

Fish are really good at turning themselves until they’ve been filleted, which is when you’ll need a Weber Professional Grade Fish Turner (Model 6446), since fish turning should not be left in the hands of amateurs. This actually is a convenient utensil for people who love grilling but want to eat healthier foods—as is The Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue rectangular grill basket (Model SR8021). Featuring four separate compartments with separate lids, this non-stick basket lets you easily grill foods like vegetables and appetizers that cook at different rates.

We have tons more grilling accessories for you to choose from, so get everything you need to get out there and do some chillin’ and grillin’.  —by Graham W.

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