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The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for October, 2008

The Halloween Spirit Invades Abt

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Ever bought a vacuum cleaner from a vampire? A Sony TV Z series from a zombie? How about a watch from a witch? All of these possibilities could become reality today at Abt, as hundreds of our employees have become possessed by the Halloween spirit and are decked out in their scariest (or funniest) costumes.

Halloween has always been a spooktacular time at Abt, and our customers really enjoy bringing in their kids for trick-or-treating and also to see what kind of costumes their favorite salespeople are wearing. Many of our employees team up and wear group-themed costumes, such as the Killer Clowns from the Internet Merchandising department or the Alice in Wonderland group from Order Processing.


If you’ve never visited Abt on Halloween, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. It’s a real treat, and we promise we won’t pull any tricks—unless you really want us to. by Graham W.

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Get Your Nintendo Game On

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

By now you’ve no doubt heard about the Nintendo Wii, the gaming console sensation of last year’s holiday buying season and probably this year’s too. I’ve discovered that it’s not actually wee at all, as gaming consoles go, and it checks in at an almost hefty 4 pounds. But you probably already knew that.

Nintendo Wii

strong>Nintendo Wii Video Game System

Anyway, we are happy to announce that we’ve recently started carrying the Nintendo Wii Video Game System along with its little brother, the Nintendo DS Lite. The Wii is probably best known for its revolutionary Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and also for the Wii Fit, which is great for people who know they should exercise more but have been waiting until someone made a game out of it. Other popular Wii games include Guitar Hero, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Mario Kart Wii, Rock Band 2, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 09 All-Play, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and many more.

Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo DS Lite Portable Gaming System

The DS Lite is a great little portable gaming system that has twin ultra bright LCD screens and comes in a variety of colors. It features a smaller, slimmer body than the original Nintendo DS, and it’s also more than 20% lighter. In addition to playing DS games, there’s an additional port for Game Boy Advance Game Paks, and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection lets you connect wirelessly with friends while you play or compete with other DS owners around the world.

We are currently taking orders for the Wii, while the DS Lite is now in stock and ready for you to take home or order online. —by Graham W.

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New Buying Guide Fills You In On Soundbars

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

If you’ve heard the term “Soundbar” and thought is was a trendy new hangout or a delicious chocolatey-nougat treat that also plays music, you wouldn’t be completely wrong. Just leave out the delicious chocolatey-nougat part, and what you get with a Soundbar is something that could turn your place into a hangout for all of your friends and family members who enjoy the surround-sound experience as they’re watching their favorite movies or just listening to music.

 Samsung Sound Bar HTX810

Samsung Sound Bar Home Theater System HTX810


Yamaha introduced Soundbar technology a few years ago, and Abt exclusively displayed the first Soundbar in our showroom. Soundbars are perfect for people with limited space or those who would rather not have a bunch of speakers scattered throughout their main entertainment area. There are even models that have built-in DVD players, FM tuners, and more.

We’ve put together a new Buying Guide to give you all the details you need to know if you’re in the market for a new Soundbar, or if you just want to learn more about what the heck they are. Click here, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a Soundbar expert.      by Graham W. 

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UFC Fighter Matt Hughes Visits Abt

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Hundreds of fans packed into our atrium area last night to see UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) nine-time welterweight champion Matt Hughes, who was appearing here as a guest of DirecTV. Matt posed for photos, signed autographs, and took part in a live on-site remote broadcast by radio station Q101.

UFC Matt Hughes at Abt

The UFC is a U.S.-based mixed martial arts (MMA) organization that has been growing steadily in popularity in recent years. If you’re not already a fan, UFC matches are the real deal—strictly legit fighting with no foreign objects or people hitting each other with folding chairs. The UFC offers 12 to 14 live pay-per-view events each year through cable and satellite providers like DirecTV, and a recent event in Montreal attracted more than 21,000 fans to the arena.


Although it would have been exciting to see, none of the fans at our event last night tried to challenge Matt’s fighting skills. The thought of ending up getting tossed into the fountain probably stopped any UFC wanna-be.      by Graham W.

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Jewel and David Abt Inducted Into CE Hall of Fame

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

The fifth annual Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame Awards dinner was held Tuesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, and my family and I were extremely excited and honored to be on hand to see my late grandparents, Jewel and David Abt, become officially inducted. For those of you who might not know, they were the founders of Abt Electronics way back in 1936, and they established the foundation and were the guiding lights for a family business that has continued to grow and currently employs more than 1200 people at our current location.   

CE Hall of Fame banner

The CE Hall of Fame honors industry leaders who have helped shape the consumer electronics market into the dynamic and exciting industry it is today. Bob Abt, our current CEO who also happens to be my dad and the son of Jewel and David, gave a short speech in which he expressed how much he wished they were still around to enjoy this ceremony and what a great honor it was for himself, his family, and our entire staff.

Bob Abt at CE Hall of Fame awards

Bob Abt (left) accepting the Hall of Fame award

We sat with Marty Cooper and Donald Linder, who were inducted for creating the first cellular phone (the Motorola DynaTAC), and also chatted with Sony’s Ken Kutaragi, another inductee who is the inventor of the PlayStation gaming consoles. Other recipients included the founder of DirecTV, the chairman of Sirius Satellite Radio, the “father” of the DVD, and the founder of Sennheiser. Overall, it was a fantastic evening, one that I’ll never forget.

Of course, this Hall of Fame honor and the continued success of Abt Electronics would not have been possible without our great employees and loyal customers, whose support throughout the years is truly appreciated. I’m sure Jewel and David would be proud to see their creation continuing to flourish.      by Jon Abt

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Two Exciting Events at Abt

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

What do OLED and the UFC have in common? Nothing really, except that they rhyme, and you might want to watch the UFC on an OLED TV, and they’ll both be represented at Abt in the coming days. Wait, I guess they do have a lot in common—I take back that “Nothing really” part. Just goes to show it pays to think ahead.

Sony OLED at Abt Sony store


Tonight, Sony representatives will be here to show off the company’s OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) television, which features a 3mm thin panel and sensational image contrast, brightness, and color. They also will be presenting Sony’s latest LCD TVs, audio receivers, DSLR cameras, and HD camcorders. Catering is being handled by Jölane’s Café & Wine Bar, which will be serving a selection of fine wines and cheeses. 

On Thursday, DirecTV will be hosting UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) nine-time welterweight champion Matt Hughes at Abt, starting at 6:00 p.m. He will be signing autographs and posing for photo opportunities with customers, and there also will be an on-site remote broadcast by radio station Q101, with live call-ins and prizes. We will have a recap of all those festivities in Friday’s blog.

UFC Matt Hughes event at Abt

For more information on the Sony event, click here, and for the Matt Hughes UFC event, click here.      by Graham W.

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It’s Just a Guess, But There Might Be a Mess

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The DTV (Digital Television) transition is now only about four months away from going into effect, and things just might not go as smoothly as the government and the general public would like. In fact, the switch from analog to digital broadcasting throughout the U.S. might get downright messy, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official.

Old snowy TV set

Households that use only analog TVs risk having their screens go blank unless they take the proper steps. These include buying a new TV with a digital tuner, ditching their current TV antennas for cable or satellite service, or buying a digital TV converter box. The federal government is offering consumers $40 coupons to help pay for these boxes.

When the switchover takes place next February 17, there are likely to be glitches, said the FCC’s Robert McDowell. “The transition will be messy, but we will get through it,” he added, while urging broadcasters to step up their efforts to educate the public.

At Abt, we will continue to provide information and assistance to anyone who needs help to make a smooth transition to the digital TV era. Also, a previous Abt Blog on this subject features a video of company president Jon Abt explaining the DTV transition on Fox News.  —by Graham W.

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Wanna Try a Tru2way?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

The term “tru2way” has the potential to conjure up all sorts of images in your head, but if Panasonic and Comcast have their way, you’ll be thinking of it as providing the kind of images and services you can’t live without. Executives from both of these companies visited Abt today to announce the imminent arrival of the first tru2way Panasonic VIERA HDTVs, which we will have on sale later this month (available for pre-order now) as an exclusive retail partner.

Panasonic and Comcast worked together based upon specifications developed by CableLabs, the industry’s research and development arm, to help develop this interactive digital cable TV  service. As of today, tru2way is now active in the Chicago and Denver areas—the first in the U.S. to have this service—with more cities expected to be added in the coming months. The tru2way-enabled VIERA plasma HDTVs will have the integrated tru2way cable receiver capability built into the sets’ chassis, and will be offered in a 42-inch model (TH42PZ80Q) and a 50-inch model (TH50PZ80Q). No set-top box is needed, so there are fewer wires, fewer remotes, and setup is extremely easy.

Tru2Way poster at Abt

With tru2way, you can access interactive entertainment, information, and features that are embedded in a particular program with just a click of your remote. The extra content includes interactive games, shopping, music, news, weather, local information, sports, interactive advertising, voting and polling, banking, and other services

“The arrival of the first tru2way HDTVs at retail combined with Comcast’s activation of its first tru2way head ends (the facility at a local cable TV office that originates and communicates cable TV and modem services to subscribers) are among the most significant milestones in the cable industry and are a huge win for consumers,” said Dr. Paul Liao, Panasonic’s chief technology officer. “At the May 2008 Cable Show, we stated with great confidence that the first tru2way HDTVs would be available for consumer purchase at retail by fall 2008. We are especially delighted to have partnered with Comcast and CableLabs to make good on that promise and bring the benefits of open networks to cable subscribers.” —by Graham W.

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New MacBook Family Arrives Today

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Did you know that Apple makes products besides the iPhone and the various versions of the iPod? It’s true! Okay, so you already knew that, but lately it seemed that all of Apple’s attention was being heaped on those gadgets to the neglect of the company’s line of computers.

That all changed today, when Apple’s “The spotlight turns to notebooks” event began this morning at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new MacBook family, which now features lower prices and precision unibody enclosures made from a single block of aluminum, resulting in thinner, more durable notebooks. Other new features include state of the art NVIDIA graphics, instant-on LED-backlit displays, a Mini DisplayPort for video output, and large multi-touch trackpads. These new trackpads are made of smooth glass, have almost 40 percent more tracking area, and support more multi-touch gestures than previous versions. Users can track and click virtually anywhere on the trackpad, as the entire surface is also a button. Multiple virtual buttons, such as right-clicking, can be activated in the software.

2008 MacBook and MacBook Pro

New 13-Inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro

The new MacBook is available in two models, each with 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy displays: the 2.0 GHz MacBook with a 160GB 5400 rpm hard drive ($1,299), and the 2.4 GHz MacBook with a 250GB 5400 rpm hard drive and a backlit keyboard ($1,599). The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is only 0.95-inches thick, weighs just 5.5 pounds, and also is available in two models: a 2.4 GHz model with a 250GB 5400 rpm hard drive ($1,999), and a 2.53 GHz model with a 320GB 5400 rpm hard drive ($2,499). An updated 13-inch white MacBook featuring 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, a 120GB 5400 rpm hard drive, and a slot-load 8X SuperDrive is now available for $999.

Also receiving updates are the MacBook Air and the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air now includes new NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics and a faster architecture to better support 3D games and enhance performance, as well as a Mini DisplayPort. It is available with a 120GB 4200 rpm hard drive, representing a 50 percent increase from the previous generation ($1,799), or with a new 128GB solid state drive ($2,499). The new 17-inch MacBook Pro now comes standard with a high resolution 1920 x 1200 LED-backlit display and a larger 320GB hard drive or an optional 128GB solid state drive ($2,799).

Rounding out Apple’s new product presentation was the new LED Cinema Display, which features a 24-inch LED-backlit widescreen with built-in iSight video camera, mic, and speakers in a thin aluminum and glass enclosure, all for $899. It is designed for the new MacBook family and includes three USB 2.0 ports and the new Mini DisplayPort for quick connection to the new MacBooks and other peripherals.

All of the new products are available now, except for the MacBook Air and the LED Cinema Display, which will be available in November.

Finally, to put to rest the persistent rumors about Jobs being in poor health, the screen behind him at one point stated simply “110/70,” which we were told is his current blood pressure. If he really is in any pain, though, it’s probably coming from Blu-ray, which he claimed is “just a bag of hurt. It’s great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we’re waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace.” Join the club. —by Graham W.

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Sony Reveals Its New eBook Reader

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Are you still on the fence about purchasing an electronic reader? Well, Sony has just announced its latest version, which the company hopes will get you to hop down off of there (it’s probably not very comfortable up there anyway).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these devices, the Sony PRS700BC (and model PRS700)Black Portable Reader System comes in a textured black casing and soft black cover, and it weighs only 10 ounces. It lets you search Sony’s eBook store for digital books to purchase, including thousands of classics and new releases, and you can also search other participating websites for books to download.

Sony PRS700BC portable reader

New features on this latest Sony reader include an interactive 6-inch touchscreen display utilizing E Ink technology, so now you can add notes and annotations to your reading material with a stylus on a full-screen QWERTY keyboard. You can also search for specific phrases or just flip through the pages with a stylus or finger swipe.

The PRS700BC holds approximately 320 digital books and contains expansion slots for Memory Stick Duo media/SD cards. Also new on this model is an LED light for those times when you are reading in the dark. You can carry all of your favorite books in this 10-ounce electronic marvel, and you won’t even get paper cuts anymore. It’s available for pre-order now, and should be arriving in late November. Hey, it’s the 21st Century, why not give this a try? —by Graham W.

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