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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for January, 2009

Induction Cooking Demo This Saturday At Abt

Friday, January 30th, 2009

If you love to cook, you’ll want to visit Abt this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a special demonstration by Sub-Zero/Wolf Corporate Chef Pete Trusiak involving a Wolf induction cooktop. Never heard of induction cooktops? Well, they’re the most energy efficient cooktops available, using electromagnetic technology to heat only the pan, with the burner plate staying much cooler than a gas or electric radiant burner. Induction cooktops, like the Wolf 36″ Electric Induction Cooktop model CT36ISS, automatically adjust their energy output to the size of the bottom of the pan.

Wolf 36″ Electric Induction Cooktop

You’ll find Chef Pete just outside the Gourmet Shop in the Atrium area of our store. In addition to the demonstration, Chef Pete will be glad to answer questions about any other Sub-Zero/Wolf products you might be interested in. A special promotion is currently taking place in which you can earn up to $1000 back by purchasing Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Best products (click here for details). In addition, by purchasing a qualifying number of these products, you will receive a dinner for you and seven guests prepared in your own home by a Sub-Zero/Wolf corporate chef (click here for details).   —by Graham W.

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Seats and Eats For Your Super Bowl Party

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Okay, you’ve got the HDTV and the surround-sound system, so now it’s time to think about your guests’ comfort and their probably insatiable hunger. It’s reported that antacid sales go up 20 percent the day after the Super Bowl, and that an estimated 1.4 million people are expected to call in sick that same day. So it’s up to you to provide quality food and seating to keep your guests relaxed and their stomachs as acid free as possible.

The Palliser Juno Series Leather Corner Curve Loveseat Sectional features a modular design that provides maximum flexibility, and multiple configurations are available so you can create your own sectional. It also offers a hardwood frame with full metal undercarriage, along with a choice of more than 100 leathers and fabrics. Your guests will feel so comfortable, they might not want to leave.

Palliser Juno Series Leather Loveseat Sectional

When everyone starts getting hungry, Breville’s Indoor BBQ and Grill (model 800GRXL) will come to the rescue. It features non-stick plates and can be used as a closed contact grill or an open BBQ grill to create an assortment of delicious entrees for your guests. For snacks, Cuisinart’s EasyPop Popcorn Maker (model CPM900) delivers 10 cups of tasty, homemade popcorn in less than five minutes. The popping bowl has built-in ventilation, and the motorized stirring mechanism ensures the best popping possible.

Cuisinart EasyPop Popcorn Maker

If everyone’s favorite team (or the one you all bet heavily on) is losing, we’ve got something to help turn those boos into booze. The Avanti 5 Liter Mini Beer Keg (model MBD5L) can handle all standard 5 liter mini beer kegs so you can enjoy your favorite brews. Tapping and cleaning kits are included, and there is a digital display for temperature settings. Also, the lightweight design lets you move it anywhere easily, so you can place it next to the person who likes to act like a bartender.

Avanti 5 Liter Mini Beer Keg

If you follow the suggestions we’ve made over the last few days, your worries about throwing a successful Super Bowl party will melt away, unlike the ice and snow here in Chicago, since it’s something like 4 degrees below zero right now. Want a prediction? I say Steelers over the Cardinals by 6, and your party’s going to be great.  —by Graham W.

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Surround Sound Systems For Your Super Bowl Party

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Now that you already have an HDTV or know which one you’re going to get after reading yesterday’s posting, the next thing you’ll need for a great Super Bowl party is a sound system that can deliver the full impact of all the action during the game. You want your guests to hear and even feel every play as if they’re right there on the field with the Cardinals and the Steelers, delivering bone-crunching hits that will drown out the loud crunching of tortilla chips in your entertainment room.

Sony Bravia Theater Micro System

If your party space is fairly small, you might want to go with a mini home-theater system or a Soundbar to reduce the size or number of speakers you have scattered around the room. The Sony Bravia Theater Black Micro System (model DAVIS50B) features a compact design but still delivers a room-filling 5.1-channel surround-sound experience. The system’s S-Master Digital Amplifier offers Digital Cinema Sound (DCS) technology, while the five golf ball-sized speakers and unique subwoofer can easily be placed out of the way of your guests.

Yamaha Digital Sound Projector

In the Soundbar category, Yamaha’s Black Digital Sound Projector (model YSP900BK) is a single component that packs 82 watts of total power in its digital amplifier, creating a true multi-channel surround sound by individually driving 21 sound beam drivers and two woofers. The sound is so realistic, you’ll swear the defense is in your room, closing in on you to make the tackle. Or is that some of your guests trying to grab your pizza?

Onkyo 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver

For a larger room, you might want to go with a separate home-theater receiver and some larger speakers. The Onkyo 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver (model TXSR876B) offers a full range of features, including 140 watts per channel and Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. We carry a huge selection of speakers to complement this receiver, including the MK Sound 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System (model MKMOVIE). It features six separate audiophile-quality speakers, including three K-5 front loudspeakers, two K-4 tripole surround loudspeakers, and a KX-10 subwoofer so you can feel the rumble on the field.

MK Sound Home Theater Speaker System

Tomorrow we’ll tell you about some items that will help you prepare your party snacks, and also some options as far as seating for your guests.   —by Graham W.

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Throwing A Super Bowl Party? You Need An HDTV

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Since this is the week leading up to the Big Game (you know, the one that starts with an “S” and contains Roman numerals at the end for some fancy reason), we’re going to give you some ideas over the next few days for things that will make your party, or even your private viewing, a lot more enjoyable this year.

The main thing, of course, is to get an HDTV that’s big enough for everyone to see all the action. A recent survey found that 73% of football fans would rather watch their favorite team at home on an HDTV than have season tickets to watch the games in person. Also, 43% said they would even resort to visiting their in-laws to watch the Super Bowl if they had an HDTV. Judging by that, it seems that watching football on an HDTV just might be the answer to a lot of the world’s problems.

 Samsung 52″ Series 6 LCD HDTV

To top things off, 61% of football fans believe an HDTV is “required” for a great football-viewing party. So this means that 6 out of 10 of your guests are going to leave your Super Bowl party immediately if you don’t have an HDTV, and the other four are probably going to grumble and moan until you rush out and get one.

We have lots of great HDTVs for you to choose from to make sure that doesn’t happen and to help make your party a success, whether your preference is LCD, plasma, or DLP. We’re even offering instant savings (more than $1000 on select sets) on all Samsung LCD and plasma TVs, along with free shipping and up to $200 in NFL.com shop credits. All of our other HDTVs from top manufacturers like Sony, Sharp, LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, and Toshiba are also on sale, so check out all the great deals available on HDTVs at Abt and Abt.com. 

 Pioneer KURO 60″ Plasma HDTV

For those of you who live in the Chicagoland area, if you order your HDTV before 3 p.m. on Saturday, you can still have your set delivered before the Super Bowl kickoff on Sunday.

Tomorrow we’ll have ideas for sensational surround-sound systems that will have you and your guests feeling like you’re actually at the game.   —by Graham W.

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Enter Abt’s 6th Man For A Day Contest

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Ever thought about what it would be like to sit on the bench with a National Basketball Association team? You could do that and more if you’re lucky enough to win our 6th Man For A Day contest, being held in conjunction with the Chicago Bulls and Sharp Electronics.

Our contest gives you the chance to win two seats on the Bulls’ bench so you and a guest can watch the pre-game shoot-around for the February 24 game closer than you ever imagined. The Grand Prize winner will also receive two seats behind the bench to enjoy the actual game, two VIP passes, a scoreboard announcement at halftime honoring the contest winner, a commemorative photograph of the winner and guest during the game, and a Sharp AQUOS 32-inch LCD TV. 

There is no purchase necessary—all you have to do is come into our store and fill out an entry form between now and February 7. The drawing will be held on or about February 13, but you do not have to be present to win. 

Now just picture yourself sitting close enough to the court to yell, “Shoot the J. Shoot it!” and having the Bulls’ players actually do what you tell them to do (or not—they do have a coach, you know).   —by Graham W. 

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The Nightly Business Report Talks With Mike Abt

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Company co-president Mike Abt was a guest on PBS’ Nightly Business Report last evening, talking about current economic conditions and what changes he hopes to see now that President Barack Obama has taken the reins of power. Here’s the clip of Mike’s interview:

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The Abt Security Connection

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I was once told that “what separates Abt from any other electronics store is that we take things like fraud very personally.” With that said I ventured off to talk to our security team, which has close to 40 members. When I walked into the security office it felt more like a NASA command center than an office. Everything was very organized and clean. 

I spoke with Michael Lopez, manager of security, and Dave Alcozer, assistant security manager. They told stories of how they stop local fraudulent orders. It was interesting to find out they actually go out with police and catch criminals. They even collaborate with the FBI. But they not only make sure our customers are safe outside the store, they make sure that everything runs smoothly in their home base.

Abt security personnel monitoring live video feeds 

“It was the day after Thanksgiving, which is the busiest day of the year for us,” said Michael. “We usually get people coming in by the thousands. Our 85,000 square foot showroom was busier than ever. A married couple desperately asked one of our security officers for help. It turned out their 4 year old son had wandered off. With a lost child at stake, our security team quickly acted and secured each door, making sure not to let any child out of the store. A large team of security personnel was sent out to sweep the entire showroom and our security office scanned the 250 plus cameras we have on site. It turned out that the child was quietly watching TV in our massage chair section.  He was reunited with his family and his mother had tears of joy. They both thanked our security team for being so actively involved.” 

Searching for one person in a 85,000 square foot showroom full of customers doesn’t sound that easy, especially with it being an extremely busy day. “We take pride in helping out all our customers, whether it’s helping them find their child in the store or anything else.” said Michael. Even with all the hustle and bustle of their day, they still manage to go back to the command center and water their plant.  —by Victor S., with help from Brian H.  

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Final Thoughts On The Consumer Electronics Show

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Now that a few days have passed since I returned from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I’ve been able to take some time to look back on this huge event and gather my thoughts. Overall, it was an exhausting experience for me, with too many meetings to attend and not enough time to see everything that’s new as far as the latest gadgets and technological innovations. But I did see enough to know that there will be a lot of exciting new products coming out on the market for consumers this year.

Despite what you see in these photos, this year’s show wasn’t quite as crowded as last year’s, which was nice. But there were more content people than ever, including executives and creative types from movie studios, record labels, TV networks, and other media outlets. With many of the latest TVs, Blu-ray players, and other electronics now providing connections to the internet, it’s important for these people to come together to help push this technology forward.

Some of the biggest trends included 3D gaming and 3D TVs, with the thinness of TVs still being pushed to the limits and some models nearly invisible when viewed from the side. Netbooks, the smaller versions of notebooks, will be claiming more and more shelf space this year, while smartphones like the Palm Pre and Motorola SURF are positioning themselves to do battle with the iPhone. Also, LG will be coming out with its Watch Phone sometime this year, which is literally a cell phone you wear on your wrist. Its features include a touch screen, a music player, stereo Bluetooth support, and even a camera. 

Keep watching our website for updates on when these and other exciting new products will become available.  —by Jon Abt

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MK Sound Shows Off Its Speakers At CES

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Not all the action at the Consumer Electronic Show took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Manufacturers also exhibited their wares at a few other smaller locations, including the Venetian Tower Suites, where MK Sound hosted visitors on the 30th floor to demonstrate the company’s audiophile-quality speakers.

MK Sound was founded in 1974, and is the only manufacturer with more than three decades of experience in designing and manufacturing subwoofers and other high-end loudspeakers. Many of the top professional recording and mastering studio rooms in the music, film, and video fields use MK systems. The Dolphin Group, which includes staff from Abt, was recently appointed exclusive U.S. distributor for MK Sound consumer products, and representatives from our company joined MK Sound executives at the Venetian to show off these incredible speakers to potential customers.

Representatives from MK Sound and Abt meeting with potential customers

If you’d like to upgrade your home audio or home theater system, click here to see all the MK Sound products available at Abt.  —by Graham W. 

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More New Products From CES

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Now that the Consumer Electronics Show is officially over, we’d like to tell you about some of the other great new gadgets we saw over the course of the event at various manufacturers’ booths. Overall, there were an estimated 20,000 new technology products showcased across 1.7 million net square feet of exhibit space at this year’s show.

Onkyo will be coming out with a new audio receiver (model TXSR507) that will replace its TXSR506 model and will offer HDMI upscaling and HDMI audio. The company’s three top of the line receivers are being bumped up from 7.1-channel to 9.2-channel systems, and there will be new speaker packages for the home theater systems. The replacements for Onkyo’s HT-S3100 and HT-S5100 systems will feature a new piano gloss finish and new styling for the compact design speakers. The HT-S5100 replacement will have more compact speakers and also a new subwoofer. The HT-S7100 replacement will feature narrow tower front speakers and upgraded center and rear speakers.

Onkyo HT-S7100 Home Theater System

Definitive Technology is introducing a new line of “disappearing” in-wall speakers. These will feature all new styling, with ultra-thin magnetic grills that will disappear into a home’s décor with a little paint. Universal showed off its new iPod docking model that has the ability to show the graphic interface of the iPhone or iPod touch on a user’s TV screen. Polk Audio’s new SoundBar SDA Instant Home Theater system features a smaller speaker than previous models (nearly 11-inches shorter), 260 watts of power (with no additional a/v receiver required), and it now comes with a wireless subwoofer.

Polk Audio SoundBar SDA Instant Home Theater

All of these products should become available to consumers in the next few months. Check our website frequently for updates on the latest product releases.  by Jim Kozicki (at CES) and Graham W. 

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