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Archive for February, 2009

Abt Video Buying Guide: Digital Cameras

Friday, February 27th, 2009

If you’re looking to buy your first digital camera or upgrade to a newer model, all of the technical jargon and obscure features can get pretty confusing and leave you wondering where to turn for advice. Our new video buying guide, featuring Abt internet merchandising manager Ken Lee, will take you through the basics and help you decide if a point & shoot camera or a more advanced DSLR is right for you.


Click here to see the full line of digital cameras available at Abt, from top brands like Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, and more. To see our huge selection of camera accessories, click here.     —by Graham W.

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Sony Brains Find Another Use For Your Veins

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I don’t want to scare you or anything, but soon your laptop and mobile phone might start peering at your veins to make sure it’s really you who wants to send that e-mail or make that call. A biometric system called “Mofiria” has recently been developed by Sony smart guys, and it uses vein authentication technology to capture a finger vein image and store the data on your mobile devices, preventing unauthorized usage.

Apparently, we all have finger vein patterns that differ from person to person and even from finger to finger, and they do not change over the years. Experts say vein authentication provides higher accuracy for personal identification and produces faster reads than other forms of biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or retinal scans.

The Mofiria system uses a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor that diagonally captures scattered light inside the finger veins. A small, flexible design is being used to put this technology into mobile electronics, and Sony plans to make Mofiria available on its devices within the 2009 fiscal year.

Mofiria sounds like good news for everyone who wants to keep their devices and data secure but has a bad memory, since remembering to put your finger on a scanner sounds much easier than remembering your passwords, unless you’re using “password” for all of your passwords.   —by Graham W.

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Who Tops The Flat Panel TV Sales List?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Ever wonder which manufacturer currently sells the most flat panel TVs in the U.S.? According to recent national sales figures, it’s Samsung, with a 20.2% share of the total market. Rounding out the top four spots are Vizio at 14.3%, Sony at 13.5%, and Panasonic at 10.7%.

So just what is it that Samsung is doing to capture the attention and dollars of American consumers? “A lot of customers come in with consumer magazines that give high ratings to Samsung TVs, and they like the fact that they can get one at a good price,” says Abt TV sales specialist Joe Trejo.

Samsung’s exhibit at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

“Samsung is also the only major manufacturer that produces all three major types of TVs—plasma, LCD, and DLP,” adds Abt TV sales specialist Jay Lefor. “I’m sure that has helped them capture such a large share of the overall TV market.”

No matter which manufacturer, size, or style you prefer, you’re sure to find the perfect TV at Abt. Click here to see our entire selection from all the top brands.         —by Graham W.

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New Cell Phone Technology Revealed In Barcelona

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Now that the big mobile phone trade show in Barcelona has wrapped up, we thought we’d fill you in on some of the innovative new cell phone technology that was on display and should be hitting the market in the coming months. On the application front, Nokia announced its new Ovi Application Store, which is similar to what Apple and Google offer with their iPhone and Android devices. Nokia owners will soon be able to access the Ovi Store wirelessly and download a wide variety of applications to their phones.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft unveiled its updated mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5, which also includes an application store. Among its other new features are a backup and restore service, an improved mobile Web browser, and a “finger friendly” user interface. Windows Mobile 6.5 will be available in the second half of 2009.

Moving on to the actual phones, Sony Ericsson showed off its Idou multimedia phone, which has a thin candy bar design and includes a 12.1-megapixel camera, a Xenon flash, and a 3.5-inch display. The Idou won’t be available until the second half of this year, and some people hope it has a different name by then. I know Idou.

Samsung’s Blue Earth phone

Some eco-friendly phones were also revealed, including the Samsung Blue Earth and a currently unnamed LG handset. The Blue Earth has integrated solar panels that save up to 34.6% of the battery’s energy, according to Samsung, and it’s made with recycled plastic. It also features an “Eco Walk” function that tells you how many trees you save by walking. The LG phone’s solar panels will provide enough power for a three-minute call after just 10 minutes in the sunlight. Longer periods in the sun would create enough standby power that you could make and receive several calls without needing a charging device, says LG. There were no specific release dates given for either of these phones.

Click here to see the great selection of cell phones currently available at Abt, and click here to see our cellular accessories.   —by Graham W.

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Nintendo DSi Will Make Its Debut On April 5

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the new Nintendo DSi, your wait is almost over. The DSi, which is already out in Japan, will be coming to our shores on April 5 at a price of $169.99, with a choice of blue or black models.

What new goodies will the DSi be bringing to the table? How about two cameras, one of which is on the external body, while the other one points at the user when the device is flipped open. An enhanced DSi Sound application will work as both an interactive voice recorder and a music player that allows users to alter voices or change the tempo of a song. In addition, a new DSiWare application will let you download software directly to the portable system using Nintendo DSi Points, with games and applications available starting at 200 points.

If you can’t wait until April 5 and you’d like to see all the portable game systems currently available at Abt, click here.   —by Graham W.

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Abt Video Review: Sony VAIO P Series Notebook

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

We recently told you about a hot new product, Sony’s VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC notebook, which we saw last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It checks in at eight-inches and weighs just 1.4 pounds, and among its many exciting features is an ultra-wide 1,600 x 768 resolution LED-backlit LCD display, along with Bluetooth, 802.11n WiFi, 3G WWAN, and an embedded GPS module.

Now, instead of just reading about it, you can watch our video review of the P Series PC notebook, featuring Abt internet merchandising manager Ken Lee.

The Sony P Series PC is currently available in a variety of colors in our Sony Store and on our website. Pricing starts at $899.    —by Graham W.

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Should You Choose Cable Or Satellite TV Service?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Company president Mike Abt and general manager Marc Cook were interviewed for an NBC Channel 5 “Around Town” segment, discussing the differences between cable and satellite TV service.

With the switch to digital television, many consumers are considering cable or satellite to improve their reception, but it can be difficult to know how to get the biggest bang for your buck. The crispest, clearest picture comes from high-definition programming, and when it comes to HDTV, satellite has the edge, according to Marc Cook, general manager of Abt Electronics. “DirecTV has a dramatic edge in high-definition channels. They have a higher count of channels,” Cook said.

But snow or ice can wreak havoc on a dish. “When it was snowing, it would just go out all the time,” one former satellite subscriber said. Still, experts say satellite has a slight edge in picture quality. Cable bundle packages may be a bit cheaper, but they come with a cost. “Your picture is probably going to be sharper with a DirecTV signal than a cable signal because with cable you have a lot of signals fighting in one wire, and then they’re all being pulled out at the other end,” Cook said.

Then there’s all that equipment. That’s where cable triumphs, Abt Electronics president Michael Abt said. “With cable, you don’t even need to have a box on every TV,” Abt said. “Whereas DirecTV, you really need to have a box on each TV.”

So, what’s the best deal? Experts say that in general, satellite TV offers more channels per dollar. “You’re contracting in a specific price, which is a nice thing. You don’t have to worry about price increases month after month or year after year,” Cook said. But if you’re looking for just the basics, cable is the clear winner.

“For $10 a month you can get basic cable, which is all the main stations you can get now with free TV, and a few more,” Abt said. If you’re considering a switch, first contact your current service provider. They may offer you better pricing to keep your business.

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Take A Tour Of The Abt Green Kitchen

Monday, February 16th, 2009

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Green Kitchen installation in our Atrium area, take a look at this video from Realtor interactive magazine featuring Joe Klett, manager of our custom kitchen group. Joe talks about all the eco-friendly items on display in the Green Kitchen, including cabinet and counter top materials, along with the energy-efficient lighting and appliance choices.

Looking to make your own kitchen more green? Click here to see all of the energy efficient appliances available at Abt.      —by Graham W.

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Dealerscope Inducts Abt Family Into Its Hall of Fame

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Dealerscope, a monthly magazine for consumer technology retailers, recently named Abt Electronics and the Abt Family as 2009 Dealerscope Hall of Fame inductees. Each year, the magazine’s editors and readers choose the honorees “based on their lasting contributions to the consumer electronics industry and the various communities they serve.”

Over the past 18 years, Dealerscope has honored the most influential people in the consumer electronics retail industry, with the inductees chosen based upon their vision, commitment, execution, and long-standing contributions to the overall industry.

“This is a great honor for us,” said company CEO Bob Abt. “As many of you know, my parents, David and Jewel Abt, were also inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame last year. With this latest honor, it is very rewarding that three generations of our family have now received such recognition. We would like to thank all of our loyal customers, our employees, and our manufacturer partners for helping to make this possible.” —by Graham W.

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Gift Ideas For Your Valentine

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

The color pink, of course, is closely associated with Valentine’s Day. A lot of women like the color pink, and surveys suggest that men spend more than twice as much money as women on Valentine’s Day. So, with all that in mind, here are a few suggestions for some pink presents for that special lady in your life.

Sony offers several of its products in various shades of pink, including its Pink Cyber-Shot Digital Camera, which features a 12.1 megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 4x optical zoom. For the music and video lover, Apple offers the 16GB Pink 4th Generation iPod Nano, which holds up to 4,000 songs, 14,000 photos, and 16 hours of video. You could also add Skullcandy’s SC-TITAN Earphones In Pink for the perfect color complement. These earphones feature 11mm ultra bass speakers and come with a pocket-size carrying case.

If she’s really special, or you’ve done something wrong lately, you might want to splurge and go with the Rado Sintra Super Jubile White Dial Women’s Watch. For a mere $6200, you get four diamond hour markers, a case set with 40 diamonds, a pink bracelet set with 76 diamonds, and a sapphire crystal. To top it off, it also tells you what time it is.

Click here to see all of our gift ideas listed in convenient categories that narrow the choices by recipient (Gifts for Her), specific interests (The Movie Aficionado), or price range.   —by Graham W.

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