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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for June, 2009

Stay Cool And Save Money

Friday, June 26th, 2009

After a relatively cool spring, those of us who live in the Chicago area got a surprise this week when summer snuck up and hit us over the head, and other parts of the body, with some scorching 90 to 95 degree temperatures. People who weren’t prepared have been scrambling to get their older air conditioners in working condition or are seeking out new, more efficient models.

Frigidaire White Compact Room Air Conditioner

If you’re in that latter category, now is the perfect time to get yourself a new air conditioning unit from Abt. We are currently offering special sale prices on top brands like GE, Frigidaire, Friedrich, and LG, with models that carry high energy-efficiency ratios and are Energy Star Compliant. You’ll find units with all the latest features like delay timers, electronic temperature controls with remote control, antibacterial filters, sleep modes, and much more.

Friedrich ZoneAire White Portable Air Conditioner

No matter what style you need—window, wall, casement, or portable—we have a huge selection on hand so you can easily find the model and size you want, ready for you to take home or have shipped anywhere in the U.S. We also have a convenient Air Conditioner Buying Guide on our website to help you if you’re uncertain about what size you need or the meaning of terms like BTUs. If you still have questions, our knowledgeable sales staff can take the heat off your decision-making process and put you on the path to a cooler summer.     —by Graham W.

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Get Expert Design Tips This Saturday At Abt

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

People who are planning to renovate their current home or purchase a new one often have difficulty deciding which designs and materials they’d like to incorporate in their various rooms. At Abt, we frequently talk with customers who are either unaware of, or are struggling with, the multitude of choices available. With this in mind, we decided it would be a great idea to hold a special Consumer Education Day to help guide those of you who need some expert advice on your home construction or renovation projects.

This Saturday, June 27, you are invited to join us and meet with our design partners at the Abt Design Center from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. You’ll learn about the latest products, trends, and even outdoor entertainment options from experts representing the unique manufacturer showrooms featured in the Design Center, located just one block south of our main building.

Each hour, the various showrooms will offer special workshops, starting at 10 a.m. with the “Plan Your Dream Bath Workshop” at the Kohler Store. This will be followed by “Landscape Lighting Tips” at the Fox Lighting showroom, “Organization 101” at California Closets, “Grilling Techniques for Outdoor Entertaining” at the Viking Kitchens, and “Tile and Stone Trends” at Exotic Marble & Tile. The final workshop of the day, “Innovations in Home Electronics Integration,” will be held back in our main building from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. in the Apple Boutique, located in our Atrium area.

No matter how large or small your project may be, we’ll help you gather all the information you need to design the kitchen, bath, entertainment room, or outdoor setting of your dreams. Check out Abt for more details and a complete schedule of the day’s activities.     —by Graham W.

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Recycle Your Unwanted TVs Properly

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Do you have an older TV set that you no longer want or need? With the digital television (DTV) transition finally haven taken place throughout the country on June 12, lots of people have found themselves with analog television sets that they’ve replaced with HDTVs containing digital tuners. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is concerned about how consumers plan to dispose of those older TVs and wants to make sure the sets are recycled properly. Televisions contain materials and chemicals that create pollution problems, so don’t just throw them away.

On its website, the CTA provides lists of recycling centers that consumers can find in their area by entering their zip code. “TVs do not belong in the trash,” said CTA environmental affairs vice president Parker Brugge. “Consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers have worked diligently to provide the public with access to easy and convenient recycling options, as have many state and local governments. Consumers play a critical role in making sure that electronics products are recycled responsibly.”

If you live in the Chicago area, we encourage you to use the Abt Recycling Center, located near the southwest corner of our main building. In addition to TVs, we accept old appliances, electronics, and packing material from the public, regardless of whether you’re a customer. You can also use our convenient trade-in program to leave your old electronics with us and receive an Abt Gift Card in return.

Click here to learn more about the Abt Recycling Center and our other “green” initiatives, and be sure to do your part to help create a healthier environment for everyone.    —by Graham W.

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Discover Abt’s New Deal Of The Day

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

There’s something new at Abt that you might not have noticed yet, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Take a look near the top of our home page, and you’ll see our new Deal of the Day section, which features a new product every day that you can purchase at a special low price for a 24-hour period.

Abt Deal of the Day

Each day, our buyers select a product from their particular section of our store (TVs, small electronics, appliances, etc.).  We then put a different one on sale every day, and you can purchase them at a cost that’s even less than our usual everyday low prices. Be sure to check back every day to see what our special Deal of the Day will be. It’s a great way to discover new products and save money at the same time.

by Graham W.

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Fathers always seem to get neglected, or at least relegated to an afterthought, on most gift-giving occasions. But since this Sunday happens to be a day known as Father’s Day, it will be kind of hard to claim that you spent all of your money on gifts for other relatives.

Part of the problem with buying gifts for fathers is that it’s generally pretty difficult to figure out what they want, besides beer or some peace and quiet. So like we did for Mother’s Day, we’ve asked some Abt employees for their suggestions for great Father’s Day gifts.

Weber Ranch Kettle Charcoal Grill

Abt Web merchandiser Jayson O. says, “My 10-month-old daughter Jazelle is a great enough present, but since we’re talking about receiving something materialistic, I would love to receive the Weber Ranch Kettle Charcoal Grill. I love grilling for friends and family, so what better way to do that than on a charcoal grill with 1,104 square inches of cooking area. With a grill this large you can have an area for high heat for searing steaks, medium heat for perfect burgers and hot dogs, and a low heat area for slow cooking ribs until the meat falls off the bone. I guess we can throw in a couple vegetables in there if there’s room.”

Krups Beertender Home Beer-Tap System Keg Cooler

Rafael P., an Abt sales specialist who has a 1-year-old son, would like some things to enjoy while working in his garage or relaxing in his yard. “The Gladiator Garageworks Convertible Graphite Freezer has an upper compartment that can be used as a refrigerator, so I could keep ice and extra frozen foods in the bottom compartment and cold drinks up top. When I’m done in the garage, I could take the Krups Beertender Home Beer-Tap System Keg Cooler into the yard for some frosty brews, and watch music videos or movies on the Sony 9″ Portable DVD Player. The Sony has a 6-hour rechargeable battery, and the Beertender keeps draft beer fresh for 30 days after tapping, but I don’t think my wife would let me stay in the yard that long. Maybe the 6 hours, but not the 30 days.”

Swiss Army Chrono Classic Men’s Watch

According to Abt inventory manager George G., who has two young sons, “The more kids you have, the better the gift you should get. Just kidding! One thing I’d like is a small-screen TV for the kitchen or bedroom, like the Samsung 19″ Series 3 LCD HDTV. It has an HDMI connection for quickly hooking up a DVD or Blu-ray player and also has a PC input so I could connect it to my computer. Another thing I’d really like to get is a nice timepiece, like the Swiss Army Chrono Classic men’s watch. It looks really nice and is water resistant up to 330 feet, which is perfect for those times when I have to dive into the Abt fountain to retrieve a dropped package (just kidding again).”

To see our complete list of Father’s Day gift ideas, click here.    —by Graham W.

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Customers Reach Out To Abt For Help On D(TV)-Day

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Nearly 3 million households in the U.S. remained completely unprepared for Friday’s digital television (DTV) transition, according to surveys by Nielsen Co., and throughout the day, every single one of them called Abt’s electronic service department for help. That last part isn’t exactly true, but it sure seemed that way to our service reps who were handling the calls.

“I came in at noon on Friday, and I was on the phone the whole day answering calls about the transition,” said Abt electronic service rep Alex Chen. “Between everyone here, we handled hundreds and hundreds of calls. We also had customers in the store who came to us with questions. A lot of the calls had to do with how to properly set up the digital converter boxes, and it seemed like lots of people were having trouble receiving channel 2 (Chicago’s CBS station) and channel 7 (Chicago’s ABC station).”

If your favorite TV shows now look like this, give us a call.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also was ready to help on Friday, with 4,000 operators on standby to answer questions, along with demonstration centers set up in several cities. FCC chairman Michael Copps has warned of a “period of adjustment as we all figure out how to make this new technology work in the real world. This is a momentous change, and it will take time to get it right.”

On the other hand, Jonathan Collegio, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters, seemed please with the transition, stating: “America is the first large country in the world to complete the transition to all-digital broadcasting, and our early reports show that the transition has been a success.”

Do you still have some lingering questions about the transition? If so, you can consult our TV & Video Buying Guides or call one of our knowledgeable electronic service reps at 1-888-228-5800. By now, there probably aren’t any DTV questions they haven’t handled successfully at least a hundred (or 3 million) times.     —by Graham W.

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Come To Kids Day This Sunday At Abt

Friday, June 12th, 2009

This Sunday, June 14, we will be celebrating another Kids Day at Abt from noon until 4 p.m., in the Atrium area of our store. Our last Kids Day event focused on creating personalized gifts for Mother’s Day, and since we didn’t want any Dads to feel left out, this upcoming event will give kids a chance to make a personalized Father’s Day gift.

Kids Day At Abt

Free individual photos will be taken of the kids, who will then be given the materials to make and decorate a picture frame to hold their photos, along with a gift bag to hold the picture frames. To keep the kids’ energy and enthusiasm in high gear, we’ll also be providing free ice cream and cookies.

“At our last event, the kids had a fantastic time making their Mother’s Day gifts,” said Abt customer service manager Cari Boyk. “This is a great way for kids to make something really special to give as a gift, and they have lots of fun interacting with each other and sharing ideas.”     —by Graham W.

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Abt Presents DTV Info On ABC-TV

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Abt audio/video manager Marc Cook was featured on Chicago’s ABC-TV a few days ago, talking about the digital television (DTV) transition that goes into effect this Friday and discussing the things you need to do to make sure you’re prepared. After watching this video, be sure to check out the post below, which contains more details as well as information about our new Antennas Buying Guide.

by Graham W.

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Our New Antennas Buying Guide Will Help You With The DTV Transition

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

With the digital television (DTV) transition set to officially (and finally) take place this Friday, TV stations throughout the nation will no longer broadcast their programs via analog signals. What this means is that you must have a TV with a digital tuner if you want to continue to watch your favorite shows—or, if you still have a TV with an analog tuner, it must be connected to satellite or cable TV service. Another option, if you prefer to receive broadcasts over the air on your analog TV, is to purchase a digital converter box and a suitable indoor or outdoor antenna to ensure that you’ll be getting the best digital signals possible.

To help you with the switch to digital television, check out our TV & Video Buying Guides designed to answer any questions you may have. In addition, we also have a Antenna Buying Guide to provide you with all the information you need to select the perfect antenna for your location. Indoor antennas often can get the job done, but sometimes they are not able to pick up strong enough signals to get good reception, so the only option is to have an outdoor antenna installed. Abt Custom Audio/Video installs roof antennas, and if you already have cable TV service on your main TV but are using rabbit ears for your kitchen or bedroom TVs, we can also run a new cable feed to those locations.

As a final note, in case you’re thinking there might be another extension of the switch-over deadline, this statement from President Obama should clear things up:

“On June 12, the nation’s full-power television stations will switch to all-digital programming. In February, I worked with Congress to postpone the deadline television broadcasters had to end their analog signals, because it was clear that millions of Americans would have been left in the dark if the conversion had gone on as planned. Still, some people are not ready. I want to be clear: there will not be another delay. I urge everyone who is not yet prepared to act today, so you don’t lose important news and emergency information on June 12. And I encourage all Americans who are prepared, to talk to their friends, family, and neighbors to make sure they get ready before it’s too late.”

If you still have questions about the DTV transition, or know someone who does, please contact our knowledgeable sales staff or technical support personnel at 1-888-228-5800.     —by Graham W.

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Apple Reveals New Upgrades At WWDC

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today in San Francisco, and despite rumors of a Steve Jobs reappearance after several months away due to health reasons, the Apple CEO remained behind the scenes. What did emerge, however, were details of several new upgrades to current products, presented by Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, and several other guest speakers.

The biggest news, of course, was the release of the latest version of the iPhone—the iPhone 3G S. It launches messages and loads websites more than twice as fast as the previous version, has a new 3 megapixel camera that supports video at 30 frames per second, and offers voice control and increased battery life, along with many other tweaks and upgrades. The design of the phone is the same, but now it’s made with “greener” materials. It will be available on June 19 at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32 GB, with the current version’s 8GB model now priced at $99.

The new iPhone 3.0 software will be available on June 17 and will be free for iPhone owners but $9.95 for iPod Touch owners. New features include MMS and tethering (but not from AT&T until later this summer), HTTP streaming audio and video, auto fill, and a new “Find My iPhone” function that shows on a map where a user’s lost iPhone is located and allows for remote deletion of personal information.

Snow Leopard macosx10_6

The new Mac operating system, OS X Snow Leopard, will be available in September for only a $29 upgrade fee for current Leopard users and just $10 for those who purchase an Apple computer between now and December. Among the new features are faster Quick Look previews and Spotlight searches, built-in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 support for Mail, Calendar, and Address Book syncing, and Crash Resistance, which keeps the browser and tabs intact even if a plugin crashes. Snow Leopard also has half the footprint of the current Leopard, resulting in 45% faster installs. In addition, Apple released Safari 4, which the company touts as the world’s fastest and most innovative web browser.

On the hardware front, Apple introduced new 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch MacBook Pro models featuring 40 percent longer battery life and other upgrades, with some models priced at $300 less than previous versions. The new MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD now goes for $1799, which is $700 less than before. All of the new MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs will be arriving soon at Abt, so be sure to check our website for availability.     —by Graham W.

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