Shopping on line today? Join the crowd. And take these tips.
According to Shop.org, a branch of the National Retail Federation, about 122 million Americans are making internet site purchases this Cyber Monday. That’s not much less than the 147 million estimated shoppers who visited conventional (“bricks and mortar”) stores over the Thanksgiving weekend.
For sure, there are some good deals out there - from SanDisk 32 GB memory cards for digital cameras and game systems as cheap as $17 to a “recommended buy” (by Consumer Reports) Samsung PN51E7000 51-inch 3D plasma TV for $997. The latter deal is still to be found today (through midnight) at numerous sites – from Amazon to the fighting for survival Sears - which consistently offered excellent prices for TVs last holiday shopping season.
Thanksgiving is still more than a week away, but makers and sellers of high tech gadgets are already jockeying for your holiday shopping loyalty.
Gamesmanship 101: Tonight (Monday) at midnight, Best Buy will open up the Magnolia home theater departments in select stores to demonstrate how terrific the new Activision game “Call of Duty: Black Opps II” looks in 3D – as running on LG Cinema 3D TVs. And more than 4,000 GameStop stores will be hosting midnight launch events tonight for the same game, sure to be one of the biggest sellers of the season. While there, also check out the interactive kiosks demonstrating Nintendo’s breakthrough Wii U game system. Using a unique color screened GamePad controller, the Wii U doesn’t officially go on sale until this coming Sunday, though playable demo units are already installed at select Target, Walmart and Toys ‘R” Us stores, in addition to those Best Buy and GameStop outlets
Black and Blue Friday Specials: Several retailers have already let “slip” their Black Friday gadget specials. Both Walmart and sister operation Sam’s Club will offer high definition LG Blu-ray players priced at a mere $38 – the same kind of wacky deal that jump started interest in DVDs back in its' day. This 2D-only BR model sells elsewhere for $68 to $79. And of course, both discount chains also will have Blu-ray disc deals to go-with that player - including the new to home video family treats “Brave,” ”Madagascar 3” and “The Lorax” at $9.98 each. And if you’re looking for a high def TV upgrade, be sure to say “Sam sent me” for a $799 47-inch LG 3D TV with a bundled outboard sound bar or to snap up a 65-inch Vizio priced at two bucks under a grand (aka $998).
So maybe this wasn’t the best week for set top TV device makers Roku and Boxee to introduce new features and hardware. But as life returns to what we used to know as normal and viewers start looking for relief from all the shocking storm ravage stories, these improved “over the top” TV sources will sure come in handy.
Recent generation Roku boxes (starting at $49.99) became way more valuable this week thanks to a new search engine feature. Just enter the name of a movie or TV show, favorite actor or director and Roku looks for the applicable goods across multiple platforms – Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, HBO Go and Vudu HD movies.
So you're stuck at home and the hurricane of the century isn't really going to get nasty until late tonight. You could keep watching the TV news coverage (yawn) or do something productive and positive with your day. Gizmo Guy has a few ideas.
Work that Netflix subscription: Today's a fine day to plow thorugh a full season of "24," "Freaks and Geeks," the cool new(er) "Sherlock" series, "Psych," "Porlandia" (the Fred Armisen/Carrie Brownstein cult comedy hit) or "Alfred Hiotchock Presents" (in the news again with two movies.) Or you might rally round the tube with the family for classics like "Free Willy" (where the weather's warm and water inviting) or "The Wiz" (Diana Ross and Michael Jackson in another kind of paradise). If you're a music fan, gotta hop to sunny Jamaica with the great documentary celebration of the reggae king (Bob) "Marley" also found on Netflix.
Stockpiling Satellite Content: Nab your TV content via satellite? You might experience some rain fade/lost signal problems in the heaviest waves of Hurricane Sandy's deluge. So to not spoil the evening, download a movie or two to the DVR portion of your receiver now. That content will then remain accesible even if all hell breaks lose (so long as you don't lose power.)
What’s the place for a news weekly in today’s "24 x 7" news cycle? None at all, concluded the powers that be at Newsweek.
This morning, the venerable 80 year institution announced it will be shutting down the print publication with its December 31st issue and transition to an “all digital format in early 2013,” shared Newsweek editor Tina Brown.
Merging content with the Daily Beast web site founded by Brown, the all digital version of the mag will go by the name Newsweek Global and command a paid subscription for access. The combo Newsweek/Daily Beast site now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, up 70 percent in the last year, shared Brown and new CEO Baba Shetty in this morning’s memo to staff and the media. And with the ever increasing number and lowered costs of digital platform alternatives – especially tablets from Apple (with a lower cost iPad Mini to be sprung October 23), Amazon, Samsung, Barnes and Noble and Microsoft (momentarily) – the writing is clearly on the wall.
Tech bloggers' obsession with Apple products came in for well-deserved ridicule on this weekend's "Saturday Night Live."
Posted here by the sometimes Apple-slamming betanews.com blogger Joe Wilcox - an irony unto itself - the bit pits episode host Christina APPLEgate as the host of a fictional "Tech Talk" - digging into the shocking "plethora of glitches and design flaws" in the iPhone 5 with bloggers from CNet, Wired and Gizmodo. (Here is a direct link to the video.)
Echoing the actual picayune palaver turned into poisonous posts, one nerd complains about the innacuracy of Apple Maps and how he's been "forced to use Google Maps in my browser, which is significantly slower."
Brick and mortar retailers of electronics – Best Buy, Target and WalMart - will be more nimble and price aggressive this holiday gift season, in competing with on-line-only competitors.
To get away from its profitless status as the “showroom” for products which consumers then buy cheaper on the web, Best Buy plans to match prices consumers find on the internet, in select categories. At present, about 40 percent of BB store visitors actually leave with a purchase. “We have a tremendous opportunity to increase that close rate,” said company spokesman Matthew Furman.
For its part, WalMart is experimenting with same day delivery of products ordered on-line – a dream shared by Amazon. Haven’t seen the latter pull off the stunt, as yet, though a recent Amazon order placed on a Sunday night (10 p.m.) did show up early Monday morning!