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Author: Emiah Gardner

How to Get the Most Out of your New HDTV

Have you recently purchased a new HDTV but aren’t sure how to fully enjoy it? Many of us buy new electronics and get them home before we realize the effort involved in setting them up. If you’re in that boat, check out our five tips to getting the most out of your new entertainment centerpiece. Mounting your TV If you’re comfortable mounting a shelf or hanging a picture in your home, you can mount a flat HDTV. Make sure you have the right tools; you can usually find the list in your TV owner’s manual. The basics are: measuring tape power drill with drill bits screwdriver pencil The key to properly mounting your HDTV on the wall is to first find the right position (consider height, glare avoidance, and viewing angles), then find the studs in the wall to attach your mount bracket. TIP: most studs are on 16” centers. Keep in mind that you’ll have to run your cables and power cord to the TV, which may limit the possible locations. If you can run the cables behind crown molding or the baseboard, you’ll save yourself some headaches in dealing with drywall repairs (something I learned the hard way). Connecting Components It’s no longer just AM, FM, TV, or CD. You have DVD, DVR, 3D, 1080p, and HDTV to content with. The good news is, if you just...

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When Is The Best Time To Buy A TV? 2013

In 2011 we asked this same question, when is the best time to buy a TV? After extensive research, we concluded that February is the absolute best time to purchase a television, but that was almost 2 years ago. Let’s revisit that question and see if the same holds true in 2013. So, what do experts say about the timing of purchasing a new television? Avoid the holidays unless you’re certain you’re getting one of the deeply-discounted “loss leaders” offered to get you in the door. Even then, you’re likely getting last year’s model, which means in a month or two it will be a two-year-old model. You’re very likely getting outdated technology with these deeply-discounted offerings. Frequently discounted TVs include a skimpy set of features you wouldn’t normally buy if you were doing your homework. Optimal Time for Purchasing a New TV If holiday shopping is out of the question, then when should you buy? If you rely on CNET for technology reviews and related information, then you’ll be happy to know they suggest waiting until springtime1, after the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas every January. CES is the mother of all trade shows in the consumer electronics industry, and this is where the latest models and new technology are unveiled. As a result of the new products, retailers will soon be anxious to rid...

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Social TV Is Affecting Your Thoughts And Opinions In A Surprising Way

The Psychology Behind Social TV Not long ago, I was sitting with a friend watching  Suits, when a small symbol popped up on the screen. Before I knew it, my friend had whipped out his smartphone and was clicking away on Twitter. It floored me that the program was in midstream and my buddy was engaging in a conversation about something Harvey said. The program was still going. Not more than a week later, I was watching a Pay Per View fight during a party and another friend snatched up his iPad and started typing away. The fight was in full swing and he wanted to report on it—providing a play-by-play perspective over Facebook. We’re screaming at the contestants, while he’s arguing form and technique with some guy from across the country. It got me thinking: When did Social Media and TV merge and when did this live engagement during programming become a habit? I’m not sure many would argue that social media has become an extreme addiction, not just a social past time. Facebook has become more like In-Yer-Facebook, where the most common joke is how everyone and their dog has something to post for all to read. Is that what TV shows have become? A place where anyone and everyone can throw in their two cents about what they’re watching, or is there more? Is this a...

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What Is Social TV?

The word “social” has become one of the most important words in our modern lexicon. There’s social media, social networks, social blogging, and now social TV. In short, the word evokes thoughts and feelings of groups of people with similar likes and dislikes banded together in some fashion or another. Social TV So, what, exactly, is social TV? The textbook definition would be something like this: technology allowing social interaction among a group of people watching the same programs on television. Actually, only the term is new. We’ve been watching television socially for a very long time. Remember when you were a kid and would talk on the phone with your buddies or girlfriends about the latest episode of your favorite program? In a nutshell, this is a form of social television. Today, however, our technology has supplanted the old corded telephone and instead puts the power in our fingertips. Computers, tablet devices, and smartphones give television viewers the opportunity to interact with others—sometimes numbering well into the thousands—during the broadcast of any event, program, or movie on television. A Truly Interactive Experience Social media also provides a way for show creators, advertisers, and poll takers to interact with viewers. Did something significant just happen on your favorite show? Chances are people are talking about it as well as responding to a single poll question about the event. It’s...

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App in Review: Can I Stream It?

A Really Great App, Poorly Executed Even before I tested Can I Stream It?, its developer, Urban Pixels, won points from me for the app name. Sure, Can I Stream It? (CISI) won’t be easily verbified like Googling or Facebooking, but it lets you know what the app does: type in the name of a TV show or movie, and CISI will tell you if it’s available for streaming. CISI searches a variety of free and pay streaming sources, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, Crackle, and VuDu. Unlike other streaming services, CISI also integrates with XFINITYTV for Comcast subscribers who want remote access to shows from their cable lineup. Can I Stream It? is not the only video streaming aggregator on the map; HTPC viewers have had options like Windows Media Center, XMBC, and Boxee for some time, and CISI competes with several desktop web-based services such as WatchItStream and MediaHound. However, the release of the CISI app for iOS and Android puts it in a very small group. As far as I know, the only others are Fanhattan and Clicker, both of which are restricted for OS and device compatibility. In addition to the web app, CISI has versions for Android, iOS, and even Windows Phones. Thus, developer Urban Pixels wins extra points for compatibility — that’s plenty of points already, and I haven’t begun to test yet!...

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