Archive for November 23, 2009

New Ratings of LCD and plasma TVs

Vizio VF550M 55-inch LCD TV

The Vizio VF550M, a 55-inch LCD TV now in our Ratings.

Just in time for holiday shoppers heading out on Black Friday: our new Ratings of LCD TVs and plasma TVs, with reviews and test results for more than 100 TVs.

Our testers found TVs offering great performance at bargain prices, including 55-inch LCD TVs selling for $1,500 to $2,000, 46-inch LCDs for about $1,000, and 42-inchers for less than $700. There are also TV deals on the plasma side. We recommend a number of 54-inch to 60-inch TVs selling in the $1,500 to $2,000 range, several 50-inch models for less than $1,000, and 42-inchers for $700 or less. (Ratings and full reviews available to subscribers. Any visitor, subscriber or not, can get TV specs and other information by using our Price & Shop tool.)

Among the recommended TVs are models from bigger names such as JVC, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba, as well as brands such as Insignia, Sanyo, and Vizio.

Many of the LCD sets have 120Hz or 240Hz refresh rates, which we have found to reduce motion blur in many instances. There are also a growing number of Internet-enabled LCD and plasma TVs that can directly access online content, including streaming movies services from providers such as Amazon Video On Demand, Blockbuster On Demand, Netflix and Vudu. More than a third of the sets 37 inches and larger in our Ratings are Internet-capable models.

We’re already well underway with our tests of 16 new TVs that will be added to our online Ratings within the next few weeks. Keep checking the blog, and we'll let you know when those Ratings are available. —Eileen McCooey

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Standout GPS deals for Black Friday

The folks at the Consumer Reports Cars Blog have compiled a list of Black Friday GPS deals they've found from various retailers. 

Check it out: "Countdown to Black Friday: Best GPS deals"

Also see our GPS buying tips and Ratings (available to subscribers).

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Daily electronics deals

Today's electronics deals, courtesy of The Consumerist:

  • Sony Style: Sony Bravia 46" 120Hz 1080p LCD HDTV w/ Sony PS3 Console for $1,000 + free shipping
  • Walmart : Samsung 40'' LCD 1080p HDTV for $598 + $0.97 Shipping
  • Sharp Aquos LCC4677UN 46-inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV $888 + free shipping
  • Apple Store: 120GB iPod Classic in Silver or Black $189 Shipped
  • Newegg: Olympus FE-46 12 Megapixel Digital Camera $80
  • BestBuy: TomTom XL 330S GPS Package for $99.99 w/ Free shipping
  • Boscov's: LG Blu-Ray Disc Player for $99.97 w/ Free shipping
  • Office Depot: Lexar JumpDrive TwistTurn 4GB Flash Drive $7.99 Free Overnight Shipping
  • NewEgg: Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive $149.99 + free shipping
  • "Monty Python And Now For Something Completely Hilarious" box set for $17.00
  • Amazon: EA Sports Active for Wii $39.99 + free shipping

Related: TV buying tips and Ratings; Digital camera buying tips and Ratings; Blu-ray player buying tips and Ratings; MP3 player buying tips and Ratings.

Neither Consumer Reports nor The Consumerist receive anything in
exchange for featuring these deals; the posts are intended to be purely
informational. These deals are often fleeting, with prices changing or
products becoming unavailable as the day progresses.

These posts are not an endorsement of the featured products or
the Web sites that sell them—though some of the sites may be included,
and recommended, in our Ratings of retailers for computers and other major electronics (both available to subscribers). Price shouldn't be your only criterion. Be wary of lower-priced deals that seem too good to be true, and check return policies for restocking fees and other gotchas.

For general buying advice for many of the products on sale above, check out our free Buying Guides.

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Kindle is holiday e-book king after Sony and Nook hit snags

The Amazon Kindle

This is turning into the season of the new e-book readers that never were—and, by default, the season of the Amazon Kindle, the sales leader that no-shows like the Barnes and Noble Nook and Sony Daily Edition were supposed to challenge.

To be fair, the Nook did appear briefly, but has now sold out for the holiday season, before the first orders have even shipped. If ordered now, according to Barnes and Noble's Web site, a Nook would
reach you or your gift recipient early in the new year—on January 4,
to be precise.

The Daily Edition, Sony's first e-book reader with wireless access to content, remains available. But it will ship "on or about December 18," according to Sony's online store today. ChannelWeb quotes a Sony spokesman as saying there's "no guarantee" that orders will arrive by December 25.

Two other would-be Kindle killers—wireless e-book readers priced at below $400—are also no-shows, at least so far. The iRex DR800SG, originally promised for late October or early November, has yet to appear. And there's no sign, either, of the Alex, which will boast a second, color LCD screen like the Nook. The Web site for its manufacturer says the device is "coming and the latest news about it is the October 19 release announcing the device would be sold through "selected strategic partners" by "the end of this year."

Sony has two other e-book readers still on the market. But both the Sony Pocket, $199, and the Sony Touch, $299, lack the wireless access to content that distinguishes virtually all other models now on the market; you need to install software on a computer and connect the device to it to update content.

The Kindle line has been tweaked to only two models. The smaller of them, priced at $259, is now called the Kindle (Global Wireless); formerly, there was the KIndle 2, $259, and its global version, the Kindle with U.S. and International Wireless, $279. Then there's the jumbo-sized (and jumbo-priced) Kindle DX (US Wireless), $489, which works only within the United States, as the name implies.  Paul Reynolds


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