GadgetGuy - Buying Technology this Christmas
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  • ‘Creating Interactive Exercises for Live, Online Training’That’s the title for today’s Lunch+Learn Webinar, which is sponsored and powered by Citrix GoToTraining.<>So WELCOME EVERYONEMy name is Todd Lewis and I’ll be your moderator today.
  • Speaking of the exit survey, besides the opportunity to request the handout notes from Roger’s great presentation today and get a free trial of G2W/G2M, you’ll also be able to provide us with direct feedback on today’s Webinar helping us to improve and continue to provide you with the best lunchtime educational Webinars possible.

GadgetGuy - Buying Technology this Christmas GadgetGuy - Buying Technology this Christmas Presentation Transcript

  • Buying Technology this Christmas
    Listen to audio over your computer speakers
    or you may phone in:
    Australia #: 02 8014 9491
    New Zealand #: 04 974 7248
    Access Code: 165-806-617
    We will begin at approximately 12 Noon Australian EDT
  • Meet Your Moderator
    Valens Quinn
    Managing Director, The Gadget Group
  • Meet Your Presenter
    Peter Blasina,
    The Gadget Guy
  • Today’s webinar sponsored by . . .
    Easy web conferencing and online meeting tools. Work with anyone, anywhere.
    For a free trial or to learn more about Citrix GoToMeeting,
    please phone 1800 451 485 (AU); 0800 42 4874 (NZ)
    or visit www.GoToMeeting.com.au
    Online Meetings Made Easy™
  • How to get the best bang for your buck
  • 1. Do your homework by comparing prices online. Read independent reviews of your short-listed products on trusted websites to enhance your product knowledge. Take the results of your research to your local retail stores.
  • 2. Ensure you know the exact model number of the product you are looking for – this guarantees all your price comparisons are ‘apples for apples’.
  • 3. There are loads of ‘free with purchase’ deals on this Xmas, but make sure you don’t buy a product for the extra goodies bundled with it – keep focused on the main game. Remember, there’s always eBay if you need to offload unwanted products post-Christmas.
  • 4. If a salesperson tries hard to ‘switch sell’ you to another brand, don’t commit on the spot. Take the details of the model being suggested and go back to point 1 in this list.
  • 5. Check the seller’s refund and warranty policy before you buy anything. Submit any warranty cards within a week of purchase and keep your receipts in a safe place.
  • 6. If you are buying products from overseas, check that the manufacturer has service arrangements in Australia. You don’t want to get stuck with a faulty product and no-one local to fix it.
  • 7. Expect some hot interest-free deals between now and the January sales. Interest-free deals are not cost-free though: you will still have to pay monthly instalments. In some instances, a one day-late payment can make the entire owed amount due… with interest.
  • Low on Jargon – High on Tech
    Technology is heavy with jargon, but there are ways to avoid being bamboozled by it, and to avoid it altogether.
  • 1. Research the key terminologies related to your tech purchase before entering the store. Forewarned is fore-armed.
  • 2. You shouldn’t buy anything you don’t fully understand, so don’t let any unfamiliar terminologies go unexplained. Ask the salesperson to put in plain words what various specifications and acronyms mean, and to translate the jargon in terms of the benefits it offers to you.
  • 3. Go shopping with a friend or family member who is knowledgeable about technology, and have them act as your jargon filter.
  • Ways to avoid technology dead-ends
  • Why does some technology fly, and another technology flop? The answers are a mix of timing and luck.
    Australians have had a canny knack of selecting winning technologies over the years. We chose PAL over NTSC, VHS over Beta, Compact Cassette over 8-Track, CD over DAT and Blu-ray over HD-DVD.
    As to the biggest tech flops of the last decade or two, It would be wonderful to grab some feedback from you. What’s your view of the technologies that have tanked in the past 10 to 20 years?
  • Some on my list of fabulous tech failures include…
  • Sony’s Aibo robotic dog: Lasted from 1999 to 2006.
  • The tablet PC: Launched in 2001 to near-universal disinterest.
  • The Segway: Launched in 2002, this much-hyped technology has failed to capture consumer imagination.
  • Nokia N-Gage Gaming Platform: Nutty attempt to combine a mobile phone and a games console.
  • Sony UMD discs: The PSP’s media format.
  • Sony Rolly (1995): This football-shaped digital music player was going to blow the iPod out of the water.
  • SACD and DVD-Audio: These super-high resolution audio formats have been all but buried by our appetite for the convenience of compressed music.
  • Microsoft’s Bob: A GUI built on top of Windows 3.1 (1995) to appeal to non-technical users. Most saw it as an insult to their intelligence.
  • 3D Televisions
  • Should I buy a 3D TV now or should I wait?
  • The answer to this one is the easiest of all. Today’s crop of 3D TVs are the best 2D TVs you can buy. Competition and the strong Australian dollar mean that they are also great value when compared to 2D TVs. And critically – you are future proofing yourself. While there is not all that much 3D content around at the moment, expect to see an avalanche of 3D Blu-ray content in 2011.
  • How does 3D work?
  • The key to 3D is to give your two eyes slightly different points of view on a scene. That’s how things look three dimensional to you in real life, because your two eyes are a little apart from each other.
  • Which is the best 3D TV technology, LCD or plasma?
  • We liked the plasmas a little more than the best of the LCD TVs we have reviewed, but there really wasn’t much in it, and the slightly more precise image we liked in the plasma came at a cost: it was noticeably darker in 3D mode.
  • Do I need to watch 3D TV in the dark?
  • No, but for just watching regular movies, dim lighting can enhance the experience. We found that 3D plasma TV worked quite a bit better with the lights dimmed, mostly because its 3D image (viewed through the glasses of course) seemed rather dull in normal lighting. The LCD models were much brighter, but still benefited a little by being in a darker environment.
  • Do I have be dead centre in front of the TV to get the 3D effect?
  • Perhaps surprisingly, the 3D effect for TVs is amazingly resilient when it comes to angles. Look, if you’re going to be at such an extreme angle that regular 2D TV looks distorted, then 3D won’t work very well either, but would you expect otherwise?
  • What’s the biggest problem with the picture quality 3D TVs right now?
  • Crosstalk or ghosting. 3D TV and Blu-ray depend upon making each of your eyes see different things to each other. If you look at some 3D content without the glasses on, you will see much of it has soft outlines, or ghosts, because you are seeing both eyes’ images.
  • I like laying down with my head on the arm of the sofa when I watch movies. Can I do that with 3D?
  • Basically, no. Some 3D TVs use technology that requires the glasses to be very close to horizontal or they simply fail to work. When that happens each of your eyes sees both the left and right eye images, and you get what looks like a fuzzy picture without any sense of depth.
    Others simply become dark as you tilt your head to extreme angles.
  • LG Infinia 47LX9500
    RRP: $3499 Website: www.lge.com.au
    One thing about the LG Infinia 47LX9500 3D LCD TV stands out beyond everything else: its so-called ‘Borderless’ design makes it look absolutely gorgeous. When it’s running, the picture extends almost all the way to the edges. There is only 16mm of black framing above and to the left and right of the picture. From my usual sitting position, the image almost seemed to be floating there, independently of any device to produce it.
  • Panasonic Viera TH-P65VT20A
    RRP: $5999 Website: www.panasonic.com.au
    The two most startling things about the Panasonic Viera TH-P65VT20A 3D plasma TV are the size and the price: how big the first is, and how little the second. Six thousand may not seem little, but at 165cm, this is the biggest readily available TV. Three years ago its predecessor cost three times as much, and being plasma it is considerably cheaper on a cost/square centimetre of screen basis than LCD.
  • Samsung PS50C7000
    RRP: $2499 Website: www.samsung.com.au
    Arguably 3D is giving new life to plasma TV technology. I’ve looked at three different Samsung LCD 3D TVs, and now the Samsung PS50C7000 3D plasma TV, and there is no doubt that the plasma is the better performer when it comes to 3D.
  • Sony Bravia KDL40NX710
    RRP: $2299 Website: www.sony.com.au
    The Sony Bravia KDL40NX710 LCD TV does offer 3D, but only at a cost. It has all the necessary processing built-in, but you will need to add at least one set of 3D eyewear ($99 per pair) and the 3D infrared transmitter ($69) to make it work.
  • Toshiba REGZA 46WL700A
    RRP: $4199 Website: www.mytoshiba.com.au
  • Tablets
  • Why you should buy a Tablet
  • Generally tablets like the Apple iPad has been designed for consuming media — watching videos, viewing photos, reading books and email and browsing the Internet. Its best described as a media consumption device, rather than a media creation device.
  • Capacitive vs resistive touchscreens
  • The launch of the original iPhone in 2007 created upheaval in the mobile phone market. Though many business smartphones (particularly those powered by Windows Mobile) and PDAs had touchscreens long before Apple entered the market, the iPhone was one of the first consumer-focused smartphones to use a capacitive touchscreen.
  • Apple iPad
    RRP: from $629
    Website: www.apple.com/au
    • The first tablet device that anyone has paid much attention to
    • Can use both iPad and iPhone apps, offering over 250,000 apps
    • No Flash support means some websites won't look the same
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
    RRP: $999
    Website: www.samsung.com.au
    • The best Android tablet available right now
    • Comes with support for electronic books, newspapers, and magazines out of the box
    • At $999, it's probably too expensive by itself and should be bought on a plan
  • Telstra T-Touch Tab
    RRP: $299 Website: www.telstra.com
    • At $299, it's Australia's first inexpensive tablet device
    • Functions as a mobile phone
    • Included kickstand makes it ideal for watching video on
    • Comes with 3GB prepaid data on Telstra NextG network
  • Media Streamers
  • Media Streamers are go!
    Media streamers make multi-room entertainment cheap and easy, bringing all the entertainment stored on your PC in the study to the big screen and good speakers in the living room. Many spread the goodness around without wires too, and provide a swag of useful extra functions into the bargain,
  • Networked Entertainment
    One thing that all the various methods of streaming have in common is that they rely on computer networks. Be it the global network of the internet or your own home wireless environment, your entertainment is handled by network management software and becomes just like any other file on a storage system – albeit a movie or music file rather than a document.
  • The Downside
    If you’re a quality purist, then media streaming might not yet be for you. Blu-ray is currently the gold standard for high definition entertainment, and the bandwidth requirements of this format are higher than most WiFi connections can reliably provide.
  • The Upside
    If you can get past the fiddly technical aspect of streaming, then a whole new world of convenience will open up to you. A good streaming set-up is like having a giant iPod in your lounge room – a massive music and movie database where you can choose anything at the click of a remote (in fact, some media streamers let you use your iPod Touch as the remote).
    And when you factor in streaming off the net, well the entertainment possibilities are endless.
  • Apple TV
    Price: $129
    Web: www.apple.com/au
    Apple confesses its streaming movie and TV show device is just a ‘hobby’, but the unit is cheap and the interface super-slick. You’re locked in to Apple’s preferred media formats and DRM though – this isn’t a device for tinkerers or champions of open content. However, if you are a Mac household this is a great option.
  • Telstra T-Box
    Price: $299 Web: bigpond.com
    BigPond’s dual TV tuners and internet video player combo continues to impress thanks to its slick interface and range of options. You can’t stream your own files off a home network, but there’s a fully-fledged online movie and TV service via BigPond, plus access to YouTube.
  • WD TV Live Hub
    Price: $299 Web: www.wdc.com
    This latest iteration of the TV Live family packs a massive 1TB hard drive, so it can be the hub of a media library even while it streams content to and from other TVs and computers. It can even handle multiple streams at once!
  • Boxee Box
    Price: $350
    Web: www.boxee.tv
    Has massive geek cred thanks to its range of supported formats, but the software is more complex than some others. Can you live with the eccentric form-factor? If the answer is yes, this is an impressive bit of kit.
  • Playstation 3
    Price: $499
    Web: au.playstation.com
    Despite its age, this is still a quality media device with the bonus of being able to play games, 3D and 2D Blu-ray discs and DVDs too. We found it a little finickity about picking up media folders on our network and it doesn’t support all formats, but Playstation offers a great interface and constant updates mean constant improvements!
  • Sony SMPN100
    Price: $229 Web: www.sony.com.au
    With WiFi built-in, this delivers more than 20 on-demand video channels from the Bravia Internet Video service – including YouTube and catchup TV from ABC and Channel 7 – to a connected Bravia TV. You can also stream photos, music and videos stored on a PC via DLNA (Digital Lifestyle Network Association, and control it all from your iPod, iPhone or Android phone.
  • Hybrid TV Tivo
    Price: $599 Web: www.tivo.com.au
    With its easy-as interface and HDTV/PVR functionality, Tivo is a family favourite that adds value by connecting to networked PCs for sharing photos, movies and music in the living room. On-demand video and TV show downloads sweeten the meal, as do unmetered deals with eight ISPs. Mac households will find it far tougher to benefit from networked features, though. You can stream movies through TiVo’s CASPA internet streaming service.
  • XBox 360S
    Price: $299 (for the Xbox)
    Website: www.xbox.com/en-au/
    Fundamentally a great gaming platform Microsoft has recently announced a partnership with PayTV provider, Foxtel, which means that you can stream select Foxtel channels, provided that you are in the Foxtel service area. This requires an Xbox Gold Live and Foxtel subscription, of course. The folks at Foxtel claim that the New Year will see a significant amount of new content and services available for the Foxtel on Xbox marriage.
  • Apple TV
    Price: $129
    Web: www.apple.com/au
    Apple confesses its streaming movie and TV show device is just a ‘hobby’, but the unit is cheap and the interface super-slick. You’re locked in to Apple’s preferred media formats and DRM though – this isn’t a device for tinkerers or champions of open content. However, if you are a Mac household this is a great option.
  • Cameras
  • Let's set out the case: any camera from a major company - Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax, Casio etc - is an OK buy. The odd store brand sold by general retailers may well be OK in terms of performance but could be well down the ladder in the areas of sturdy build, reliability and after sales support. It's worth noting that these store brands are rarely reviewed on web sites like Gadget Guy.com.au ... they're never offered to journalists for evaluation in the first place.
  • What to look out for
    The good things about digital cameras: they can be small, easy to use and take great pictures.
    The less than good things: over-confident photographers should not rely on the technology too much... a $5,000 camera can take as bad a picture as a $100 model. It's the driver, not the car!
  • A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) appeals to many who used to own a film SLR camera. They operate in the same way but cost more. They will, in the right hands, take higher quality shots, printable to larger sizes than compacts, and offer access to an amazing array of interchangeable lenses. Ideal for experienced amateurs and pros who know what they're doing, they are far from ideal for the occasional snap shooter.
  • Megapixel and zoom essentials
    Most compact digital cameras come with anywhere from 8 to 12 megapixels which is more than adequate for poster size prints and extensive cropping if the picture needs it. What you generally sacrifice with compact models is manual control. The benefit is that brand name cameras now include highly sophisticated technology that generally delivers exceptional pictures.
  • Nikon D3100
    RRP: $949 (body only)
    Website: www.nikon.com.au
    • The first digital SLR to feature continuous autofocus in a video mode
    • Captures images at 14.2 megapixels and records video a 1080p Full HD
    • Extreme low-light sensitivity to ISO 12,800
  • Sony NEX-5
    RRP: $1049 with one lens
    Website: www.sony.com.au
    • One of the smallest mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras this year
    • Magnesium body provides strength in a light body
    • 14.2 megapixels with 1080i video capture
    • Movable 3 inch screen can be tilted up and down
  • Panasonic HDC SDT750
    RRP: $1999 Website: www.panasonic.com.au
    • The first video camera to shoot in high-definition 3D
    • Uses a 3D conversion lens to shoot in three dimensions, but can also record regular 2D video in Full HD
    • Camera needs to be plugged into the TV to play 3D content
  • JVC Picsio GC-WP10
    RRP: $329
    Website:www.jvc-australia.com
    • Records video at 1080p Full HD and captures 5 megapixel stills
    • Waterproof up to 3 metres
    • 3 inch touch screen
  • Casio EX-FH100
    RRP: $549
    Website: http://world.casio.com/
    • High speed movie mode records at up to 1000 frames per second, giving you ultra-slow motion video
    • Can take 40 images per second
    • 10x optical zoom
  • Qpix BCPS970
  • Storage
  • Click Free C2N Automatic Home Back-up
    Website: www.clickfree.com
    The Clickfree C2N is a complete multi-computer Home Backup solution that works with your wireless router. The C2N has all of the functionality of the Clickfree C2 backup drive, and also includes Clickfree's new BackupLink™.
    (information from www.clickfree.com)
  • My Passport Essential SE
    RRP: $379
    Website: www.wdc.com
    • Compatible with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0
    • Choice of 750GB and 1TB
    • Backup software provided for you
  • Top Christmas Gadgets - The Runners Up
  • 1. Nintendo DSi
  • 2. Nikon D7000 Digital SLR Kit w/18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR Nikkor Lens
  • 3. Pansonic Lumix FH3
  • Top Ten Christmas Gadgets
  • 10. Garmin nüvi 265WT GPS navigator
  • 9. Flip MinoHD Video Camera
  • 8. HTC Desire
  • 7. Samsung Galaxy S Tab
  • 6. Flat panel TVs
  • 5. Playstation Move
  • 4. XBox Kinect
  • 3. iPod Touch
  • 2. Telstra T-Box
  • 1. iPad and accessories