Mini-Column 54 (5/16/07):
Good service is so rare (at least
outside of hotels and Apple stores) that a positive experience deserves to be
highlighted. I ordered a modular battery for my Fujitsu P-series subnotebook
from SuperWarehouse.com. I found
them via Google - they were one of the few places that claimed to have this
relatively hard to find item, and at no point did I tell them I was a mobile
devices analyst. Pricing was fair ($129 - high, but that's what these things cost), "ground"
shipping was free, and it arrived the next day via FedEx (already exceeding
expectations). The battery is supposed to come with two plastic cover doohickeys
for different variants of the notebook; unfortunately, the one in the box didn't
fit my particular model perfectly, leaving some gaps between the battery and the
notebook casing. Do you know how hard it is to track down a plastic cover
doohickey? I was resigned that it would have to be "good enough;" this notebook
takes a fair amount of abuse - it's not a fashion statement. But then I got an
email from SuperWarehouse's President & CEO thanking me for my order and
encouraging me to contact him personally with any issues. So I did. I emailed
him the problem and got back a prompt response. The next day, FedEx showed up
with the correct part. Frankly, I'm blown away. -avi
Column 53 (3/15/04) AskAvi Answers a
Lot of Mail
In this column: Problems with Printers, Which A/V Cable to use,
TV/DVD/VCR hookups (all in one, and stand alone), PDA screens, and Just
What is WiFi, Anyway, and Do I also Need DSL?
Column 52 (1/04/04) A/V Hookup,
Emailing Digital Photos, Wireless HDTV, and Cell Phones
In this column: VCR/DVD Hookup, Emailing Pictures from your Digital Camera,
Will People Ever Stop Asking About DLP Rainbows?, Wireless HDTV?, Can Aluminum
Siding Affect Cell Phone Reception?, and Cell Phones for Frequent
Column 51 (10/9/03) TV, Lights, Headphones, PDAs, and Video
In this column: Plasma vs. DLP TV, Automating Lights -
Custom, X10, or Timers?, More On In-ear Headphones,
Basic PDA Functionality, Moving Video Around
the House, Small TVs, Combo Units
Column 50 (8/19/03) Digital Cameras, Digital Video Cameras, Watching Photos on
DVD Players, Travel Headphones
We are in the market for a digital video camera (new
baby on the way) and have no idea what to get. I went on your site but didn't
see anything... An inexpensive digital camcorder would suit your needs
well. You could spend less on an analog model, but I don't recommend it...
(7/9/03) Digital Cameras, Notebooks, and DLP Rainbows
I am going to be purchasing a
laptop for a college student... The college has sent us a letter that they are
actively promoting Wi-Fi around campus... Most college students need a
notebook not just to save desk space, but for portability reasons...
Product Review: Outlaw Audio Model 7100 Amplifier published at
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity Magazine, June 2003
I often get more excited by a high
quality product at a low price than a price-no-object statement piece, no
matter how divine the performance. Outlaw Audio’s model 7100 seven channel
amplifier sells for $899 plus shipping, and represents a solid value...
Column 48 (6/8/03) PDAs, Speaker Cable
Choosing a midpriced Palm-based PDA;
Is oxygen-free wiring necessary, and more AskAvi Cable Religious Dogma
Column 47 (5/6/03) Digital Cable/Satellite vs. Picture in Picture
I had to get a cable box... to keep getting New
Jersey Devil [hockey] games... I lost PIP
[picture in picture] - so am stuck watching (and recording) whatever the box is
watching. Is there a way to split the signal... here's what's going on: your feed
goes to the cable box, the cable box separates out whichever channel you tell it to,
and sends that channel...
Column 46 (3/30/03) DVD 103: Still More on Those Black Bars
What I'm wondering about is all those video cassettes I've
been renting before. How come there aren't any black bars on those? Surely
they come from the same original source as the DVD? Actually, the source
used for previously released movies on VHS and the source when they re-release
the same movie on DVD is almost never the same...
Column 45 (2/4/03) DVD 102: Connections,
and a whole lot of reader mail
It doesn't always have to be complicated here at Greengart.com -- we get
plenty of basic questions, too. The first two here are for anyone first
buying a DVD
player and wondering about how to connect everything...
Column 44 (12/15/02) DVD 101: Taming the
I have a Denon 1600 DVD player but a regular TV
- When I play a Widescreen DVD I have black bars on top and bottom - they look
unusually large - is this normal? The black bars on top and bottom of widescreen movies
are perfectly normal - it
means you're seeing the movie the way it was originally intended...
Column 43 (11/27/02) AskAvi Mailbox
Topics covered include plasma televisions, how far back to sit from a
television, using a PC as a video scaler and/or audio processor, digital set top
box hookup issues, HDTV price drop schedules, and ranking the best audio DSP
(Almost) Everything You Wanted To Know About Remote Controls Feature
Article published by
Secrets of Home
Theater and High Fidelity Magazine, November 2002
have eleven remotes on your coffee table, then something to contain the mess is
obviously important. But there's more to it than that. Believe it or not,
some of the most innovative product developments in consumer electronics are
being done for this couch potato device.
Column 42 (10/10/02) HDTV Antennas,
Outfitting a PC
1. I live in a New Jersey suburb... I would like to receive the
DIGITAL channels for... HDTV broadcasts. Which Antenna do you
recommend... The only HDTV being broadcast in the area (I live
in N. NJ, too)... 2. I want [a new desktop computer] with a
DVD player and a CD read-write drive... The advantage to having a
combo drive is space...
Column 41 (9/27/02) Branding, Corrections,
and Other Odds and Ends
If you're a brand manager
or marketing manager, one of the groups of people you have to make happy are
your lawyers, who are always trying to make your licenses more restrictive,
your trademarks more durable, and your life more difficult... Well, give
the boys in suits their due, because the sky has fallen.
Column 40 (9/19/02) In-Wall Speakers,
...What might one expect to pay... for a "good
sound" surround set up... 6.1 system with its own home theatre receiver?
...The front pair [will] be in-wall facing one another while the back pair
[will] be in-ceiling. In-wall
speakers have several major problems to overcome... For these reasons, from a
"best sound" perspective, in-walls are best for...
Column 39 (8/19/02) HDTV Update: Mandates, Promises, and Mergers
When you've got a capable, properly calibrated set, you
really only have to see HDTV once. The words... are: "I will never go
back to regular television again." The good news: there’s been a flurry of
activity on the HDTV landscape lately, all making the transition itself less of
an open question.
Column 38 (8/5/02; Corrected/Updated
9/27/02) Product Review: Visual Communicator
Serious Magic Makes Everyone a Broadcaster; Broadcasters Not Quitting
Their Day Jobs Just Yet
Having first seen... Visual Communicator... demonstrated at TechXNY/PCExpo,
I had extremely high expectations. To a large degree, they were met.
It certainly is an innovative, breakthrough product, and may spawn an
entirely new category of software for creating short, TV-style video
Column 37 (7/26/02) Samsung’s Summer
Samsung... showed several new HDTV set top boxes with
extensive connectivity options, announced their entry into the HTIB (Home
Theater In a Box) and portable DVD markets with unique values, and displayed
their latest DVD, camcorder, and portable audio products.
Column 36 (7/19/02) Everything You
Wanted to Know About: THX
I’m looking for a new receiver. Do I need one with THX to play THX
DVDs? No. THX certified DVDs are not unique in any way;
they’re simply discs which were authored following THX’s standards.... The
THX program for home theater receivers has a lot more substance...
Column 35 (7/12/02) The Sacred Quest for... a
[Editor's Note: this column did not get fan
mail, and will be the only
appliance-oriented column AskAvi does] ...I have looked at four dozen toaster ovens. Web sites... give you the
interior volume in cubic feet - useful if you plan to cook feet, I suppose. (We
plan to cook pizza and lasagna.)...
Column 34 (7/5/02) TechXNY/PCxpo Show
After the dotcom and telecom crash, much of the floor space is now
empty. However... Microsoft showed... a new direction for... PC design... and
two companies added fresh ideas to existing technology to create whole new
Column 33 (6/22/02) PDA/Phone/Pager
Combinations: Handset Designs Run Amuck?
...(Column 29) I focused on PDA-phone combinations from the PDA
perspective... Despite all the combo variants on the market, it may be time to
reconsider the design of these gizmos based on what you actually do
Column 32 (6/13/02); Four Questions: Unauthorized Dealers, 27" TVs, Projectors, Screens
Between server changes and the Home
Entertainment 2002 Show, there haven't been any AskAvi columns in a while (and
the peanut gallery has noticed - stop emailing me!). To make it up to you,
here are four of the questions I've gotten over the past month.
Home Entertainment 2002 Show Wrap-Up (6/4/02); posted on Secrets of Home Theater
and High Fidelity)
Column 31 (5/22/02) When to Buy: Dealing
with the Rapid Pace of Technology Change
I'm salivating at the thought of a big screen in my
home. But there's always something new coming out. And we all know that
the price comes down if you wait...
What's missing here is an approach for dealing with technological change based
on an understanding that technology doesn't change in a linear fashion.
Column 30 (5/05/02; Follow-Up 9/27/02) Authorization Denied:
Dealing with Sales Channel Management
What’s the deal with “authorized dealers?”
...the rude sales guy told me that if I bought it online the warranty would be
invalid. Is this true? There are two basic types of dealers in the
consumer electronics world: authorized dealers, and “grey market” dealers.
Column 29 (4/24/02) The PDA Landscape:
Combine the PalmPilot's success with the
march of technology, and today we have a confusing array of choices. You
can still get simple organizers, or combine them with PC functionality,
wireless email, or a cellular phone. ....To make an intelligent choice,
you have to...
Column 28 (4/16/02) The PLUS HE-3100 Piano Six Months Later
Avi's initial review of the PLUS HE-3100 Piano was in
Column 16. It’s actually only five months since I purchased the PLUS
Piano projector, but it’s long enough to have some added perspective.
Column 27 (4/9/02) Projector/TV Connection
Dilemma: One Set Of Components; More Than One Display
My father... wants to be able to transform his current study/TV room
into a theater, from time to time, on the cheap. What's puzzling me is the
cabling/components... Your question is something I've had to deal with
in my own theater - I have both a 53" TV...
Column 26 (3/22/02) VCR/DVD Combo Players
Avi, our VCR died recently, and when we went to
the store to replace it, we saw that they had a combination DVD/VCR machine
for only $249... should we get a combo unit? A combination VCR/DVD
player has several advantages and disadvantages. Read on, and decide what
matters most to you. But before we begin, lets dispel a couple of myths
Column 25 (3/14/02) Sharing a Cable Modem: Wired & Wireless Home Networking
...I have two computers, and the cable company is
offering cable modem access... Is there a way to share just one Internet
connection with two computers? Yes... by setting up a home network.
This will also provide you with a host of other benefits...
Column 24 (3/5/02) 1. Help With DVD
Hookup, 2. Can You Wring the Resolution Out of HDTV?
1. My DVD
player has 5.1 channel output, RCA connections and an optical connection...
All DVD players have at least one digital 5.1 channel output...
I'm confused about the resolution of HDTV compatible DLPs or HDTV-ready TVs)...
Aside from CRTs with 9" electron guns...
Column 23 (2/24/02) Is It Right For
You? Other Bose Products
I read your column about Bose speakers... what
about other Bose products, like the Bose radio, or Bose sound systems in cars?
You’re referring to Column 5...
Bose products are highly targeted – ...for
specific target markets.
Column 22 (2/7/02) Renting DVDs Online
...[Is] NetFlix... a good deal? $20/month equates to 7 movies... Are there
competing services? My search turned up several online rental places,
but Netflix is the big dog; it was one of the first sites to rent DVDs online,
it has the best site
Column 21 (1/31/02) Consumer
a link for
www.pricejapan.com is this site legit? What gives? How come the US price
is so much higher than the price directly from Japan... PriceJapan
engages in consumer electronics arbitrage. Here’s how it works..
Column 20 (1/23/02) Why Does It Cost
More to Buy Software Direct?
I've been getting e-mails, mail promotions... to
entice me to purchase TurboTax on-line. The price for the deluxe version is
$39.95. But... in the stores for $29.95…
Seems like it's more expensive to buy direct
than to buy at the store, right? It is. And it's...
Column 19 (1/16/02): What Women Want:
Home Theater and the Other 51% of the Population
I’m a retailer, and I’m losing sales to WAF – Wife
Approval Factor. How do you get women “into” home theater? [Question #2] ...I
want a front projector. I’m pretty sure my wife will be opposed...
Welcome to the great post-feminist age, where it’s OK...
Column 18 (1/10/02): How to Make a House a
Home (Theater, That Is)
Question: I've been reading your columns... What’s
the most important factor for good home theater? There’s no single
factor that makes for a great home theater. ...there are certainly things that
are more important than others. Here’s my list,...
Column 17 (1/3/02): Attention Shoppers
-- Special on DLP in Aisle 6: What would it take to make home theater projectors mainstream?
When friends hear that I have a projector, their
first question is often, “where do you get the movies?”...
Many of them have DVD players, yet connecting it to a projector seems like an
exotic hobby... could this be something that catches on with the general
(12/10/01): Review of the Plus HE-3100 "Piano" Home Theater Projector
In last week’s column, I covered whether you can use business projectors
for home theater. To continue on this topic, I am reviewing one of the
first home theater projectors from a major manufacturer of business
projectors – Plus.
Column 15 (12/3/01): PowerPoint or Peckinpath: Business
Projectors For Home Theater
I use a projector at work for PowerPoint
presentations. Could I use this projector at home for watching movies on a
really big screen? In most cases, you could.
The question is whether you would want to.
The biggest part of the theater experience
Column 14 (11/26/01): SACD or DVD-A? Both DOA.
the two better-than-CD formats do you think will succeed?
Neither. First, a little background for anyone
who doesn’t speak acronym. There are two new CD-size music formats out there –
SACD (Super Audio CD) and DVD-A (DVD Audio)...
Column 13 (11/19/01): DVD Players Revisited
Just last night, a neighbor of mine was inspired by how low the costs
were for DVD players, and he bought one on sale for just under 80 bucks.
My first column covered DVD player basics, but
prices have fallen so quickly that it’s worth revisiting.
Column 12 (11/12/01; updated 9/27/02)): Why Are All Speakers Black?
Based on your recommendation, we bought a Kenwood
HTB-504… but it doesn’t work for us... the black color stands out too much
against the white walls... Your needs are not unique. Clearly, many
people want speakers that blend into the décor.
Column 11 (11/5/01): Just How Enhanced Are DVDs "Enhanced for Widescreen TVs"?
How much better do anamorphic dvd's look on a widescreen TV that
enables the increased resolution? First, let's explain what we're
talking about. Anamorphic refers to a type of lens used to shoot widescreen
images onto regular film...
Column 10 (10/29/01): Why HDTV Doesn't Matter
Sorry to ask again but have been thinking again
about which type to buy... "Is all HDTV 16:9 or just movies?"
Nearly all HDTV shows will be in the 16:9
aspect ratio... You have to ask yourself: how much HDTV you're likely to watch
over time, and weigh that vs...
Column 9 (10/22/01): Big Choices: Big Screen TVs
successfully convinced my wife we need a big screen TV. What should I get?
Choosing a TV today is complicated! There are
three main things to consider: the size of the TV, the capabilities of the TV,
and the shape of the TV.
Column 8 (10/15/01): Digital
want to get a digital camera. I want clear pictures but also one that is easy
enough for my parents to know how to use... Digital cameras take
pictures by capturing an image on a charge-coupled device (CCD). I have no idea
exactly how this works either...
Column 7 (10/8/01): DVR Marketing: What Went Wrong?
What’s a PVR?
If they’re so great, why doesn’t everyone have one?
A PVR... is a box with a hard drive in it that records and manipulates video.
It’s like a VCR in the same way that a toaster oven is like a microwave oven...
6 (10/1/01): Choosing a DVR
Let's say I
(hypothetically) just came into a bit of a nest egg and think I would like to
blow it on a Digital Video Recorder. 1) Which DVR should I buy?...
I'll cover DVR basics and marketing issues in a separate column. TiVo, RePlay,
Column 5 (9/24/01;
updated 9/27/02)): The Dark
Side of Successful Product Marketing: Bose
I'm considering a Bose
speaker system, and... the reaction I got was completely unexpected - he told me
I was an idiot... Bose has an almost fanatical opposition in the audio
community. Bose products are everywhere, they're popular, and...
(9/17/01): CD Players: Mature Technology vs. Audiophiles
I'm looking to buy a
CD player and have narrowed it down to a few choices: Marantz CC40000...
When buying audio gear, performance is my top priority. However, to my
ears, on almost all program material, on almost all speaker systems...
(9/10/01): Controversial Topics: Politics, Religion, and Cables
deal with expensive cables? Are they worth the money? Do I need them?
My opinion on cables is to be practical. It's
pretty clear that poor cables mask some detail in the music...
Can Home Theater Come in a Box?
I want to get a "surround
sound" system with a DVD player. How much do I have to spend to get something
decent? I have found that you start getting really good sound at the
$1500 level, and you get crisp, exciting sound for around $500...
(8/27/01): DVD Player
I need a DVD player. Which one should
I buy? There are two basic issues to
consider - what kind of TV you have, and how many discs should the player be
able to hold...
Want to know whether to buy an HDTV? Why hasn't TiVo taken off? Which
personal organizer to buy? The best universal remote control? Cable vs.
satellite? Ask Avi. How? Write to
Avi is actively looking for a
senior-level marketing position in consumer electronics - branding,
positioning, pricing, MarComm, etc.
Click here for an interactive resume; if
you have leads or questions, please
Please note: All
submissions become the property of Greengart.com, and Greengart.com retains all
copyrights of both questions and answers. (Don't send us anything you intend to
copyright or patent.) Not all submissions will be answered.
© 2001, 2002 Avi Greengart