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2013 electronics BUYERS GUIDE
Shop the best computers and electronics online with the Sears Electronics Buying Guide
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What is 4K Ultra HDTV?
4K, also known as Ultra HD, refers to the resolution of the television screen. Before the arrival of 4K, the best available option for an HDTV was 1080p. The "1080" refers to the number of horizontal lines making up the screen; the higher the number, the better the resolution. The "p" stands for progressive format. Progressive screens project an image one line at a time, sequentially from the top down, making them especially good at displaying quick motions and fine details. 4K screens have almost four times the number of pixels compared to a full 1080p screen, giving you precise visual detail ideal for watching sports and action movies with minimized blurring during quick onscreen movements.Read more about 4K HDTV ►
What is a Smart Television?
The term "Smart" refers to television sets that have built-in Internet connectivity and more advanced computing ability than conventional TVs. (Think smartphones vs. regular phones.) A Smart TV allows you to access Web content, including streaming services, such as Netflix, in addition to watching your current broadcast, cable or satellite programs. Smart TVs also include apps that can add a variety of other functions, such as sharing content with other devices, connecting with friends on social media, and really clever tricks like keeping track of your favorite shows and recognizing your voice commands. Smart TV features vary — for example, some have built-in wi-fi capability, while others require an add-on component — so check the specs carefully before buying.
LED vs. LCD TVs... What's the Difference?
An LED TV is essentially an LCD TV with backlights. To see the difference, go to a store and look at LED and LCD televisions side by side. (There are also websites that provide a visual comparison of the two.) Compare the contrast, color accuracy and depth of black on the screen. The LED fairs better with all three, but not by much. In fact, it's not even noticeable to some people. However, if you have a color-sensitive eye, that slight difference in picture quality may matter to you. The biggest difference between LCD and LED TVs is energy consumption. LED TVs use about 40 percent less energy than LCDs. LEDs also rank as more environmentally friendly because they contain no mercury and LCDs do. LCD TVs are also less expensive, and the price continues to fall as LEDs gain in popularity. It's important to note that LED TVs last longer than LCDs.Read more about LED and LCD TVs ►
Bring the Cinema into Your Living Room with Bose® Home Theater
Whether you're a silent film buff, lover of romantic comedies or action movie junkie, a quality movie viewing experience is important to you. When you're putting together a home theater, make sure you are getting high-quality audio equipment with a Bose home theater system. With over 40 years of experience designing and building audio equipment, Bose is the most trusted name in sound when you want to bring high-quality audio to your living room, den or basement home theater.
Which Next Generation Game Console is For You?
In November, two new consoles that take gaming to the extreme will be released and available for purchase at Sears. Just in time for the holiday season, Microsoft will release the new Xbox One and Sony will release PlayStation 4. Both consoles feature smarter, more sophisticated technology that will take your gaming experience to new levels. Both consoles also allow you to download games, play as you down- load and stream media, but there are several differences in what each console has to offer.
Both consoles offer the same amount of memory, the same size hard drive and cloud storage capability, but the PS4 allows you to remove your hard drive, while the Xbox One doesn't. Both consoles come with one, slightly upgraded controller: the PS4 Dual Shock and the Xbox One Wireless Controller. The PS4 Dual Shock 4 has built-in movement tracking, a built-in speaker and a multi-touch touchpad. The Xbox 360 controller is similar to the Xbox 360 controller, except it has a new feature known as impulse triggers. The impulse triggers should give kickback to the trigger, similar to the rumble packs in the controller body.
One major difference is the video/motion control devices offered by both companies. While the Xbox Kinect 2.0 comes built into the Xbox One, the PS4 Eye is sold separately as an add-on. The smarter, more sophisticated video sensors in both enable both to reflect players' in-game motion more accurately. The Kinect 2.0 can process more data per second and track up to six skeletons at once, and its sensor has a higher resolution camera and a field of view that's bigger than the original Kinect. The PS4 Eye has two high-sensitivity cameras with wide-angle lenses that can recognize depth more accurately, enabling the Eye to cut out the image of a player in the background or capture the players' position in front and behind.
The Xbox One serves as more of a media center than the PS4. The HDMI in and HDMI ports on the Xbox One will take over a cable signal, so you can switch between games, videos, music and live TV without having to switch inputs. The Xbox One voice command capabilities allow you to turn on the console or switch to a specific channel by talking to it. Sony hasn't yet announced if the PS4 will have voice commands, but unlike the Xbox One, it will have BlueTooth. Most of the consoles' online features are determined by whether or not you opt to pay for a subscription to Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, both of which serve as online digital media services that also allow you to play with other users online. Both subscriptions allow you to play games online without having to download them, and both have game DVR capabilities. The PS4, however, allows access to features such as Hulu Plus, game DVR, Netflix and streaming gaming video for free, whereas the Xbox One requires a subscription to Xbox Live for those features. With the subscription, Xbox One also gives you access to the NFL Application, Skype and a Web browser; PlayStation 4 doesn't offer any.
When it comes to gaming systems, Sears has everything you need to live in the next generation of gaming.
A Guide to Laptop Features
Here's a checklist of things to consider when shopping for a laptop.
Usage - Do you use it once or twice a day to check email, or do you work with complex programs or games that take up a lot of memory? If you take your laptop everywhere, you'll want to consider size, weight and ruggedness of design.
Screen size - If portability is paramount, look at laptops with a smaller screen. If you only carry your laptop occasionally you may prefer the convenience of a 17-inch screen. Note that generally, the larger the computer the shorter the battery life will be.
Screen resolution - Look for a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768.
Processor - The processor determines how quickly your machine is able to run programs or perform multiple tasks simultaneously. The most common processor brand is Intel, which has three generations - previous, second and third - and a range within each generation (i3, i5 and i7). Newer generations cost more, but also have greater computing power. Any mid-range, third generation processor will more than cover everyday computing needs.
Hard drive - your choices are the older HDD, with its spinning platter, or cooler, quieter SSD drives that use the kind of flash memory found in an iPhone. SSD drives are more expensive and have less capacity. The larger the hard drive your laptop includes, the more smoothly it will function.
Ports and connections - You will likely need several USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot and an HDMI video output port. With the widespread availability of Wi-Fi these days, an Ethernet port isn't essential, but can be helpful. A CD/DVD player, once considered a necessity, is less important today with streaming media and cloud computing.
Laptop features for video gaming ►
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A Guide to Choosing the Right Digital Camera
Digital cameras come in two primary models: point-and-shoot and DSLR. Point-and-shoot models are easy to use and fully automatic. All you need to do is set up your photo and snap the shutter. Point-and-shoot cameras tend to be less expensive, more compact and still produce good quality images for everyday use.
DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflection. These cameras are more sophisticated and use a technology that allows a single camera body to accommodate a variety of lenses. The big advantage of a DSLR is that you can purchase one camera and it will work with everything from a wide-angle lens to an ultra-zoom lens. Creatively, this gives the photographer an incredible amount of freedom. It's worth noting that DSLRs tend to have bigger bodies, can be more expensive and require the purchase of accessories such as lenses.Read more about Digital Cameras ►
DSLR Camera Key Features
Sensor size: The camera's sensor determines how much of the scene you're looking at will actually be captured in the photo.
Image stabilization: A number of things can cause subtle vibration that can distort images. DSLR cameras compensate for this with this feature, also called anti-shake or vibration stabilization.
Speed and performance are two of the hallmarks of DSLR photography. Your camera should power up in under two seconds and focus quickly. Even basic models should allow you to take 5 shots per second.
Body design: It's important to decide how compact your camera needs to be, how much weight you can carry and whether the configuration of a specific brand is comfortable for you.Read more about DSLR Cameras ►
Bring Music to Life: The Benefits of a Bose® SoundDock®
With the popularity of the iPod, MP3 players and smartphones as primary music sources, it's important to have a docking station designed to accommodate all of your music needs. While you may use headphones when you're on the go and a car docking station when you're in your vehicle, you also want to have a great docking station in your home, so you can listen to music with the highest quality sound. When you have a Bose® SoundDock® you're purchasing a brand that you can trust to bring you superior sound across the board.Shop Bose® SoundDock® ►
Need More Answers?
It's not easy keeping up with the rapidly changing world of electronics. To help you keep informed, we created TV and Electronics Shopping Helpers that cover a wide range of topics.Go to TV and Electronics Shopping Helpers ►