Click here to go back to the Main Tips page.


Tips from Mike of Express Computers 2


Internet Connectivity is the killer app
Notebook or Desktop ?
Notebooks outsell desktops
Wide range of Notebooks, from Netbooks, to middle of the line, to larger format desktop replacements, to high end gaming notebooks.
New notebooks now offer 16 X 9 Screens with Blu-Ray Technology and HDMI Hi Def TV Connectivity
Gaming PC’s and Graphic Workstations ( High end Graphics card )
Internet Connectivity ( Choose your high speed provider, look at bundles )
How to distribute your home network.
High speed Modem Cable or DSL.  Router ( Firewall level one defense )
Smarter still to go Wireless Router ( Tie everything in, Notebooks, Desktops, Game consoles.
Going forward appliances and Home Entertainment devices will be wireless.

Natural to share your home resources, printers, multi functions, storage

Talking about storage, also think about backup and data redundancy.  It is very inexpensive to have an external large capacity hard drive for your business or family’s needs.

Hi-Definition TV
Choose your size and technology. TV’s range in size from 19” to Panasonics world breaking Plasma at 150”.  Sorry, Fred they don’t have the 150” ready for market yet, but we can sneak in the smaller 103”, I think we could get one of those for around $ 80K

One of the most important parts of a successful High Def TV Purchase is to identify your High Def content provider.  Look at your current pool of providers including but not limited to the Telephone, cable, satellite and cell phone providers.  I always like a deal so I would do some research and see what High def content and channels are available from each one.  Then see if you can do any bundling with some of your other services.  Client retention is really important to everybody these days, so everybody has a little latitude to give you a little better deal these days.

At the end of the day, There is an astounding difference between standard definition TV and high definition TV.  Once you experience TV in high def you will find hard to go the non-high def stations.  I am sure that our HD content will continue to grow all the time.  Some of the US Satellite providers already have dedicated high def packages with upwards of 100 stations.  We have a little over 30 stations to choose from our local suppliers.

Of course there is some free to air high def content with a standard TV Antenna.  But with digital you either get a picture or you don’t.   So there is only a few local stations available.  Likely less when the US goes Digital in Feburary of 09.  Canada will eventually do the same thing, most likely in 2010.

The other thing is what type of High Definition receiver will you buy.  Most provides would offer a basic Digital Tuner, A High Definition tuner and likely a few PVR options.  PVR stands for Personal video recorder, and that piece of technology is most likely made the biggest change to people TV viewing habit since the remote control.  Now we can electronically record our programming on a hard drive built into the receiver and save it until we view it, then erase it and make room for even more content.

If you have a high definition PVR then you will already know that you use 8 times the storage for high definition shows as standard shows.

Picking a size is pretty easy, a good rule of thumb is your diagonal size of screen should be 2.5 times the distance from your TV to your head.  A little bigger is fine.
All of the technologies are very good today, I personally like Plasma technology, but the latest LCD technology is totally amazing today.
Of course if you are going for that home theater high end cinema experience you can’t beat a projector.

Like when shopping for a High Def TV a real movie buff will invest in a 1080P technology in a projector as well.  To really show off the home theater I would recommend getting a high resolution projector with 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Of course the challenge is making sure that you have some control over your ambient light.  Not exactly suitable for the Family room or south facing sunroom.

As well, with a projector comes the need for your home theater audio setup, Which could be a home theater in a box, or carefully selected components and separate speakers.
Sure is nice to have your home media room, prerun for speakers, power, cable vision, satellite and telephone connections.

A couple of emerging trends in High Def is wireless.  Here we are borrowing from the computer industry.  Wireless HDMI, this will wirelessly connect your Video Player to your Display device.  Initially the biggie will be Blu Ray players to high def TVs.  Another popular option is wireless speaker technology with the focus on rear speakers.

Other items you may be considering for your home entertainment system:
Blu-Ray Player for your Home entertainment system or
Blu-Ray Player or Writer for your home PC
Home network upgrade, N Router, Gigabit Hard wired networking retrofit
Game Consoles, PS3, Nintendo WII, Microsoft Xbox 360, All have their strengths, high res with PS3 and Xbox 360, with the PS3 also offering a Blu-Ray Player built in


Get your geeky Home entertainment uncle to make sure all of your gear is hooked up to it’s full potential
For the ultimate is video quality I really like HDMI High Definition Multimedia Interface, this carries high definition video and multi channel sound up to Dolby 7.1

It is always important to check your available inputs and outputs and make a picture of all of your components with details on the cabling.  Remembering that only HDMI carries audio as well.  When running on of the other video standards including DVI, Component video which is your separate RGB Red Green and Blue cable, or S-Video or Composite that you must also run your audio as well.  If available you can still get multi channel audio with a Fiber optic or coaxial digital audio output.

As for cables, I am a firm believer in purchasing decent quality cables, especially Analog style cables, but when we get into digital cables, I have to laugh at the logic of spending upwards of $ 200.00 for a special HDMI cable when you can purchase a non name brand version for around $ 25.00.  Remember a digital cable is transmitting zero and ones through it and either works or it doesn’t.

A few more things that will be big in electronic purchases this year will be

I-Pod, Mp3 Players, GPS, Internet Radio Devices, Network Media Gateways.

Courtesy of Express Computers for more info please CLICK HERE

Todays Home Improvement Tips


Check the height of the tree before you bring it into the house to make sure it’ll fit under the ceiling. Then if you have to shorten the trunk, the sawdust will stay outside.
 Cut an inch or so off the bottom of the trunk. The fresh wood can absorb more water, so the tree will stay fresher longer.
 Check the trunk diameter by test-fitting the stand. If the tree’s too big, you’ll need to either get a bigger stand—or start whittling.
 Use a lopper to trim any bottom branches that don’t clear the sides of the stand.

Check the height of the tree before you bring it into the house to make sure it’ll fit under the ceiling. Then if you have to shorten the trunk, the sawdust will stay outside.

Slip a tree disposal bag over the base of the tree before putting it in the stand. (Tear a slit for the trunk so the tree can get water!) The bag hides under the tree skirt until you’re ready to haul the tree out the door—without leaving a trail of needles through the house. Just remove the ornaments from the tree, pull the bag up like a pair of pants, and you’re on your way.

It’s a fact of Christmas: The tree stand gets overfilled and water stains the carpet or the hardwood floor. To prevent this, one of our listeners suggests placing a plastic water heater tank catch basin ($5 at home centers) between the stand and the floor.

Test your lights before you go to the effort of stringing them on the tree. When the season is over, coil them into a 5-gal. pail to keep them tangle free for next year.