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Christmas and Other Winter Holiday Shopping Tips

11-26-2011, 02:12 PM (This post was last modified: 11-29-2011 10:26 AM by Torengo.)
Post: #1
Christmas and Other Winter Holiday Shopping Tips
Since the season of shopping is here, here are some tips for your electronics and gaming tailored tastes.

When shopping for HDTVs, you'll want to search for a combination of the best resolution and and latency time (in milliseconds) for your wallet. Don't just focus solely on the price. You might get cheated with a sub-optimal display that may crap out on you sooner than anticipated. 3D enabled TVs now are better than before, but 3D still isn't a necessary technology, and the watching in 3D usually comes at the cost of lowered definition because each field (rows of pixels) that would make up the high definition image is alternated to show different/similar images for the 3D effect (odd and even lines).

The key specifications to consider when buy a TV are:
-LCD TV, never ever buy a plasma TV. I will explain later.
-native 16:9 aspect ratio
-High contrast ratio (large screens usually have larger ratios, like 25 million to 1)
-native 1080p signal compatibility
-low latency - this is especially important for gaming, or any other monitor use where timing is especially important. Many TVs will have a latency of a about 5ms, but if you can find one with a lower latency, go for it. Never purchase a display with a latency time greater than 5 ms, especially if you plan to play games on it. You will be frustrated and will kick yourself trying to figure out why the TV is like that.
Size of the display isn't exactly a high priority, but it depends on your preference and the number of people to view the TV, and the intended distance between viewer and the TV. Pick a larger display for more people, but if only one person is likely to watch the TV at most times, get something between 24-34 inches.

When I say never buy a plasma, I mean never buy a plasma. The quality and resolution of the screen degrades quicker than other display types, even CRTs! You can think of a plasma TV as 2 sheets of class with a liquid creme filling sandwiched in between. You have a large, naturally amorphous goo between these glass panes which is supposed to measure out to the smallest possible unit, pixels, which is how TV ratios are based. Wouldn't it be pour sand into a bowl up to the rim than to take a large rock and fitting it in the bowl? That is essentially the difference between LCD displays and Plasma displays. LCDs offer high contrast ratios because LCDs are small bits, like the sand, and give you the best image possible. Plasmas eventually grow dull. I think they sell well because "plasma" is a cool word to say.

For gaming shopping I will be brisk because for the most it will be a breeze. I'll out line some rules.

1. NEVER BUY A "GAME SYSTEM" THAT DOES NOT SAY "NINTENDO," MICROSOFT," or "SONY."
I've always felt bad for kids whose parents bought them a fake lookalike console because they didn't know better. Luckily were seeing a generation of parents who do know better, but there are still some out there. Typically these fake consoles are produced in China and the lettering (typeface) on the packaging set wider than normally seen with Latin characters.

2. IF BUYING AN XBOX 360, DO NOT SETTLE FOR ANY 4 GB CONSOLE!
When making this all important purchase, you may find a 4 GB system. This is a ripoff because many games available will quickly consume that 4 GB before you know with, with arcade downloads and save data. Befor you know it you will be struggling to find storage space for your Xbox 360. There are nice bundles available, but I personally recommend shopping used or refurbished here. I've seen new 4 GB Xbox 360s sell for $199.00 USD, and have seen refurbished 120 GB or larger sell for about the same price.

3. IF BUYING A WII, BUY USED!
Recently Nintendo started selling a new model of the Wii which is no longer supports Gamecube. While this makes sense since the Gamecube is an older console, I personally don't like that the Wii still doesn't have a standard controller. The Gamecube controller provided that for the Wii. Also consider that the Wii initially had Gamecube support until about October 2011 and was selling both Wii with and sans Gamecube support for the same price. That would be like going to a car dealership and seeing a fully loaded a Aston Martin and a Kia Optima selling for the same price. Which would you choose? If you can find a new in box Wii that supports Gamecube, get it, if not go used. (The Wii without Gamecube is either black with New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Blue with Mario Kart Wii at Walmart. Key visual design change is that the Wii without Gamecube is displayed sitting horizontally and the Wii logo on the front is horizontal and parallel to the console. Gamecube supported Wii is displayed standing vertically.

4. IF BUYING A PLAYSTATION 3, GO FOR USED!
This is about saving money. I'm not aware of any sales gimmicks or misdeeds in the sale of PS3s, except for being overpriced. When you can, save, save, save!

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