Holiday Help Desk Cyber Monday special, part two Video
Holiday Help Desk Cyber Monday special, part two Video Transcript
[ music ] ^M00:00:14
>> Hello folks. Welcome back. It's hour number two as we take a turn here on Cnet's Holiday Help Desk.
>> Taking the turn in [inaudible].
>> He's like Ronald Reagan, he does ball game calls in his own [inaudible].
>> You ever listen to the Indianapolis 500 on the radio?
>> I never have actually.
>> It's a TV event to me. Funny we are, born after the nineteenth century.
>> WGEL. Greenville, Illinois Broadcast of the Indy 500.
>> I just wind him up and off he goes. That's Doctor Tom Merritt by the way.
>> Not a real doctor.
>> Over in the nook, helping us help you find the best prices is Debra Asiaro [assumed spelling] from Shopper.com. Hello Debra. And of course, Black Friday is history, Cyber Monday is today, there are going to be a lot of cyber Monday's this holiday season by the way. So lots of deals are still to be had.
>> We are here for the next hour, taking your phone calls at 888-900-CNET, 888-900-2638. You can join us in the chat room, live.cnet.com. Chat with Jeannie and Tails and Chadwick and Alex and Callie and a bunch of other people in there or if you're shy, you don't like people like we don't, you can send us an email, email@example.com. You know, let's get to some calls right now.
>> Do those calls. 888-900-CNET, 888-900-2638. You know, you were just mentioning some of the wonderful BOL buzztown citizens. Let's bring one on. Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to Road Tess.
>> Theresa: Hey guys.
>> Hello Theresa, how are you.
>> Hey Tess.
>> Theresa: Hi.
>> What's going on.
>> Theresa: Just like old times here.
>> I know.
>> Isn't it?
>> Theresa: I've got a question about the new Rocu [assumed spelling] box. I missed the first 500 deal a few days ago, but then I thought about it, do I really want or need this new box and if I do get it, should I just give away my original or do they play nicely together in the same house?
>> Well here's the run down on the features. So what's happening is the new hd is the hdxr and what it has on is 80211N, which is the faster kind of wifi that really was developed from the ground up to handle moving media around on a wireless network. Has also a usb port, which is basically being called an expansion port. They don't really have a use for it right now. Kind of like when Tvo started off. It was usb and no official real use for it, but for future use. And that's going to go for $130. So still quite affordable, from the original that was $100. Then we've also got the new Rocu hd, which is a lower model below that, which has 80211 but it's G, it's not N, so it's not the faster wifi. No usb port for future something. So I'm not sure if you're missing anything. Because you're not sure if it's ever going to be there.
>> I've got the old Rocu and I'm not upgrading.
>> Not yet.
>> And the reason is, I've got an Ethernet connection, that is your best way to get videos.
>> Absolutely. Yeah.
>> There's interference with the wifi and it drops in and out and it.
>> I don't even rely on that. Just plug me in by Ethernet anywhere.
>> But if you want high def output of course, then a Rocu hd box is something you want to get. But of course is pretty, a real posity [assumed spelling] of content right now.
>> It's an HDMI cable into my tv the way it is.
>> So it's got that on the existing Rocu?
>> All right, well so you've got to decide if you want this additional network feature and whatever expandability could be coming in terms of that usb. I don't know that they've changed any of the content partners. Still Netflix, Amazon, MLB, more to come, but there's no difference in the content portion.
>> There's now Media Fly, as well as some other.
>> Has it been announced? Have they been rolled out yet?
>> Yeah, yeah, yeah. Those are rolling out right now.
>> Some people have got the firmware upgrade and stuff now.
>> They're on their way.
>> And Blip TV will be in there as well. All right Tess, thanks for the call on that one.
>> Theresa: You bet.
>> I'd go do it, but you know, I don't know. If you don't have one already, but you do. Let's see, 888-900-CNET, 888-900-2638, more of those calls coming in a minute. Let's get to our next guest. Joining us live via Skype from Miami, is Lonnie Paul and he's from CompUSA and first of all I want to ask you, first of all Lonnie, thanks for joining us today on Cyber Monday.
>> No problem.
>> I wanted to ask you, where is and what it CompUSA today? Now the stores largely went away, but you do have some left right?
>> Well you know, in fact all the stores went away and there was actually sixteen store leases that were moved over from the previous owners to the new owners of CompUSA and since those sixteen stores were opened, we now have thirty stores opened total and these days it seems like we're opening stores and quickly as we can. We just had a store open in Dover, Delaware on Friday last week. So we keep opening new stores.
>> All right, so CompUSA is getting back into the physical store business. I didn't think I was, I didn't think I knew that to be honest.
>> Well if you search around a little bit online, there's a whole new concept that we have. You know, we decided that retailing in general kind of sucked and so we kind of tried to come up with a way to bridge the internet and retail and we call it retail 2.0. And so basically in a nutshell, there's over three hundred connected stations in each store, that allow you to get the features about the product that you're touching, by just touching the product.
>> OK and then are you able to purchase and take from inventory there or is this an ordering kiosk?
>> Oh no, these are real stores.
>> Every notebook and desktop on display is calling out it's features as you walk by. You touch it's keyboard, it takes you to the web page with all the documents, the manuals, the photographs, the gallerias, everything you could possibly want, even video demonstrations. Same thing holds true in the, I'm sorry and even in the camera department. When the handhelds. When you pull up the camera5 from the display, that little cable that keeps them secured down from most of you guys.
>> The one we hate, right.
>> There's a display on the back of that retail display that allows you to get all the [inaudible] information about the product in their hand.
>> It's really awesome.
>> What's working for you guys this season? Give me a couple of things that are real rock star break outs. Please don't say everything
>> No, I'm not going to say everything. But I'll tell you of course, you know, everybody's going to say the same thing. HDTV's. People are upgrading, they're getting new tv's. But I'll tell you what my personal favorite is this season and that's these little Peeko [assumed spelling] projectors from 3M. You know, when I was a kid I had a View Master projector. Did you guys get one of those geeky things back then.
>> Oh boy did I. Boy did I.
>> You know, I was the only kid who had the View Master projector.
>> No I had a projector. Everyone had the viewers of course. I still have the projector. Yeah.
>> Only special guys like us had the projectors.
>> That's right.
>> Give this to one of your kids with an iPod, that the batteries stays charged for an hour, they're out in the back yard having a blast, showing movies on the back of the house, inside a tent, whatever it may be. What better way to keep your kids entertained and I can guarantee you this will give you the cool kid on the block award if you get this for your kids.
>> Now what kind of price we looking at there again?
>> You know what, there's a couple different models, they range anywhere from $150, a little bit above that too with some of the newer models, but they're just amazing.
>> How do you get the word out about these? Because a lot of people don't know about the category at all. Where do you start interest? Because you don't want to stop these if they're not going to move because no one asks for them.
>> Well believe it or not, these are one of the hardest things we've been able to, we've been trying to keep in stock throughout the holiday season. They literally have been flying off the shelves. You know, we tend to be pretty good email marketers.
>> Really, really? Those little things.
>> And if you give a good compelling story and you fully explain the product, plus we have great videos just like you guys do, on our product pages, you're going to be able to really see how you can use this product and better understand it.
>> What are people using it for?
>> And that's what it's all about, making sure the consumer is more informed so they don't have to wander around aimlessly on the internet trying to find a solution. We try to give them all the information they need, whatever it is they want to show. Whether it's online or in a retail store.
>> Let's talk about some deals. What's the hottest thing you've got going right now? Blow me away with something at a really low price.
>> You know, I thought that you were going to say something like that and I have to tell you I don't know. I think one of the hottest things that I saw this morning was a 26 inch Samsung HDTV for right around $300. It was an incredible deal and they've been flying out of here this morning. But you know, there's so many great deals it's hard to pick just one.
>> When you're stocking your shelves this year, what did you go into knowing you were going to have no problem moving. I mean the things that you weren't afraid to overstock. Because nobody wants to get stuck with inventory this year.
>> Digital picture frames. You know, they're just something that everybody wants this year and I'm just waiting for the ones to come out that are going to replace the collage on my grandmother's wall. So you can have one SD card slot, imagine this.
>> And like six different frames and different orientations, you just load your SD card full of pictures, stick it in and they start popping up where appropriate. That's what I'm waiting for. But I'll tell you what, everything from the ones this big to the ones 15 inches in size, are flying out. In fact, one of the 15 inch frames is one of our hottest selling products this year.
>> I imagine it's probably a really value price point on that one.
>> Yeah, a lot of scream for the money. That speaks. Yeah you could have spent $200 on one half that size a little while ago. Hey Lonnie, thanks for your time.
>> No problem. Than you so much for having me.
>> Appreciate it. You bet. That was Lonnie Paul, joining us there from CompUSA. And we'll be checking back with him again by the way in a few weeks. He'll be one of our retail specialists joining us on the regular holiday help desk, which happens from 1 to 1:30 pm Pacific every week day for most of the holiday season except for today being different.
>> Now phones seem to be the Swiss army knife of gadgets these days. Thus they make great gifts. But don't buy one for yourself or others without watching this. ^M00:09:07 [ music ] ^M00:09:12
>> Hi I'm Molly Wood from Cnet.com. I'm here with senior editor Kent German who covers cell phones and smart phones at Cnet and we're here to give you a little bit of advice of things you want to consider before you buy a new phone. So Kent, what are the main things you really want to think about when you're shopping?
>> Kent: Couple things you should think about. One is how are you going to use the phone? Are you going to use it just for making calls? Are you going to use it for a lot of text messages? Maybe for media or smart phones. So think very carefully about that. Second is your carrier. Do you want to stay with the same carrier you have or you want to get a new one. Switching to a new one of course you can get a cheaper phone, because you're signing a new contract and within your carrier though, there are rules of when you can upgrade, when you can get a new phone at a discount. So think carefully about those.
>> Molly: In a nutshell, what is the difference between a smart phone and a cell phone? Because I think people get a little confused there.
>> Kent: Sometimes the difference is confusing. But really a smart phone is a device that crams your cell phone and maybe a personal organizer, into one device. So you're getting your email, you're getting your work and your personal email. You have a calendar that's syncing with your personal calendar or your work calendar, so really it just brings everything into one device.
>> Molly: OK, so really those do it all devices like an iPhone or a Blackberry or Blackberry Storm?
>> Kent: Sure.
>> Molly: So what do you think are some of the trends that we're seeing in cell phones this year? Obviously it seems like everybody's doing a touch screen.
>> Kent: yeah, touch screen is really, really big and it's actually going down into more basic devices. So beyond the iPhone, you're getting it in devices that maybe just have a keyboard or really just are about messaging. Multimedia is big of course, that's with the iPhone, those third party apps of course as well. Android is also very big. I've seen more phones, more carriers get that, Motorola, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile. So that's another thing as well. Last thing I would say is eco friendly phones. These are phones that were made from recycled materials. Maybe use more battery life and don't have as many harmful materials in them.
>> Molly: So what phones or types of phones do you think are going to be really big sellers this year?
>> Kent: I think the iPhone 3GS will continue to be popular of course, that has all those third party apps, it has a great media and it's a just a very popular design and people just really love that phone. Palm Pre really brought a new operating system we haven't seen before. Interesting design in the Palm Pixie, which is a little less complicated, doesn't have as many features and still brings that OS together and then any kind of Android phone, especially the Motorola Click, simply because of the customization features, the new options it brings and the Android operating system. And speaking of Android, I have to tell you about the Motorola Droid for Verizon. It has a fantastic display, it has the newest Android OS update and it's extremely fast.
>> Molly: So then what are some of the phones that you actually recommend to people this year?
>> Kent: I would recommend those phone definitely. I think they're very good in their own way. A couple things that I would recommend beyond those though is the HTC Touch Diamond 2, it's a great American phone, it's a smart phone, has a lot of features in it. It's kind of a Swiss army knife and it has a pretty good design as well and it's available with all the carriers. So you can get it, you don't have to switch if you don't want to, so that's really nice. Motorola Clutch is a good phone. That's a messaging phone. It's available with Nextel and with Boost Mobile, so you can get your pre-paid service or you can go the contract route and get it with Nextel. Comfortable keyboard. Not really high on features, really for making calls and sending messages. I would also go with the Motorola Click as well. That's one of the phones that I think will be a hot seller or the HTC Hero also, another Android phone. Really brings those customization options with Android, good feature set and very comfortable designs.
>> Molly: And then what are some ways to get a good bargain on a phone? Obviously you're going to get a better price if you sign a new contract, but what if you don't want to do that? Are there certain stores, is online better?
>> Kent: Yeah, remember that you will pay more for a phone if you don't sign a contract, because you're not getting that service rebate, but even then you can go to many third party stores, you can go to like a Best Buy of course, you can go to Radio Shack, stores like that. They have sometimes special deals that maybe the carrier stores don't have. You can also find them online from third party retailers, cell phone importers if you want something maybe that's unlocked. So there are definitely ways to get a cheaper price, but the best way really is to sign that contract again.
>> Molly: Sorry guys, you're just going to have to do it. All right, good shopping advice from Kent German. You can find all of our holiday recommendations for cell phones at holiday.cnet.com. For Cnet, I'm Molly Wood. ^M00:13:00 [ music ] ^M00:13:05
>> A lot of Verizon customers looking at that Motorola Droid this year. In fact, a lot of Verizon customers are looking at it in their hand because they've already got it. OK, let's get to the calls. You've been waiting so patiently in a few moments, but first.
>> We've got some deals for you. Debra's been hard at work over there with the shopper.com folks. You guys got the budget deals of your own up there right?
>> Debra: We do, yes. And thank you for that. This is my favorite part of the segment here. I am looking at deals on our Deals and Bargains section of shopper.com and on there you'll see updated deals daily. So for example, of course it says November 30 and these are fresh, great deals. What I love about this page and being able to navigate through this page, is you have pretty much all the information that you need in front of you. You've got the regular price, sales price, savings, all called out to easily navigated and clicked out to that particular deal so that you can see more information. It tells you exactly what your savings are and the bottom line price. So for example, today what we're showing is Tiger Direct has a great ten inch Netbook, which everybody is looking for. We know that, for holiday. Crutchfield has a great camcorder for $269 after a $30 savings. Amazon, Mack Mall, so in that page area you can see all the different merchants, the savings, many different products and it's updated daily.
>> Nice. Good stuff.
>> Excellent. All right, thank you Debra. Thank you very much. Let's go to the phones and pick it up with Adam in Arizona. There we go. Almost hung up on you when I was trying to pick up on you Adam. Sorry about that. Hey, welcome to Holiday Help Desk, what can we do for you?
>> Adam: Hey guys, how's it going?
>> Good, good.
>> Good, good, good.
>> Adam: First I want to just say thank you for the Cnet tip about the pre-Thanksgiving deal that Walmart had where you got a $100 gift card if you bought a 360. So I picked up my second 360 and then used the $100 gift card to buy my PS3.
>> All right.
>> Now you're a multi-console family. That's excellent.
>> Adam: My question was I'm sure you're familiar with the limited edition Modern Warfare 360 Elite. It has a 250 gig hard drive. I was just wondering if you had some insider information on when and if that 250 gig hard drive will be available as a separate accessory. Because what I want to do is move my current Elite 120 hard drive to the arcade and then buy the 250 for my Elite.
>> Yeah, that's a smart move. Right now it's like $400 I think for the Modern Warfare 2, 250 gigabyte hard drive pack, so I can see why you wouldn't want to plop that down unless you just really wanted the game too. Microsoft has not said anything about releasing that drive on their own. They will eventually, but they have not said when, how, what price, anything like that. However, some enterprising folks on the internet are making available, their own modded 250 gigabyte hard drives or they're pulling those drives out of that pack and selling them. You could find them on Ebay, you could find them on Ecrater, I think you can even find a few at Amazon, if I'm looking at this right. So you can get it out there and it's probably going to cost you around $100 for the module. Just you know, as with anything where you're shopping at alternate sources like this, be careful who you're buying from. Make sure it's you know, a reputable seller and all that sort of stuff. But if you can't wait, you're looking about $100 and having to trust that somebody you know, isn't pulling a fast one on you. But it's possible to get one.
>> Adam: Cool, I appreciate it guys.
>> Adam: Happy Holidays.
>> Good. Good deal. Thanks a lot for the call on that one. Thank you. 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. Let's go take a look here at a camera question. This of course is usually a holiday perennial, but we haven't had that many camera questions this year. So let's do one now with Richard calling in in California. Hey Richard, welcome to the show.
>> Richard: Hi guys. You need to drop off, because I've been waiting a long time. But I'm looking for a camera, other than an SLR, like a point and shoot that will still give me very, very fast photos and also it has to have a view finder.
>> Got you covered. About the only.
>> The outdoor stuff.
>> About the only one left is a Panasonic Lumix DMC TS1. We love this guy. Its in our holiday picks this season. It's also ruggedized and waterproof. A 10 megapixel I want to say or is it even higher than that? Let me check that out. Also shoots HD video in the AVC HD format. It's just a great all arounder and the shock proof, waterproof part is just kind of a gimme. As low as $283. You can find cheaper cameras, you're going to be hard pressed to find a good pocket camera with these specs that's going to have an optical view finder as well as the LCD on the back. That's the dicey part.
>> Richard: OK, thank you very much.
>> And we're giving that one away on Crave coming up. By the way, that's a 12 megapixel. So ample resolution on that. So go for that one unless you're put off by the kind of you know, home brew looks. Which I don't think are very attractive with all those screws coming out of it like Frankenstein's head but, ignore that. It's a good camera. It's got lyca optics as well. OK, it's Holiday Help Desk. 888-900-CNET. 888-900-2638. We just keep on rolling don't we?
>> Yes we do. Shall I take another call from Kevin, in the show me state.
>> Guitar hero.
>> Hi Kevin, welcome to Holiday Help Desk, what can we do for you?
>> Kevin: Oh, how you guys doing today?
>> You know, we're working. Having a good time. Chatting with people about gadgets.
>> We're working.
>> Kevin: What I was wanting to know is what's the biggest differences between the games Guitar Hero and Rock Band? I've never seen a side by side comparison.
>> Do you have friends?
>> Kevin: I've got a nephew.
>> You've got a nephew.
>> No friends.
>> Guitar Hero. The big difference is Rock Band is for a bunch of people right. You've got your drums, you've got your guitar, you need, really to take advantage of it you need more than a couple people around to make the band. Guitar Hero you can easily play on your own. You just do it with the guitar. You can do it with two people real easy. So if it's something that you're thinking of doing with your nephew, I'd say go to Guitar Hero. If you've got like party situation, you're like Brian Tong and you want to have a bunch of friends coming over to your place and playing Rock Band until the police show up, then you know, go for Rock Band. If you want to find out more actually, we've got a Prize Fight video that Brian Tong did.
>> Pitting those two against each other on cnettv.com. But I'd say for your situation, sounds like Guitar Hero would suffice.
>> Kevin: All right, appreciate it.
>> Yeah sure.
>> My pleasure.
>> Thanks again. Check out that video. That's over at cnettv.com and that'll answer your question right there. Because we do have a head to head on it, you just haven't seen that one. 888-900-CNET. Let's go take a look. An interesting one here came from Richard in Texas. I was looking at a flash camera, but not just for any reason. Richard, welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Richard: Hi guys. How are you? Happy holiday?
>> Thank you very much. Same to you. What can we do to help you out today?
>> Richard: I have a special needs daughter, who I'd like to get, she loves cameras and camcorders. I'd like to get her a camcorder that's easy to use and really sturdy. And I need some suggestions on maybe what are some of the best ideas out there. Because there's so many to choose from, it's hard to know unless you can see them all the time.
>> OK, so one thing you know, the current vanguard on these, even though they're very basic cameras, is high def. So you may as well go high def. They don't cost that much more to have high def video and you know, I know a couple of Kodak's you mentioned when you called in. There's the ZX1, which is HD, which we give a very good to. Our issues with that is there's no expandable memory card. You can't charge the batteries, just by plugging into usb. That's kind of an annoying, missing convenience factor. The software is not Mac compatible. Is that important to you?
>> Richard: No, not actually. Most, you said Mac compatible.
>> Yeah, it's not Mac compatible.
>> Richard: No, actually the PC would be fine.
>> You guys are Windows. OK. The other one that you mentioned is the Kodak ZI6. We also give it a very good. Not as much detail on that one, but they're in the same family. If you can find a little more money, because those Kodak's are as little as $100 to $110, but the Flip Minnow HD, which is about $100 and I don't know, about $160 I'm thinking is our best price, we'll check with Debra here in a second. The Flip Minnow HD gets an excellent rating. I can tell you from experience it's got a very simple interface. They've gotten a lot of kudos for that. It's kind of one of their hallmarks. So it might be easier for her to use, even though its' a little more money. It also does not have an expansion card slot. And you can't remove the battery and put another one in. So you can't have separate batteries. It's kind of like an Apple product that way. You can't take the battery out. Plus, bear this in mind. It can't put HD out to a television. So this is not going to be something you're going to hook up to a TV and get HD out of it, but on the good side, it's got really good quality video, 720p. It's quite compact. One touch easy operation, transferring video off of it is very easy and of course it's the original in terms of having that direct upload technology that makes it so easy to share these videos online.
>> Richard: All right, the main thing I'd be looking for for her is she, she loves to take video on using several of my different cameras and stuff, she likes to do that, but usually I have to help her as far as start the recording switch and stuff [inaudible] I need something that's really simple to use and then when she stops, as far as the playback the stuff that's good I'll transfer onto stuff.
>> Yeah, right.
>> Richard: Right.
>> It's something to see. I'm really thinking the Flip Minnow in my experience. It's just about the easiest. I mean none of these are complicated, but the Flip Minnow is so brain dead easy, it doesn't even require that you understand you know, it's menuing system, which is good because I spent like twenty seconds with this thing and it's like I got it. I know how to shoot, how to stop, how to save, you know, all the basic operations.
>> Richard: Listen, I appreciate you guy's help. Very much.
>> Our pleasure. Have a good holiday. OK?
>> Richard: Thanks very much. You guys too.
>> Thanks a lot. And give me some pricing on that. Because a lot of folks are going to buying those Debra, do you have a price for the Flip Minnow HD? What's our best we can do for folks.
>> Debra: You know, I have prices, actually $156.99 at Amazon Marketplace.
>> Oh good, so you can get it under $160 there.
>> Debra: Yes. We've got twelve stores again, you know, you can look through those stores and see if they have shipping. Some don't. Amazon is very good about that. Yeah, no, that, as a matter of fact, at my coffee shop just last week, somebody asked me about that. Bought it, gave it as a gift and just they loved it. Absolutely love it.
>> Good. OK. So there's.
>> Debra: It's the way to go.
>> An unintended testimonial there that tells you. These things are winners. The whole class of them is fun, but those are great.
>> Katie in Florida has a very interesting question I think. I don't know if we'll have such a clear cut answer for you Katie, but go ahead and shoot. Welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Katie: Hi guys, thanks for taking my call. I'm a big fan. This is the first time I've made it live.
>> Oh, thanks for calling.
>> Katie: I'm basically looking to buy a 32 inch tv for like a small bedroom or a den and the prices that I'm finding are in the low $400's, for the name brands. The Samsung's and the Sony's and things like that. But I'm finding prices in the low $300's for some of these more off name brands like Westinghouse or Dynex [assumed spelling] and I'm thinking for something that's not a primary tv, it's kind of a bedroom tv, weather it makes that much difference to spend the extra $100 to $150 and go name brand or you know, whether I can save a little money and still get a good picture.
>> Yeah, I would say it's going to depend case by case. You need to do a little research on those brands. Off the top of my head, I know that the Insignia store brand on Best Buy, has tested fairly well on cnet.com.
>> Visio, another minor brand, off brand, has tested very well. But that Dynex one, I haven't heard much about.
>> Right, that's one of their house brands also over at Best Buy.
>> Yeah, which is another house brand and Best Buy. And I don't think those have done quite as well. A lot of times these house brands are made by the major brand name manufacturers too.
>> So if you dig in and find out about that, I mean Cnet is one place to go. But look around at a few other places and find folks that have reviewed these and take a look. Just because it's an off brand though, doesn't mean it's not good automatically.
>> No, not at all. There may be some really good, there are some good tv's. I don't have any name brand tv's. I've got Westinghouse, Magnavox and one other. They're all good, they're not outstanding, but you don't know the outstanding unless they're side by side against a tv that costs a lot more. They look really great. Key on those sets is to feed them a good signal. That's one thing I find. The cheaper the tv the more it needs a good signal to prop it up a little bit, but we're talking fine variations here in my experience. And realize that some of these second tier makers, like Tom says, are made by the same big factories. There are I think 120 or 130 brands of LCD tv's we have in our catalog right now. I'll guarantee you there aren't 12 factories. There just aren't. So a whole lot of factories or few factories are making a whole lot of the tv's that you think are some fly by night operation. They are not.
>> It's like catsup.
>> You go to the store and you see like 500 brands of catsup and there's the house brand of catsup, but you know what, there's like three people that make catsup. And they're just repackaging it.
>> Repackaging it and reselling it.
>> And reselling it as different brands.
>> So there it is. I want you to go you know, roaming around Best Buy later on today and just be muttering as you look at the tv's. Ah, it's just like catsup. You know, around like this. You know, because that really is the story. So I would be nervous at all.
>> That will get you kicked out.
>> About buying a second tier brand as they call it. By the way, Visio is a second tier brand, I believe they are the number one LCD maker in market share in the United States. So it shows you that they've obviously got enough people that say they're good.
>> All right, we've got to take a quick break. Thanks Katie for calling, but we've got another 30 minutes. If you're on the line or if you'd like to give us a call, that line five is just now open. We'll be right back with more of your questions and some very good advice if you're about to buy a new camera. ^M00:26:20 [ music ] ^M00:26:28
>> If you think all batteries are the same, consider this. These Duracell batteries were given to the Mattel Children's Hospital, UCLA. Because when it comes to kids and healing, you're not just powering a toy, you're powering a smile. Duracell, trusted everywhere.
>> Hey everyone, I'm Molly Wood. Host of cnettv's mail bag. Here at the mail bag we love to read your letters and emails. The lover mail, even the hater mail. And apparently you like it too, because when we tried to make the show bi-weekly, boy did you raise a fit. So we're back to every week and you can all just calm down. But don't stop writing in, because I need you bad. Look for the new edition of Mail Bag, every Wednesday at cnettv.com.
>> Last FM now on Xbox live. Discover new music and explore endless personalized radio stations. Find out more on www.LastFM.com/Xbox. ^M00:27:25 [ music ] ^M00:27:40
>> And here we are. What are you playing with?
>> Duracell batteries.
>> Oh. Took his batteries out and he's still moving his lips. Welcome back to the Holiday Help Desk. Yes we do drink after this. Yes. And keep those calls coming. Phones are open, 888-900-CNET, 888-900-2638, or email also HolidayHelpDesk@cnet.com.
>> But as we did last hour with the laptops video, I think we can answer a few questions before you even ask them with this next segment. At least if you're in the market to buy a digital camera. ^M00:28:10 [ music ] ^M00:28:15
>> Natalie: Hi, I'm Natalie Delconte [assumed spelling], with Cnet and today I'm here to help you make a good decision about buying a digital camera this holiday season. There are so many to choose from and you don't want to just choose by the cheapest. There are a lot of variables. So we have Laurie Grunen [assumed spelling] with us here today. Thank you for coming.
>> Laurie: My pleasure.
>> Natalie: And she's going to tell us what are the best ways to choose a digital camera. First off, what are the different types of cameras that you review?
>> Laurie: Well still cameras, like you see here and camcorders or video cameras.
>> Natalie: OK and what are the different needs for different types of cameras? I know there's just the regular point and shoot, but then you also review the big mamma's and the digital slr's.
>> Laurie: Right. Point and shoots tend to be very small, ultra compact. And they're good if you want to have something always around. They tend to overlap with the capabilities of your cell phone or your camera phone. So it depends if you have a really good camera phone you may not want a point and shoot. You may not want to get somebody a point and shoot. If you want something that's fast and can photograph kids and pets and things like that, then you really want an SLR. Point and shoots, even the mega zooms, really can't handle that type of speed shooting. Or alternatively to shoot your kids and pets, you can always go with a video camera because they're designed to capture motion. And they come in all sorts of types from the budget clip camcorder type products to regular you know, big HD camcorders.
>> Natalie: OK. So let's start with the little point and shoots then. What are the price range for those these days?
>> Laurie: Well the prices actually range up as high as say $600 depending upon sort of all of the nifty features they include. But really you know, if you want to get somebody a nice gift with point and shoot, $200 to $250 is usually a good price range.
>> Natalie: OK and some things that we should look for. Now I know a lot of them have smile technology.
>> Laurie: Yeah, frankly, I tend to ignore all those gimmicks and you want something that just has really good image quality and decent performance, which unfortunately are things you can only get by reading reviews. You can't just look at the specs.
>> Natalie: Right.
>> Laurie: And it also has to be easy to use, which is something you really want to bring the person that you're buying the gift for, into the store and have them touch the camera. If you want to make a surprise, you can still do it under false pretenses and whatever. But you really want to see how the camera feels to them.
>> Natalie: OK. And what about megapixels? Do we need to compromise with that?
>> Laurie: Don't worry about that. Frankly, anything that you'd buy these days has enough resolution to handle anybody's needs.
>> Natalie: All right and optical zoom versus digital zoom.
>> Laurie: Digital zoom, forget it. Ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist.
>> Natalie: OK.
>> Laurie: Optical zoom, remember that on one hand more is better, because it provides more flexibility On the other hand, you can't really make a good lens that covers a really broad range. So if you want something mainstream, about 5X to 8X is a good range.
>> Natalie: And then, let's move on then to the SLR's. What is a good, acceptable price range for a good SLR?
>> Laurie: Well depends upon your user. You can get a really good kit, that's a digital SLR body with a lens for about $700 these days. And that's a really nice to give someone however, once again, especially with SLR's, you really want to know what they like and what it feels like to them.
>> Natalie: OK and then you can go crazy switching out the lens right?
>> Laurie: Yes.
>> Natalie: Probably if you're getting someone a gift like this, you're going to let them choose the lenses?
>> Laurie: Yes and that's actually a very good idea too. And frankly, if you're looking for a gift for somebody that already has an SLR, there's lots of accessories that you can buy that make really nice gifts like another lens or a flash or a tripod.
>> Natalie: OK.
>> Laurie: Or faster memory, gig of memory, lots of memory.
>> Natalie: Right. And now digital cameras are taking video. Is that video worth having and how is the audio?
>> Laurie: Yeah, that can be, for a combination device, that can be pretty good video. The audio, you have to watch out. Sometimes it's only mono, but some, but a lot of times it's stereo and you can get pretty good, usable clips from something like that. If you're looking for a gift for someone who's just looking to upload videos to You Tube, something in the $200 range, those candy bar style camcorders are a really good idea.
>> Natalie: But if you wanted more features and better quality, you'd get a real camcorder right?
>> Laurie: Yeah, for that you pay more.
>> Natalie: OK, so let's go take a look at those. So these are the higher end camcorders right?
>> Laurie: Yes, something like this, they have better zoom lenses. They cost more. For a good one you really want to spend about $500 to $700. And they have more features like control over exposure and they can take better stills.
>> Natalie: OK and most of these are high definition now right?
>> Laurie: Yeah, the standard definition models, boast these really huge zoom lenses that you really don't need unless you're planning to do astronomy work.
>> Natalie: And I know when you reviewed these cameras you talk a lot about how comfortable they are in your hand [inaudible].
>> Laurie: Yeah, because if you can't hold it and you can't hold it still and you can't see the LCD, especially in bright sunlight, then it's really, you're not going to use it.
>> Natalie: Right and if you can't reach the buttons, that's a big deal. So you want to try it out in your hand and maybe have your gift recipient try it too.
>> Laurie: Well a lot of them these days use touch screen. Some people are comfortable with and others aren't.
>> Natalie: OK, what are some of the other things we need to consider when we get someone a camera? You want to get them a case, you want to get them a memory card, what else?
>> Laurie: Everything needs a memory card. Even if the camera or camcorder ships with it, it's probably too small to use. So a nice, big, 8 gigabytes is a good size for an SD card.
>> Natalie: So this is one of your picks for a camcorder. Why?
>> Laurie: Because it's very well priced. It's only about $180. Takes flash memory and good HD video and it's portable.
>> Natalie: What about a budget still? Do you have a pick for that?
>> Laurie: Yes, it's over here.
>> Natalie: OK, let's go see it. Here's one of your picks for digital still camera. Why?
>> Laurie: Because it's very well priced. It's an older model, but it still delivers very good image quality, it's small, it's well designed and it's just a nice overall gift.
>> Natalie: Great and let's take a look at your pick for digital SLR's then.
>> Laurie: OK.
>> Natalie: And finally here's your pick for digital SLR. Why is that one of your favorites?
>> Laurie: Because it's very well priced. You can get a kit for about $900 and it's one of the best entry level SLR's of 2009. It has an articulated LCD and really good image quality and good performance and it's just a very well rounded camera with a nice kit lens.
>> Natalie: Great. Well you can see all of Laurie's picks on cnet.com. Remember to do your homework before you go shopping this holiday season. Because you want to get to the store and know what you're looking for. For more about that, again go to cnet.com. Have a great holiday shopping season. I'm Natalie Delconte, here in New York. ^M00:34:35 [ music ] ^M00:34:40
>> OK folks, welcome back. We're still in the Holiday Help Desk. Cyber Monday, two hour edition. This thing rolls on about another twenty minutes or so, but you know, because [inaudible] we might just go a little bit longer.
>> The phones are on fire.
>> OK, let's get to it and I want to go to, let's go into Andreas [assumed spelling] in Houston. He's got a question about an iPod dock. The doctor is in. hello Andreas, welcome to.
>> Doc. Cnet live. Yeah.
>> What's up?
>> Andreas: How are you guys doing?
>> How are we doing? Good. How are you doing?
>> Andreas: I'm doing good, too. I have a question for an iPod touch dock. I am currently in the market for looking, I mean looking for one and I don't know if there's a good value out there that I can get around $30 to $50?
>> You're thinking of a speaker dock, right?
>> Andreas: I don't' know. That's why, that absolutely leads me to another question. Do you think it's better just getting a speaker dock or just a separate iPod dock?
>> Well, what would you want the dock to do if it doesn't have the speakers? Just charge it?
>> Andreas: Yeah, probably charge it.
>> Yeah, because honestly, I think that personally I think that's a waste of money. You can just charge it in the wall dock, you can charge it plugged in by the cable. I wouldn't bother with a dock unless you had something else that it could do like the speakers, in which case we have a whole big long list on cnet.com that I'm looking at right now, with lots of speakers. But they do way more than you need them to do. Right? I mean, you're on that end where it's like I really just want a dock, but if it has some speakers that's cool. These things are like $300 to $400, so I'm going to recommend the live speaker ultra portable speaker system. These are available right now at Amazon for $40. They're not the greatest sounding things in the world. We gave them 6 out of 10, 3 stars out of 5. But they're a good, feature rich dock that can display your video, because the touch kind of fits in there in the right aspect ratio as you can see. They've got an innovative design, they've can do portrait and landscape if you turn, they can like turn up on their side. There's a few other ways to hold them. They're pretty compact. So I think this will do everything that you want a dock to do.
>> Andreas: Yeah, that's definitely a good one. I was thinking if I had to get a speaker dock, I could actually go up a little more maybe around $100.
>> Yeah, if you get closer to $100 there's the Alltek Lansing In Motion Classic. Those are real nice and we've given those four and a half. You get a little more, little more musical. What am I trying to say? A little better sound quality out of those and they're the best ones, short of the one, actually a lot of these Alltek Lansing In motion IM 600's are also now available for $94. That may be a limited time thing. So check those out. I'll put this link at blog.cnet.tv.com after the show as well so you can take a look through all of these. But this will give you a few options if you want to get the speakers too.
>> OK Andreas, it's good luck with that. A lot of options there we've got in that particular rundown. Let's go talk about a wifi router. Our first question on that so far today. We've got Steve in New Jersey. Hello, Steve. Welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Steve: Hey guys. [Inaudible].
>> What's up? Thank you. What can we do for you?
>> All right.
>> Steve: So my wifi router and actually this is the router that I called in last year's Holiday Help Desk about, is starting to kind of flake out and lose connection every so often.
>> Steve: And seems like it's a hardware failure. So I was wondering what's a good, just a basic wifi router with a couple of Ethernet's on the back?
>> Here's one we just plain love right now. This is a D Link, extreme end dual band. It's a DIR 825 is the model. It's got a lot of good things. Here's what the down side is, mixed mode, it might be a little bit slow. It's not the best at mix mode operation and the range isn't the best we've tested but it's by no means a deal killer and we think it's kind of bulky. It's kind of largish as routers go. So if you're tight on space, that's usually not an issue. And of course you've got ports in the back. We've got four land ports back there, one lan, we've got a usb expansion port, you got the dual antenna of course for the end design going on there. We love the fact that it's gigabit lan of course and easy to set up. Which is always a key thing and it'll support separate wireless networks for guests, it's got some presets that are actually useful. This guy's a winner. You know, you're not going to go wrong with this in a wifi router, you know. Isn't that much of a brainer anymore.
>> And what I would do with your old one is replace that firmware with DDWRT.
>> Oh yeah.
>> If you go to dd-wrt.com and take a look, this is open source firmware for your router. Might as well try it. Download it, flash it, could fix the issue and then you don't even have to buy a new one.
>> Yeah, so try that first.
>> Steve: Is the DDWRT compatible with like Action Tech, some you know, like off brands?
>> You have to look, but they are compatible with a bunch of off brand models. So just take a look on the website here at the fac or in the documentation and find out which ones it fits with. But it's quite possible it will be.
>> Yeah, it's very cool. Very cool, that update and take over the software, the firmware and the router and that might be your issue, even though it feels like it might be hardware. Let's go to Tim who's in Los Angeles. Has a question about a digital camera. Tim welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Tim: Hey guys, how are you doing?
>> We're doing good. What can we help you with?
>> Tim: I had a Kodak C813 digital camera. Great camera but it grew legs and walked away so I'm looking to replace it.
>> I hate it when they do that.
>> Hate it when they do that, that dna gets kind of sporty and [sound effect] here come the legs.
>> Leg hair falls off and that's all that's left in it's place is [inaudible].
>> If you'll look at the top digital cameras we've got in our various, many lists these days. This one stands out to me. We just saw it in the video with Laurie Grunen and Natalie there. It's the Sony Cybershot DSC W290 and as Laurie mentioned, this is a slightly older model. A little less than a year old now, but we give it a real rock star rating. It gets four stars out of us, which is an excellent. A little bit shy of an editor's choice. The design, the interface, the controls, are really excellent. It's got quite a wide angle lens. I believe it's a 28 millimeter, 35 millimeter equivalent and you got a 5X zoom. So it goes from quite wide to quite powerful on the zoom. Very little [inaudible] recommended except the photos are a tiny bit soft. We're not talking about you know, bad soft, just if you really you know, look at them like we do, they're a tiny bit soft. Just an excellent all arounder and your price point I understand, you want to hit $200. Let's check in with Debra and see if she can do one of these on the shopper site for $200 or less? Debra, what can we do on that Sony?
>> Debra: Right, I feel like, let's see. I can top that. Yeah, we can get that at about $194 for that product.
>> Just makes it. Just makes it.
>> Debra: Yeah, just makes it in there. Jay, pardon me, it's Amazon actually, $199. I do have $194 down here. I'm just scrolling. It's $205 from Dell. So you.
>> We're gonna hit it.
>> Debra: It's still loading. Yeah.
>> Yeah we're going to hit it and if you have an Amazon prime account.
>> Tom: I that a digital camera?
>> Or if you know someone who's got an Amazon.
>> Tom: One that you can take a picture of the sign like at a state park and actually zoom into every little detail, every word of that sign.
>> You've got full, you can 5X zoom, plus 12 megapixels. That's kind of the duo you need if you're really fanatical about wanting to hit things and get good detail from a distance. You've got to have zoom, but you've got to have the resolution to support it. That's one of the things people don't realize. So you don't want a lot of zoom and a low resolution. The two have to go together and this one definitely has that. So I think we've got a slam dunk for you on that one. So DSC W290, go get one and maybe if you shop around today, you might find a free shipping deal somewhere from one of our merchants. So go look for that.
>> All right folks, before we finish up, I know a lot of you may get a new computer as a gift and as soon as you sit down with it you're going to want to start installing software. So here are the 7 apps you should start with and they're all free.
>> Many of you are getting new pc's these days, either as a gift or just because there's a shiny new operating system out there. But once you get it fired up and the operating system installed, it's time to populate it with good software. Don't just take all the dreck off your old machine people, use this opportunity to start fresh. Let me give you the 7 essential pieces of software for your new pc. ^M00:42:40 [ music ] ^M00:42:48 First, security. You need an anti-virus app and it's not something you need to pay for. Cnet's download.com gave AVG free anti-virus edition, five stars out of five and if you're not a big company, it won't cost you a dime. Now that you're protected, it's time to browse the internet. Don't just go with the web browser that came with your LS, there's opera, chrome, Firefox, so many other options and you know what, I'm not going with any of them. I recommend Sea Monkey. Why? Because it has the Fire Fox web browser, but also bundles in email and IRC client and a web page editor as well. Now if IRC and web editing don't matter to you then maybe go with Fire Fox and Thunderbird for email. However, to get the most bang for you bite, I say go Sea Monkey. Next you need to tell all your friends your experience on your new computer. So get an IM client. On Windows I recommend Pigeon. For Mac users try Adium. They both are free, open source, multi service clients and they work great on a bunch of platforms. Next it's time to save you a few hundred bucks. Don't go out and drop dough on Microsoft Office. Open Office from OpenOffice.org is better than it's every been. I use it daily for word processing, spreadsheet manipulation, presentations and more. If you're an Excel super user, you might have issues with it, but for the average Joe, it's going to do everything you need, for free. All right, we've got productivity covered. Now for some entertainment. For that you need VLC media player. It can handle almost anything you throw at it. DVD won't play on that piece of crap software that came with your PC? No problem, VLC will handle it. Music, any format you can think of and it's got that magic price you love. Two more and we're done. First you need a graphics editor. How else will you put your friend's heads on celebrity bodies? For Windows there's nothing better than Paint.net. It's free and powerful. For Mac it's a little tougher. I like Acorn, which is free to download, but $50 to keep. For free that stays free, try Sea Shore, which is based on the gimp engine or try Skitch [assumed spelling]. Finally, one last piece of security software. Anti spyware. You can go with a cocktail of Adaware's, Spybot Search and Destroy, Windows Defender and so on, it's not a bad idea to run more than one, but if I was backed up against a wall and forced to pick just one, I'd pick Hijack This. Trend micro has given us one of the most powerful malware removal tools you can find and it's freeware. Now there are certainly many other apps you need, such as registry cleaners, torrent downloaders, ftp clients and so on, but they start to stray into niche's that vary for different types of users. I can say without a doubt that these seven programs I've mentioned today are essential for everyone to install on every PC, no matter who you are. That's it for this how to, I'm Tom Merritt, cnet.com. ^M00:45:25 [ music ] ^M00:45:30
>> OK, I want to get a few emails in while we have the chance. By the way, that was not an old. Everybody in the check room was like oh that's so old. [Inaudible] is like oh, you haven't worn that shirt in months. That was three weeks ago people. That's not an old video. John Christensen writes.
>> Now that is an old picture of me.
>> That's an old video.
>> That's from some brilliant TV in the 90's. But the video itself that was surrounding that.
>> Yeah, the tablecloth you were wearing.
>> That was new.
>> Was a different issue.
>> I eat off that tablecloth.
>> All right.
>> How big a TV, John Christensen wants to know, how big a TV screen can you get where 720p looks just as good as 1080p? Try that 7 incher that Debra has.
>> Is there any way we can guarantee that?
>> 720p is never going to look as good as 1080p.
>> But, a lot of people can't really tell the difference and it depends a lot on your signal source. So if you're not looking at Blu Ray movies, you're not watching like high definition sports channels that are in 1080p, all your stuff is coming in at 720p over Directv or your cable company. It doesn't matter if you get a 1080p TV, you're not going to notice the difference.
>> Right and most sports broadcasts are 720. I think Fox is 1080, but I think any of the other sports networks are still 720. They will eventually get there. It's a good idea future proofing, to buy a 1080 set obviously and 1080p obviously. Progressive is better than interlaced, the eye. But look at this graphic. We have a graphic here that will show you how much more area there is to a 1080 set. It's not just how many lines it is, but obviously it's width times height. It's a lot more information that needs to be fed to a 1080 set, to fill that screen. So you know, you've got to realize, if you're not going to feed it the right sources, you're not going to see a big difference. 720 sets though are starting to be on the wane. My gut is 42 and up, you're pretty smart buying a 1080p and certainly 46 and up. You really are, I think it's incumbent to get 1080. The 37's and down, I think they look pretty good at 720.
>> Yeah, it all depends on the price difference really.
>> 1080p is such of a price difference and you don't care so much about the video, don't bother the premium for it.
>> 720p is going to look good.
>> But 1080p's are in quite a competitive [inaudible].
>> But it's never going to look as good as 1080p.
>> And it depends on how close you are to the television. The dirty little secret about HDTV is sit back a little further and it makes the picture significantly better, to a point obviously.
>> Got a big room, just get 480.
>> Right. See one of those 7 incher's we talked about earlier.
>> Those are winners. OK, we've got another one coming in here and this is a good email that has to do with the idea of a laptop that has a little bit of a special talent and Eric writes in, fat emo kid. I've been searching anywhere for a laptop for my wife. She needs something very light, yet powerful, also with a backlit keyboard. Now no Netbook because she does a lot of audio and video editing, well that will leave Netbook in the dust, crying for mama. Does some streaming, a ton of multitasking. You know, needs a real, real notebook here and also wants this backlit keyboard because she often works late in the night, sitting up in bed, on an airplane, what have you. And around three pounds. This is getting a little bit dicey. But we come down the funnel and I think we got it. This is the where did it go? Toshiba Satellite T135 S1310. This guy comes in with a four and a half, three and a half stars. We give it a very good rating. It's got a dual core ultra low voltage Intel processor. It's Windows 7, of course. Really good battery life. The speakers are crap, but what do you expect. It's a really small ultra light. It's 3.8 pounds, let me check the spec on that. Yeah, 3.8. That's a little bit over the 3 that you're looking for, but I don't know if you can tell from these images here, this is a very, very light weight, thin and light laptop. And backlit keyboard and real performance and we really think it's a real winner and notice that the users agree with us. We're on the exact same pages. Users, that would be the Toshiba T135 S1310. And I'm saying that because I just teed up Debra to scramble like a mad woman and go find that thing on shopper and I'll keep dancing right up until she has.
>> Debra: That's price.
>> Found it.
>> Debra: Actually.
>> Found it.
>> Debra: Yeah, most of those prices or most of the merchants rather, are coming in around, the price range is $695 to $749.
>> That's good.
>> Debra: Yeah, it's very good. A Tiger Direct, New Egg. Tiger Direct is at $699, New Egg is $749, Amazon $698.99 again, if you do their prime shipping for one month club, you can get some really good deals with their shipping as well.
>> 320 gig of drive on that by the way and 4 gig of ram. It's pretty rammed up as it comes out of the box. Which what else you want?
>> Mister Eric who wrote that email, Brian was not calling you a fat emo kid. There is another Eric.
>> Oh there's another one.
>> Who goes by the username, fat emo kid.
>> You told me that was that Eric.
>> Fat emo kid is not married. That was not, that was not his email.
>> What happened? What happened? All of a sudden.
>> Our apologies. Chris T. writes, I normally buy a new laptop every three years. Last bought one in 2007. Would you recommend changing that to every two years? It's still doing what I need, especially after a hard drive upgrade, but I'm sure it could be doing more for me especially in the non-graphics intensive and online games. I am upgrading my laptop, I used to upgrade it every eighteen months and I've started to be tempted to upgrade it every year. So if you've been used to going every three years, I can see where the pressure would be on to go every two years, but really my rule is upgrade that hard drive as far as you can go, upgrade your ram as far as you can go and then if you know, if you've maxed it out and you can't upgrade it anymore and you're running out of hard drive space, if the processor's starting to run slow, the ram is not helping anymore or you maxed it out, that's when it's time to move on and that could be two years, could be three years, it all depends on how you use it. But I wouldn't go with a hard time deadline so much, I would go with a usage deadline, but always max out what you can upgrade, as far as you can go.
>> And that's cost effective right?
>> I mean that's the key.
>> Even these computers get as inexpensive as they are these days, it's still cost effective, because the peripherals are coming down in price just as fast.
>> In fact, a lot of times you want to upgrade them immediately. For instance, with Apple, if you max out the ram at order time, it will cost you a lot more than if you buy the minimum ram and then buy the ram yourself and put it in.
>> Good point. OK, good stuff. Let's jam in a bunch of calls and try and get the last few in. As many as we can with the last few minutes of the show here. So let's do something of a lightening round. I know we've had Ryan sitting here for quite a while and let's talk about laptops that go fast and cost little. Ryan, welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Ryan: Hi Brian.
>> Hello Ryan. What can we do for you?
>> You see, I was looking for a laptop with a quad core, cheapest. Cheapest laptop.
>> Quad core.
>> Cheapest quad core, Debra.
>> What have we got?
>> Help old Ryan out.
>> Debra: Well I think we got it. I think it's an HP Pavilion DV7 is it. I think that was the earlier part of the question and that's HP Home and Home Office Store, actually has it at $1069, which is the lowest price and some other merchants are offering that at $1100. So I think you'll do very well direct from HP for that.
>> OK, go with that one. Go direct, you're going to do well on that one Ryan. And I'll see you in Detroit in a few weeks for the Auto Show.
>> Maybe not personally you know.
>> No maybe.
>> Maybe. You never know.
>> Wouldn't surprise me. You want to take Matthew in France? This will be our first international, well not our first international call, but our first European call.
>> Today, right?
>> Yeah, absolutely.
>> Let's do it.
>> We've taken Matthew in France on Holiday Help Desk before and I think on cnet live, right?
>> We've had Columbia today and now we have France. We had one other international. So this is good.
>> Matthew, Brian obviously you know, wipes you from his mind because you're from France, don't hold that against him.
>> Right, right.
>> What can we help you with today?
>> Matthew: Hi guys, nice to speak to you and I'll just say bon jeur and question is, I wanted a cheap but good [inaudible] Mac Book Pro. Trouble is it's a 17 Penguin, non unibody.
>> When you say case, are you talking about a sleeve or a bag or?
>> Matthew: As in the actual thing that goes around it when you're actually using it.
>> Yeah, OK, so you're talking about like a gel case or something like that. Because when we saw your question we've came up with some sleeves and some laptop bags, but you're talking about the actual, do you want it to look like something? Do you want it to have like design on it or anything or just want like a hard shell protective case?
>> Matthew: A bit like what [inaudible] mvp.
>> You can get some good shells available from N Case and Speck and it should be able to fit that Penguin that you're talking about. So it should be able to fit the Mac Book that you're talking about. Brian Tong [assumed spelling] is IM'ing me right now, says yes, N Case and Speck are good places to find cases. And that rhymes.
>> Matthew: But what I'm looking for, would it be available in Europe as well, because they want it not to be just something that's just US only.
>> Yeah, I don't see why N Case or Speck wouldn't be available somewhere in Europe. You can get them at the Apple store and Brian Tong says yeah, they're available worldwide.
>> OK? Good luck with that Matthew.
>> Matthew: [Inaudible] and Apple store and they should be able to get this.
>> Yeah, don't buy them at the Apple store. Search around and maybe go to cnet.co.uk or cnet.co.fr and see if you can find some links through there.
>> Right. All right Matthew, thanks for the call. Holiday Help Desk moving on to our last call before we wrap the show here. Nick is calling in in New York and you have the honor of being the last call. Hello Nick, welcome to Holiday Help Desk.
>> Nick: [Inaudible] you have this last call.
>> You got it.
>> Nick: Anyway so.
>> Since you're too young for the other kind, you get this kind.
>> Nick: [Inaudible] HF20. The cheapest one I've found is $579. Can you beat that price? Also is this compatible with File Cut Express?
>> Let me show you how bad ass cnet shopper is. I'm right now on the Google products page and I went for a little search and said huh, let's let the mighty power of the Google go find the best price on a Canon HF20 and they're coming up with $592. Now, let's go over to Debra, at the shopper nook and see what the mighty power of cnet shopper can do on an HF20.
>> Debra: Well.
>> Debra, wow them.
>> Debra: Pardon me, actually on the HF20, I'm coming in at $574 and let me just.
>> See how we roll there?
>> Debra: Take a closer look here, $574 goes as high as $899, but again these are certified merchants on shopper. So you really know that you can trust and shop in confidence when you're buying from these merchants and you're shopping on our site. So I think that's a good buy and a good price.
>> All right Nick, so there is your price question. Now, you want to run this into Final Cut Pro, is that right?
>> Final Cut Express.
>> OK, let me just do a quick little, little check here, because I don't know which of the competing formats this guy records to. If it's HVCHD.
>> Yeah, we have to look that up to figure out what the negative format is, but obviously anything you do you can convert. I would recommend Hand Brake on a Mac, to convert the file format.
>> And you get good conversion in Quick Time on a Mac. Because you get the full version of Quick Time on a Mac that really does everything well. So you've got the Quick Time conversion menu under file. So you can put out whatever you need and you know that's honestly a good idea is to make the conversion into Quick Time movie or AIF audio, because Final Cut likes that.
>> Yeah, it's the .mts file format on the HF20. It's just one of those proprietary, so you're going to have to do some.
>> Conversions [inaudible].
>> I'm guessing, I don't know. MGS might work in Final Cut Express. I'm not sure about that.
>> Yeah, we don't know off the top of our head but you'll get there. You may have to go through one conversion step, but that's not going to kill you. All right thanks for that call.
>> All right we're done. Look at that.
>> Two hours.
>> We finished up. Two hours.
>> This is not right.
>> Check that out.
>> Wow, OK.
>> Back to our regular show later on.
>> Yeah, that's going to be a half hour show tomorrow and this would be me tomorrow along side Brian Thomas, so it's B and B.
>> All right.
>> I like that. I'll be enjoying one while you guys do that.
>> I'll be taking your calls with BT, answering your questions and of course, that'll be the same time we do normally, 4 pm eastern, 1 o'clock Pacific and.
>> I believe it's 11 am Hawaiian right now. But hey Debra, thanks so much for.
>> Joining us. You'll be back tomorrow too?
>> Debra: I will be there.
>> Debra's back. We put her through this every day.
>> Debra: Yes.
>> See you guys tomorrow, right here on live.cnet.com.
>> Thanks for calling everybody.
>> Thanks everybody. ^M00:57:32 [ music ]
Get the lowdown on what tech gifts to give and to get this holiday season, plus special deals and bargains!
Holiday Help Desk returns November 22, to help you with your holiday tech gift shopping. Join Molly Wood, Brian Tong, and Brian Cooley live at 1 p.m PT/4 p.m ET every Monday. They'll steer you to the best gifts at the best prices.
Purchasing the right gift for that special geek in your life can be difficult without a little guidance. Dan Ackerman gives us a few suggestions when looking for laptops this holiday season.
CNET's smartphone expert Jessica Dolcourt drops by the Holiday Help Desk and dishes on her favorite phone gifts. Also, eBay's shopping expert Claudia Lombana shares some shopping tips and reveals a few of eBay's top sellers of the season.
Another year is in the books, but before we shut the door on 2010 and sign off for the holidays, we wrap up some of the latest cell phone news and reviews. Plus, we give you a preview of what to expect from CES 2011. From LTE handsets to dual-core Android phones, it's shaping up to be a very busy show, and we'll be there to report on all the action, so be sure to tune in on Friday, January 7 at 2 p.m., PT for special broadcast of Dialed In live from Las Vegas. Finally, we want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year! As always, thanks for listening and we'll see you in 2011.
Molly Wood demonstrates the must-have gift of the holiday season.
Caroline McCarthy takes a look at this holiday season's hottest gifts.
With the holiday shopping season here, CNET senior editor Kent German joins Brian Tong to answer your questions and discuss the hottest cell phones to give to your special someone...and yourself, too.
Between dads and grads, June is a busy gift-giving month. If you're stuck on what to give your loved ones to celebrate their accomplishments or presence in your life, why not turn to tech. In this Tech Minute, CNET's Kara Tsuboi reports on the top electronic gifts this season as recommended by CNET editors.
From surprise suggestions to must-have favorites, CNET's Molly Wood and Donald Bell count down the 10 best tech gifts you can choose this holiday season.