Posts Tagged ‘Home Theater’
“Cool. I didn’t know it could do that!”
That’s a phrase Agents hear every week. Most customers spend a good deal of time preparing for their major tech purchases – comparing features, checking system compatibilities, measuring dimensions and reading product reviews. The strange thing is that many seem to forget how their new gizmos can simplify their lives between the time they say “I’ll take it” and they get it out of the box at home. Yeah, it’s all in the manual, but who has time to read the manual?
Here are some tips and tricks you may have forgotten since the salesperson mentioned them back at the store. Never hurts to be reminded…
There’s so much more you can do with a smartphone beyond making calls.
So many people said technology would kill reading as a pastime. But e-readers and tablets have only increased our appetite for the printed word. Here are some steps you can take to help your devices help you.
These days televisions are for more than watching shows and movies. High-definition displays and internet connectivity mean getting the most out of your TV is a bit more complicated than making sure all the cables are hooked up correctly. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Web connectivity has made gaming systems more fun than that old Nintendo machine you grew up playing.
If you aren’t sure that you are getting everything out of your new computer, home theater or gaming system, we can help.
Agent Ron G. has been battling the forces of unruly technology run amok since 2001, prior to Geek Squad’s acquisition of Best Buy. When not busy creating video & technical training content for Geek Squad Agents in the field, Agent Ron enjoys home brewing, international travel, and learning how to cook new cuisines.
Firmware, if you have not encountered the term before, generally refers to the programs and files used internally in many devices to control that device’s functions. Think of firmware as something similar to the operating system (such as Microsoft Windows) that a PC uses.
Some devices, such as game consoles, MP3 players and Blu-ray players were designed so that their firmware could be updated in order to resolve hardware issues or use new features added to content after the hardware’s manufacture.
There are a few different ways to update the firmware on most Blu-ray players. One method is to visit the manufacturer’s website for your particular model player and download the updated firmware via a home PC. From there, you will use that PC’s CD or DVD burner to write the firmware to a blank disc. Inserting that disc into the Blu-ray player allows the device to read in the new files and update itself appropriately.
If your Blu-ray player is setup to access the Internet, such as through your home’s wireless network, you can download the firmware update directly using the internal tools in the player’s setup menu. This method is the easier of the two, and in some cases, can be configured to automatically happen when new firmwares are released.
Making sure that your Blu-ray player has the latest firmware prior to Avatar’s release on April 22nd will help avoid any playback problems on the day of release. If you have a Blu-ray player that does not have the capability to connect to the Internet, you can bring the device into your local Best Buy. Geek Squad Agents can get your device up to date and ready to go with our in-store firmware update service.
If you have a network-capable player, but don’t have it hooked up to the Internet, we have on-site networking services to add that device to your existing home network, or setup a new one to allow your Blu-ray player and other devices to share access to all the Internet has to offer.
If you have questions, contact your local Geek Squad for answers.
The idea of living room convergence, where multiple technologies come together in the comfort of one room, used to be an often mentioned dream of technology innovators who wanted to accomplish the tasks performed by TVs, VCRs, computers, telephones and more via a single box that could live on a shelf in your house.
The use of the term died out at CES over the years, but recently we’ve begun to see the dream become reality. Last year saw the rise of Netflix streaming movies coming via the Internet to XBox 360s, PS3 and Internet-enabled Blu-ray players. This year, it arrives in the form of HDTVs with built-in app stores that can run games, get weather updates or stream movies directly from multiple network sources.
One of the apps that I saw that I think will make a huge change over time was the Skype app on a few Panasonic and LG HDTVs shown at CES. The technology that allows video conferencing using a webcam and Internet connection isn’t new, but the ease at which it can be performed with an app built into the TV will make adoption and use explode. Could Skype-enabled HDTVs kill home telephone lines more so than mobile phones have?
Another example of convergence is the ease at which Blue Label 2.0 laptops from Toshiba, Dell and Sony can connect wirelessly to an HDTV using Intel’s new Wireless Display technology. A Netgear HDMI wireless receiver connects to the HDMI port on your TV, and setup consists of a clicks on the laptop. Computing from the couch will be easier than ever.
So what’s the future of convergence? Well, check out the video predictions of the Geek Squad Chief Inspector for our guess. Hint: It may involve bionic eyes.
The New Year brings with it new things to be excited about, like new friends to meet, new places to visit, new experiences to have, and new goals to reach. For a Geek Squad Agent like me, it also means new technology. And in January, there’s no better place to see that new technology than the International Consumer Electronics Show.
As luck would have it, I’ve been drafted to attend this year’s show. So, as we begin a brand new decade and as I begin packing my bags for Las Vegas, here are some of the technology categories I’m excited about seeing on the conference floor.
2009 marked the year when eBook readers reached enough critical mass to go mainstream, and this was proven true throughout the holiday season. Barnes and Noble couldn’t ship their new Nook reader quick enough to meet demand, while Amazon reported that eBook sales outpaced printed book sales in December.
However, the race is far from over in 2010, as several companies that announced upcoming entries in this growing eBook market last year are likely to be showing off their new readers at CES. I’m really looking forward to seeing how each of the different brands push the technology in ways to separate themselves from the pack.
As an avid reader, I’m also excited by the possibilities of how eBook readers can impact the current print market, possibly making expensive or hard-to-find books cheap and easily available to everyone. I’m also hopeful that eBooks may be the next evolution of our local newspapers, allowing them to continue without the high cost of ink and paper.
Last year was also the year that smartphones became more than just a convenient way for business people to get their work email. The market practically exploded with new entries and platforms, and it only seems to be accelerating as 2010 begins.
As smartphones become more common for so many different types of users, so too do the apps they run. It’s amazing how often I find myself using my own smartphone as a portable computer, with web browser, high speed Internet, word processor, GPS and gaming software wrapped in a package small enough that I can toss it in my pocket while on the go.
I expect to see not only a large number of upcoming phones at the show, but also a huge growth in the number of accessories that allow you to use those smartphones in new and creative ways: like health sensors to aid in getting the most out of your exercise routine, or car audio interfaces to make use of that built-in wireless Internet connectivity.
I have to admit, I’m a little skeptical about this category, if only because it sounds almost too good to be true. 3D television sounds more like a science fiction fantasy along the lines of flying cars and weekend trips to the moon. But while the other two aren’t quite ready yet, we may actually get to see 3D HDTVs in our living rooms in 2010.
I’ve heard some really good reviews from others that have seen examples of the technology, so I’m pretty excited to see how well the current hardware works. It may sound like hyperbole, but 3D could really be as big as the leap from black and white to color TV if it works well.
The Real World of the Living Room
As much as the technology geek inside me can’t wait to see all the amazing engineering on display on the CES show floor, as a Geek Squad Agent who goes into the homes of clients every day to set up the technology they’ve purchased, I’m especially excited about getting a look at products that will actually make it into living rooms this year.
I know that it’s not always the most technologically advanced products that make their way into the homes of consumers, but rather the technology that those consumers connect with in ways that make their lives better. It’s the technology that makes you go “wow” that ends up on your shopping list, and I’m hoping to see what electronics in this year’s show stand out when looking at it through that lens.
I can’t wait to see the future of “wow” at CES 2010.
In this 2 Minute Miracle video Geek Squad Agents Wesley Gray and Franklyn Luna discuss ways to hook up an outdoor home theater system.
In this Two Minute Miracles video Geek Squad Agents Lee Weisbecker and Mike Nelson explain different ways you can connect your home theater components, such as a Blu-Ray player, to the internet.
Like millions of other Americans who have braved the extreme winter weather so far this season, I have come to appreciate doing a bit of preparation before heading out to brave the elements in my Geekmobile. A collapsible snow shovel, de-icer, scraper and portable battery charger fill my backseat, all so I can see the look of amazement on a client’s face when I make it to their appointment to fix their unruly technology.
Of course, there’s some winter preparation you can do on your own to protect your technology from winter’s adverse effects. One of the biggest issues I see on the road involves brief power outages as wind and snow hit power lines. If you have ever encountered this when the weather is bad, consider purchasing an
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS, sometimes called a battery back-up) to protect your computer and home theater devices.
The winds may also affect your Internet broadband speeds. If your Internet service seems slower than normal, first try running a Broadband Speed Test to confirm. Then use that information to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
And probably the easiest tip: keep your portable electronics out of the elements and in a room temperature environment as much as possible. Don’t leave your iPod or laptop in your cold car overnight. And when you do go out in the cold with your electronics, make sure you keep them safe and dry. If you do happen to drop your cell phone in the snow, Agents Matt Dworkin and Carmen Perez have some video tips on rescuing that snow-covered device.
Agent Agents Android anti-virus Apple CES computer Dancing With the Stars DIY DIY (Do It Yourself) projects do-it-yourself facebook Geek Squad Global Positioning System Google GPS HDTV Holiday Home Theater how-to internet iPhone Laptop laptops malware Microsoft netbooks PC Security skype Smartphone Spyware Tablet Technology tech savvy gifts tips travel twitter Two Minute Miracle Update Video WiFi Windows 7 Windows XP wireless networking