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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nintendo DS on Your Home TV?

[caption id="attachment_759" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Nintendo DS, courtesy Nintendo.com "]Nintendo DS[/caption]

Some of you may have received a new Nintendo DS handheld gaming device for Christmas this year, and though you’re probably already in tune with whatever game or games you got with it, you may be wondering if it has any other unique capabilities.

One of its features is that people can watch recorded TV shows and movies on the Nintendo DS by placing them on a MicroSD card and loading the card into a M3 DS Simply adapter. After a quick software setup on the Nintendo DS, you’ll be watching your favorite movies in astoundingly great quality in no time. Anytime you’re ready for a different movie or show, just pop it on your MicroSD card and back into your adapter and viola!

While this is great for portability and convenience, many Nintendo DS owners wonder if they can save their eyesight by playing their favorite DS games on their home TV by connecting the two devices. And while there is no “official” way to do so, some have had success by sliding a screen adapter over the DS and connecting RCA cables between the adapter and “Video In” port on the TV. The screen adapter essentially mirrors what it sees on the DS screen and projects it into the TV. A word of caution, however, is that if you don’t place the screen adapter on correctly, it could skew the image you see on the TV.

Other DS users claim success by modifying their units beyond manufacturing guidelines, but this is not recommended. Some speculate that the future of the DS will include ways of linking it to one’s TV via Wi-Fi, but Nintendo has not released any official word to this effect yet. But wouldn’t it be nice to sit back on your couch or in your bed, push a button to have your TV raise quietly out of your TV lift cabinet and then start up your favorite Nintendo DS game? Perhaps that day is not too far away.

Product Focus: Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet

[caption id="attachment_754" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet"]Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet[/caption]

The Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet from ImportAdvantage is a larger representation of the Moderna TV Lift Cabinet, but both excel at blending modern design with sleek architectural forms. Part of its versatility, customers who purchase the Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet can customize it with either cosmopolitan brushed satin, nickel-finished pulls or traditionally styled knobs.

As it’s finished on all four sides (five, including the top), the Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet is perfectly suited for the center of any room, including bedrooms, or for small spaces or at the foot of the bed.

The “XL” in Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet means it can house a flat-screen TV up to 53” wide and weighing up to 130 pounds. Pre-fitted with the Uplift 3700 TV lift mechanisms, raising and lowering your TV is a silent snap. Two media drawers at the bottom of the TV lift cabinet will hold your DVD player, cable box or any other box up to 24” wide, 13” deep and 4” high.

The Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet is hand-built from solid alder and rich cathedral cherry veneer. It is available in a warm caramel or deep espresso finish. Stately and modern, the Moderna XL TV Lift Cabinet is a pop-up TV cabinet that will impress you every time you see it. Take a moment to check it out today!

Should You Put Your Plasma TV Above a Fireplace?

A new plasma flat-screen TV in the family room can make your home warm and inviting, as if it were its own central fireplace. In fact, traditional home design often makes a fireplace the center point of the main living area, so what do you do when you also want to make your new plasma TV (where everyone gathers to watch movies and television) the focal point of the house? Can you hang a plasma flat-screen TV over your fireplace? Merging the two may take some work, but there are ways to solve this dilemma. Read on to find out more.

If you’re set on hanging your new plasma TV over your hearth, you’ll want to tape a thermometer against the wall where you envision your TV and start a roaring fire. If the thermometer reading reaches 90 degrees or higher, it’s going to be too hot to hang your TV there. And although your TV comes equipped with its own cooling system, burdening it with an outside heat source will cause it to overload very quickly.

If you have a substantial mantel and think your TV will be fine if placed above it (using the mantel as a shield from heat escaping through the front of the fireplace), think again. Heat can also transfer through the chimney and overheat your TV from behind, so don’t forgo the thermometer test.

This might seem too obvious, but do you have an electrical outlet near your fireplace and do you have space for your media players? If you don’t have an existing electrical outlet in place, you can expect to pay an electrician about $200 to set one up. And the heat sensitivity of media players is at least the same as your plasma TV, but always check your manufacturer’s guide to be sure.

Are you sure you even want it above the fireplace? Sometimes this could place the TV too high for a pleasurable viewing angle, causing neck strain and fatigue. Keep in mind the extra height of the TV before drilling into your walls. And speaking of walls, many fireplaces are made of stone, so you’ll have to be sure your mounting hardware will be suitable for masonry.

Is this sounding like a lot of work? It is. But there is a simpler option to consider. ImportAdvantage offers two different electric fireplace / TV lift cabinets to choose from – the Remington or the Soho. Both are unique in that they combine a beautiful and warming electric fireplace with a heavy duty TV lift. Your TV and media players are completely protected by a firebox when stored or when on display. In fact, this may be the simplest option of all to protect your new plasma flat-screen TV. Check it out today!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Got Company for the Holidays? Share Your TV Lift Cabinet

Is the house feeling a little crowded with new gifts and loved ones? Why not gather everyone around your new (or existing) TV lift cabinet and enjoy each other’s company while enjoying a good movie. TV lift cabinets bring your TV to new heights with their pre-installed, heavy duty TV lift mechanisms, which also raises your TV to greater heights than a traditional entertainment center or TV stand. This makes your TV more viewable in any room (Tip: for the greatest viewing angle, consider a plasma flat-screen TV over an LCD TV).

If you’re really wanting impress your guests, there’s nothing better during the holidays than an ImportAdvantage Remington (Electric Fireplace) TV Lift Cabinet, which features a built-in 33” electric fireplace controlled by a dimmer switch. Your TV is completely protected from the fireplace by a firebox.

As your guests get ready to depart, you’ll want to leave a lasting impression on your loved ones, and the sight of a flat-screen TV rising quietly out of a beautifully crafted TV lift cabinet will certainly make for a memorable experience lasting through the New Year and beyond.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Go Blu-ray, Reviews for Top Sellers

Since the inception of Blu-ray technology, which was designed to supersede the DVD format, Blu-ray players have hot sellers in 2010. With the capability of holding 50 GB of data per disc, six times more than a standard DVD, Blu-ray movies set themselves apart by having countless extras and behind-the-scenes commentaries. By June of 2009, there were more than 2,500 Blu-ray movie titles available for purchase in the United States and Canada. And there will be many more to come, especially since their 1080p resolution and deeply rich colors put DVDs to shame.

Now that Christmas has passed, you may find yourself the new owner of a Blu-ray media player for your TV lift cabinet, or find yourself standing in line to return your DVD player for a Blu-ray player. In any case, you’ll want to know which Blu-ray players have earned their places at the top of the list for 2010. So here they are!

The Samsung BD-C6900 is chocked full of performance and comes with a terrific value. It also has the versatility to include a 3D player function (if you pay for it). Also nice is the option to stream Netflix, Vudu, YouTube and Pandora direct through your TV and the built-in Wi-Fi. This unit also comes standard with 1 GB onboard storage. The downside, however, to many Samsung Blu-ray players is that some users have experienced long-term reliability issues with their units.

For the most “bang” for your buck, you can purchase the Sony PlayStation 3 Slim (160 GB) and have it play Blu-ray discs in between games. The upside is its spacious hard drive, quiet operation and built-in Web browser. The flip side is that there is no infrared port so non-Bluetooth universal remotes are useless.

The Oppo BDP-83 is a universal disc player that can handle Blu-ray, DVD, SACD, DVD-Audio and CDs. Although a bit pricey and without Wi-Fi for BD-Live features or streaming, it can save you lots of space in your TV lift cabinet by replacing about three different media players.

Last but not least, the LG BD590 Blu-ray player does a lot of neat things. It can burn CDs directly into a 250 GB hard drive, stream Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora and CinemaNow, offers Wi-Fi, plays media directly off a USB drive and, of course, plays Blu-ray movies with excellent quality. Its downside is that it can be slow to operate and does not support 3D Blu-ray.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Creatures of Comfort: Choose the Right 3D Viewing Glasses

[caption id="attachment_737" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sony TDGBR100B, courtesy Sonystyle.com"]Sony TDGBR100B[/caption]

First, everyone at ImportAdvantage would like to wish you happy holidays and a Merry Christmas!

3D TVs are more than a trend; they reflect a substantial shift in television and movie-making technology and an opportunity for new investments in the home theater experience. 3D TVs have been flying off the showroom floors during this 2010 holiday shopping season, just in time for the 30+ 3D movies coming out during the next two years. And with 3D-capable Blu-ray players becoming more readily available and dropping in price, many families will be enjoying more 3D movies in 2011 on TVs popping out of their TV lift cabinet.

The one caveat, however, is that 3D TV- and movie-viewing requires the use of 3D glasses, and with any profitable business model, television manufacturers have found a way to make their 3D TVs specialized to their own brand of 3D glasses. So a Sony 3D TV requires Sony 3D glasses, and a VIZIO 3D TV requires a pair of VIZIO 3D glasses. Where this seems to cause the greatest inconvenience among 3D TV owners is that it limits the number of watchers to the number of 3D glasses one owns, and it may mean that you can’t go over to a buddy’s house to watch Monday Night Football in 3D if you don’t have his TV brand’s glasses. This may change (and has already begun to thanks to “universal” 3D glasses being produced by companies like XpanD and Monster) since the Consumer Electronics Association, an industry group, is still finalizing standards for the emitters in 3D TVs.

With that said, another important factor in promoting 3D-watching is finding the right pair of 3D glasses that are comfortable to wear for two or more hours in one sitting. Before listing a few of the front-runners, it should be known that anybody who wears prescription glasses for TV-viewing may have more difficulty finding the right pair of 3D glasses, and it is highly recommended that you try on several pairs before purchasing.

From Sony, the TDG-BR100/B is a pair that allows viewing on Sony 3D TVs from a wide viewing angle, perfect for those with large entertainment rooms. Also, its battery life is up to 100 hours before needing replacement batteries, so about 20 movies worth.

From VIZIO, the XPG201 Theater 3D Glasses are battery-free and compatible with RealD 3D movie theaters, so you can bring your own to watch the re-release of the Star Wars trilogy.

Lastly, Samsung’s SSG-2100AB 3D Active Glasses are battery-powered features a “staggering” effect, blocking the left lens, then the right lens, which achieves a far more lifelike 3D effect. They are also sleekly-designed and fairly light, which adds to their comfort.

Do you already own a pair of 3D glasses? Please leave your own review here for others to read!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Product Focus: Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet

[caption id="attachment_733" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet"]Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet[/caption]

Bring home the beauty of fine Ash hardwood with the Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet, a flat-panel pop-up TV cabinet that offers ample storage for keepsakes and media players while adding a touch of class with its glass doors (with the option of interchanging with wood panels).

The Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet is part of the new line of TV lift cabinets available at ImportAdvantage.com. It is finished with a beautiful patina on top of richly colored hardwood. The TV lift can house a TV weighing up to 80 pounds and measuring between 32” – 55” wide. Six spacious drawers are mounted on premium, heavy-duty ball bearing drawer glides.

The Ash wood used in the Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet was selected because of its unique properties, including one of the best strength-to-weight ratios and extremely straight grains. And with all the hardwoods that ImportAdvantage selects for its TV lift cabinets, the Ash wood Carlyle TV Lift Cabinet blends beauty, functionality and a unique design.

Find out for yourself why this TV lift cabinet is now an integral part of the ImportAdvantage line of pop-up TV cabinets and why its owners recommend it to their friends.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Strength of the TV Lift: How Far Can it Go?

[caption id="attachment_729" align="alignright" width="275" caption="TV Lift Mechanism ImportAdvantage"]TV Lift Mechanism ImportAdvantage[/caption]

Owning a TV lift cabinet, either a custom-built one or a handcrafted model from ImportAdvantage, is a statement of fine taste, convenience and durability. With the touch of a button, a TV lift can quietly raise or lower your flat-screen TV in less than 40 seconds. But do you know how strong your TV lift is and what size TV it can hold? Whether you already own one or are considering purchasing a TV lift, read over this run-down of how far a TV lift mechanism can go.

Available in five different models, the ImportAdvantage Uplift series of TV lifts, can accommodate a wide range of TV weights and sizes, which means you can shop for the right one to fit your needs. Why spend more money for features you don’t need? All Uplift mechanisms feature a universal TV mounting bracket, so you’ll know that your TV will install easily without needing a bunch of additional, specialized equipment.

Constructed with a rack and pinion lift system, the same technology trains use to climb steep inclines while carrying heavy loads, the TV lift will likely outlast your TV.

For smaller flat-screen TVs, the Uplift 2700 will house a TV weighing up to 130 pounds ranging from 32” – 36”, and its travel distance is 22.5”. It will also raise your TV in 23 seconds.

Moving up, the Uplift 3250 will hold a TV between 32” – 46” wide and weighing up to 130 pounds. It can travel 28” in only 30 seconds.

The ImportAdvantage Uplift 3500 can accommodate TVs between 32” – 50”, also weighing up to 130 pounds. Its 30.5” travel distance is reached in 35 seconds.

The Uplift 3700 will hold a TV up to 52” wide and weighing up to 130 pounds. It covers nearly 33” of travel distance in 37 seconds.

For the largest flat-screen TVs, the Uplift 3875 can quietly move a 60” TV weighing up to 150 pounds in 39 seconds, traveling nearly 35” up or down.

ImportAdvantage offers numerous models of their Uplift systems so you can enjoy TV lift technology no matter what TV, or TV lift cabinet, you own. All models have proven to yield years of solid, reliable performance at an unbeatable price. With ImportAdvantage, the customer buys direct from the manufacturer, and the result is significant savings! In fact, customers can save as much as 62% off their next TV lift when buying direct from the factory at ImportAdvantage.com. Don’t wait, save today!

The Best in 42” Plasma Televisions for 2010

Buying a new plasma flat-screen TV is a significant investment, and everyone wants to make the right choice. Perhaps you’re shopping for a new plasma TV to go inside a new TV lift cabinet, so you want one that will be just as feature-packed and reliable. You also want one that will fit on your TV lift. Below is a list of the best 42” plasma TVs available on the market today, just in time for last-minute Christmas gifts. And all these TVs will fit on an Uplift TV lift mechanism (excluding the Uplift 2700).

Based on price, quality and value, these 42” plasma TVs are sure to please both the eye and the wallet. At the top of the list is Panasonic’s TC-P42S2. This stellar Viera plasma screen features the new NEO plasma display panel with improved blacks and a contrast ratio of 40,000:1. It even has a special gaming mode to handle the latest graphics in today’s top games! All this for under $700.

The Panasonic TC-P42C2 is a budget-priced plasma TV in the C2 series, which focuses on using a 720p resolution panel that still offers great contrast and a stunning display, but for much less money. This model can generally be found for under $500.

Another great model is the LG 42PJ350, which features a slim 2” case and an Intelligent Sensor, which adjusts the brightness of the display to match the brightness and color temperature of the room’s lighting. These TVs, too, can be found for less than $500.

Check these TVs out today and let us know what you think!

The Pros and Cons of TV Technologies: LCD, DLP, CRT and Plasma

Since the first sparks of TV invention and electrons occurred in Philo T. Farnsworth’s Hollywood apartment back in 1927, the television has undergone space-age advancements in technology. Gone are the days of black-and-white screens, rabbit ears and, most recently, analog TV signals. Today, most households are watching TV on one of four television sets: LCD, DLP, CRT or Plasma, and each one offers its own set of pros and cons.

Although plasma screens were first developed back in 1964, it wasn’t until the 21st century came around that their popularity increased and their cost decreased. The plasma TV has earned the title as the world’s first flat-screen TV available to the public, and this has given these TVs an edge in the market. In fact, most plasma televisions sets are 4” or thinner, which makes them ideal for a TV lift cabinet. It was Pioneer that made the first flat-screen for the public audience. And consumers continue to choose plasma TVs because they can display fast action unlike any other television, which is a must for HD sports and action films. They don’t “ghost” images and offer the most vivid colors and deepest blacks. However, they use more energy than an LCD screen and are subject to “burn-in” if a still image is left on the screen for too long. They are also very heavy and fragile, making them difficult to move and install.

LCD TVs are rising in popularity because they are becoming thinner, in relation to plasma screens, and yet bigger in screen size. LCD TVs started as a technology for wristwatches and calculators, but their usefulness in the TV market is still being uncovered. LCD TVs have no risk of burn-in and are light, making mounting on a pop-up TV cabinet a breeze. However, they tend to be more expensive, have a narrow viewing angle and a lower contrast ratio than plasma screens.

DLP TVs were first developed in 1987 by Texas Instruments, but they never received the attention that LCD screens and plasma TVs have achieved. DLP screens use electronic chips that direct tiny mirrors to display images. They measure in thickness somewhere between a flat-panel and traditional TV, but they are more cost-effective than a flat-screen and have no risk of burn-in. They can also last over 80,000 hours. However, sometimes these sets produce a rainbow viewing effect and cannot be mounted on a wall.

CRT televisions have long been the “standard” in TVs. Their technology first existed in the late 1700s, and today nearly every household has at least one CRT TV. They are extremely reliable, but their only downfall is their size. They take up precious floor space and are very heavy. A 34-inch CRT can weigh as much as 200 pounds! And they are certainly not suitable for a TV lift cabinet or wall-mounting.

It’s clear that TVs have come a long way in 90 years, but even clearer is that they have no intention in slowing down in terms of technological advancements.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Samsung TV Apps Reach One Million Downloads

[caption id="attachment_714" align="alignright" width="427" caption="Samsung Apps, courtesy Samsung"]Samsung Apps[/caption]

In early December, Samsung hit a remarkable milestone with its apps marketplace on its HDTVs. Since they became available to consumers in March 2010, one million applications have been downloaded. And while there are not nearly the number of apps available as there are for the iPhone (134k+) or Android (100k+), reaching one million downloads for only 200 available Samsung apps means that sales are strong of Samsung HDTVs and that users are liking what they find.

According to Samsung, the most frequently downloaded apps include Hulu Plus, ESPN Next Level, CinemaNow and Texas Holdem. Other popular apps include MLB.TV, Vudu and Netflix. More than half of Samsung’s 2010 line of HDTVs are app-capable, and company resources say they expect more than 6.5 million app-capable units be sold before the end of the year. And by 2012 that number could grow to 20 million.

Samsung’s major competitor in the smart TV market is Vizio, which also offers its own line of app-capable TVs and line of apps. Vizio is the leader in LCD TVs, holding 19.9 percent of the market by the end of the third quarter. Samsung, however, is a close second, controlling 17.7 percent market share. However, Samsung is really growing in terms of number of TV units sold in the U.S. because its line of plasma TVs are doing so well. Samsung plasma TVs represent 19.3 percent market share, which beats out Vizio’s 17 percent market share.

While these two companies continue to battle it out in percentage points, it can only mean one thing for consumers – good deals on TVs getting better. And app producers will only be creating more enticing and useful apps for both manufacturers.

No matter which TV manufacturer you choose to side with, Samsung or Vizio, your LCD TV or plasma TV will look amazing in an ImportAdvantage TV lift cabinet, which is the “smartest” piece of home furniture to ever house a smart TV. Imagine, with the touch of a button your TV will quietly rise from a handcrafted TV lift cabinet and be ready to download and install all the latest apps on the market.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Product Focus: Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet

[caption id="attachment_710" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet"]Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet[/caption]

Not your traditional TV entertainment center or your traditional cabinet, one ImportAdvantage’s newest TV lift cabinets, the Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet, is a perfect reproduction of an antique luggage trunk use by ocean and rail voyagers of the past.

Hand-constructed of wood and hand-cut wicker matting, the Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet features ornate leather accents on the handles and cabinet perimeters, fitted by hundreds of antique nail heads and finished with a distressed patina, and since it is finished on all four sides it can be used at the foot of the bed, against any wall in your home or as a free-standing centerpiece.

The Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet will house most TVs between 32” and 47” and the heavy-duty rack and pinion TV lift comes pre-installed. Attaching your TV to the TV lift takes only minutes!

The pop-up TV cabinet also comes with three power outlets for a TV and two pieces of AV equipment, which fit snugly and a safely under the TV on their own media trays.

The Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet is truly a unique work of art, as no two are identical and each one is individually crafted. Whether you’re placing it in a beach house, mountain cabin or urban living room, the Bermuda Run TV Lift Cabinet will always be a treasured home furnishing that you and your guests will adore.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are Some Flat-Screen TVs More Fragile than Others?

Just got a new flat-screen TV, or thinking about getting one, and want to protect your investment? Do you know how fragile the screen is? Well, the answer is that it depends on what kind of television you have.

In the world of flat-screen TVs, LCD and plasma sets are the two types currently being produced (and either will fit into a TV lift cabinet). But as far as fragility is concerned, one is definitely more fragile than the other. Plasma TVs are much heavier than LCD TVs, primarily due to the extra glass screen and components, and this heaviness contributes to it being more fragile than an LCD. However, a heavier TV could also make it harder to tip over.

LCD TVs, being lighter, means they can also be made thinner than a plasma screen, and many LCD TVs are commercially available as thin as 2” thick. A thin Plasma TV is about 3” thick.

While a discussion of fragility and TVs does little good if you’re planning on mounting and storing your TV in a TV lift cabinet, especially since the TV is attached directly to the TV lift and is virtually impossible to tip over. Also, the smooth rack and pinion lift system that is standard in the Uplift TV lifts means the mounted TV experiences no shaking or rattling when it’s lifted out of and lowered into a pop-up TV cabinet.

However, the main reason you should be aware of how fragile your flat-screen TV might be is to know that if you order your TV online and have it shipped, you may experience some increased costs getting a plasma TV to your home. In most cases, it’s recommended to have it shipped overnight. Also, if you buy a plasma screen at a local store, you should prepare to get your new investment home as quickly and smoothly as possible. Even one pothole could damage your plasma set. The plasma TV screen is really two glass screens with a layer of light-producing cells between them that react to an electrical charge, and any damage to either glass screen or the cells will make your TV useless.

So while it doesn’t matter how fragile your TV is if you keep it in a TV lift cabinet, you should use caution when purchasing and mounting your TV in your home.

Monday, December 13, 2010

TV Lifts Offer the Highest Value in Home Furnishings

The TV lift cabinet is now being regarded by many as an important development in home furnishing. As more homeowners are becoming design-savvy and want their homes to be the “best on the block,” many are turning to the value they find in TV lifts.

TV lift cabinets represent the growing trend in home technologies. As so many TV manufacturers are rushing to produce the sleekest, thinnest and smartest flat-screens in the world, the TV lift cabinet is becoming the number one choice for displaying the technological investments. Sure, you can impress your guests by turning on a 3D movie, but imagine their surprise when first your TV rises from nowhere with the touch of a button.

The real reason the TV lift cabinet is a true value for your home, however, is that we all look for things that can do more than one task at a time. And if you can save space in your home by having a cabinet that can hide away your TV, media players and yet display several of your keepsakes or books, you have a more space-conscious piece of furniture than a bulky entertainment center which stretches from ceiling to floor.

So consider bringing a new, handcrafted TV lift cabinet in your home today and see how much space you save with this value-packed piece of fine furniture.

See the Light: Which TV Works Best for Bright Rooms

If you are shopping for a new TV this holiday season, especially a flat-screen to fit in your TV lift cabinet, and you have a naturally bright living area or den, it is important to know which kind of television works best for rooms with lots of light.

Between LCD TVs and Plasma screens, both will provide outstanding picture quality and major advances in technology, such as app-capable systems and 3D-viewing. However, each TV will give you entirely different results based on their environment and viewing angle.

If you plan on viewing your TV from an angle, an LCD screen is not the right choice, as the LCD screen uses backlight and pixels, which open and close like a shutter. The further you move to the side of this “shutter” the greater the variations in picture brightness across the screen.

Plasma screens are self-lighting, which means they contain two transparent glass panels with a thin layer of pixels between them. Each pixel contains three gas-filled cells – one for red, green and blue colors – and a grid applies an electric current to each cell causing them to ionize. This ionized gas (plasma) emits UV rays that glow in the desired color. And this translates into a screen that can be viewed from nearly any angle since there is no “shutter” effect, and it makes the plasma screen better suited for displaying dark colors in dark rooms.

LCD TV screen are much brighter, in general, and therefore better suited to brighter rooms. Additionally, they have less reflective screens than plasma TVs, which means less chance of reflecting the light from a lamp or window. As a viewer in a bright room, our pupils are smaller than they would be in a dark room, limiting our ability to discern finer shades of light. It’s why we can see a lit candle much better in a dark room than if it was outside at midday.

Another bonus to LCD screens is that they consume much less energy than plasma screens. This can be a benefit for anyone who prefers to minimize the use of overhead lights and lamps for the purpose of saving energy and instead open windows and draw back curtains to maximize natural light.

So as you shop around for your next TV, it is certainly worth understanding how much ambient light will be present in your viewing room. You wouldn’t want to invest in the latest and greatest TV and not be able to see it well at home.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trendy TVs for Your Holiday Wishlist

Do you consider yourself a “trendy” TV-owner? Do you get a couple goose-bumps every time you raise your flat screen TV out of your TV lift cabinet? Are you also either planning to upgrade your TV or give one as a gift this holiday season? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, check out this list of the Top 5 Trendy TVS for 2010!

Before we launch right into the list, you should have a basic understanding of what makes a TV worth its weight in pixels. As you know, TVs range in price and quality, and if you don’t know what all those numbers and refresh rates mean on the sticker, you might get more than you need or, worse, not enough bang for your buck.

So let’s start with contrast ratios. Especially for larger TVs, resolution is highly important. The contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest and brightest colors the TV can display. It’s important that this number be very high. Good televisions offer at least a 6,000:1 contrast ratio.

Another important factor for buying a good, trendy TV is resolution. The resolution is measured in the number of pixels that can appear on your screen at one time. If you have a lot of pixels, the image will appear much clearer. Additionally, some TVs may use interlacing to display images; while others use a progressive scan. It’s important to know the difference.

Another important component of a quality television is its refresh rate, which is the number of times the TV reconstructs the image on the screen each second. If you have a low refresh rate, your TV will have trouble displaying fast-moving images (think of all action sequences in blockbuster films!). This measurement is in hertz, and most HDTVs have a refresh rate of 60 hertz, but some go even higher. High is good.

So let’s get to the list:

5. Westinghouse TX-52F480S – Offered as Westinghouse’s largest LCD HDTV, it is also highly adjustable in terms of sound and image quality. Also, if you want to save energy, it can be set to a standby mode, consuming only about watt of power.

4. Pioneer PRO-151FD – This 60-inch flat-panel is one of Pioneer’s finest achievements. It has a terrific contrast ration and a 72 hertz refresh rate! Its coolest feature is an Optimum Mode setting, meaning it can automatically adjust the quality of the picture based on ambient light and temperature.

3. Mitsubishi Laservue L65A90 – First launched in 2008, Laservue technology uses rear-projected lasers as its light source, and its effect produces twice the color as any competing HDTV. It also boasts a 120 hertz refresh rate.

2. Sony 70-inch BRAVIA XBR LCD Flat Panel HDTV – If you want a true theater experience, this massive beauty allows you watch films at 24 frames per second (the standard speed for film). It also features a 1080p resolution and a 120 hertz refresh rate.

1. Pioneer’s 9-millimeter Thick Television – A 50-inch flat-panel screen that measures only .9” thick! It may not even be available to everyone, but it is truly a feat in trendy TV technology.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Product Focus: Antiquity TV Lift Cabinet

[caption id="attachment_692" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Antiquity TV Lift Cabinet"]Antiquity TV Lift Cabinet[/caption]

One of ImportAdvantage’s newest TV lift cabinet designs, the Antiquity TV Lift Cabinet is an ornately crafted cabinet built with a wood console covered in hand-cut distressed leather and finished with hundreds of individual hand-hammered antique nail heads. The result is an accurate throwback to antique steamer trunks used by the wealthy to travel around the globe.

The versatility of this finished-on-four-sides TV lift cabinet makes it perfectly suited for the foot of the bed, against a wall or standing alone in the middle of a room. The corners of this unique pop-up TV cabinet are precisely-stitched thick leather with horizontal oak slats complementing custom-made cast-metal antiqued hardware fittings.

The Antiquity TV Lift Cabinet can house most TVs between 32” and 47” and weighing up to 80 pounds. The electronics tray holds two media players directly under the TV. The pre-installed rank and pinion TV lift will raise and lower your TV and devices in near silence with the touch of a button.

All you need for this handcrafted, scratch-resistant TV lift cabinet is a standard wall outlet and the desire to add a true hallmark of craftsmanship to your home. No two cabinets will be the same, as each trunk is uniquely handmade for each order. Check out the Antiquity TV Lift Cabinet today!

How Remote Controls Work

No one can deny the convenience of a television remote control these days. And now they seem to be able to do most anything – from changing channels to initiating recordings. But what is the technology behind these little devices that make them magically bring up the TV guide or raise and lower your flat screen television in your TV lift cabinet?

Remote controls were first used in WWI by German naval vessels to direct them into Allied boats. Then in WWII, remote controls were used for detonating bombs. Now over sixty years later, remote controls have a much more peaceful use.

For at-home use, most remote controls are powered by infrared (IR) technology. Infrared light is also referred to as “heat,” and remote controls rely on the use of light to carry its signal from the control to the device it directs. On the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared light falls on the invisible portion, between “visible” and “microwave.”

The signal sent out by the remote control is in binary code; that’s how the media player or TV knows whether you are telling it to turn up the volume or switch the channel to your favorite show. Binary codes are built by ones and zeroes, and they leave the remote control via transmitting LEDs. They are received by the media device or TV’s microprocessor. However, if you own a TV lift cabinet, the remote control’s signal is first captured and resent to the media player through the Infrared Relay System, standard on all ImportAdvantage’s pop-up TV cabinets.

Different TV manufacturers use slightly different binary codes for basic functioning, and this is why universal remote controls have to be “programmed” to your specific TV brand before they work. An example binary code for a Sony TV to make the channel go up is “001 0000”.

Even though infrared remote controls have been the industry standard for the last 25 years, they are limited by their range, first and foremost, which is only about 30 feet. While it is not necessary to “aim” your remote control directly at your device, you do have to point the LEDs on the remote control in the general vicinity of your media player or TV in order to get the signal across. If you are in a highly sunlit room, it could cause some interference with your remote’s signal.

To advance the technology behind remote controls for home theater use, some niche manufacturers are moving toward radio frequency (RF) remote controls, which are what directs a home garage door opener. The major advantage of a RF remote signal is that the exact signal for the function you powering (channel up, channel down, etc.) is emitted directly from the remote, so there is no need to point an LED to a microprocessor. However, the downside is that there are a lot of competing RF signals around the home (cell phone, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, etc.). But their range goes as far as 100 feet.

So hopefully you now have a deeper appreciation for your remote control; we just can’t help you find it between the couch cushions!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Does Closed Captioning Work?

Whether the acoustics in your room are not top-notch, or you suffer from a hearing-impairment, closed captioning is a helpful tool that aids in the enjoyment of movies and television. But do you know how it works? Does it come through your television, antenna, satellite dish or cable box? If you have a TV lift cabinet, do you have to do any additional wiring or keep your media players in view to keep your closed captioning abilities? Here are the answers.

The ability for closed captioning is already embedded in the signal sent directly to your television, so every show, television movie and commercial comes with the possibility of closed captioning. In order for you to be able to read it, though, it has to be decoded, and that is done by your TV.

Since 1993, every television manufactured that measures over 13 inches must have a built-in decoder, per the Television Decoder Circuitry Act. The information for closed captioning is hidden in the “line 21 data” of your television signal, which is an invisible vertical line near the bottom of your TV screen.

When you turn closed captioning (CC) on, via your television, the decoder translates the hidden information into text. You may experience a delay in the translation of your captioning if the show is live, as the information is being captioned in real time and sent out with the signal, but prerecorded shows and most commercials will not experience a delay.

If you are watching a movie on a DVD or Blu-ray player, however, the only way to decode the disc is through your media player, not your television set.

So placing your TV in a TV lift cabinet will have no effect on your ability to use closed captioning, and no additional wiring or special TV placement are needed to receive this embedded information.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Amazon.com Seeking Movies and Screenplays for Amazon Studios

In mid-November, Amazon.com debuted Amazon Studios with the intent of soliciting screenplays from its users which (hopefully) will be produced into feature-length films with Warner Bros. Pictures. This means that novice and beginning screenwriters and filmmakers hoping to land that big contract may have a chance at making their dreams come true. It also means that winners can one day watch their hit movies on a TV screen that pops up from a TV lift cabinet from ImportAdvantage!

Already Amazon Studios has received more than a thousand scripts, and in honor of this milestone Amazon Studios announced a bonus contest, awarding $20,000 to each of the two best scripts uploaded by December 31, 2010. This bonus contest is in addition to the planned $1.1 million in awards Amazon Studios will give away in 2011, including $1 million for Best Movie and $100,000 for Best Script.

Submissions are being accepted in two formats: scripts and test movies. Full-length test movie entries must be at least 70 minutes in length, but not longer than 180 minutes, and screenplays must be between 85 and 160 pages. Should Amazon Studios help produce a film from a screenplay or test movie submission, the writer or filmmaker will receive a rights payment of $200,000, and if the produced film grosses more than $60 million at the U.S. box office, the original writer/filmmaker will receive a $400,000 bonus. And though Warner Bros. Pictures will get a first-look deal for any winning submissions, Amazon Studios may produce a film on its own or with another studio if Warner Bros. Pictures is not inclined to develop a particular project.

Merit for a particular project is gained through user feedback, public input, commercial viability, guest judges and Amazon Studios industry panelists, which include notable screenwriters and producers from Hollywood. Submissions can be altered and resubmitted based on early feedback, and any user can either download submitted screenplays or view test movies and rank them on Amazon’s standard 5-star scale. From drama to kid’s movies, Amazon Studios is a new effort that aims to open Hollywood’s door to the general public.

To get started on submitting your blockbuster, visit Amazon Studios or read through their Getting Started/FAQ. And be sure to let us know if we can expect to view your work on the big screen in 2011 or beyond. Good luck to all the future filmmakers and writers out there!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Most Soap Opera Ratings on the Rise, Except for One

Soap operas, also called “soaps” for short, are a continuous work of television drama aired in a serial format. The name for these on-going series came from their early days being broadcast as a weekday radio show, which was sponsored by soap manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers, and played during a time when most of the listeners would be housewives.

By 1976, daytime television became “TV’s richest market,” at least according to Time magazine, primarily due to the soap operas’ dedicated fan base and growth of several series into a full hour slot, instead of a half-hour. The increase in length of the show allowed producers to essentially double the amount of advertising space available for each episode.

However, since the early 1990s daytime soap operas have been on a steady decline. In the 1991-92 TV season, an average of 6.5 million viewers watched “soaps,” but in the 2009-10 TV season, the number dropped to 1.3 million viewers. No new daytime soap opera has been created since 1999, and many have been cancelled. And as 2010 draws to an end, there will only be six soap operas on three TV networks competing for viewers. In 1970, there were 19 different soap operas being aired.

Now that the annual November “sweeps” has ended (a time to measure audience viewership for a variety of different TV shows), an interesting trend among soap operas is starting to emerge. In general, most “soaps” are experiencing an increase in viewership, except one: All My Children, a “soap” that started in 1970. All My Children (AMC) achieved its lowest rating to date among women 18-49, while the other five soap operas saw an increase. In fact, AMC lost about 60,000 viewers since the previous 2010 “sweeps” in July.

Many believe that the general decline in soap opera viewership is attributed to audiences switching to more reality programming as their source of “melodrama.” With popular shows such as Big Brother and Survivor, it is much cheaper to produce a reality TV show than a fictional dramatic one since no full scripts or professional actors are needed for reality shows.

But for the recent rise in soap opera viewership, some believe that there are simply more people at home during daytime hours due to job loss or second or third-shift work schedules. Others say this could be a resurgence in the genre, which will once again bring increased advertising revenue and spawn new series. It will take more than one “sweeps” period to find out, but until then many will stay tuned to their favorite “soap” and their favorite good-looking character.

Product Focus: Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift Cabinet

[caption id="attachment_675" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift Cabinet"]Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift Cabinet[/caption]

Hand-built from intricately carved African Mahogany veneer and rooted in classic design and corner pillars, the Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift Cabinet is a pop-up TV cabinet for all styles of home decor – from stately to modern. Inspired from antique European furniture, this TV lift cabinet is grandly scaled and intricately designed.

What really makes the Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift Cabinet unique and versatile is the fact that it is finished on all five exposed sides and its component drawers can be reversed so they open from the front or back. What this allows is that the TV lift cabinet can be positioned in the middle of a room as a divider, or against a wall or at the foot of a bed, while still being able access the TV screen and component drawers. Viewed from any angle, the Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift cabinet is an impressive display of handcrafted hardwood.

This TV lift cabinet is spacious enough to house a TV up to 51” wide and 33” tall, with component drawers measuring 22” wide. The pre-installed and super quiet Uplift 3700 TV lift can raise and lower a TV weighing up to 130 pounds with the touch of a button.

This fine pop-up TV cabinet is a larger representation of the Crystal Pointe (XS) TV Lift Cabinet, of which there is only one left and it is discounted to $1,799. And in order to take advantage of this offer, be the first to call 877-377-5435.

Take a moment now to check out ImportAdvantage’s beautiful Crystal Pointe XL TV Lift Cabinet.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Only One Crystal Pointe XS Left!

Now offering the Crystal Pointe XS for ONLY $1799!

[caption id="attachment_666" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Crystal Pointe XS"]Crystal Pointe XS[/caption]

This is the last one!  This cabinet is ideal for apartment living where space is a premium.  The Crystal Pointe XS has intricately carved corner pillars, balanced proportions and finely crafted African Mahogany veneer.  The cabinet dimensions are 43" W x 18" D x 34-1/2" H.  It can be used at the foot of the bed or against a wall.  Maximize your living space and conceal your TV with  style.  Be the first to call in at 877-377-5435 to get this great offer!