Door Busting

I don’t think I’ve ever lined up outside a store on Black Friday to be the first to get some amazing deal, called door busters, but I certainly don’t mind going a little later in the day. I used to go to Best Buy all the time, but I realize it was mostly just to get cheap DVD’s. Most of the DVD’s I own were less than $10. I don’t know that many people even buy DVD’s anymore and I haven’t been to Best Buy in a while. But this year I did a membership with Disney Movie Club and that got me shopping for movies again, this time for Blu-ray DVD’s which are in HD (DVD’s actually have pretty poor resolution at 480p, whereas a Blu-ray is 1080p). The Disney thing has worked out pretty well and I have collected points from those purchase and gotten a couple of free movies at Disney Movie Rewards. In the past week or so they offered a $5 off coupon that could be used in stores for only 250 points. 100 points is worth about a dollar, so that’s a good deal. I planned to combine the coupon with a Black Friday deal (or two) to get Zootopia and/or Finding Dory for pretty cheap. The Black Friday ads were published weeks ago, so I knew I could get Dory at Target for $10 and Zootopia at Best Buy for $8 (before the coupon). Would I be able to get both? I figured I would purchase one coupon and that way if Target or Best Buy ran out, I wouldn’t be stuck with a coupon that expires at the end of the year. But since Target and Best Buy are across the highway from each other and I didn’t want to make two trips just to save 250 points, I ultimately bought another coupon and headed to Target, not on Black Friday, but Thanksgiving night, albeit still a few hours after the doors had opened.
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I have been hearing about a new development coming that would be built where the Avondale stations south parking lot is now located. The problem with that is that is where I have parked every day for the last 20 years. I can go to the north lot, which will probably be even more crowded now, or go to Kensington.


Dumping Dish

As I was writing my last entry about Ultra HD televisions, one of the considerations was whether I would have fast enough internet to stream UHD content. It takes at least 25 Mbps, which is right about what I am getting from Xfinity right now for the introductory price of $20 per month. The non-intro price is $60 per month, which is crazy since Google Fiber will charge $50 for 100 Mbps service (the problem being Google Fiber isn’t available yet at my house). I checked AT&T Uverse, but their rates are even worse and they pretty much require you to bundle cable television, which I don’t want to do. When I throw in Uverse cable and internet plus their ridiculous extra fees for modem rental (I bought a modem for Comcast for about $40) and HD television, it was still more than I am paying now. So no thanks. I have had Dish for many years and they seem to be the cheapest cable I can find, even though their prices have creeped up to about $55 per month, including HD and a DVR to record shows and skip commercials. Plus I bought an external hard drive and have stored hundreds of hours of shows on it that I have yet to watch including the last couple of seasons of Hawaii Five O, all the episodes ever of Blacklist (never watched one episode), most episodes of Twilight Zone from a SyFy marathon, including the rarely shown season of hour-long shows, and tons of movies and Game of Thrones episodes from free weekends of HBO (I watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and decided it was too dark for my tastes).
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Ultra HD

HDTV was a huge step up in television resolution after no significant changes since the introduction of color, going from 480i to 1080p (720p and 1080i used to be made, but only smaller TV’s still have 720p). But a few years ago, 4K TV’s started arriving, at first only to show a glimpse of the future, but now they are actually not that much more expensive than 1080p TV’s. Walmart will sell a 55-inch 4K TV for $298 on Black Friday. Yes, it will probably only be one per store, and it will probably be broken, but there you go. I am still using my 13 year old 51-inch 1080i rear projection TV which doesn’t even have HDMI jacks on it (let alone wifi or apps), making it increasingly difficult to deal with, though so far I am making it work without many sacrifices (mainly because my Dish receiver and HDTV receiver both have component video output and my Blu-ray DVD player’s HDMI output can be converted to the TV’s DVI input with just a cable).

“4K” was the original term, but really 4K is a slightly different standard created for movie theaters, so “Ultra HD” is the correct term for TV’s with resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, or twice the resolution in each direction as 1080p. True 4K has 4096 pixels horizontally, which is where the 4K came from, but still 2160 pixels vertically). Theaters don’t use film projectors anymore, but instead download 4K versions of the movie (or they are delivered on hard drives) and then projected on the screen like you do with a Powerpoint presentation.
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