Choosing Awesome Movies

Movies are artworks that put together visuals and audio that are bound together by a script. A good script and an equally great presentation of the script onscreen leads to creation of an awesome movie. Some of the best action, comedy and animated movies are listed below.

Awesome Movies of All Time

A movie that appeals to your aesthetic sense, becomes popular among masses, and which also passes the critics’ acid-test is generally considered a good artwork. There are few such movies which fulfill expectations of the audience from a wide spectrum of the society. An attempt to list down some of the best movies of all time is made in this article.

The Godfather
‘The Godfather’, which was released in 1972, is based on a novel with the same name by Mario Puzo. The film is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and portrays the life of a fictional Italian-American crime family. This film bagged three Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Titanic
Directed by James Cameron, this 1997 movie won a record 11 Academy Awards and was nominated in 14 categories. The ‘Titanic’, which stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio is based on a true story of a sinking ship, ‘R.M.S. Titanic’; the Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912 after sliding against an iceberg. The cost incurred in making the movie was over $200 million.

Forrest Gump
The Forrest Gump (based on a novel with the same name), directed by Robert Zemeckis, was released in 1994. It is a story of an autistic man from Alabama. His life takes a sudden twist after which he witnesses a series of unexpected events. He meets several historical figures during this strange phase of life. The story portrayed in the film is however, not exactly the same as presented in the book.

Gladiator
An epic film released in 2000, Gladiator won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Directed by Ridley Scott and featuring Russell Crowe as the protagonist, Gladiator depicts the story of a Roman General, Maximus Decimus Meridius. Maximus comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge of the murder of his wife and son. Maximus achieves his objective however, in the process loses his life.

Requiem for a Dream
Based on a 1978 novel of the same name, Requiem for a Dream was released in 2000. The film was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award. Requiem for a Dream is a story of a woman who suffers from different kinds of delusions that are finally broken and overtaken by reality.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Three epic films released in 2000, 2001 and 2002 are together called The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Based on a novel called The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) written by J.R.R. Tolkien, an Oxford University professor, the film depicts events that take place in a fictional world called ‘Middle-Earth’.

The Shawshank Redemption
Written and directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994. Tim Robbins plays the protagonist, Andy. This film depicts the life of a person who is imprisoned on false charges and spends two decades of his life in Shawshank State Prison. In the end, Andy manages to escape from prison without having to serve the full term.

The Matrix Trilogy
The Matrix Trilogy consists of ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and ‘The Matrix Revolutions’. Written and directed by Wachowski brothers, the first of the 3 films was released in 1999. The last 2 films were released in 2003. Story of The Matrix is set in a time at the turn of the 21st century. Human civilization of these times lives in a virtual world dominated by sentient machines. Humans are connected to the Matrix (artificial reality) by means of cybernetic implants.

Star Wars
The first film of the Star Wars trilogy was released in 1977. The Star Wars movies depict events taking place in a fictional galaxy. The revenue generated by these films is over 4.3 billion; it makes them the 3rd highest grossing movies after ‘James Bond’ and ‘Harry Potter’ series.

Fight Club
Based on a 1996 novel (written by Chuck Palahniuk) with the same name, ‘Fight Club’ was directed by David Fincher. Edward Norton plays the protagonist – who forms the fight club. The discontentment resulting from white-collar jobs urges him to take the drastic step of forming a fight club.

Casablanca
This movie is set in times of the World War II. Casablanca is a story of a man torn between love and virtue. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), and American expat runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco. He finds his lost love after many years, after which Rick’s life takes an unexpected turn. Casablanca ranks amongst top Hollywood movies of all time.

Cast Away
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Cast Away is a story of a FedEx executive stranded on an island after crash landing. Tom Hanks played the character of the FedEx employee. The transformation that the character played by him undergoes is the highlight of this film. For this role, Tom Hanks won the Best Actor award at the 73rd Academy Awards, 58th Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards.

Inception
This sci-fi movie is basically a heist film directed by Christopher Nolan. Released in 2010, Inception has a large cast with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the protagonist. The idea of ‘inception’ used in this movie is about planting an idea into the subconscious of a person. Dom Cobb (character played by DiCaprio), a thief is assigned with the task of inception.

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight was directed by Christopher Nolan. Released in 2008, this movie is a sequel to Batman Begins, the first part of the Batman Series movies. ‘The Killing Joke’ a novel from 1988 inspired Christopher Nolan to make this movie. Health Ledger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor posthumously. This movie also won the award for Best Sound Editing.

Blood Diamond
Released in 2006, Blood Diamond is a political thriller directed by Edward Zwick. Story of the film revolves around the lives of a South African, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a Mende local, Solomon Vandy (played by Djimon Gaston Hounsou). The dangerous journey they embark on in their quest to find a pink diamond is the central theme of this movie. The movie is set in times of the Sierra Leone Civil War.

Avatar
The Avatar is one of the most expensive movies with a budget of $237 million. Directed by James Cameron, Avatar was shot with the ‘Fusion 3D Camera system’ which was specially developed for shooting this film. The camera system was developed by the joint efforts of director James Cameron and Vince Pace. The movie is about a paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who is assigned a task to do reconnaissance for a company on a distant planet called Pandora. In the course of time Jake sides with the natives (Na’vis) of the planet and wages war against humans.

Mission Impossible
Directed by Brian De Palma, Mission Impossible was released in 1996. Story of the film revolves around a secret agent who has been falsely implicated in a crime. He fights his way to clear himself of the false charges. Tom Cruise plays the role of the protagonist, Ethan Hunt.

Ways to Advertise for Your Garage Sale

download-22One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This idiom perfectly describes the joy that is a garage sale. While you may consider an old heart-shaped coffee mug one too many for your pantry, it may be just what another is looking for to complete their quirky collection. A garage sale is the perfect way to get rid of old, unwanted stuff and make some money out of it. But how do you get people to actually come and help take all this stuff off your hands? You advertise. You advertise big time! You let everyone know that you’re coming up with this to-die-for garage sale that no one in their right mind would want to miss. You make it out to be the ‘garage sale of the century’ and we tell you how.

Use the Internet

The Internet is and will probably remain the most hassle-free way of advertising, be it your garage sale or a corporate giant’s next big product. There are scores of websites that offer listings for garage sales. Craigslist and eBay are two prominent websites that offer this service. You can also Google your town or city and check for local, community-based websites that will let you post a classified.

Yard Sale Search is another great website that offers listings for yard and garage sales throughout the country. In addition to dedicated portals, you can also use your Facebook account to spread the word about your forthcoming event. Create a page, an event, a group, or even an ad that lets people on your friends’ list know that you will be organizing this huge garage sale. When you use these portals, ensure that you describe at least a few of the items you intend to sell. Keep the descriptions short, but attractive. Get them hooked, and you’ll see them flocking!

List in Newspaper Classifieds

Another tried, tested, and quite successful way of advertising a garage sale is in a newspaper classified section. Contact your local newspaper, and check how much they charge. The tricky part here is adhering to the word limit according to your budget. Every word you use will count. So, use them wisely. Say as much as you can in as little as you can. It’s much easier than it sounds.

Make Awesome Posters

While there are other easier ways to advertise, nothing beats the charm of a good ol’ neon poster beckoning passersby to this grand garage sale where they might find the bargain of their dreams. To ensure that your sale attracts hordes of people, pay attention to the following points while making posters.

✦ Use bright-colored paper. If people cannot see the poster, they won’t bother reading it.
✦ Avoid using multiple colors. A single color will help people identify with your sale.
✦ All your posters should look alike. So, if you’re not sure if your 8-year-old kid or the neighbor’s teenage daughter will get it right, do it yourself. Printing is an option, but it’s just more expensive.
✦ Use a good quality, permanent marker to write on the poster. Ensure that the writing is neat, tidy, and legible, even from a distance.
✦ Include all and only the necessary details on the poster. The date, address (with landmarks if required), and your name and contact number are the most important pieces of information that should go on it. Anything else is supplementary and shouldn’t crowd the poster.
✦ Put them up on busy streets that lead to and away from your house. This way, the posters will be visible to people traveling both ways.
✦ Make sure there are big arrows guiding people in the direction towards your garage sale. You can also try something humorous like putting up posters that say ‘If you’re looking for ABC’s garage sale, you’re going the wrong way’ on roads that are away from your house. You never know; it might just interest someone.
✦ After you put your posters up, drive past them and see if you can read them clearly. If you can’t, chances are no one else will be able to either.

Make Fliers
Fliers are also one of the best ways to advertise the garage sale. They could be just down-sized versions of the awesome posters that you’re putting up, so follow all the pointers listed above for them as well. If you’re getting your posters printed, then getting them in a smaller size shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it will be more convenient to do so. If you’re making your posters by hand, you can try something different with the fliers. Maybe a different color or a different tone. You could even offer a free drink or snack for everyone who visits the sale. Put these fliers up on notice boards in convenience stores, cafés, community centers, schools, and any other place that sees a regular flow of visitors. Trees and electric poles (if permitted) are also great spots to put up fliers. Make sure you paste them on the poles. Using staples might pose a hazard for linemen.

Plan the sale well in advance so that you can clearly allot enough time to devising a good advertising strategy. On the day of the sale, make sure you have a big sign right in front of your house welcoming people to the best garage sale ever! Apart from advertising, make sure that the area you use for the sale is clean and tidy. If you’re using your lawn, make sure the grass is cut and the soil isn’t too wet. As a source of entertainment, you can play some soft music in the background. This will set the mood as you mingle with everyone helping them out with their purchases.
The advertising strategies mentioned above will be most effective if at least two or more are combined. Just remember to take all the signs, posters, fliers, and listings down after the big day, unless you want people calling at unearthly hours to inquire if the sale is still on.

How to Deal Plasma TV Problems

download-21Despite the evolving nature of technology, we can never have too few problems with anything, plasma TVs included. Pixelation, image retention (burn-in), and rainbow effect (when watching fast-moving images) are some problems one is likely to face with plasma TVs. Appearance of a sunburst pattern on the display is another issue with these TVs. Users also complain of excessive power consumption (reducing brightness and contrast levels can help) and over-heating (ensuring proper ventilation is the solution). Also, these TVs do not function well at high altitudes.

That said, plasma TVs still remain the prime choice for many consumers because of their brilliant display and ability to have larger screens at affordable prices.

Most Common Plasma Television Problems

Pixelation

Pixelation is a common plasma TV problem that many owners face. This is basically when you start seeing squarish spots on your TV. Before you jump to conclusions, do a simple check to confirm that it is, in fact, your TV that is the problem. Try using inputs from multiple devices (cable, gaming console, computer). Chances are, it’s the input that’s the problem. If the problem still persists, try changing the screen resolution, like watching a 4:3 format video in a non-stretched mode. If you still see the problem, you don’t really have much of a choice than to call the seller.

Sunburst Pattern on Display

Another plasma TV problem is a sunburst pattern on the display, similar to ones observed on laptop screens. What happens is you may see a ring or a burst of color. The main reason for this is a screen that isn’t completely flat. This can be caused by something like pressing the plasma television screen too hard. You may cover the television with a glass case, but this will only increase the screen’s reflectivity.

Burn-In

This is a common plasma TV problem that causes a static image to be faintly visible even after the image on the screen changes. This is called image retention or image burn-in, and the pattern remains visible when you are watching something else. This problem is now almost undetectable in newer plasma screens that have better technology. Manufacturers now include built-in technology like ‘pixel wobbling’ to tackle this problem. This technology subtly shifts the image to surrounding pixels and keeps the images moving. Quite frankly, the only places where burn-ins are common are in plasma TVs used to show airline timings in airports. Apart from that, a slight ghost image that lasts for a short time before fading off is all that users see.

Over-Heating

Plasma TVs basically work by heating up gases inside the panel. While this does not directly imply that plasma TVs tend to overheat, leaving them on for a long duration (upwards of 18 hours) can cause them to get slightly hotter than their usual temperature. Still, this is not a problem to get worried about, and poses no harm to you, your room, or your TV. Just make sure there’s enough space for ventilation between the TV and the wall behind it.

Fan Noise

This is, again, a problem prevalent mostly in older plasma TVs. New TVs from popular brands rarely pose this issue, and in the case that they do, it is usually a manufacturing defect. Exercise caution when you’re buying second-hand plasma TVs though, this can be one of the more common problems with them.

Reflection

Reflections on the TV screen from surrounding light sources is a very distracting and annoying problem as the focus keeps shifting from the images on the screen to the images reflected. To overcome this problem with plasma TVs, you can either pull up the blinds, or cut down on the light intensity in the room while watching TV. Another solution is to buy plasma TV’s that have a built-in anti-reflective coating on the screen. This will help reduce the reflection on the screen, but you still need to adjust the room lighting.

Increased Power Usage

Plasma TVs tend to consume more power than most other display units, therefore you may observe a hike in your power bill. Reducing the brightness and contrast to medium levels will help the issue, but reducing picture quality after buying a TV that features it is not really an option that one would go for. All in all, the bills that you rack up due to owning a plasma TV aren’t too huge when compared to LCD and LED TVs. You also have to consider that primitive plasma TVs used crude display methods. New technology has made it possible to produce increasingly power-efficient plasma TVs. They’re still not as efficient as LED/LCD TVs though, so it is prudent to consider a plasma TV as a long-term expense.

Phosphor Trails, Rainbow Effect, and Posterization

Another plasma television problem is a phosphor trail or phosphor tag. You will observe this problem when viewing fast-moving, graphics-intensive computer games or movie scenes, especially in case of black and white movies. This problem is due to the instant change from light to dark in an area of the screen. You may observe green trails or flashes in such cases. Very few people observe this effect and even if they do, it is small enough to be ignored. If you are troubled by this green trail, just lower the contrast or have more ambient light sources to dull the effect. Other related effects are usually a visible rainbow-like formation when the display includes high-contrast images, and getting a poster-like effect when the image contains rather small points of bright light (like the Sun behind the mountains). All these issues were recorded mostly in older plasma TVs (2010 and before); new technology has done a lot to minimize them to negligible limits.

High Altitude Issues

If you’re living somewhere above 6,500 feet, you need to take care of which model you’re buying. There is a reason why flight TVs are always LCD. That’s because plasma TVs do not function properly at high altitudes. The TV starts making a buzzing sound after a while, mostly due to the fact that the atmospheric pressure is too low to keep a consistent level of gases inside the panel. All plasma TVs come with a maximum altitude limit. Most of them have it at 6,000 – 6,500 feet above sea-level. However, certain brands from LG work till about 8,500 feet. So if you think the altitude might be a problem, check the TVs maximum altitude limit before buying it.

People commonly have questions about whether any special care needs to be taken while shipping a plasma TV and if one needs to wait before setting it up for use. A common concern among plasma TV buyers is about how safe it is to transport the TV set with its screen laid down. The issue here is with the glass breakage. If the screen, in the laid down position, is cushioned (covered in a soft and thick material) during transport, cracking of the glass can be avoided. The other question is whether or not to wait before you start using the television set. Unless, it has been moved from some cold location to room temperature (this may lead to condensation on the glass), there is no reason to wait for any specific duration before you start using it.

There are other myths and rumors about plasma TVs that contribute to lower their sales. When all is said and done, plasma TVs still offer the best picture quality, and will probably continue to do so for at least a while longer. Still, if you intend to buy one, make sure you take all the above points into consideration and hopefully get the one that suits your needs.

Ways to Choose an LCD TV

download-20If one is planning on purchasing an LCD TV, he has to gather detailed information about many things such as the price, brand, size, etc. There are many manufacturers who are trying to make their products as good as possible to increase their sales. The price of an LCD TV would differ depending on the screen size, display quality, screen resolution, make, features, and many other factors.

Due to tough competition between the manufacturers, prices have significantly dropped in recent times. Moreover, consumers are offered heavy discounts on different types of purchase. If budget is not a constraint, there are various high-end models available, with a display as big as which would cover up the whole wall, and could even cost you over $10,000. Majority of the consumers prefer to choose TVs whose screen size is 23-40 inches, as such a choice won’t cost them too much.

The first step is the price, as it totally depends upon the individual’s budget. After one decides on the price range, he needs to take note of the place or room where he is going to place his LCD TV. If the room is big and wide, he can opt for a bigger sized TV. Similarly, it’s no point buying a huge TV for a small room, as viewing won’t be very pleasurable.

Check out the distance between the TV and the place where it is to be watched from. Also measure the angle from where it is going to be watched, and how it is going to be mounted. It shouldn’t be something similar to a person sitting in the first row of a movie theater and watching a film. If watched from a close distance or from an inappropriate angle, the picture may look distorted and unclear. Also ensure that the TV you choose is available within the price range you have decided on. Mostly, LCD TVs with screen sizes of 32, 42, and 46 inches are more in demand.

Apart from all the physical features, there are some technical features as well that are to be considered before going in for an LCD TV.

The resolution is an important factor when it comes to choosing the best one, and is related to the number of horizontal pixels on the display. More the number of pixels, higher is the clarity. The most common resolution is 720p; those with 1080p resolutions can be much more costly. A 1080p LCD TV certainly has the best picture quality, but it would only be noticeable on screen sizes above 40 inches. Some may not even notice the difference in the picture quality between a 1080p and 720p on any screen size. If one is to watch High-definition Television (HDTV) via cable TV, TVs with 1080p are not appropriate. HDTV signals need a lot of data, which is not available through cable television, as cable providers send out compressed signals. This may lead to a severe loss of image quality. But if a satellite receiver is going to be used, the image quality will definitely be the best. If one is too specific on choosing an LCD which has the latest technology, he needs to check out for at least two High-definition Multimedia Input (HDMI) ports, which are connections that transfer huge amounts of video and audio data through a single bundled cable.

There are many more features and functions that need to be checked out manually before deciding on buying the best LCD TV. But remember, latest features and more functions will always make you pay accordingly.

Ways to Clean an LCD TV

An LCD TV placed on the wall of your living room, lends an elegant look to the interior of your home. But a dusty, scratched, and spotty screen, makes it look unattractive. Touching it with dirty, oily hands or leaving behind fingerprints, affects its clarity. There are a number of cleaning products available that you can clean a TV screen with, including glass and other similar surfaces. However, an LCD screen needs extra care. Here are some tips on how to keep it clean and well maintained.

Read the Manual First

Before cleaning your TV, you must first read the instructions manual. This is the best way to find out what the right procedure is and the products that are suitable for use to clean a TV.

Precautions to be Taken

Before you start, you must keep a few things in mind. Turn the television off to avoid setting off sparks while cleaning. The screen is very delicate and prone to scratches; therefore, use a soft and clean cloth. Cotton and flannel are popular choices. Do not opt for a newspapers, paper towel, tissue, etc. Do not spray the product directly over the screen, as it can leak into the frame.

Never apply pressure over the screen while cleaning it; this causes it to have dead pixels and lead to loss of image in that part of the screen. Do not use strong chemicals like alcohol, ammonia-based cleaners, or window cleaning products. Remember, your LCD needs to be treated differently, compared to windows and glass doors.

What You Can Use for Cleaning

You can safely use the following ingredients to clean a TV screen:

  • Filtered water
  • Distilled water
  • Mild liquid soap
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Petroleum benzine
  • Vinegar diluted in distilled water
  • Commercial glass cleaners (especially formulated for TV screens)

You must strictly avoid using the following ingredients:

  • Tap water
  • Ammonia
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Ethyl acid
  • Acetone
  • Toluene
  • Methyl chloride
  • Commercial glass cleaners containing ammonia

Procedure

  • For regular cleaning, use a soft cloth and wipe the dust from the TV screen and frame. Use a cotton swab to clean dust along borders and in corners.
  • For accumulated dust, take a soft cloth and dampen it using one of the solutions mentioned above; wipe the dirt off. Stick to horizontal or vertical strokes while wiping.
  • If you are wondering what to do with fingerprints or other oily, dirty spots on the screen, then dampen a cotton or foam swab and wipe the dirty area. Apply even pressure on the screen and rub it a few times to clean it completely.

These tips can help you clean your TV safely. So, follow them and enjoy the clarity of your television.

Tips on Repairing a Broken LCD TV Screen

So it’s hardly just been two or three years for your LCD screen to serve you with all the entertainment and one fine day, what you see is, you have a big dent in the screen, probably due to some obvious reasons or perhaps some internal technical reasons. Whatever be the reason, the bottom line is- you have a broken LCD TV screen and you are on a high to either learn to fix it or replace it entirely. The broken LCD screen problems can not only arouse in television sets but laptops are also prone to such issues. Many people have this tendency of repairing a particular piece of electronic item rather than going for its overall replacement. While many others believe that if the repairing cost is tossing out to be more than the cost of the whole replacement set, it’s better to purchase a brand new LCD screen and fix it to the old unit. Well, this thought isn’t bad either! But there are two most important points one has to look out while going for the replacement procedure and they are: firstly, see that the screen hasn’t extended its warranty period. And secondly, the consumer needs to find a reliable seller or manufacture if he/she wants to buy the LCD screen in a good price. Later on, they might also have to find reliable service men who can fix the new screen and do the overall job correctly. The cost carried for the same is different. So, although replacement sounds like a good option, it is bit lengthy and fallible. It is advisable that one should go for the broken LCD screen replacement procedure only when there are a chain of problems in the whole working unit and not just one or two.

Usually an LCD TV screen has a good life expectancy up to 10 years. Moreover, the value of the monitor/screen increases with the resolution, size and clarity of the panel installed in the screen. So, if there is any sort of malfunction or damage done to the screen, the cost of its repairs comes with a price too! Fortunately, half your cost of paying the service men would be saved because with some lucid steps explained on how to repair a broken LCD screen given below, all you have to think of spending your money on, is, to buy a replacement screen and do the rest of the job all by yourself.

Signs of a Broken LCD TV Screen

Well, under this subject the most common problem why an LCD TV screen fails is the dimming of the back-light after a significant use. However, there are other obvious signs like, the system starts off but the screen is blank. May be there’s an issue with the panel whose job is to display a picture. Also, the problem of blank screen appearing can be due to the panel not receiving good amount of data or power from the source. The full form of LCD is liquid crystal display which is made of two glass layers wherein, the outer layer is constructed to protect the inner layer. So if there is an ugly crack on the outside layer of the screen, fixing the same is an easy job. No specific glass is required nor any special tools are needed. All that is required is for you to look down ‘coz now it’s time to read the procedure for replacement..

How to Fix a Broken LCD TV Screen

For now all you need is a small screwdriver and of course a replacement LCD TV screen to replace it to your old unit.

Step #1: In this first step of repairing the broken screen, it’s important to turn off the TV, unplug the power supply and place it face down on a working table carefully.

Step #2: Using the screwdriver unscrew all the fasteners from the television and also detach the back panel from the unit. This will give you a clear look at the motherboard situated at the center of the TV behind the screen.

Step #3: Also what else you would see is an inverter board mounted at the side end of the motherboard. Remove all the inverter screws and expose the whole unit. There will be a bunch of cables connected to various ports. They transmit electrical power to the LCD screen.

Step #4: Your first job to do is, check for all the connections of the inverter board to see whether they are properly secured or not. If they aren’t, unplug the cables and try plugging them back into the ports. Power the screen and see if its working, if not, then go ahead.

Step #5: Remove all the fasteners, plugs and connections from the ports in the board and pull out the whole board from the TV set and keep it aside.

Step #6: Now replace the old for a new board. Fit the new replacement board in the television, and hopefully you have marked the positions of the cable connections. Join the cables together and attach all the screws back in place. Lastly, replace the back cover of the inverter and also the rear panel of the television carefully.

No matter with how much care and precaution you handle your electronic devices, if accidents have to happen, they will! And when they do, don’t fear or panic, just remember to read this article (if in case again) and you have your solution in hand!

Knowing LCD TV Repair Cost

Discussing the cost of repairing an LCD TV is always a tricky subject, as the cost will depend on what is wrong with the TV. Then again, parts from different manufacturers have different prices, leading to more uncertainty in determining the cost. Labor charges too, depend on the complexity of the TV set in question, and the part that needs to be changes. All this relates to a very varying final bill that you will be presented with. Hence, what is important here is to diagnose the problem, and then determine if spending the estimated amount of money to repair the problem is worth it or not. For simple problems, like replacing the backlight, it is more feasible to repair, as backlight replacement costs about $85 with labor included. If you are a DIY person, and can take the risk of ruining an expensive LCD, you can replace the backlight for as low as $20. The main unit, also called the motherboard, is slightly trickier, and more expensive as well. This cost can go as high as $300, so depending on how old your TV is, it might be better to just buy a new TV. Another instance where you should definitely chuck your old TV and opt for a new one is when the LCD panel itself needs to be replaced. This costs more than half of the TV price and it is never worth spending that much money to replace or repair it. Simply exchange your old TV for a newer one.

Other problems like speakers not working, no sound, remotes not working, or IR sensor replacement can all be done by professionals and these typically do not cost too much. Remember that for these, most of the cost will be for labor. So unless the problem is too severe, you should do all you can at home to resolve the problems. If you do need to send it out, consider the fact that you can get a decent new TV in about $500, which will feature the latest technology. If you are going to spend anywhere close to that amount on repair, it is just not viable.

Basic Problems and Repair Techniques

When you have spent upwards of $500 buying a high-end LCD, you end up thinking that repairing it would also cost a bomb. However, some problems that LCDs typically face can be resolved right in your home, that too without any professional skill. Consider the case of dead pixels. In most cases, dead pixels are simply pixels that are stuck, or have not been energized enough. This can be remedied in a couple of ways – the simplest of these are either tapping the dead pixels gently with a blunt pencil, or by using a pixel corrector DVD. Be careful if you are using the pencil method, as too much force can damage the LCD panel, which is very expensive to replace. Other issues related to fuzzy picture, bad audio, poor picture and the like can also be tried to be solved at home before calling in the professionals. These issues are usually due to bad settings, incorrect wiring and/or loose connections, with HDMI connections being a major culprit. If these simple solutions don’t solve your problems, then it is more likely that some part(s) need to be replaced, and this is what drives the cost high.

Tips on LCD TV Repair

Facts like the warranty period of your LCD TV should be looked at carefully before opting for repair. If the problem is backlight related or a blurred image, then the vendor of your TV can get it done for free, if under warranty. However, if the damage is due to improper maintenance and not following the instructions that came along with the TV manual, then of course, it’s the right time to search for professionals who can repair the TV. Most manufactures also provide extended warranty when you buy an LCD TV. This usually costs about 15% of the TV, and is highly recommended while purchasing a TV. An extra 15% at the time of buying can help in saving hundreds of dollars later on. Also be sure that you give your TV to a certified professional, otherwise you might end up causing more harm than good. And never try to repair an LCD TV at home unless you are 100% sure you know what the problem is, else you might just end up replacing parts without solving your problem.

Remember that LCDs have an average life of about 20 years, or 40,000 hours. If your TV is relatively new and you still have problems, then maybe replacing it is not the solution. For older TVs, replacement is a good option as you get something newer in almost the price you would have paid for repair. However, for those who have newer sets, the silver lining is that after repair, an LCD TV can still have a life of 10 years or more, so all is not lost. While the cost should be the main factor in influencing your decision of repair or replace, keep in mind the age of the TV as well before you make your decision.

How to Fix Scratches on an LCD TV

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens are known for their clarity, good picture quality, and energy-efficiency. This is the reason they are widely used in almost all the devices, such as computers, TV, mobile phones, etc. These screens are very delicate and must be handled with care. But, no matter how many precautions you take, they are bound to get scratched. These scratches cannot be removed or fixed completely, but can be made less apparent with the help of some simple but effective methods.

Before any fixation, check the LCD’s warranty period. If you are under the warranty, then you will get a free repairing service from the company. In case the scratch is deep and long, then it is better to get it repaired from a professional.

Different Ways to Fix a Scratch on an LCD TV

You cannot fix the scratches completely on an LCD TV but you can camouflage them for a pretty good period. Following are some of the methods that you can follow to get the scratches fixed.

★ Petroleum Jelly Method

Things Required:

  • Water
  • Clean microfiber cloth
  • Petroleum Jelly

Method: Clean the surface with the help of water and cloth. Let it dry for sometime. Now take about 1 tsp. petroleum jelly and fill the scratches. Once all the scratches are filled, take a clean cloth and gently wipe off the extra jelly. You will see that the scratches are lighter, if not completely invisible. You may have to reapply if it wears off.

Precaution: While wiping off the excess jelly, do not press too hard, as it might leave some traces of the jelly inside the scratch.

★ Pencil Eraser Method

Things Required:

  • Clean microfiber cloth
  • Water
  • Eraser

Method: Clean the scratched area properly with the help of water and a clean cloth. Let the area dry. Now take a clean pencil eraser and start rubbing over the scratch lightly. Rub it along the direction of the scratch. Keep doing it till the scratch disappears.

Precaution: Get a clean eraser without any pencil graphite, as this graphite will smudge on the screen and make the scratch dirtier.

★ Isopropyl Alcohol Method

Things Required:

  • Water
  • 2 Clean microfiber cloth
  • Cleaning solution (isopropyl alcohol and water)

Method: First of all, prepare a cleaning solution. Dilute 1 part isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol with 20 parts of water. Now clean the scratched area with a cotton cloth dabbed in water. Let it dry. Dip another cloth in the cleaning solution and work on the scratch, cleaning the area gently. Keep cleaning till the scratch disappears. Now take the swab which was dipped in water, and clean the alcohol from the screen. The cleaning solution helps remove the scratch by dissolving the anti-glare coating which fills the scratched area.

Precaution: If the solution starts smudging, then stop immediately. Do not use a strong alcohol. The strength of alcohol should not exceed more than 35%.

★ LCD Scratch Repair Kit

You can easily get LCD scratch repair kits in the market under different brand names. These kits are specially made to remove scratches from any LCD screen. These kits generally contain a polishing paste and microfiber cloth. This kit will have simple instructions which you can follow and get the scratch fixed.

How to Prevent Scratches on Your LCD Screen

By following simple precautionary steps, you can actually prevent your screen from getting any types of scratch.

  • Do not use paper towels, tissue paper, or old cloth to clean the screen. Always use micro-fibber cloth for cleaning, as it does not harm the screen.
  • Do not rub anything against the screen, like a dirty or wet cloth, or any other material that may damage the screen. Even while cleaning, do not apply more pressure.
  • While cleaning the screen, check if there is any dirt on the cloth, that can harm the screen
  • Use an LCD TV screen protector which will protect your screen from any scratches.

All the methods mentioned in this Buzzle article are helpful in fixing only small scratches. If the scratches are long and deep, then you either need to give it for repair, or get the LCD screen replaced. The best way to prevent scratches is to get an LCD screen protector, which will not only save your screen, but can also be easily replaced in case of damage.

Tips on Choosing a Plasma TV

Gone are the days when CRTs were the default choice as far as television technology was concerned. In fact, today we have a problem of plenty with a range of display technologies ranging from LCD, LED to Plasma TVs. All these new technologies fall in the ‘Flat Screen’ variety. A superior technology to CRTs and a comparable one to LCDs is the plasma display technology. The modern tech lingo related to televisions which includes words like ‘High-Definition’ (though nobody cares to define what that means!), contrast ratio, 1080p or 780p or 1080i can only serve to confuse the non-techie consumer.

About Plasma TVs
Such a television screen is made up of thousands of tiny cells each filled with non reacting noble gases like Neon and Xenon, which emit ultraviolet light on the application of an electric potential across them. This ultraviolet light excites the red, green and blue phosphor coatings on cells, causing them to emit light in the red, green and blue frequencies (the component frequencies that form all colors) to make a single color pixel on screen.

Each of these cells are supplied with varying amount of electrical voltages through a grid, to create a high quality picture, pieced together by every one of the individual cell’s light output. Hence, these televisions are capable of emitting a high luminosity picture. Contrast ratio is a ratio of the brightest white and blackest black color that a television set can produce.

Compared to LCD displays, plasma TVs provide richer black colors, due to their high contrast ratio. These TVs can be manufactured in particularly large sizes, which the highest diagonal sizes being greater than 100 inches. Unlike LCD displays whose viewing angle is limited, another advantage of having this TV set is the greater viewing angle it provides, up to 160°.

Choosing a Plasma TV
When choosing one, you must compare the most important specifications of the products that are on offer in the market. Here are the prime features you need to look out for.

Size Matters
First and foremost, size is an essential feature to check out. According to the size of the room where you plan to install, you must know what your viewing distance will be. These TVs come with a diagonal size starting from around 30 inches or lesser to more than 100 inches. For any plasma TV with size exceeding 30 inches, the viewing distance has to be in excess of 8 feet. For screen sizes in excess of 40 inches, it has to be 9 to 10 feet. Otherwise, at a short distance, the picture may seem slightly pixelated. So, take the viewing distance into consideration while buying one.

It’s all About Resolution
These television sets come in various resolutions, ranging from 1024×1024, 1024×768, 1366×768 to 1920×1080. These can be primarily divided into 720p and 1080p resolutions. The best choice among all these is 1080p (1920×1080), as it can provide the highest clarity and is ideal if you are using it with gaming consoles and DVD players. The 1080p resolution is what you call ‘High-Definition’, as it provides amazing picture quality. Also, look for surround sound systems with high wattage speakers.

HDMI Connectivity & Other Features
Other than size and resolution, look for HDMI connectivity in particular, as it lets you connect laptop and desktop computers with it. HDMI cables provide high quality audio and video signals. Look for wall mount attachments, if you plan to hang it on a wall. Other than that, USB connectivity, built in satellite TV compatibility, etc. are some of the other things to look out for.

To summarize all that was discussed, when you are looking for a plasma TV, the prime features to look out for are its size and resolution. Other than that, features like HDMI and VGA connectivity, surround sound, DVD and game console compatibility are other things to look out for. Some of the best brands to look out for are Samsung, LG, Philips and Panasonic. Once again I would suggest that you take the viewing distance into consideration while buying large screen (30 inch plus) TV sets.

Ways to Align a Dish Antenna

The first and foremost thing that you have to remember about the dish antenna is that, its working is totally dependent on its alignment. If you are not able to adjust it at proper angles, then the entire system will falter.

The location of antenna requires a good view of satellites, hence it may require that the person performing the task of installation and alignment to climb on dangerous places. You also have to be prepared for tackling the electrical anomalies that come your way. Let us see the process in detail.

Tools Required

  • Nut Driver
  • Screw Driver
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Electric Drill
  • Coaxial Cables
  • Mast Hardware

Steps Involved in Alignment

Step 1: Co-ordinate Calculation
There are basically three types of co-ordinates that need to be calculated ― azimuth, elevation, and tilt. A receiver box is provided with the dish antenna kit. Once you connect the receiver box with the TV screen, the instructions to calculate these co-ordinates will prompt on the screen. They will vary according to the zip code of the place. You will be asked to enter this code. The three co-ordinates will be displayed on the screen menu on merely entering the zip code.

Step 2: Determining the Site
Elevation angle clearance of antenna must be at least 19º. This provides an unobstructed view of all three satellites. Mind you, these satellites are placed in southern skies, hence your antenna should be pointing in that direction. Northern border states should have an elevation angle clearance of 30º and for southern border states, it should be 60º. So, an antenna site must be selected so that, it takes care of the above conditions and you can have it pointing in the required direction. Keep in mind that, dish antenna gain increases as the frequency increases.

Step 3: Installation of the Mast
This step is important because there might be some cases, where the antenna is compatible with receiving signals of multiple satellites. Mount the base firmly such that, it does not shift its position. Causes such as wind or antenna’s own weight should not force it to tilt. Also, there is a bubble level given with the mast. It is absolutely imperative that you keep the bubble centered. If you are not able to center it, loosen the screws of the base, and adjust the position of the mast again, so that it is always centered.

Step 4: Attaching the Mast
On top of the mast, slide the antenna assembly till it meets the pivot. Azimuth clamp bolts should be tightened, so that the antenna has a side-to-side pivot movement.

Step 5: Cable Routing
Properly inspect the wiring for any kind of deformities. You will be provided with receiver grounding block in the kit. Mount this receiver grounding block close to the receiver. While inserting the cable into the block, make sure that you keep a loop of wire aside. This is to let the rainwater drip away. You will need another cable to connect the block from inside.

Step 6: Grounding
It is highly recommended that you ground, both the antenna and grounding block. The grounding point can be the entry of a cold water pipe into your house. The wire which comes from dish antenna must go through the grounding block first, and then to the grounding point. A wire for grounding should also be dedicated to the block.

Step 7: Attaching LNB
LNB stands for Low Noise Blocks. It is attached to the rod of an antenna. An interesting thing about LNB is that, it comes with the compatibility of four different outputs. So, it makes sense to run down four wires to grounding block. You can use different wires for different output.

Step 8: Fine Tuning
First you’ll have to adjust azimuth, elevation, and then, tilt. Plug in the cable. Here you will receive instructions on TV screen to fine-tune to a satellite. There are three satellites and you need to fine-tune with each of them. Once you fine-tune with one satellite, your receiver will automatically fine-tune itself with the other two. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions that are displayed on TV screen.

Without properly alignment and installation, your satellite-TV experience will surely be hampered. Understanding dish antenna design before implementing the above steps is crucial.