Tips on Making a Homemade TV Antenna

With household expenses reaching its peak, it is but obvious that a cable TV bill would only come as an unwanted expense. Well, the solution to this problem lies in the comforts of your very home itself. All you need to gather is, a few discarded equipments and you can put together your own TV antenna. The best part of making an antenna is that it is cheap, affordable and you do not have to pay for watching what you love. Besides, these antennas work well to give you a HDTV experience on your flat screen TV, thus making it a better alternative than investing in DTV.

Putting together your own TV antenna is not much of a task. Quite the contrary, it is as easy as saying one-two-three. One – you collect the needed material, two – you assemble the parts, three you tune it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, let’s get to the main designs then.

Design #1: Using Wooden Planks and Wire Hangers

Step #1: Keeping things read.

  1. 22″ x 8″ plank of wood (pine wood is preferred)
  2. 8 wire hangers
  3. 8 flat-head screws
  4. 8 washers
  5. Copper wire
  6. Insulation tape
  7. Balun
  8. Drill machine
  9. Coaxial cable
  10. Measurement tape
  11. PVC pipe or stick to hoist the antenna (optional)

Step #2: Measure and mark the plank to be used

  1. Start by leaving a 2″ space at one end of the plank.
  2. Leave a margin of 1 1/2″ from either side of the plank and draw a line across the length of the plank.
  3. On these lines measure and mark a distance of 5 1/4″ from the initial 2″ mark.
  4. You should get 2 rows of equidistant marks.
  5. Drill holes at the 8 marked points on the plank of wood.

Step #3: Use the wire hangers to create receptors of the antenna

  1. Straighten out the wire hangers so that you have 4 equal wires.
  2. Measure the wires and find the mid point of each wire.
  3. Bend the wire at the center to form a 45 degree angle.
  4. Ensure that you maintain a distance of 3″ between the two ends of the wire.
  5. Attach the wires to the board with the help of screws and washers.

Step #4: Install the Wire and Balun

  1. Before you tighten the screws, pattern the copper wires as shown above.
  2. Insulate the wire where they intersect so that they do not make contact.
  3. Attach the balun (transformer) to the two phasing copper wires.
  4. Secure them into position by fastening the screws and washers
  5. Trim off the sharp edges of the wire hangers to avoid injury.

Step #5: Ready to be tested

  1. Attach the coaxial cable to the balun.
  2. Attach the antenna to the TV through the coaxial cable.
  3. Position the antenna to receive signals.
  4. Fine-tune the settings and enjoy the show.
  5. In case you wish to use a reflector, cover pieces of cardboard with tin foil and attach to the plank. Ensure that the wire and the foil do not make contact.

Design #2: Using PVC Pipes

Step #1: Keeping things ready

  1. Two 15″ x 2″ PVC pipe
  2. PVC Angle
  3. Conducting Wire
  4. Balun
  5. Coaxial Cable
  6. Drill Machine
  7. 2 flat-head screws
  8. 2 washers
  9. Measurement tape

Step #2: Preparing the frame

  1. Leave a 2″ margin from one end of the pipe and measure 1.75″ on the pipe.
  2. Mark 6 equidistant spots on the pipe each 1.75″ apart from the other.
  3. Using the drill machine, drill holes in the pipe.
  4. Remember to go all the way through to the other side so you can pass the wire through.

Step #3: Pass the wire through

  1. Starting from the fourth hole, curl the wire around the pipe.
  2. Pass it through the holes to form an increasing spiral.
  3. While forming the sprial ensure that the wires do not come in contact with one another.
  4. Pass it through the last hole and flatten it across the length of the pipe to fasten it to the center.
  5. Fasten the other loose end a little distance away from the first.

Step #4: Setting it up

  1. Attach the balun to the frame of the antenna.
  2. Connect the coaxial cable to the balun
  3. Attach the other PVC pipe to this frame using the PVC angle.
  4. Set up the antenna indoors or outdoors as per your requirement.
  5. Connect the antenna to the TV using the coaxial cable and tune your settings.

Design #3: Using a Bicycle Rim

Step #1: Keeping things ready

  1. 26″ bicycle rim (mountain bike)
  2. Copper wire
  3. Four 12″ x 1.25″ PVC pipes
  4. 2″ PVC end cap
  5. 20 foot x 2″ PVC pipe
  6. Drill machine
  7. 8 flat-head screws
  8. 8 washers
  9. Coaxial cable
  10. Balun

Step #2: Prepare the frame

  1. Start by getting rid of the spokes from the rim.
  2. Prepare a frame putting together the four 12″ PVC pipes to form a cross.
  3. Join them using the PVC cross
  4. Screw this frame to the bicycle rim.

Step #3: Wired up

  1. Pass the copper wire through the spoke holes.
  2. Curl the wire around the rim forming loops.
  3. Ensure the wire doesn’t touch any two loops on either side.
  4. Fasten the loose ends of the wire to the PVC pipe.

Step #4: Attach the balun

  1. Attach the balun to the two ends of the wire.
  2. Attach the coaxial cable to the balun

Step #3: Set it up

  1. Fix the frame onto the 20 foot pipe.
  2. Screw it in place with a flat-head screw and washer.
  3. Wind the coaxial cable around the pipe.
  4. Mount the antenna on the roof/ground.
  5. Connect the coaxial cable to the TV
  6. Fine-tune the settings and it is ready to be used.

These antennas can be placed indoors to safe guard it from storm and lightning. They work well to pull in HDTV signals and can be connected to your flat screen TV.

The Guide to Television Furniture

As television makes greater and greater inroads into our lives today, it is undeniable that for a large number of people, TV furniture is almost as crucial as the television set itself. Sadly, however, there are others who know nothing about this. Which means they should definitely be reading this article.

The thing about television furniture is that should provide a sense of a shared experience. In most American homes, a TV is much more than just an audio-visual medium, because TV watching is pretty much the closest they can get to a communal event, where the entire family gathers around the TV set. Therefore, the TV furniture that you buy should reflect this sense of harmony and inclusion, which means color and shape are crucial aesthetic questions to consider when buying an item of TV furniture.

A natural conclusion to draw here would be that because it is so important for a community experience, which is a fairly traditional attribute, all TV furniture should be traditional rather than modern.

Well, yes and no. Depending on the kind of TV set you own and the general décor of your home, your TV furniture ought to reflect its surroundings and most importantly, fulfill the purpose for which you are buying it.

For instance, think of a flat-screen TV set, which is by far the most popular kind of TV set today. An essentially modern gadget, it nevertheless requires a TV stand, which is a fairly traditional piece of furniture. However, in keeping with the changing times, TV stands, too, have become modern pieces of furniture.

Therefore, just as a flat-screen set lends a distinct and modern character to your living area, so does a new age TV stand enhance the general effect. Besides, a great-looking item of TV furniture can also become an excellent conversation piece.

However, a funky TV stand does not mean that you discard the traditional entirely. While a sleek, shining, space-age kind of TV stand would work wonders for your interiors, you might want to opt for the more traditional but no less effective wall unit.

A wall unit is obviously larger and more accommodating than a TV stand, and the good news is that wall units these days are as streamlined and cool as the TV stands we just spoke about. Built largely of Formica, wood, glass, chrome and other trendy materials, wall units are extremely chic these days.

The most wonderful thing about modern TV furniture is that you can have it customized. For instance, there are prefabricated TV furniture sets that you can disassemble and reassemble whenever you wish, which means they can be personalized to suit your space. Besides, a capacious wall unit will hold objects that are not directly related to the TV, such as small bric-a-brac. There are even likely to be compartments to hold books and magazines.

Ways to Watch Cable TV on Your Computer

With a personal computer by your side, you have access to several sources of entertainment – right from music to games. The lengthy list of activities that you can do on your computer has just got better with the inclusion of Cable TV-on-PC option. With the facility to watch cable TV on your personal computer, you can enjoy all your favorite TV shows which you were not able to see due to some or the other reason; and that too in real time.


In order to watch cable television on your computer, you will require a TV tuner card or a software, an updated computer and high speed Internet access. If your computer is considerably old, you will have to check with your cable operator for compatibility issues. Even though it is possible to watch TV on your PC using a DSL connection, the speed is likely to cause frequent interruption of services. On the contrary, using broadband Internet will ensure that you get uninterrupted services, and enhance your cable TV experience.

How to Watch Cable TV on Computer?

Basically, there are two methods by which you can pull of this task – in the first, you can use simple hardware to gain access to the cable service, and in the second, you have to download a particular software for the same. While the term ‘hardware’ here refers to the TV tuners, the term ‘software’ refers to programs which facilitate the use of computer to watch cable TV in real time. As far as convenience is concerned, it is easy to execute both the methods by following some simple guidelines given in the user manual. Given below are the further details of each of these two methods.

Using TV Tuner Card
If you intend to resort to a TV Tuner, which is slightly more convenient than the software downloading method, you will be able to buy one from the electronics store in your neighborhood. Basically, there exist two types of TV tuners for PC – internal TV tuner (which comes in form of a PCI card) and external TV tuner (which comes in form of a USB device.) While the TV tuner card (internal TV tuner) has to be plugged onto the motherboard of the computer, the external device can be plugged into the USB port. The TV tuners available today receive feed from cable service provider through the broadband network, and hence the picture quality is at par excellence even on the PC.

Both have their own pros and cons – while an internal card is relatively inexpensive, you are likely to have a tough time installing it on the motherboard. Similarly, the external device may be easy to connect, but the fact that it comes for some extra amount may make you give it a second thought. Depending on which of these two options you would prefer to go with, you will have to shell out something between US$50-$150. Brands like Hauppauge and AverMedia boast of some of the best USB TV tuners, which are priced in the range of US$100-$150.

Downloading Software
If you are not keen on buying TV tuner, you can resort to software applications which facilitate live streaming of cable TV channels on the computer. This method will require a high-speed broadband connection, or else distorted picture quality and ruin your experience. You can inquire with your cable TV operator for the details of downloading the right software program for your PC. The entire process of downloading this software will take less than half an hour, and you will get access to thousands of TV channels on your computer or laptop. Though this method is not considered to be at par with TV tuners, the fact that it saves you the trouble of going through the technicalities of the hardware makes it ideal for some people.

With computers becoming an integral part of each and every American household, it isn’t surprising that we now have the option of watching the television on our desktops today. Once you have installed the TV tuner or downloaded the required software, you can just sit back and watch your favorite shows with no disturbance whatsoever. At the same time, you would also get added benefits of recording live TV shows or watching previously recorded shows on your computer.

Tips on Saving Money on Your Cable Bill

Life without a cable connection is unimaginable. We are simply addicted to television, but fail to realize that this addiction comes with a hefty price tag. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), basic cable prices have increased by 122% between 1995 and 2008. You may be surprised looking at this figure, and might wonder why these numbers are skyrocketing. It is simply because media companies are charging enormous fees to cable companies, and they, in turn, are passing the charge down to their customers.

The problem we face is that, we are tempted to add all the ‘attractive features’ to the package without giving them a second thought, just because they are available and are something new in the world of entertainment. Do we really need HD? We don’t. We don’t need all the ‘added features’ to watch our cherished TV shows. Buzzle will let you in on some tips to slash your cable bill, and still enjoy watching your favorite programs.

Track Your TV-watching Pattern

From today onwards, start keeping a track of the TV-watching pattern of the entire family. Do it religiously for one week. Maintain a diary if required. At the end of the week, if you realize that you only watch some specific shows, and very rarely sit down to watch a movie, then it’s time you review your cable bill. You will note that for a long time you have been paying a price for something you didn’t even use. After you recover from your realization, it’s time to act! You can knock off the channels that you and your family aren’t very interested in. Saving money is not easy, but at the end of the month, you’ll be happy with a little extra cushioning in your wallet.

Check Your Cable Bill Thoroughly

Month after month, you just grumble about the ‘amount-to-be-paid’ printed on the bill, and pay it without even giving a second glance at the finer print. This time, when you receive your cable bill, look at it closely. Start from the first sentence and read till the end. You may even come across a charge that has been put on your bill by mistake. For example, let’s take into account an action movie that you didn’t order. If you are sure that the levied charge is wrong, and you never used the service, go ahead, pick up the phone, and ask the provider to get the amount removed.

Remove Extra Features

First of all, when you read your bill carefully, you will realize the amount of money you pay for bells and whistles. It would be pointless to keep on paying an extra $10 for just one show on HBO or Showtime, when there are many other options available to watch the same show for half the price. Removal of premium channels can slash the bill by almost $50. For movies, rent from Redbox kiosks. For shows, stream them through Hulu or Roku.

Second thing to do is to decide if you really need the DVR taping function. Is it really that necessary to record live TV to watch it later, when you can just ‘watch it later’, without even paying half as much as you are paying for the DVR? Third, take a decision about the HD programming feature. You used to watch TV before HD came into existence… right? So why not now? If you switch your HD cable box for a Non-HD one, your bill will reduce by almost $20.

Next on the list, high-speed Internet connection. If you are only sending emails and doing some casual browsing, then I would recommend you to use only basic speed services. If you are paying extra for the maximum bandwidth available, downsize right away. After all ‘saving money’ is the aim… isn’t it?

Do Some Research

Before you pick up that phone and negotiate with your cable provider, do some research. You have to search for rates that other cable providers are offering. You can tap the power of the Internet to find the locations of some of the cable providers. Browse through their websites, call, or visit their store. Gather all the information you would require as leverage when you call your service provider.

You can also ask your friends, family, or people in the neighborhood, about their cable bills. If you realize that you are paying more than others, you can use that information as leverage again, to haggle with your cable provider. After you gather all the information, set a realistic goal for yourself. You have to be sure of what is it that you exactly want. A 15% reduction in the bill or the removal of extra features, or simply wanting to stop the services! Decide before calling.

Call Your Cable Provider

This is the main step towards lowering your bill. Keep all your information ready and call your provider. You don’t have to sound irate at all, in fact, you may have to indulge in a little bit of flattery. Start by informing them about the duration you have been with them. You could say that you were going through the yearly budget, and found that cable services are very pricey, and that you are going through a financially-strapped situation.

Tell them that the services that they provide are good but not affordable, so you are being forced to quit and opt for a cheaper option. Once you drop the ‘switch provider’ word, most of the time, it happens that out of the fear of losing a customer, they will offer a better deal or add some perks into your package. If removal of the extra features is your point, tell it upfront, and get them off your bill as soon as possible. Finally, if you do not get any positive results, be ready to switch providers.

Alternatives for a Cable Connection

If you can wait until your favorite show comes on the data-streaming websites, then you could save a major chunk on your bill. An alternative way to find all the ‘made-for-TV’ shows and movies, is on sites like Hulu. For a comparatively lesser charge, you can get them on Xbox, Wii, PS3, Roku, or AppleTV. You can also tap into Netflix and Amazon’s library of movies and TV shows, with paid memberships of around $10 – $15 per month. All of these require an Internet connection for data streaming.

You can also try to find a local video store in your locality, and hire the entire season of family-dramas and sitcoms as soon as they are out. The idea is, if you can pay and get the entire season of an exact favorite show or movie, why pay for the complete channel subscription.

So, if your cable bill is making you break into a sweat, follow these suggestions, and enjoy your favorite movies and shows on a shoestring budget.

Tips on Making an Effective Television Advertisement

According to researches, an average American watches television for about four hours everyday! This in itself points out to the huge potential this medium holds for advertising a company’s products and reaching the target customers. Increasing product sales and awareness about a company is indeed possible through television commercials, provided they are catchy, simple, creative and short while keeping the below given tips on enhancing TV advertising effectiveness in mind.

Tips for Making an Effective Television Advertisement

Keep it Short and Crisp
The success of any advertisement depends to a large extent on how well its script has been written. An effective way to write the script for a television commercial is to keep the language simple and the sentences short and hard-hitting. The script should be written in accordance to the air time that has been bought. The main motive of the script is to put across the message to the possible customers in the stipulated time. So, make sure that your script is able to deliver the same.

Make an Emotional Appeal
Researches have shown that an emotional appeal any day works much more than a rational appeal. So, through the television commercial, touch the heart of your target customers. Putting people in the advertisement as opposed to just the products that you are selling, will have a greater impact. Make the advertisements seem real, by having the people in the advertisement use the product or carry on any other activity, rather than just coming in front of the camera and smiling!

Tell a Story
Shoot the video for the television commercial as if you are telling a story. Do not end up taking a number of shots and then putting them together randomly, just because you want to display as many company products as possible! Instead, tell a story, both visually as well as verbally, so that the audience gets a clear idea of what message you are trying to convey, even if they are in the other room and are only able to hear that advertisement or if they are simply watching the advertisement on a muted television! Also, the video of the television commercial should totally match the script.

Call to Action
Remember to include the “call to action” in your commercial. In simple words, “call to action” means providing proper contact information to your potential customers, through the advertisement, so that they know where to place an order for the product or visit the company’s website or to call up, in case they want some additional information on the company as well as the product that is advertised. Thus, a good advertisement should contain the address of the website, phone number and physical address of the business.

Get Professional Help
To enhance your TV advertising effectiveness, hire a production company to script, write, shoot and edit the advertisement in a professional manner. Visit various television production companies, see their past work, negotiate for the best prices and then choose the one which fits your requirements. However, even if you hire a production company, remain involved in the whole process of creating an advertisement and give your inputs whenever needed.

Be Honest and Original
When making an advertisement, there are two things that you should steer clear of. First is making false claims about what your product can deliver and the second is making an advertisement similar to your competitor. In short, to enhance TV advertising effectiveness, be honest, unique and creative. Also, maintain some sort of consistency in your advertisements so that people start recognizing it. For this, you can either keep the jingle same or use the same colors or employ any other method which you feel will grab and keep the attention of your possible customers.

Time it Right
Once the advertisement is made, schedule it properly, so that your target customers are able to see it. So, choose the television stations as well as programs for displaying your advertisement, which your potential customers are most likely to watch.

With these TV advertising tips, any company can make good, effective television commercials, which can contribute a lot towards enhancing its sales and profits. When it comes to television advertisements, simplicity, emotional appeal, a good story, creative shooting and sharp editing is the key to success!

Finding Best Game Shows to Play Online

Family Feud, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Sound familiar? Yes folks, these are some of the most talked about and popular game shows. Even though some of the shows have gone off the air, they are still one of the favorite shows for many. I remember when I was little, I used to watch Family Feud with my grandmother. She used to try so hard to get the first word on the board. Seeing that game on television, I would always cry in front of my parents and ask them to take me on it someday. But, as luck would have it, it didn’t really go as I had planned. Even some of my childhood friends were crazy about it, and that gave us an idea of making our own Family Feud version. We would play that game for hours together and win pretend prizes. Well, all that was in the past and those games are long gone. After watching them on TV and hoping to one day go on these shows, you can definitely play them right from your home. So the other day as I was searching for some online games, guess what? I actually found some games. The point is, if you’ve missed out on playing these games back then, you can certainly play them now.

I really couldn’t believe my eyes that these long-forgotten games are available to play on the Internet. Of course, there are other games out there, but what fun would they be when you have these amazing games right at your fingertips. So what I did after that is probably not a mystery to anyone (considering I was rambling here about how I always wanted to play them for real). I turned my laptop on, searched for these game shows, and immediately started playing them. It was probably like more than 2 hours later that I got up from my place and (tried) to get back to work. But it was the most fun I had in a very long time, and these games brought back some forgotten memories from my past. Perhaps you too loved these actual games and are searching the online versions of them. Well, in this article, we will tell you which games are available online, what are they all about, how it is played, and where to find them.

Play the Games Online

The best thing about these games is that some are given as free trials and some you have to purchase. You get to play them and not just watch. And that too, for me it is a great bargain. The games are extremely fun, great for passing time when bored, and very, very addictive (trust me). So turn your laptops/computers and prepare yourselves for some fun.

Family Feud
If you have seen this game on television, then you know what kind of questions are asked. For example, the questions could be like “Name the loudest animal in the zoo”, “Name something a woman might leave a lipstick mark on”, or “Name a country that begins with the letter S.”

Of course, there are many possible answers to these questions and to find the top response will get you the maximum points. Just remember how the game used to be on television and follow the game likewise. So to play this game online, all you have to do is go to any website that caters these games, register (only if you’re 18 and over), and play for free, without any downloads. The only downfall is that there are too many casino ads coming in-between games that ruins the mood.

Wheel of Fortune
Are you feeling lucky? If you’ve never seen this game (quite unlikely), then let’s get you up to speed. This game boils down to your luck and nothing else. Turn the wheel and see what your luck can strike. To play this game, you don’t even have to register. But make sure you have Windows and Internet Explorer before you begin. Otherwise, you would’ve gotten excited for no reason. In addition to the online version, you can also purchase its mobile version to play.

Weakest Link
You remember this British game show, don’t you? I’ve always wanted to hear the catch phrase in the show. I remember it specifically for the hostess, Anne Robinson. Her very famous line on the show “You are the weakest link…goodbye” still echoes in my head. And since this is the British version, your online game will consist of pound sterling and not dollars (although you don’t actually win anything, it’s fictitious). But we’re not here to play for money; we’re here to play and have some fun. The goal of this game is to answer as many questions as you can correctly and reach the 1000 pound mark in the allotted time. Make the chain with 9 correct answers; but if you give 1 wrong answer, you will break the chain and have to start all over again.

Do you love trivia games? If your answer is “Yes”, then this game is for you. As you may remember, Jeopardy used to be so much fun to watch with family and friends, and try to see who came up with the right answer faster than others. This game has intelligent trivia questions on history and geography, arts and literature, science, sports, pop culture, and so much more. To play the game, you can download the 60 minute trial version first. You can purchase the mobile version as well.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Let’s Play Who Wants to be a Millionaire? To play this game, you get 30 seconds to answer the questions given and move further up the scoreboard. You won’t get any actual prizes, but it’s definitely fun to pretend. Similar to the original game, you will get 3 lifelines: 50/50, Phone a Friend, and Ask the Audience. Get ready to answer some awesome questions.

You can also include your family, along with kids to play these games. It’s really exciting when you have so many people to play with. It can actually make your boring and lazy afternoons or days into fun and frolic. As they have no adult content and are safe for kids, they make perfect choices for kids. So what are you waiting for? Get online and start playing.

Ways to Get Rid of Your Old TV

In with the new, out with the old. With electronics, disposal techniques are a little more complex, especially with TVs. Due to their size, TVs are extremely large appliances to throw out. In some states, it is illegal to throw out your television set along with regular garbage, due to the polluting effects of such devices. In such cases, how can you legally and safely do away with your old TV set? Here’s how.

Donate Your TV to Charity
You may be throwing out that ancient CRT TV, to make way for a sleek plasma screen. Or maybe you are throwing out your LCD TV for a high-end HD model. The bottom line is, you are disposing of a working, perfectly fine or OK TV set, as you intend to replace it with a better model. Then why throw it? Try to donate it instead. First ask around your neighborhood. Try your local church or community center or an old age home. A useless TV to you can mean a beautiful new television to someone else. You can even drop off your TV at a Salvation Army or Goodwill Center. Some reuse organizations that accept TV sets in a working condition are:

  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Habitat ReStores
  • Salvation Army
  • Goodwill Industries
  • Amvets
  • Excess Access
  • Freecycle

Trade In Your TV
Some stores and electronic brands offer a trade-in policy on electronic goods brought from them. Trade-in terms and conditions differ from store to store but on purchasing a new TV set, they will take the older set from your hands. Some stores have exchange drives, where you can exchange your old set and get a discount rate on the new one. Or you can even sell your old TV set to the store. Get in touch with the store you purchased the TV from or contact the TV’s manufacturer directly, to find out if they have any programs regarding old TVs.

Sell Off its Parts
From the CRT tube to the antenna, your TV set is made up of small and big electronic parts internally. Your TV set may not work as a whole machine but such internal parts can still work independently. So they could be used in another appliance, like a radio or to fix another TV set. Take your TV to local electronic repair shops to sell off the internal parts. Parts from your TV can be used to repair or fix a number of other appliances and repair shops are always on the lookout for spare parts.

Recycle Your TV Set
An estimated 13.4 million TVs are thrown away each year, according to the CEA (Consumer Electronic Association). Imagine the number of TV sets collecting on landfills or such a large amount of sets being burnt to destroy them. Imagine the degrading impact on an already delicate environment. Do your bit for the environment by disposing your TV set in a green manner. Here are some ways to do so:

Contact the TV’s Manufacturing Brand
Some major electronic brands have recycling programs for their electronic products, where you can drop off the product and they will trash it in a non-hazardous manner. Brands which have a take-back electronic recycling policy are:

  • LG (Zenith and Goldstar TVs included)
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Mitsubishi
  • Panasonic
  • Sharp
  • Toshiba
  • Vizio

Check out Retailers
Brands like Best Buy and Staples will recycle your TV set for a minimal fee. Best Buy’s recycling program will accept any electronic device of any brand and in any condition and will handle its recycling in an environmentally friendly way.

Visit your Local Recycling Center
Check if they will accept your old TV or at least, help you dispose of your TV safely. Some cities or states have annual or bi-annual e-waste collection drives, so you can drop off your TV set at the sites mentioned.

Search the Web
If you are still stumped as to where to recycle your TV, never fear. There are many helpful organizations and programs present online, that will help you track down the nearest recyclers. E-cycling Central, MyGreenElectronics and Earth911 are just a few online sites to visit. The Electronic Recycling Association is very helpful in handling electronic recycling and has select drop off locations and pickups of electronic goods. They will even donate your TV set to a needful charity, if it is in a working condition.

If you are recycling your TV set, try to make sure that your TV is recycled responsibly, i.e., it is not just exported to a Third-World country and thrown on a dump over there. Such “out of sight, out of mind” behavior isn’t recycling, it is e-waste dumping. Be responsible, do not just throw things out. Put away any electronic item, be it a TV or a mobile phone, in a correct and safe manner.

Ways to Choose an Energy-efficient Television

Shopping for a television can be exciting. But with so much technical information to take care of, choosing the right one can sometimes become a daunting task. Nowadays, televisions are getting bigger and better. They are displaying sharper images, and boast of superior sound quality. In short, currently, televisions are offering the best TV viewing experience.

The box-shaped old generation televisions, that used cathode ray tubes have almost become obsolete, and have been replaced by their flat-screen counterparts. However, these sleek TVs gobble up a large amount of energy, and if you make an ignorant purchase, then be ready to expect a hefty energy bill.

Generally, people choose a TV on the basis of a few parameters. Preference is normally given to the size of the screen, picture quality, price, and sound clarity, in no particular order. While these parameters are useful, the one that is important and often ignored is energy-efficiency.

Some tips to look out for, when choosing an energy-efficient television, are given below:

Type of Technology

There are three types of TVs available today; Plasma, LCD, and LED-backlit LCD. According to the amount of energy they consume, it can be said that plasma is the least energy-efficient, followed by LCD and LED-backlit LCD. Before we take a look at the details regarding energy consumption, it is important to note that energy consumption of a TV, besides the screen size and technology, will also depend on the number of hours the television remains switched on.

Plasma TV is the least energy-efficient, and uses around two to three times more power than an LCD. A 32-inch plasma TV will use around 125 watts/year, 42-inch will consume around 188-464 watts/year, and if the screen size is between 50 to 56 inches, then the power consumption will be between 191-474 watts/year. This, in spite of the fact, that current Plasma TVs are more energy-efficient than their older versions.

Energy consumption figures for LCDs indicate that a 32-inch screen will consume about 98-156 watts/year, a 42-inch screen will consume around 91-236 watts/year, and if the screen size is 50 to 56 inches, then it is believed to consume 210-322 watts/year.

A 32-inch LED-backlit LCD TV may consume around 50-95 watts/year. A 42-inch model may consume around 80-155 watts/year, while, 50 to 56 inch LED-backlit TVs can consume about 100-210 watts/year.

The figures indicate that LED-backlit LCDs consume around 70% lesser power than plasma TVs and 30% lesser than LCDs.

The figures mentioned above are obtained from CNET TV Energy Efficiency Guide

Check the Energy Guide Label

Since 2011, the FTC has required that every TV display a yellow and black Energy Guide Label. The label estimates the cost of running that device for one year. The numbers are derived assuming a fixed price of electricity and daily usage in number of hours. The label also estimates the yearly electricity use of that particular model in watts.

While the Energy Guide Label serves as an indicator of energy consumption in the United States of America, in many other countries, Energy Rating Label (ERLs) are used.

Size of the Screen

Bigger-sized flat-panel TVs consume more energy than smaller-sized flat-panel ones. Another point to be remembered here is that, the prices of plasma TVs are reducing, as more and more people have started opting for LCDs and LEDs. Due to this reason, a larger plasma television is available at the price of a smaller LED.

But don’t fall into the trap, where you may think, “Why not opt for a bigger screen if I’m getting a 40-inch plasma at the price of a 32-inch LED?” Remember! The plasma consumes more power, and if it is of a bigger size, it is bound to give you a bigger energy bill.

Knowledge About Technology Can Help

A plasma television uses gas (Xenon and Neon) to form a pixel. As electricity excites the gas, it turns into plasma. In the plasma state, electrons of the gas emit ultraviolet light rays that falls on the red, blue, and green phosphors, and develops the colors of that pixel.

In an HD plasma, there are 3,000 pixels. The images are more bright and vivid. It provides a wide viewing angle and can handle fast motion images in a better way. The plus is that it offers better energy-efficiency than the CRTs, but the minuses are plenty.

They are heavy! If you want to wall-mount them, be careful, and make sure that the supporting aids are strong enough. Plasma TVs generate a lot of heat, they tend to become hotter when running continuously, and have small fans mounted on them to draw air, to keep them cool.

LCDs (Liquid-Crystal Display) use the capacity of liquid crystals to modulate light. The liquid crystals do not emit light directly. The light is produced by a series of cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs). These CCFLs are very efficient. Thus, making the LCD’s a better option than plasma screen TVs.

In an LED-backlit LCD, the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) are replaced by LED-backlighting. This replacement helps to reduce the energy consumption even further, and still provide better contrast and brightness. It retains the color range the CCFL LCDs can offer, and also provides a rapid frames per second frequency with amazing image rendering.

LED-backlit LCDs also have longer life and can be made super-thin. They generate significantly less heat while running, and are lighter in weight than a CCFL-powered LED. But the one point that may deter many from opting for it, ‘they are a bit pricey’. But I think that’s justified, because in the long run, the maintenance costs and monthly bills would be considerably less.

A general thumb rule would be to check the specifications, and look for the golden words ‘uses less than 108 watts of power’. However, buying an energy-efficient television is only half the job done in your quest to cut down on your electricity bills. It’s important that you pay heed to small measures to save electricity, such as unplugging the device from the wall socket when not in use. This will at least save 10% of your annual bill. So, go ahead and choose an energy-efficient television set and take your own little step in conserving the environment. It will prevent the leaking electricity from increasing your bill.

Ways to Decide What to Watch

There are so many movies and TV shows, and so many ways to access them, that it can be difficult to decide which ones will be worthwhile and which won’t. If you’re like most people, your friends and relatives are constantly recommending that you get involved in this or that TV show, or that you check out this or that movie. In general, you probably know what you like. If a friend recommends a show you know you will hate, you probably won’t bother looking into it. Cop dramas are not for everyone, after all. But, with some exceptions, most of us have a pretty wide range of genres we’ll consider, and a recommendation from a trusted source might even spur us to try something outside our comfort zones. So, if we have time to watch a new TV show or are wondering what movie to rent, how can we sort through 100 recommendations to arrive at the one that’s most likely to please us?

The principle of critical mass might provide one good answer. Although the term ‘critical mass’ could mean different things depending on the context, in this case, critical mass is a point when the number of voices in favor of a particular movie or show are so numerous that we just can’t ignore them anymore. For example, let’s say you have three friends, Bob, Sue, and Marsha, who regularly tell you about the latest series to catch their attention. In addition, you read reviews on five different websites. Maybe two of these websites also give you recommendations based on your individual ratings and viewing history. Just to make the situation more interesting, suppose your mom also likes to tell you about the shows she’s watching, and she loves it when you get interested in something she told you about, because it makes her feel useful.

Given this scenario, you can imagine that certain information would be more reliable than other information. For example, Marsha’s recommendations might not be high on your priority list if you and she tend to have very different taste in television. You might value Sue’s recommendations more highly if the two of you have a history of liking the same stuff. Sometimes, the factors determining how highly you value a certain recommendation are more complicated. Your mom basically only likes soap operas, which you hate, but since she’s your mother it’s sometimes hard not to give her recommendations a try just to make her happy. With the more impersonal sources, the case is similar. You’re probably more likely to take a recommendation from a website that’s accounting for your personal taste with some complicated algorithm thank you are to take advice from a random, snooty film critic (even if the critic is famous or well respected).

With all these factors involved, it’s easy to see how some movies and shows might reach critical mass well before others. If Sue and Bob, whose opinions you trust, rave about a movie, and then two days later it shows up on both of your online personalized recommendations lists, that might be enough to make you rush out and rent it as soon as possible. If your mom and Marsha both recommend the same movie, that might outweigh the more reliable recommendation, and instead you might consider picking a movie that got a good review from a couple of critics you like. Of course, there’s no easy equation to plug all these factors into, but understanding the decision-making process in this way, could help out next time you’re feeling indecisive about the hundreds of on-demand options available.

If you can’t decide between Movie A and Movie B, and if all other factors are equal (meaning you’re not in the mood for one or the other based on genre or whatever else), ask yourself this―which one is, at this moment, closer to critical mass? Of course, neither of them has yet actually achieved critical mass, because if it had, you would have watched it already. It’s likely, though, that one of these movies is closer to that point than the others, and that might be just as good a reason as any to give it a whirl.

Tips on Getting Cheap Satellite TV

Satellite TV is a hot favorite amongst all those who are addicted to browsing innumerable television channels, and have a plethora of channel choices to take a pick from. There is a channel for all sorts of television watchers. There is a channel that promotes life changing products such as slimming belts or hair growth pill pops, for those who refuse to get enough drama from their own lives that they seek out an enhanced dose of it on TV, for the health conscious, for the food lover, for the discoverer and explorer and for the goth and for the romantic at heart; well there is a channel for all, and to cater to every need.

How Does a Satellite TV Dish Work
The Dish Network and DirecTV use a satellite TV dish with a satellite receiver, also known as the receiver decoder, in accordance to what the customer chooses. A satellite TV dish consists two specific parts; namely, the reflector and the feed horn. The dish is mounted on the shingle roof, where the reflector serves as the recipient of the signals. These signals are reflected on to the bowl, from where they seep right into the feed horn. Thus, it is the feed horn where the signals are received. The signals that are received, are pushed through the Low Noise Block (LNB) mode. This is where high frequency signals are converted to low-frequency. The signals converted into low-frequency are finally, carried through the cables to your TV sets. The satellite receiver decoder plays a significant role as without it, only the signals would be received; however, they would be in the form of a code, thus no image processing would be conducted in this fashion.

Satellite TV may not be affordable for some, as the installation and the number of channels provided in a package may become too costly an affair. There are companies that provide services at affordable rates. They are Dish Network and DirecTV. The installation costs, as well as the channel package that is chosen by you as a subscriber, is affordable.

How to Get Discount Satellite TV
Getting discount satellite TV may be the best option when looking out for an affordable price in the market. Conduct a thorough research for finding the best deals in terms of affordability and receiving channels of your choice; all in all, it should be a value for money deal. You may take national promotions into consideration when you are looking out for cheap and discounted TV. There are companies that will be ready to provide a subscriber or the first few sign ups to strike a deal on free dish installation. There are special offers that give an opportunity to the customers for a free upgradation of the system as well.

Things to Look Out For
When you have decided to have a cost-effective satellite TV provider, you need to choose the service provider that caters to your needs and gives you the channels on demand. Look out for what the provider has on offer.

☞ To cut down the costs of the subscriber, Digital Video Recording (DVR) boxes are installed for free. The DVR boxes provide high-definition channels. With this facility at hand, you may be able to record your favorite shows on TV and enjoy them to the fullest due to the clarity they provide.

☞ There are no over-and-above installation charges. No extra costs are involved for installations, however the installation applies for 4 to 6 rooms only. The subscriber thus, may not have every room wired for the services.

☞ Look out for the channel package that is cost-effective and also include the channels that you watch often. There are basic channel packages offered for an affordable rate.

☞ You may also subscribe for a package that has a list of movie channels to provide to the viewers. There are music channels that are allotted in the channel packages with digital quality sound.

☞ Also, look out for services that have a customer care service, to guide and assist you with certain operative procedures that you may not understand. With Dish and DirecTV, a 24×7 customer care service is provided.

Getting a cheap satellite TV requires you to decide if you are looking out for low costs on channels or channel packages. Dish Network is a very cheap satellite television service. You have 60 channels inclusive of local channels from computer to TV at $32 to $33 per month. On the other hand, the DirecTV programs may cost approximately $42 from computer to TV. Thus, you may choose either Dish or DirecTV as your satellite TV service provider, as both of them offer services and channels at lower costs.