As the Consumer Electronics Show prepares to open this week in Las Vegas, we’ve already heard about the $10,000 55-inch TV from LG and a 100-inch laser TV with an as-yet-undisclosed price. But when the hoopla is over, you’ll be able to count on some good deals in the coming year.
Here are 5 ways you can save money on technology in 2013.
1. Streaming video
Redbox Instant from Verizon is a soon-to-be-released streaming movie service that could be a better deal than Netflix if you stream and order DVDs from Netflix by mail. Redbox Instant will offer unlimited movie streaming along with four Redbox DVD rentals per month for $8, compared to $16 for a similar service from Netflix.
At the onset, Redbox will only offer movies (no TV shows) but it will include a bigger selection of blockbuster titles than Netflix.
To sign up for an invitation, you may visit the Redbox Instant website and submit your email.
DealNews.com, a site that tracks prices on all sorts of electronics, has said it expects continued price cuts on big screen LCD TVs.
During this past Black Friday, the 60-inch sets saw the biggest price cuts. One reason for the discounts may be that TV manufacturers invested in 3D technology for larger sized TVs and 3D has been largely shunned by shoppers, so manufacturers are eager to boost sales with less complex models.
A 60-inch Samsung Series 6 HDTV with a 1080p resolution is available for $1,098 with free shipping — a new lowest price by $100, according to DealNews.
If you can settle for a smaller screen, a 50-inch LG LED backlit HDTV is available from Walmart for $648 with free shipping — the lowest price for any 50-inch HDTV, DealNews said.
And while we don’t hear much about plasma TVs, they usually offer better picture quality at a lower cost than their LCD/LED counterparts.
Finally, you don’t need to pay a premium for a so-called smart TV that offers Internet-connected apps. Despite all of the apps that come with smart TVs, people are for the most part using only the streaming apps such as Netflix. You can add some smarts to your current HDTV with a $60 Roku media streaming device.
In 2012, the U.S. Justice Department sued Apple and five major e-book publishers for price-fixing. The group conspired to keep the price of bestselling e-books at around $13 to prevent Amazon from selling such books at $9.99.
Four of the publishers — Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — agreed to settle and will no longer be able to prevent retailers from discounting their titles.
Apple and Macmillan declined to settle and a trial has been scheduled for June 2013. But the good news for readers is that e-book sellers such as Amazon have begun discounting e-books once again, and even Apple has followed suit to remain competitive.
Last year at CES, Ultrabooks were all the rage, which to me, were PC versions of Apple’s MacBook Air laptops. Lightweight and thin with higher resolution displays than previous PC laptops, the new Intel-branded computers were just as expensive as Apple’s line — no surprise that they didn’t sell well.
However, this year promises to bring a slew of “basic” Ultrabooks with prices starting around $500, which would make them competitive with older and heavier models.
But my favorite new laptops are the Chromebooks, made by Acer and Samsung, which must have an Internet connection to be used. Even a year ago that restriction would have put me off, but there is little I do today that doesn’t require a connection.
Chromebooks are exceptionally lightweight and start at $199 for an Acer and $249 for a Samsung that weighs 2.4 pounds, is 0.7 inches thick and has a 6.5-hour battery life.
Smartphones have become mainstream and are no longer marketed as a premium phone.
Last year, the iPhone was made available off-contract for the first time.
High-end Android phones also became available on these types of plans that can save hundreds over buying a phone on contract. As a result of the growing popularity of these prepaid plans from providers such as Virgin Mobile, an increasing number of smartphones are available as a free option when buying a two-year contract.
And while the iPhone 4 isn’t altogether free (price is $0.99 on contract at AT&T), it’s very close. When Apple releases what will most likely be the 5S next year (and maybe as early as the second quarter), look for the 4S to move down to the free slot.
Ogden-based TopTenREVIEWS.com guides consumers by comparing products in the world of technology, including electronics, software and Web services. Have a question for TopTenREVIEWS? Email Leslie Meredith at email@example.com.