Posted by Kerry on July 21, 2015
Posted by RC Willey Community on July 17, 2015
Posted by Kerry on July 15, 2015
Posted by Kerry on July 14, 2015
A fire pit is the outdoor version of a television. It's entertaining & warm but unlike a tv it generates conversation and memories. If you want to really get to know your friends or family, set up a nice evening fire with good food and drinks and let the fire do its magic. And s'mores...mmmmm...a treat so good it's named after wanting some more of it. It's weird we don't eat these more often.
Today I want to show you some options for a backyard fire pit as well as 3 gourmet s'mores recipes. You have to have a good fire for s'mores and sitting around your gas grill or a big candle doesn't do this time honored tradition justice. For the budget concious or those who want a portable firepit for camping, we have the Camp Chef compact firepit. It comes with 2 roasting sticks for hot dogs or marshmallows and a convenient carrying case.
The Crosley Wildlife Clay fire pit is definitely my style. If you like a kitchy outdoors theme with your s'mores, this powder-coated steel fire pit will suit you well with cutouts of bears, deer and other wildlife. With the added mesh screen, you don't have to worry about flying embers in your backyard.
For a more traditional and classy decor we have the Crosley Copper Bowl fire pit. Throw a few good logs in this baby, kick back on your patio furniture and watch the night clouds float by.
Of course we have fire pits of all sizes and budgets here at RC Willey and many are a part of our current coupon sale, so click the link below to browse and find your perfect backyard fire pit.
We all know how to throw a Hershey bar and marshmallow on a graham cracker, and frankly those are perfect in my mind but maybe you want to impress the inlaws or give your kids something fun to make. Or maybe you are having a fancy baby shower or anniversary party and want to bump everything up a notch. Whatever it is, you will love these 3 gourmet s'mores recipes.
Posted by Kerry on July 13, 2015
I love tv. I love sitting down on a comfy couch with some Oreos and milk and melting into the cushions and I love watching a movie with my family while we comment, cheer & laugh. Back in 2008, when it was just my wife and I, we tried our first attempt at cutting the (cable) cord. It was a clunky experience - we had high speed internet and we ran Hulu through a pc connected to our living room tv. It took a lot of setup with extra cables, keyboard and mouse, and after a few months we decided it wasn’t perfect yet, so we went back to cable. But when our daughter was born 2 years ago and our tv viewing dropped to almost nothing we realized that we could cut the cord and save a ton of money in the process.
Thanks to Hulu+, Netflix, HBO NOW, Showtime Anytime, Amazon Prime, and a host of other streaming networks, you aren’t giving up anything by getting rid of your mega 400-channel cable package. I know one major fault in the cord cutting up until now was the fact that sports fans didn’t have a solid option to see their teams and that’s where a new service called Sling TV from Dish Network comes into play. Sling TV is a streaming service that doesn’t require a satellite dish and for $20 a month gives you access to major cable channels including ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, AMC, A&E, History, TNT, HGTV, IFC & Disney. So if your love for Property Brothers was your excuse for keeping cable or the fact that you named your children after your favorite team’s mascot, now’s your chance to save a few bucks on your monthly bill.
So let’s look and see how much you will be saving by cutting the cord. I had a midlevel cable package, high-speed internet, HBO, and two digital cable boxes. This cost me $120/mo + our Netflix subscription ($7.99/mo) for a total of $1536 per year. Your package may be higher or lower. Our current setup saves us $900 per year!
We pay $30/mo for high speed DSL, $7.99/mo for Netflix, and $15/mo for HBO NOW for a total bill of $636 per year. This is a 59% savings from our previous cable bill. We have a digital HDTV antenna that pulls in local channels in 1080p. This gives us live access to the major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC) plus PBS and a few local signals. The two monthly subscriptions we pay for are Netflix and HBO NOW. We have access to a ton of shows, movies & documentaries, and since we only watch 1-2 hours of programming per day we never catch up to what’s out there. We are probably a few months to a year behind on major shows, so if staying current with what’s new is a priority, you might want to buy a HULU+ subscription ($7.99/mo). There are plenty of options for kids on most of these services, so our daughter is more than happy. We also enjoy free apps like YouTube and PBS kids.
Now, the hardest thing for a new cord cutter to get used to is the lack of channel surfing. You can still browse through some menus and see if something looks good but I remember the early days of looking at these massive catalogs and not knowing where to start or what I wanted to commit to. After a few months you get used to it.
What do you need to stream television and cut the cord? First of all you need high-speed internet. Depending on where you live will affect what your local cable or DSL company calls “High Speed” but to get the best experience out of streaming you will want at least 10mbps down and preferably 15mbps down or higher. The one thing you don’t want to do is constantly battle with your streaming service as it pauses or buffers due to slow connection speeds. So if you live in a place where high speed internet is hard to come by you might want to stick with cable or satellite, or if you currently have slower internet at home, spend some of the money you will be saving by not paying for cable tv and get a faster internet connection.
Next up you need something to stream with. If you have a laptop or iPad then you just need to download an app or visit a website. If you want to watch on your older big screen tv then there are a variety of dvd players, Roku, or AppleTV that offer streaming apps. If you are in the market for a new television make sure you purchase a Smart TV. These tvs have all your favorite apps built in and many even feature a button on the remote for Netflix or Hulu+. And since many of these new Smart TVs are 4K, check out this other article I wrote that tells you how to watch the best 4K content.
Usually with technology you have to pay more money for a better experience but this is not one of those times. Now you can save a boatload of cash and handpick the channels you and your family will enjoy and by the end of year one you will literally have saved enough money to buy a new Smart TV. So, if you have been on the fence at all about cutting the cord I can tell you from personal experience that we are going on year two and are not looking back.
Posted by Kerry on July 6, 2015
Should I buy a 4K tv? Is 4K tv worth it?
If you are looking for a new television then you’ve probably heard someone mention 4K or UHD. Most of us don’t keep up with the latest digital trends but when we are about to buy something as exciting as a new television we want to know how one 55” flatscreen tv can cost $499 and another brand’s 55” can cost $2499. There are many features and specs that make up price but one of the most important is resolution, and the latest technology is 4K UHD.
What is 4K UHD?
UHD or Ultra High Definition is the latest standard in high def television. UHD simply means more pixels (2160p) than the previous standard HDTV (1080p). As with all new technologies, there was a race to naming rights and 4K & UHD are interchangeable names. So if you see a tv that says 4K or UHD or 4K UHD, odds are they are all saying the same thing - this is the latest ultra high definition technology.
What are pixels & why do they matter?
Simply put, the more pixels you have the better. Pixels are the tiny little elements on a screen that when combined can create a picture. The more pixels on a screen the higher resolution and the higher resolution the more clarity there is in an image. Imagine trying to create a picture with 4 colored squares vs 1000 colored squares. Odds are no one would know what you were trying to create with 4 colored squares but with 1000 there’s a good chance people could tell what you were trying to draw, and if you doubled that amount there would be even greater detail & clarity in your image.
So how does 4K UHD compare to my 1080p television?
With 4x the pixels, 4K UHD has twice the resolution of your 1080p HDTV. This means smoother lines and increased detail in the picture quality. Of course these tvs offer upscaling (they digitally boost an HDTV signal to a 4K signal) but your best results will occur with real 4K content. Also, to fully appreciate this upgrade make sure you are sitting within 4’-8’ of the television to get the best view of the increased detail.
Where do I watch 4K content?
There are numerous ways to enjoy 4K content and more and more avenues will be opening up in the future.
The Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player comes preloaded with 50 movies and documentaries and also allows you to rent 4K movies or purchase and store them to the built in 1TB hard drive. This media player works with non-SONY UHD televisions as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone shoots video in brilliant 4K resolution. Pair your phone to your television and stream home videos for the whole family to enjoy.
The new GoPro Hero4 shoots ultra high definition 4K video of all your crazy adventures in life. Instead of making everyone hover around a computer watching that time you decided to jump your bike into a kiddie pool, now everyone can gather in the living room and laugh at you and all your glory.
Netflix is changing the game once again with a 4K streaming service! You can also use your smart tv’s apps like Amazon Instant Video or YouTube to get 4K content and many cable providers are launching their 4K streaming services as well.
I hope this helps answer some of your simpler questions about 4K UHD televisions and content. If you have any more specific questions please ask one of our experts in the electronics department at any RC Willey.