Flat-panel LCD screens are making inroads to the larger screen sizes usually reserved for plasma TVs, and LG's DU-42LZ30 42-inch set is the latest plus-size LCD model. The high-definition widescreen TV has its own built-in digital tuner, so you won't need a separate set-top box to watch HDTV programs. But you can still hook up sources like a hard-disk recorder or D-VHS VCR to the set's DVI (Digital Visual Interface) or component-video inputs. Native resolution is 1,280 x 768 pixels, and contrast ratio is rated as 400:1. The stand shown is included, and speakers are built into the black frame. Price: $10,999.
Sooner or later, all gear becomes obsolete. Software updates for things like receivers can help, but they only go so far. With its TX-NR1000 receiver, Onkyo strikes a blow to the heart of obsolescence. It uses a card-based architecture - much like a personal computer - so the hardware can be updated as well. The receiver also has a couple of other firsts for Onkyo: a pair of HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) inputs and one output plus a FireWire input/output for use with a FireWire-equipped DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD player. Rated to deliver 150 watts x 7, the receiver has an Ethernet port for use with Onkyo's Net-Tune music server/client system and carries THX's Ultra2 certification, which is reserved for gear with seven channels of amplification and the ability to switch HDTV signals. Price: $4,500.
The maker of the first high-definition camcorder (the GR-HD1, click to read the review) brings us the first portable high-def MiniDV recorder, the CU-VH1. The 8 3/8 x 2 1/4 x 6 1/8-inch deck records in the 720p (progressive-scan) format at 30 frames per second, and it can play back in 1080i (interlaced), 720p, 480p, or 480i format, doing all the necessary conversion onboard. For watching video on the fly, there's a hinged 3 1/2-inch LCD screen. You can transfer footage digitally to or from a PC through the i.Link (a.k.a. FireWire) or USB ports, and the BNC-style component-video output connects to an HDTV. A card in the Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard slot will store 1,280 x 720-pixel photos and even thumbnails of taped video for dragging and dropping. A full charge of the supplied battery is said to last 1 1/2 hours (a 2 3/4-hour battery is also available). Price: $1,999.
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