Shedding some of the typical rear-projector bulk, Samsung's HCP4252W HDTV monitor is a tabletop design that's only 19 3/4 inches thick. The 42-inch set has a 16:9 screen the same size as many plasma models, but it's less than half the price. Just connect a high-def tuner, slip it underneath the set on the optional stand, and HDTV is your oyster. There are three HDTV-capable component-video inputs as well as an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connector. The three CRTs have 15 convergence points, and an automatic pixel-shift function helps protect the tubes from burn-in. Price: $1,299.
If you've decided it's finally time to join the 5.1 club, Paradigm's Cinema 70 HTiB speaker system can get you membership for a reasonable price. Overlooking the system's misleading name - a "home theater in a box" really needs to include a DVD player/receiver - you'll find five sleek-looking Cinema 70 satellites with a respectable subwoofer, finished in either black or silver. Each 41/4 x 7 x 51/2-inch satellite has a 31/2-inch mineral-filled copolymer midrange driver, a 5/8-inch tweeter, and a frequency response rated from 115 Hz to 20 kHz ±2 dB. The Cinema subwoofer is rated down to 29 Hz thanks to an 8-inch carbon-fiber-reinforced driver and a 90-watt amp. For 6.1-channel sound, you can add the optional Cinema CC center speaker, with dual midranges, for $129, and put one of the satellites in back. Price: $549.
Are you one of the growing crowd who only use a VCR when you want to tape something for a pal? The next time you record CSI, just think how impressed your friend would be if you handed him a shiny DVD instead of a VHS tape. JVC's DR-M10S DVD recorder even gives you a selection of disc formats to record on: DVD-R, DVD-RW, or DVD-RAM. It also has a video preprocessor that performs time-base correction (to eliminate jitter), frame synchronization, and motion noise reduction - all before the MPEG-encoding stage. For playback, an MPEG postprocessor is said to enhance color and detail as well as reduce "block" and "mosquito" noise. For playback, you can quick skip in 30-second intervals, and there's a 7-second instant-replay button. An i.Link (a.k.a. FireWire) port helps transfer your camcorder footage to DVD. Price: $699.
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