If you haven't made the jump to HDTV yet, here's a great reason to get with the program: the very affordable Dish Network ViP622 HD satellite receiver/DVR ($299). Not only will this magic box let you tune into HD shows (satellite and off-air), but it also packs a hefty hard disk for recording up to 25 hours of them (or 180 hours in standard-def).
Flash memory is convenient but fills up quickly. Tape is ... ugh, tape. For camcorders, the best medium might be a hard disk, and Toshiba's GSC-R60 Gigashot cam stores up to 13 hours of high-quality MPEG-2 recordings on its 60-GB drive. And for still pictures? Just snap away, my friend. Just snap away ...
Sure, the Onkyo CS-V720 minisystem ($400) is willing and able to serve as a DVD/CD player, but this sleek little number doesn't merely spin discs. It's also XM radio-ready, which means that when you get an XM Connect & Play antenna ($20) and a subscription to the satellite service ($12.95 a month), 160 channels of music, sports, news, and more will be at your fingertips.
You've gotta wonder what Freud would say about all these TV makers trying to outdo each other with the biggest screen. Then again, you also have to admit that an 80-inch plasma TV is never just an 80-inch plasma TV - not when it's the biggest you can get. Taking plasma into the 80s is the (holy crap!) $150,000 Samsung HP-R8082, whose screen has 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
For the most part, DVD players have migrated to the two ends of the price spectrum: no-frills players that cost less than a pepper steak, and mega-high-end machines with a list of processors so long it's like browsing the Tokyo phone book. But Harman Kardon is hanging onto the middle ground with the DVD 47 ($399).
Sony has re-established itself as a visionary TV maker with its SXRD models (see "Editors' Choice"), a variation of the difficult-to-manufacture LCoS technology. The first SXRD front projector, the Qualia 004, cost about $30,000.
Artison is all about melding speakers with home décor. No surprise, then, that it's now offering an in-wall surround speaker, the LRS-IW ($700 a pair). But this model has a couple of notable twists. First, it has a speaker enclosure that mounts inside the wall, so the wall cavity won't screw up its sound.
Even if you don't see the dock connector on the side, one look at the gloss-white finish of Kensington's SX 2000 speaker ($160) will tell you that it has to be an iPod something or other. Fitting any iPod with a dock connector, the 16-inch-wide transportable speaker uses NXT SurfaceSound technology, which produces sound by vibrating a flat panel.
There's something for everybody in Outlaw Audio's 7.1-channel Model 1070 receiver ($899 via Web only): Video fans will like its DVI connectors (compatible with HDMI jacks using optional adapters) that keep HDTV signals in digital form all the way to your TV.
Good size, good price - what more could you ask for in a TV? Okay, yeah, high-definition would be nice, and Vizio's 37-inch L37 LCD set ($1,500) has that covered, too, sporting a screen with 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution.
The latest DLP big screens from Samsung are led by the HLR5688W, which measures 56 inches (diagonal) and boasts a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Yep, that's enough for ultra-high 1080p (progressive-scan) resolution, folks.