Buying a big screen TV is getting more complicated and confusing. DLP, Plasma and LCD technology are all worthy of consideration. What it boils down to is usage and location. We'll keep this short and sweet and give you our recommendations for the most popular big screen technologies.

First up is DLP. DLP is the modern-day projection TV. The sets are a little bulkier than LCD and Plasma and aren't appropriate for mounting on a wall. We're big fans of DLP sets. They offer the most bang for buck and are a good choice for rooms that can accommodate a bulkier set. The caveat with DLPs is viewing angle.
The TiVo Series3 Dual Tuner HD Digital Video Recorder is just what the HD community has been waiting for. It isn't cheap at $800 and a 3 year commitment is required to get the monthly fees down do $12 a month. However, dual cable card tuners and a new backlit remote along with 32 hours of HD capacity makes this a very attractive DVR to high-def addicts with the coin to pay for it.

We tested this new box on a Scientific Atlanta cable system using dual cable cards. We've written about our frustration with Cable Card installation and nothing much has changed. If you're an AV enthusiast you're likely to know a lot more about your equipment and installation than the technicians the cable companies send out for the installation. Unfortunately, they won't just send the cards and let you plug it in and activate.
One touch control for up to 15 components NULL Logitech's Harmony 880 Universal Remote is an improvement compared to the previous 760 model. The most important changes include the addition of more dedicated buttons for functions like pause and fast forward and a dock for recharging. Since a universal remote is designed to truly take over the duties of all the other remotes in the house it gets more of a workout and subsequently eats up the batteries. Making it rechargeable was a good move by Logitech.

Having more buttons is nice but ironically they tend to blend into the housing of the remote. The sleek design is attractive enough but we'd prefer a fat brick with bigger buttons. The small buttons take some getting used to. The LCD screen is okay but nothing special. It works.
The first thing we noticed about the HVX200 is how heavy it is. It's a little tank. The DVX100 feels like a toy by comparison. In fact, some shooters still prefer the DVX100 series for reality-style shooting where light weight maneuverability is sometimes more important than quality. However, given the functionality that Panasonic packed into this portable wonder it's anything but dense.

The HVX200 offers the following: True variable frame rates including 24p, 30p and 60p. Ratcheting up the frame rate for capturing sports and other action results in excellent slow-motion effects and vise versa for fast motion effects. 4:2:2 color sampling, in both 720 and 1080 resolution and 4 tracks of uncompressed audio. Recording formats include DV, DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO-HD. The HVX200 uses standard miniDV tape but requires use of the P2 solid state storage for HD and that's where things get sticky.
I don't think I've ever opened a box, untwisted the twisty ties and unwrapped plastic wrappers so carefully before. It felt weird but I wanted to make sure that I had all the components and connections accounted for. It might also be that both my kids were helping me open up everything. A rip here, a rip there, drop here, drop there' I thought, 'Oh well. I'll figure this out somehow.' Here's the breakdown:
The fact that you can get this much technology in a portable device for a few hundred bucks is amazing. We stumbled on New Universe Technology Inc. recently at CES and discovered quite an impressive stable of portable electronics.

The WDR800 portable DVD player has a sleek design with quality buttons and a slot loading mechanism for loading discs. If you're looking for a portable DVD player to keep junior happy in the back seat this is definitely one unit to put at the top of your list. It includes a cradle for strapping it to the head rest or the front seat, power supply for the car, headphones and runs on battery power too.
The California heat wave had me sweating like a pig inside my house, office, car' everywhere! The only thing that saved my sanity was Nintendo's latest offering in the portable gaming scene. It's called the DS Lite, the young brethren of the Nintendo DS or Double Screen that was introduced in November of 2004. Believe it or not, this little puppy is on fire. (excuse the heat-related pun here.) Since its debut, Nintendo has sold over 21 million units of the DS.

The DS Lite might even top that. Why' You may ask. As I've always said, it's about the games! There are hundreds of games available for the DS right now. In addition, Nintendo was smart enough to have a separate game slot for GBA or Game Boy Advance games. So, guess what' They just extended the life of older games and now new gamers are getting familiar with GBA games. It also extended the life of the GBA system, which Nintendo will continue to support because of the DS Lite's backward compatibility feature. Take some notes, Sony!
The AT&T E5965C 5.8 GHs cordless phone is a full-featured phone system with excellent sound quality and above average ergonomics. When we received the AT&T E5965C we were skeptical. It had been a while since we had tested any AT&T branded phone equipment and our last experience with AT&T's consumer line was less than stellar. But the E5965C turned out to be a nice surprise.
Our gadget girl Sandee loves her music collection but she was finding it a little cumbersome and a bit stale. By upgrading her audio system to Sonos with Rhapsody and Pandora she now has complete control over her tunes and gets turned on to more great music than ever before.

Sandee was frustrated with iTunes, digital rights management and just trying to manage her current music collection. Next thing we know, a big white truck is parked outside her home and Sonos boxes are scattered everywhere. Cut to a sunny California afternoon and Sandee's out back enjoying the day with here friends while Sonos and Pandora take care of the entertainment.
Here in Silicon Valley, with the annual game developers conference in full swing, the industry is buzzing about the Playstation 3, the next generation video game console from Sony. There is a lot of speculation and rumor swirling around this launch by folks in the business or gameland as we like to call it.

From what we can tell this looks like a developer's dream come true. Here's a quick list of why we're excited.

1. Sony announced that the PS3 will ship in November 2006 in the U.S. OK. Time to save up. Christmas season 2006 is going to be crazier this year. Rick will have to fall in line for me on this one!
The Sony PCM-D1 is a portable field recorder that features built in electret condenser mics in a stereo X-Y configuration, analog meters, signal limiting, high pass filtering, LCD display, and 4GB of flash memory for storing up to 2 hours worth of stereo sound files recorded at 24bit / 96 KHz. Connected via a USB 2.0 port the PCM-D1 acts like any other removable drive on a PC or Mac for transferring files back and forth.

Sony has been going through a lot of changes trying to bring back the excitement of it's product line in both the consumer and professional markets. The PCM-D1 certainly harkens back to the hip Sony of the 80s with its advertising slogan 'It's a Sony.'
I'll come out and say it up front: I love my TiVo. There are few products that have fundamentally changed my life -- for better or worse -- and TiVo is one of them. I've recommended TiVo to my family, my friends, and even random people in the TV aisle of the local big box retailer. But it's the same question all the time: "What exactly is TiVo'" And more importantly after explaining it to people: "Why would I pay $13 a month for it, plus the initial cost of the box'"

This may well explain why TiVo, while loved by its customers, only has sold a little over 1 million boxes in nine-year history. (if a 1+ million installed base sounds good, listen to this fact: Apple is reported to be producing 100K iPod nanos a day!
The SUBstage 100 doesn't look anything like your typical subwoofer and that's a good thing. At just 4 ' inches high, 16 ' inches wide and 8 inches deep, the SUBstage 100 from soundmatters packs an impressive punch into a 14 pound package. We were impressed once we dialed in the correct settings to complement our test home theatre system.

The SUBstage has it's own 100 watt amp matched to a six inch driver and two passive radiators along the bottom of the unit. The unit has a very clean and simple design and looks good even when not being hidden out of the way. The low-pass crossover is variable from 60-280 Hz and like all subwoofers will take a little bit of trial and error to find the sweet spot that works well with your speakers. The SUBstage 100 can be daisy chained with additional units for more power if necessary. We envision the ultimate home theatre setup where each chair is outfitted with its own SUBstage. Now how cool would that be?
Succumbing to the hype and unwilling to wait for our review unit to arrive at funkyfresh, our resident gamer, Gix, braved a cold, clammy and smelly (gamer stench) Wal-Mart to pick up his very own Xbox. He hasn'tt been getting much sleep since. He took a brief respite to send us his review.

After opening the box, I was surprised to see the power supply’s massive size. It’s a third of the box! The first thing on my mind was the amount of heat this thing can generate. Did Microsoft do this to separate the power supply from the other components in an effort to keep things at an acceptable temperature inside the hood' Maybe. Or, perhaps it was just easier and cheaper to keep the power supply on the outside.
There's no mistaking this brick for a power strip from the local drug store. The PW8R15AUD is an eight-outlet monster designed specifically for audio and home theatre use. It appears to be a rebadged product from Zero Surge. The same Series Mode (SM) technology is offered in a basic 2-outlet unit and a 10-outlet rack mount version. If SM style surge protectors are new to you check out our tutorial below for more information.

When we received this unit the first thing we noticed was the heavy-duty construction. The PW8R15AUD is made from sheet metal, which also provides electromagnetic shielding. The dimensions are 3.9" H x 8.3" W x 4.0" D and it weighs in at a hefty 5.25 lbs. The front of the unit houses the self-test indicator while the circuit breaker and receptacles are located on the back. The power cord is 6-feet long with a right angle plug. This looks and feels like a unit worthy of protecting a rack of audio video gear.

I don't think most people notice the amount of background noise that is generated on airplanes. Since it's in the form of white noise you don't really notice it until you try and listen to music or a movie. Have you ever noticed that you have to turn the volume way up to be able to hear the dialog of a movie' And you thought that was because of the $2 airline headphones.


To give flyers piece and quiet Bose has created the QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. These are the 2nd generation of noise canceling headphone from Bose. The headphones use both acoustic isolation and active noise canceling to block out all of the unwanted background noise.

The PlayStation Portable, PSP, is a great system. There I said it. The basis of this short yet direct analysis is the fact that I can't put the darn thing down. On the plane, at the airport, in the hotel room and at home, the PSP is my favorite way to kill time.

Versatility is one of the PSP's strength. I'm not going to bore you with the specs. Visit Sony for all the details. The fact is everything on this system works. Video games play flawlessly as they do on a Playstation 2. The controls mirror that of the PS2's controller. There's no fumbling. For multiplayer games, the IR or infrared allows PSP players to 'connect' without the cumbersome cables.
The Samsung HL-R6168W 1080p HDTV is a state of the art DLP television using the latest technology from Texas Instruments. It weighs less than 100 pounds but competes in the home theatre heavyweight division. Samsung delivers a knock-out punch in the HDTV arena.

Samsung has improved this TV with a much higher contrast ratio, no DLP rainbow effect we could discern, a plethora of analog and digital connections, a more friendly GUI, better remote, CableCARD slot, and built-in TV Guide that makes the Cable Box all but a relic. Of course, Comcast and other cable companies would prefer that you keep your cable box at least until the next revision of the CableCARD technology allows for on-demand programming. A 'technician' was sent to our test facility to install the PCMCIA-like card into the HL-R6168W and offered, 'If you really want the best signal you should use the Cable-Box with the HDMI input.' Yeah right. The truth is no box means no way to sell you extra stuff.
The EOS 20D is the perfect companion for the type A shooter. It's a professional level camera that instantly powers on and delivers fast, beautiful pictures from its ergonomic compact design.

For consumers who are willing to venture beyond the land of the sub $1000 point and shoot and into the land of the semi-pro, this may be the last camera they ever need to purchase.

The EOS 20D features an 8.2 megapixel CMOS sensor that Canon claims reduces noise compared to earlier design. Photos can be rendered as large as 3504 x 2336, plenty big for nearly any application and excellent for cropping. The speed of the camera and processing power inside allows the 20D to capture 5 frames per second for up to 23 shots.
The Active Reactor from Radio Active is one of the coolest watches we've ever seen. It's also one of the more comfortable stainless steel watches. It has a smooth beveled edge and thick band that feels nice and substantial. Two simple buttons on the right allow you to check and set the time. The first reaction to the reactor from most people is, 'how the heck do you tell the time with that watch'' Well it's actually pretty simple and dare I say fun to check the time.

The picture to the left shows the time as 11:48. Here's how it works. There are three sets of LED indicators on the face of the watch. The vertical series of 6 labeled 'Danger' on the right indicate the hour. Of course 6 hours we'll only get you through half a full clock cycle. The blinking LED labeled 'Warning' in the top left corner indicates hours 7 through 12. When it's blinking you just add 6 to the number of hours indicated by the vertical series.