Now showing in your living room: bring your home theater up to snuff with the latest in DVD systems, big screens--and even a video fridge. (Gay Guide To Home Theater).
Sony has become a 21st-century old reliable, and for good reason. It makes perfect little boxes like the 27-inch Sony WEGA KV-27FV300 TV ($699). It brings you into the fiat-screen full-color big leagues without breaking your pocketbook. Once you've graduated from casual viewer, you may want to consider getting a high definition-ready TV like the 32-inch Philips PT8419 ($2,000). Purchase an HD tuner to view special HD broadcasts (like the last Olympics) or just enjoy a crisper view with the TV's progressive scanning. If you're ready to worship at the video altar, it's time for wide-screen. The 57-inch Sony KP-57WV700 ($3,500) is the choice of champions. Despite the glamour-free model number, this rear-projection TV is all about turning your living room into ground zero for major entertainment. HD resolution, the new 16:9 screen ratio, and the Micro-Focus lens system mean some of the crispest, brightest, contrast-filled images you've ever seen in a rear-projection set.
Now that you've got your eyes fixed, it's time to work on those ears. Garage-sale those 80-pound '70s speakers and update to something sleek. Sony's DAV-C990 DVD Dream System ($1,000) sounds like a better-than-average home-theater-in-a-box setup, and it has looks, four little silver spire-like speakers for full surround sound, and a progressive-scan five-disc DVD changer. If you prefer function over form, the Denon HTIB DHT700DV ($1,000) is a great choice for the price. It includes a DVD player, a receiver, five surround speakers, and a subwoofer.
Time to toss the VHS and bring your recording up-to-date. The current choice of TV addicts is still TiVo, the magic black box that records shows onto a hard drive. The company has just released the TiVo Series 2 in 60-hour ($299) and 80-hour ($349) models. If you really love your TV, try the ReplayTV 5160 ($499), a competitor to TiVo that gives you a whopping 160 hours of recording time as well as the ability to send shows to other ReplayTV units using a broadband connection. What about your permanent archive, though? DVDs are about to become the new videotape thanks to the Panasonic DMR-E30K DVD Recorder ($700), a device that actually lets you burn DVDs from TV using the company's Time Slip function.
And feel free to take your home theater on the road with the Samsung DVD-L100 ($1,299), a beauty of a portable DVD player if ever we saw one. It's great if you're obsessed with films and stuck living an airport-to-airport lifestyle. Or if you're grounded at home, maybe you'd just like to enjoy a little Oprah while you're searching for that last frozen waffle with the LG Appliances Multimedia Refrigerator ($8,000). But maybe that's just going a little too far. Or not.
Lopez writes for G4 Television.
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