Can't we all just get along? Up to 12 of your home entertainment devices can do just that, thanks to Logitech's Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360 ($130). Simple setup has you connect the remote to your computer, enter the model numbers of your A/V gear, and answer some easy questions.
Samsung's HL-S5679W HDTV ($4,199), coming in August, is the first rear-projection set to use LED (light-emitting diode) light sources instead of a conventional lamp. Among the reasons you should care: a 20,000-hour lamp life (more than double typical lamps), a shorter turn-on time (7 seconds), and being able to rattle off one more abbreviation when blabbing about your rig.
Speaker engineers have turned to a lot of different materials over the years to make their creations sound better, but JVC's come up with a new one: sake. By soaking sheets of birch wood in Japanese rice wine, the labcoats at JVC were able to press them together to make wooden drivers, said to improve sound quality because of their natural acoustic properties.
With technology changing so fast these days, dropping more than a grand on an A/V receiver like Denon's AVR-2807 ($1,099) seems a risky proposition. But the HDTV powers appear to have pretty much settled on HDMI as the connector of the future, and this guy definitely has that covered.
Designed for the media professional on the move, Dell's Inspiron e1705 notebook ($2,165) comes with Windows XP Media Center Edition and has a high-performance Intel Core Duo processor to power it. Games and videos will live large on the 17-inch widescreen display, and the top-notch Nvidia graphics card makes sure quick motion won't give you any visual hiccups. No time to boot up?
COOL FACTOR With music controls on the outside of its clamshell exterior, Sony Ericsson's W300 Walkman phone knows your tunes are important to you. The included 256-MB Memory Stick Micro card will hold around 75 MP3 or AAC songs, depending on the bit rate; 1-GB cards are available.
COOL FACTOR Without a doubt, getting rid of your iPod's headphone cable would be a huge plus. Sure, you may not get as much street cred without the dangling white wires, but think of the freedom you'll have with TEN's naviPlay, which has volume and track-skipping controls right on the earcup.
With a big 65-inch HD screen, the Brillian 6580iFB HDTV ($7,999) already has a lot going on, but there's more in the box to justify its hefty price tag. First of all, it's one of the new high-rez 1080p TVs. LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) technology keeps the pixels small and the space between them smaller, so images always look sharp and clear.
COOL FACTOR While other music portables can claim greater capacity, compactness, or coolness, this digital demon boasts the longest battery life of any MP3 player ever - 150 hours per charge, folks. Next time you decide to skip town for a week, don't even bother bringing the charger with you.
From a $200 bookshelf model to a 3.5-foot-tall tower ($1,800 a pair), NHT's new Classic speakers have gloss-black finishes that stand out and curves in all the right places. But in redesigning its Super Audio speaker line, the company went for more than just good looks by tailoring the speakers' sound for home theaters.
COOL FACTOR It's nice to see other portable media players keeping up with the iPod, and Toshiba's gigabeat S Series has comparable video chops: a crisp 21/2-inch screen with 320 x 240-pixel resolution.
Everybody wants a flat LCD or plasma TV to hang on the wall, but punching holes for cabling can be a pain. Mizzico has its "Superb Wiring Solution" for this quandary: the WS-18, an 18-inch-long wiring channel ($89) that attaches to the wall between your TV and component rack (assuming it's right underneath), hiding any unsightly cables.
At $1,700, Sony's HDR-HC3 high-def camcorder is just $100 cheaper than the previous model, but it still takes a step forward by being the first HD cam with an HDMI output - the digital video connector most common on new HDTVs.
If you think Netflix is a convenient way to watch the movies you want, take a look at MovieBeam. After buying one of its shiny silver boxes ($228 after rebate), you can stream flicks right into your home for $2 to $5 a pop, and there are even high-def titles available.