To Give and To Get

It's the week before Christmas. You've taken a good look at your extended family, gotten all of the naughty and nice stuff out of the way, and finally arrived at a list of who's deserving of a little holiday cheer. But you're drawing a big blank when it comes to little Susie, big brother Ned, and jolly Uncle Phil. Socks, dolls, ties, and cheese balls just aren't going to cut it this year. Well, what if I told you that going with an all-A/V Christmas might be your best bet for brightening every face on your list?

Stocking up on stuff like MP3 players, minisystems, speakers, remote controls, two-way radios, and CD and DVD boxed sets might sound a little - well, unorthodox (how about "nuts"?), but it doesn't have to be. The gifts shown on these pages range from a portable DVD player to a remote control just for the kids to the entire Grateful Dead in a box, and prices run all the way from $20 to $650, with many coming in at less than $100. And you will find something for everyone, even technophobic Auntie Min.

Yo, Your Sister The 6-gigabyte (GB) hard drive on the Archos Jukebox 6000 ($349) lets you stuff 150 CDs ripped at 128 kilobits per second (kbps) into a player that actually slips into your shirt pocket - it's about as big as two audio cassette cases stacked one on top of the other. Give the Jukebox 6000 to your sister so she can store her entire Euro pop collection and, if you're lucky, you'll never have to listen to another dance track again. The side-lit LCD can show complete song title and artist information, and the interface is easy to use. The jukebox comes with both "backphones," for listening on the go, and a stereo mini-plug-to-RCA cable so you can patch it into your audio system. MusicMatch Jukebox Plus software lets you rip MP3 files from either a Mac or PC, and there's a USB cable for quick downloads. Four AA Ni-MH batteries come inside the lightweight player, and there's a second set in the box. Also included is a dark blue carrying case. You might want to get a Jukebox 6000 for yourself - Radiohead, Dylan, and Coltrane trump Euro pop any day. Archos - www.archos.com, 949-453-1121


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