Photos by Tony Cordoza Electronic program guides (EPGs) that help you choose what to watch from among hundreds of channels are built into a variety of devices from TV sets and set-top boxes to satellite receivers and hard-disk recorders. What they have in common is an onscreen display that, if it doesn't cover the TV picture, reduces the show to a small window.
Ah, crime and punishment. They go together like . . . Leopold and Loeb, Donny and Marie, Rimsky and Korsakov. Except, of course, in the movies or on TV, when folks sometimes get away with murder (think Body Heat or The Player).
Photos by Tony Cordoza With all of the home theater toys out there, our inner child can't help but continually drool. But when it comes to being an adult and figuring which ones you can actually buy with the cash (or credit card) at hand, it can get to be pretty daunting.
Hollywood studios, independent production companies, and video store owners are whistling all the way to the bank, thanks to a resurgence in rentals driven by the increasing popularity of the DVD format. Rental revenue increased 4% during the first six months of 2003, according to figures recently released by the Video Software Dealers Association (<A HREF="http://www.vsda.org">VSDA</A>) (VSDA). The upswing is the first for rentals in years. According to research conducted by the <A HREF="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com"><I>Hollywood Reporter</I></A>, in the first half of the year, the home video industry has exceeded $10 billion in revenue and should top $22 billion by December 31.
Flat screens are the hot item in video displays, and Thomas J. Norton reviews one of the hottest screens available, the <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/showarchives.cgi?137">Fujitsu Plasmavision SlimScreen P50XHA10U high-definition plasma</A>. TJN notes, "The new Fujitsu goes for just under $11,000 and may well represent the state of the art in 50" plasma displays."
Photos by Tony Cordoza With the popularity of flat-panel TVs exploding and companies straining to create speakers that will mate with the unobtrusive sets, it seems like the era of hulking home theater gear - towering speakers, massive subwoofers, video projectors hovering above your head like an F-15 - is over.
Plasma screens have not taken over the market yet, as Michael Fremer notes in his review of the <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/showarchives.cgi?135">Hitachi Ultravision 65XWX20B rear-projection CRT HDTV</A>. "If space is a constraint," says MF, "be prepared to spend at least twice as much for a smaller screen" with plasma. If you've got the room, then according to MF, the Hitachi may be the way to go.