There's no denying that digital high-definition TV (HDTV) is a vast improvement over our old analog TV system, but if you want to record any of the high-def programs delivered over the air by local broadcasters or via satellite from Dish Network or DirecTV, your options are ridiculously limited.
Anyone who's set up a home theater system knows how much work is involved. Once you find the right TV and speaker system, you need to round up a stack of components, including a DVD player, a video recorder, and, perhaps, a satellite receiver. Then you have to spin a frightening web of wires to route all of those signals through your A/V receiver or preamp/surround processor.
First it was shark attacks and the Gary Condit debacle, and then came September 11. The year 2001 wasn't a great one overall, but it was pretty good for high-definition television (HDTV), which continues to make steady advances despite the drooping economy.
When progressive-scan DVD players first emerged almost two years ago, the already excellent picture quality we'd come to expect from standard players suddenly got a whole lot better. That's because the new models could convert video signals to a progressive-scan format for display on a TV or monitor with progressive-scan capabilities.
The DVD format advanced from a high concept to a hot commodity blindingly fast. Navigating the crowded aisles of their local video stores, DVD enthusiasts - who just yesterday felt like elite, high-tech trailblazers - today rub shoulders with increasingly large crowds of new converts. And as models of DVD players have multiplied in number, so have their features and capabilities.
Television is something we all know and love -- sometimes without good reason. Critics routinely argue that shows like Temptation Island and WWF Smackdown! have pushed us several steps down the evolutionary ladder, but people still watch them. One thing that has evolved is the technology for displaying video images.
Sony's XBR series TVs have a devoted following, but some of the sets in the line tend to be priced higher than models with similar features from other set-makers. So if you're an XBR fan who is in the market for an HDTV with a really big screen, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the price of Sony's new 65-inch rear-projection HDTV monitor.