Nothing beats using home movies to evaluate TVs. You choose what to shoot so you can stress a specific aspect of screen performance. Since you're the cameraman, you know precisely what each scene is supposed to look like.
Designers of surround sound receivers have a tough job. In a multikilobuck flagship model they can use the best parts, the most advanced signal processing, and the most elaborate construction to deliver the features and performance specs users want.
The latest DVD recorders have so many advanced features that they can be daunting to use. Just pick up the instruction manual, and you'll likely find yourself slogging through pages of editing commands as well as countless rules for recording on different disc formats.
No home-entertainment technology in years has been as eagerly anticipated as the upcoming Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition disc systems. In fact, the last time we techie types were this excited about something new was when the CD was introduced.
Most of the DVD recorders we test nowadays are pretty routine devices. They're great for displacing your aging VCR for time-shifting TV programs or making archival DVDs of precious and fragile camcorder footage.
While I was working on this review, my friend Rob - a filmmaker who has a day job as a video editor at MTV - asked if I could recommend a DVD recorder to help him get rid of his bulky collection of VHS tapes. In true New York style, I started my reply with, "Have I got a deal for you . . .
A format war over a high-definition disc format now unfortunately appears inevitable. The all-but-formal declaration came at the Blu-ray press event on the first day of this year's Consumer Electronics Show (also see Rich Warren's article, "Next-Generation DVD").