Certain things will automatically mark you as uncool. Walking down the street wearing a Michael Jackson "Beat It" jacket, for instance. Or admitting you voted for Sanjaya. And I certainly don't expect to wow the ladies with the fact that I belonged to my high-school chess club - all 4 years.
The original Philips Pronto universal remote, introduced way back in 1998, offered a level of programmability and customization totally unheard of at its $399 price, and it instantly became a smash with installers and do-it-yourselfers alike. But over the years, love for the Pronto has waned as other companies created smartly designed models of their own.
When historians mark time, there are always pivotal technologies that clearly define watershed changes in how society functions: the printing press, the automobile, the airplane. And quite possibly, for future historians to consider, the iPod.
With all the press that monster flat-panel TVs and high-def discs have been getting, it's possible to forget that video is only half the experience. (After all, this magazine isn't called Sight & Vision.) Without great sound to back it up, your home theater is just a bunch of fancy images.
With all the press that wireless technologies like Wi-Fi have been getting, it's easy to forget that hard-wired systems make the A/V world go round. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, adding a component to your system means running at least one wire.