2003 Sound & Vision Reviewer's Choice Awards Page 2

Sony RDR-GX7 DVD Recorder super recorders - sony Photo by Tony Cordoza (original review, October, "Super Recorders") Just as the DVD recorder market - and the DVD format "war" - seems to be escalating, Sony has decided to call a truce. The RDR-GX7 ($800) is the first DVD recorder we've tested that records on both the DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW format families, which were formerly arch-rivals. We hope it's a sign of things to come. The recorder does treat some formats more equally than others, however. Surprisingly, it's the non-Sony-promulgated rewritable format, DVD-RW, that gets the lion's share of the recorder's considerable editing capabilities - including the ability, during editing of DV camcorder footage for a DVD, to store the editing commands within the recorder. When you're ready to burn a disc, the Sony takes control of the camcorder, cueing and shuttling the tape around automatically. That way you can easily make multiple first-generation copies of an edited production - something you could previously do only with a computer editing system or a DVD recorder that also has a hard-disk drive. Sony www.sonystyle.com, 800-222-7669

- David Ranada

Panasonic PT-42PD3-P 42-inch Plasma TVsuper recorders - sony Photo by Tony Cordoza (original review, April, "Plasma Action") The arrival of HDTV has made video something of a numbers game, with high resolution topping the list of desirable traits for a new TV. But there's more to a TV than resolution - as is made very clear by Panasonic's PT-42PD3-P plasma set. An enhanced-definition TV, it has a resolution of 852 x 480 pixels. But this widescreen flat-panel TV does so many other things right - especially in its rendition of dark images, which many plasma TVs have problems displaying - that its inability to display high-def programs at full resolution quickly becomes a nonissue. In addition to its superb handling of shadow detail, the Panasonic delivers clear images with punchy contrast and natural-looking colors. Its Spartan design and stripped-down feature set may take some getting used to, but for $5,000 (actually, I've seen it selling for $3,000 online), there's very little here to complain about. Panasonic www.panasonic.com, 800-211-7262

- Al Griffin

Harmony SST-768 Programmable System Remote Control harmony sst-768 remote(original review, July/August) Nearly every piece of gear you add to your system increases the remote-control population on your coffee table. Instead of playing remote-control Russian roulette, get one remote that controls everything. Three things make the Harmony SST-768 ($300) the one to get. First, it's incredibly simple to program via a computer connected to the Internet. The intuitive online interface walks you through every step, and in most cases you'll have it controlling your system in less than an hour. Second, it's extremely user-friendly. The Harmony organizes everything into activities like "Watch a DVD," "Watch Television," and "Listen to a CD." Through your programming, the remote "knows" what components should be turned on or off, what inputs your TV and receiver should be set to, and so on for each activity. Finally, the company's support is topnotch - and free! If you're looking for a great single-remote solution easy enough for the whole family to use, seriously consider the Harmony. Harmony www.harmonyremote.com, 866-291-1505

- John Sciacca