2003 Sound & Vision Reviewer's Choice Awards Page 4

Photos by Tony Cordoza Panasonic SC-ST1 Home Theater System (original review, June, "Home Theater in a Box") Until recently, people equated Panasonic with solid electronics but modest pizzazz. The SC-ST1 home theater system ($1,000), which combines gorgeous styling, amazing versatility, and a very attractive price, should dramatically change that perception. Since comparisons are inevitable, think of the SC-ST1 as a Bang & Olufsen system without the high price tag. Slender, silvery plastic speaker columns mate with matching floor stands, but they can also hang on the wall or stand on a shelf. The system unit, about as big as two reams of paper end to end, mounts on its own supplied floor stand. While blissfully free of buttons, it does require a well-designed 54-key remote control to access its myriad functions and onscreen menus. The SC-ST1 plays virtually any optical disc except SACDs, including DVD-RAM and CDs with MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) music files. It offers fine video and audio performance, but what makes it special is how stunning it looks even with the power turned off. Panasonic www.panasonic.com, 800-211-7262

- Rich Warren

JVC GR-HD1 High-Definition Camcorderjvc gr-hd1 (original review, July/August) JVC's destined-to-be-classic $3,500 GR-HD1 is the world's first consumer camcorder capable of recording in high-definition (1,280 x 720 pixels, progressive-scan). It manages to do so on standard DV tape and with standard DV recording times by performing "live" MPEG-2 video compression, a difficult feat. For these accomplishments alone it would deserve an award. But given the proper shooting and lighting conditions (fairly bright illumination, tripod mounting), the images you get can also be gorgeous - seductively rich in texture and depth. It even comes with a suite of editing programs capable of transforming your productions into finished DVDs and a generous variety of connector cables for different types of outputs: composite/S-video, progressive-scan or interlaced component video, DV or HD i.Link (FireWire). The GR-HD1 is the perfect high-end accessory for an HDTV. Having your own high-definition footage to view, you can now fill in the seemingly enormous gaps of time between high-def programs that are worth watching. JVC www.jvc.com, 800-526-5308

David Ranada

Sony Cineza VPL-HS10 LCD Front Projector sony - lcd (original review, July/August, "LCD for Less") Over the past three years, DLP has received lots of attention as a breakthrough front-projection TV technology. But I'll let you in on a secret: LCD has been steadily improving during that time. And while many HDTV-resolution DLP projectors cost upwards of $10,000, you can get a comparable LCD model like Sony's VPL-HS10 for as little as three grand - list! That leaves you plenty of cash for other stuff, like a motorized projection screen and comfy theater-style seating. The HS10's feature set includes a copy-protected DVI (Digital Visual Interface) input, a Memory Stick slot for viewing digital photos, and a Side Shot adjustment that lets you install the projector off-center. But the most intriguing thing about Sony's projector is its picture quality. HDTV looked great on the HS10, but so did standard programs from DVD and cable TV, which get processed and upconverted to high-def resolution. And when you're blowing pictures up to life-size proportions, good video processing makes all the difference. Sony www.sonystyle.com, 800-222-7669

- Al Griffin