New Products — December 2003

Samsung Joining forces, Samsung, DirecTV, and TiVo have created the SIR-S4120R video hard-disk recorder. Not only does it have a supersized 120-gigabyte (GB) hard drive that can hold up to 100 hours of shows but also dual DirecTV satellite tuners so you can record two shows at once or watch one while recording another. TiVo's program guide tops things off by making it effortless to pick the shows you want to record, and it updates itself through your phone line. Hard-disk conveniences, such as pausing live TV and one-touch instant replay, are all there, of course. The recorder has composite/S-video and optical digital audio outputs plus two USB ports for use with future upgrades. TiVo service costs an extra $4.99 a month for DirecTV subscribers. Price: $499., 800-726-7864

Sony sony handycamClaiming to be the smallest and lightest tape-based camcorder ever made, Sony's DCR-IP1 MicroMV Handycam clocks in at 8 ounces and 1 5/8 x 3 5/8 x 2 3/4 inches. Its 1-megapixel image sensor can capture images with 540 lines of resolution or 1,152 x 864-pixel still photos. The 2-inch LCD viewscreen is touch-sensitive (a stylus is supplied), making it easier to operate the camera in the dark. You can bring faraway action closer with 10x optical and 120x digital zoom, and digital image stabilization reduces the effects of shaky hands. A retractable lens cover automatically opens and closes when you turn the camera on or off. The Handycam Station cradle shown acts as both a charger and an interface, with connectors for hooking up the cam to a TV or a computer. It has composite- and S-video outputs plus USB and i.Link (FireWire) ports. Price: $1,200., 800-222-7669

Cambridge SoundWorks cambridge soiundworks radio cd 740Your mornings may get a little more bearable with Cambridge SoundWorks' Radio CD 740. Its dual alarms can be set to wake you with a radio station, a CD, or a buzzer, and the 32-character readout displays CD and MP3 Text as well as RDS (Radio Data Service) information for FM stations that broadcast it. The tuner has 16 FM and 8 AM presets. Besides stereo speakers, the radio has a separate, powered woofer. You can plug an external source into the Aux input, and there's a Record Out minijack, too. Engaging the Wide mode is said to increase the apparent width of the soundstage. The 14 x 5 x 9 7/8-inch table radio comes in a black or ivory finish, and a card-size remote control is supplied. Price: $399., 800-367-4434

Panasonic panasonic 53 inch hdtv monitorFirst out of the gate with a TV that connects directly to your digital cable-TV service, Panasonic has introduced the PT-53WXD63 53-inch HDTV monitor. After you've installed a CableCard supplied by your cable provider, the TV will accept a digital cable feed, without having to go through a set-top box. As if that doesn't make it cutting-edge enough, you get an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) connector for high-def signals from next-generation DVD players and other gear. The widescreen set also has a pair of wideband component-video inputs, plus four composite- and three S-video inputs. An optical digital audio output will send 5.1-channel sound from digital programs to an external decoder. The set's picture-in-picture function can display two standard-def programs at the same time, or one standard and one digital. The front panel has Secure Digital and PC Card slots for easy viewing of digital photos. Price: $2,300., 800-211-7262

Marantz marantz SR74000The latest home theater receivers like Marantz's SR7400 include Dolby's latest trick - Pro Logic IIx processing. Created for systems with one or two back surround speakers, DPL IIx can process stereo or 5.1-channel sound and turn it into a 7.1-channel listening experience. The receiver, which also performs Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES decoding, is rated to deliver 105 watts into each of seven channels. Great for parties, a 7.1-Channel Stereo mode routes the left and right channels to all the speakers in a 7.1-channel setup with no processing. There's a multichannel analog audio input for hookup of a DVD-Audio or SACD player plus four optical and three coaxial digital audio inputs. The two component-video inputs can switch HDTV signals, and the receiver upconverts all composite- and S-video inputs to component video, greatly simplifying system hookup. A learning remote control is supplied. Price: $999., 630-741-0300

Sonus Systems sonus systemsYou've tweaked your home theater to perfection, so it's time to start thinking about making the gear itself look good. Sonus Systems' Elite Hi Fi rack can help. Its welded steel frame, finished in either lacquered silver or piano black, has five shelves in fixed positions. From the top of the rack, the gaps measure 5 1/8, 5 1/8, 7 5/8, and 9 5/8 inches. The posts are hollow so you can fill them with sand or metal shot for increased sturdiness. The frame's overall dimensions are 24 3/8 x 36 1/4 x 17 1/8 inches, and the width between the posts is 19 5/8 inches. Each tempered-glass shelf is 3/8 inch thick and isolated from the frame with padding. The shelves are available in optional colors - blue, white, or graphite - at extra cost. Price: $799., 514-631-6448 JBLjbl scs160siOkay, count those speakers over there on the left. Yep, you got it right - the SCS160SI home theater speaker package from JBL gives you six satellite speakers for a complete 6.1-channel system. Each satellite measures 3 1/2 x 8 1/8 x 3 7/8 inches and has dual 3 1/2-inch midrange drivers and a 1/2-inch tweeter. The center speaker is identical but is horizontally oriented. Bringing bass to the party, the ported subwoofer packs a 150-watt amp and a 10-inch driver. System frequency response is rated as 30 Hz to 20 kHz +0, -6 dB. The satellites are finished in metallic silver and include wall-mounting gear. The stands shown are optional. Price: $499; stands, $100 a pair., 516-255-4525