New Products - September 2003

PanasonicIt's a tough call: do you want a hard-drive video recorder so you can save TV shows without disc clutter, or a DVD recorder so you can keep your recordings forever? Panasonic's DMR-E80H gives you both options in a single package. The 80-gigabyte (GB) hard drive has room for 106 hours of programming at the lowest of four quality settings, or 17 hours at the highest. The DVD deck records on either write-once DVD-R or rewritable DVD-RAM discs, and it can simultaneously record and play back from a DVD-RAM disc or the hard drive. Pressing the Time Slip button once during playback will replay the last 30 seconds. The DMR-E80H has a progressive-scan output, and it plays DVD-Audio, too. Price: $700., 800-211-7262

Gateway gateway - new products - 0903Gateway's M500 laptop is designed to deliver a multimedia experience to back-to-schoolers. The 15 1/4-inch (diagonal) widescreen LCD has decent real estate for movie discs played on the DVD drive, which doubles as a CD burner. You don't even have to turn on the computer to listen to your music - you can play CDs or cue up some MP3 tracks using the dedicated A/V controls and LCD readout. And with built-in stereo speakers and a 1 1/4-inch "subwoofer" under the keyboard, you may even want to take those headphones off. The processor is rated at 2.2 GHz, and the hard disk has 40 GB of storage for your music, video, and . . . um, homework. A built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b) card will keep your Net connection cable-free. Price: $1,599., 800-369-1409

Archos archos - new products - 0903The Archos AV320 aims to do for video what portable MP3 players did for music. Its 20-GB hard disk can store about 40 hours of MPEG-4 video with stereo audio, either recorded in real time via the composite- or S-video inputs or downloaded from a PC through the USB 2.0 port. The 3 7/8-inch LCD is fine for use in an airplane, and the 13-ounce player easily connects to an external TV or monitor for viewing at "near-DVD" quality. The AV320 is also an MP3 player and digital photo viewer, and with the optional lens module (shown) it becomes a 3.3-megapixel digital camera. Other optional modules include an FM tuner/remote and a variety of memory-card readers, plus there's a built-in stereo microphone for voice recording. The lithium-ion battery is said to last up to 7 hours per charging. A 40-GB version (AV340) is available. Prices: AV320, $570; AV340, $630., 949-609-1483

RCA rca - new products - 0903Part of RCA's new line of Scenium HDTVs, the 50-inch HDLP50W151 is a rear-projection model that uses DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology. The widescreen set natively displays images at 720p (progressive) resolution. It has a built-in high-def tuner and a pair of two-way FireWire ports as well as component-video and DVI (Digital Visual Interface) inputs. Thanks to the DLP light engine, the cabinet is only 16 inches deep and weighs just 100 pounds. Three factory picture presets and one customizable preset let you adjust the picture depending on your ambient lighting and the program material. There's even an Ethernet connection so you can surf the Web for stats while you watch the big game in the picture-in-picture window. Price: $3,999., 800-336-1900

Integra integra - new products - 0903One of the first separate A/V components from Integra, the DTC-9.4 preamp/processor/tuner includes decoders for just about every audio format you can think of and has processing for Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Headphone, and DTS Neo:6. All video inputs are upconverted to component video, so only one connection is needed between the processor and your TV. Integra's Net-Tune feature lets it stream digital audio from a PC or an audio server through an Ethernet connection. DVD-Audio and SACD players plug into the multichannel audio input, and there are both RCA jacks and balanced XLR outputs for all channels. Three coaxial and five optical digital audio inputs, and two optical outputs, are provided. A touchscreen LCD remote is supplied. Price: $2,000., 800-225-1946

Salamander salamander - new products - 0903Is your home theater experience as comfortable as it could be? Maybe your recliner needs an upgrade. Salamander Designs' TC2 Theater Chair not only gives you a place to rest your rump but also has some extras to make things more convenient. The headrest is adjustable, and the chair reclines by simply pushing back. An aluminum drink holder, available in silver or black, is integrated into the armrest. Multiple TC2s can be linked to share the experience, and you may want to add the optional Tactile Sound Transducer ($249 each) so you can really feel the low frequencies in movies or music. The chair comes in black leather, but colors are available on special order. Price: $1,299., 860-313-0525

Audiopipe audiopipe - new products - 0903Install one of Audiopipe's TXX-AP car subwoofers, and other drivers will definitely hear you coming. The new models have 10-, 12-, or 15-inch aluminum-cone drivers. Rated frequency response bottoms out at 28, 23, and 18 Hz, respectively, with each playing up to at least 900 Hz. Continuous power handling is rated as 600, 800, and 1,000 watts. The driver and die-cast aluminum basket come in either candy red or blue, and the size of the cutout is about 1 1/4 inch less than the diameter of the driver. Nominal impedance is 2 ohms. Prices: 10-inch, $150; 12-inch, $220; 15-inch $240., 877-283-4674

TDL tdl - new products - 0903Still like vinyl, but frustrated that manufacturers are doing away with phono stages on receivers? Never fear, you just need a phono preamp to bring your records back to life. TDL's Model 404A preamp works with both moving-coil and moving-magnet cartridges and can connect to computer sound cards for recording vinyl LPs. There are stereo RCA jacks for input and output, a stereo phone-jack output, and a binding-post ground terminal for connecting to the turntable. Gain can be set to 0, 52, 60, 70, or 80 dB at 30 to 35 Hz. Two rechargeable 9-volt NiCd batteries are supplied. Price: $236., 505-382-3173

Kinetic Audio kinetic audio - new products - 0903The imposing Trapezoid speaker from Kinetic Audio features a 12 1/4-inch woofer called the Translator to deliver the low bass. That's just one part of the four-way design, which includes a 6 1/2-inch polymer-cone midrange, a 2-inch dome mid/tweeter, and a 1-inch dome tweeter. Overall frequency response is rated as 16 Hz to 24 kHz ±3 dB and sensitivity as 91 dB. Level controls are on the front of the "tapered acoustical trapezoidal line" enclosure, which stands 40 inches tall. The footprint is 15 x 15 inches, and weight is 175 pounds. The optional base shown adds 20 pounds and 4 inches. Available in limited quantities in the elegantly matched Brazilian rosewood veneer shown. Price: $10,000 a pair; $9,000 a pair without base or rounded corners and in clear finish or black oak veneer., 847-254-6556