To simulate a big-screen experience in his library, left, Kevin went with a 54-inch plasma television. "For overall picture quality, plasma rules," technology expert Suzanne Kantra says. "It offers higher contrast than LCD, and it's better for fast-motion sequences." Plasma screens are sensitive to sunlight, however, and, if exposed, can look washed out. So Kevin installed light-filtering shades on the windows. Similar plasma TV, 54-inch Viera g25, $2,000, Panasonic, panasonic.com.
While the preceding products are right for Kevin, they aren't necessarily the best solutions for everyone. Here are tech expert Suzanne Kantra's picks for the best new technology on the market, or almost on the market. The two cutting-edge televisions aren't in stores just yet, but they are definitely worth waiting for.
All-In-One Control:With the Yamaha neoHD (left), all your entertainment (television, Blu-ray Disc player, gamer system) operates through an interface on your TV screen. A Wi-Fi feature streams music from the Internet or your computer. $800, yamaha.com.
Universal Remote: Similar to the Logitech remote in Kevin's library, the Acoustic Research xSight Remote (right) has a traditional remote-control feel. Use the color touch screen to program your favorite channels and the keypad to customize and navigate the features on your cable box and TiVo. $200, bestbuy.com.
Major Multitasker: The next big thing in television? 3-D. Toshiba's Genesis Cell (left) can convert content into 3-D (yes, you'll need glasses). It also has a built-in Blu-ray Disc player, videophone and speaker, and a hard drive so you can record shows a la DVR. Available fall 2010. toshibatv.com.
Super-Slim Design:This LG Infinia television (right) has an ultrathin profile with a minimal frame bezel -- virtually all you see is the screen. The set comes with a ton of features, which include access to Skype, Netflix, and YouTube, and it's equipped for 3-D. Available June 2010.lge.com.
Wireless Music:The Sonos system (left) grabs music wirelessly from your hard drive or the Internet (radio, Rhapsody, Pandora) and plays it on a sleek speaker. Use the Sonos Controller or your iPhone (with a downloaded app) as a remote. ZonePlayer S5, $400, and Controller 200, $350, sonos.com.
Light Plus Sound: Klipsch's LightSpeaker system (right) combines efficient LED lights with speakers. Screw the units into recessed light fixtures, and manage your tunes via a tabletop transmitter and a remote. $600, klipsch.com.
Three smart ways to access movies, TV shows, and music bring them to your tube.
Internet-Ready TVs: Most new midrange televisions have built-in Internet connectivity. It's not full Web access, but rather a set of services (Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix Watch Instantly, Vudu, YouTube, Flickr photos) that use your home's broadband connection.
Blu-ray Disc Players: As with televisions, high-end Blu-ray Disc players also have Internet connectivity and access to the types of Web services listed above.
Video Boxes: These stand-alone units connect to stores that let you rent or buy movies and TV shows. MediaPoint Digital Media Player lets you rent or buy from Blockbuster OnDemand, Apple TV, and iTunes. With the Roku Digital Video Player, you can access Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, Pandora, Flickr, and photos on Facebook, among other services.
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