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Peter Pachal  |  Dec 04, 2006  |  0 comments

SERVICE CENTER Harman Kardon's first media server takes your discs and makes them better. Any CD you feed it will be ripped to the convenient 160-GB hard disk. Any DVD you feed it will be upconverted to 720p HD format through the HDMI output. But streaming is this box's main mission: four rooms, four streams - mix 'em however you want.

Ken Richardson  |  Dec 03, 2006  |  0 comments

Fatman iTube ($650; www.fat-man.co.uk, distributed in the U.S. via bluebirdmusic.com). So it's the holidays, and you want to get something that will truly impress your iPod pal.

Peter Pachal  |  Dec 03, 2006  |  0 comments

MORE IS LESS Just a couple of years back, high-def front projectors priced less than 3 grand were seen about as often as a giant squid. Today, Mitsubishi's HD1000U is tagged at less than half that, and its DLP light engine can blast 720p-format HD images onto your wall larger than any TV screen.

Drew Thompson  |  Nov 09, 2006  |  0 comments

For $400 (Xbox 360 not included!), this space-saving system delivers 155 watts via four compact satellites, a center channel, and a sub­woofer that neatly houses a Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1 receiver (leaving only a small display unit outside).

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

ULTRA COOL If you think it's hard to believe an in-ceiling speaker could sound top-notch, THX would like a word with you. Polk's RTS100 is the first in-ceiling model to earn THX Ultra2 status, thanks in part to its driver array.

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

WINDOWS 1080P If you loved Legos as a kid, a Media Center PC will fulfill your need to build stuff in a grown-up, home theater kind of way. Niveus's Rainier, an "entry-level" model in the Summit series, gives you unprecedented tools: an HD DVD drive and an HDMI output capable of feeding your display 1080p video.

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

CLIMBING THE LADDER Now in its second generation, Toshiba's flagship HD DVD player can finally provide 1080p video output - the top dog among HDTV formats. The HD-XA2's state-of-the-art HDMI 1.3 output can send both video and digital sound, including the new lossless Dolby and DTS formats, straight to your HDTV or receiver over one perfectly convenient cable.

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

SOUND COUNTS It's tough to pick the perfect home theater gear: You want something that'll impress your A/V-junkie friends but still be easy enough for your girlfriend to use. Cambridge Audio's Azur 640R receiver comes at you with serious audiophile cred - seven discrete 100-watt amps, all well-isolated from the digital processor and input stages.

Doug Newcomb  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

DOME IF YOU WANT TO So you need to pimp your ride with the ultimate speakers because your car tunes are that important - and you wanna shut up the dude down the block who goes on about his titanium tweeters (that match his titanium wheels, naturally)? Throw in a set of Focal's high-end Utopia BE component speakers, and tell that sucka that titanium is just so '90s.

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

SXRD FOR ALL Sony raised the bar when it debuted its SXRD front projectors a couple of years ago, although they also set a new standard for price. Today, the vibrant high-def images SXRD is known for can be yours for just $5,000 (!) from the VPL-VW50, a front projector that'll bestow upon you all the 1080p-res goodness you can stand.

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