Fun Tech

At a Glance
  • AlphaSmart Dana

  • LG Electronics Internet Refrigerator (LRSPC2661T)

  • SnapStream PVS 3

  • Rio D2730 Networked DVD Player

  • ReplayTV Replay TV 5504

  • Gateway P46M103 42

  • Samsung DVD-L200 Portable (Samsung-DVDL200)

  • TDK DA-9000 Audio CD Recorder (TDK-DA9000)

  • NEC HT1000 Entertainment Projector

  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite P25-S609 Notebook

  • Onkyo GXW Home Theater Speakers

  • AlphaSmart Dana Wireless

Maybe you've noticed the trend: New PCs come loaded with extras better suited for the living room than for the office, and consumer electronics have new features that previously were exclusive to the computer. We found a dozen genre-bending products worthy of your attention. They're perfect for use at home or on the road.

The Couch Potato's Portable PC

Toshiba's 17-inch-wide Satellite P25-S609 notebook
Photograph: Marc Simon
Toshiba's 17-inch-wide Satellite P25-S609 notebook with Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 is a 9-pound, 9-ounce home entertainment behemoth: It's a television, a radio, a DVD player/recorder, and a monster gaming system. Armed with a powerful 3-GHz Intel Pentium 4 desktop processor, 1GB of RAM, an NVidia 3D graphics chip, and an 80GB hard drive, the Satellite also packs a modular-bay TV tuner, surprisingly full-sounding Harman/Kardon speakers, Wi-Fi networking, a FireWire port (handy for digital camcorder mavens), and a DVD Multi drive for DVD-R recording and playback. It's nice to know you can compute on this notebook, but with all the media goodies, who has time to crunch numbers in a spreadsheet?

Good Sound at a Great Price

Onkyo's Digital Theater Station GXW-5.1
(Editor's note: This product was discontinued shortly after this review first appeared.) With a street price under $200 and a variety of high-end features, Onkyo's Digital Theater Station GXW-5.1 speakers are almost a sure bet. The hub of the six-speaker set is the subwoofer, which contains its own amplifier, Dolby Digital DTS processing (to provide digital surround sound), and analog and digital inputs that can hook either to a PC or directly to a home theater component, such as a DVD player or a game box. When you use the speakers in conjunction with digital audio output from a game console, the surround-sound effects can be dramatic. And while this set might seem slightly underpowered at 75 watts in comparison to 5.1-speaker packages from Creative, Klipsch, and Logitech, those higher-powered sets don't include a built-in amplifier, and they cost a lot more. We love the rich, true bass and crisp surround sound--not to mention the price. A simple remote control rounds out the package.

Giving TiVo a Run for Its Money

ReplayTV 5504
Three new broadband-savvy ReplayTV models (one offers 40 hours of recording at high quality; the others, 80 and 160) deliver some interesting new features to digital video recording. We looked at the 40-hour ReplayTV 5504, which, if it detects a schedule conflict, will ask you which show is more important, and can assign one or more conflicting recording tasks to idle ReplayTVs (if any) on your home network. Setup out of the box is a snap, with just a few cables to connect between the unit, a television, and your sound system. Because we conveniently had a network port located directly behind the TV cabinet, the ReplayTV 5504 downloaded the on-screen program guide--a service very similar to those delivered to digital cable and satellite subscribers--in a fraction of the time it would have taken using the other option, a phone line. Soon after that, we were searching for and recording shows, pausing live TV, and skipping merrily past ads. The price of the device includes three years of the on-screen program guide. Our one unfulfilled wish: a wireless keyboard, so we wouldn't have to scroll through on-screen menus to pick out each letter in the name of a show we're searching for.

Toshiba Satellite P25-S609


Price when reviewed: $2799
Current prices (if available)

Onkyo's Digital Theater Station GXW-5.1


Price when reviewed: $150 to $199
Current prices (if available)

ReplayTV 5504


Price when reviewed: $500
Current prices (if available)
At a Glance
  • AlphaSmart Dana

  • LG Electronics Internet Refrigerator (LRSPC2661T)

  • SnapStream PVS 3

  • Rio D2730 Networked DVD Player

  • ReplayTV Replay TV 5504

  • Gateway P46M103 42

  • Samsung DVD-L200 Portable (Samsung-DVDL200)

  • TDK DA-9000 Audio CD Recorder (TDK-DA9000)

  • NEC HT1000 Entertainment Projector

  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite P25-S609 Notebook

  • Onkyo GXW Home Theater Speakers

  • AlphaSmart Dana Wireless

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