Creative Zen Vision
PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER ($400) Even Steve Jobs admits that the new video-enabled iPod is a music player that offers video as a bonus, not a video-centric device. If you're looking for a truly multimedia handheld, Creative's Zen Vision (see picture
Compact enough to fit (just barely) into a shirt pocket, the Vision has a knockout 3.7-inch display that makes the video iPod's screen look like it shrank in the wash. Movies in a variety of formats are very watchable indoors and out, and you can output them to a TV. You can also load photos onto the Vision's 30GB hard drive, via its USB port, a built-in CompactFlash slot, or an optional adapter for other memory-card formats. And, hey, this video player offers audio as a bonus, including subscription services based on Microsoft's Windows Media 10. It even sports an FM radio tuner.
What the Vision lacks is a service for acquiring video that's as simple and seamless as the iTunes Music Store's new TV downloads. But if you're willing to put some effort into getting video onto this gadget, it'll sure look good once it's there. Latest prices
Microsoft Xbox 360
GAME CONSOLE ($400) Within a few days after it launched, the Xbox 360 (see picture
Nintendo Nintendogs for Nintendo DS
GAME ($30) Nintendo's (see picture
The game has no particular goal other than to raise a happy and well-behaved pooch, and the closest the game gets to conflict is if a fellow doggie parent chews you out for failing to clean up after your pet. But if you're a fan of dogs, simulation games, or both, you'll love this puppy. Latest prices
DVR (free with TiVo subscription) No longer is the content on your beloved TiVo tethered to the hard drive you recorded it on. TiVoToGo unleashes your recordings onto your home network, and lets you take those recordings with you. Connect a wireless adapter to a Series2 TiVo and install the free software on your Windows PC, and you can transfer as many recorded episodes of The Simpsons as you can fit on your hard drive. Watch your action flick on the computer in the den while a romantic comedy plays in the living room. Or load up a laptop with shows before a trip, and watch all your favorites on the road. Plus, TiVoToGo lets you browse and play all the digital music stored on your computer through your TiVo. The company recently started rolling out support for transferring TiVoToGo content to Apple's video-capable iPod.