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Movies and a Whole Lot More

Go-Video Networked DVD Player D2730
With DVD players called upon to do so much more than play movies these days--most play MP3 and WMA audio and display slide shows of images saved to CDs--it was only a matter of time before the family DVD player became a networked device. The Go-Video Networked DVD Player D2730 offers many of the connectors you'd find on the rear of a typical high-end DVD player, including component video and digital audio output jacks. But the unit includes a port for networking, too. Once on our home LAN, the D2730 quickly found a PC running Go-Video's multimedia server software. Though we enjoyed the convenience of being able to play every song on our hard drive through stereo speakers in the living room, as well as to browse family photos from the PC on a 27-inch TV, we sometimes forgot about having to boot the PC first. You can even set up a slide show to run automatically, while you stream your own soundtrack music for simultaneous accompaniment. A computer that's less than two years old won't be slowed down noticeably by streaming files to the TV, so one person can listen to tunes on the family room TV while another gets work done on the office PC.

Wireless Laptop Alternative

AlphaSmart's Dana Wireless
When you don't need the power, weight, and expense of a notebook but you do want something more than what a pocket-size PDA can provide, AlphaSmart's Dana Wireless may be the answer. The 2-pound Palm OS device, about the size of a subnotebook, sports a backlit 560-by-160-pixel gray-scale LCD touch screen, a full-size keyboard, and Wi-Fi networking. While the Dana can handle all Palm apps in a cropped window, many have been tweaked to exploit the extra-wide display--great for the bundled Office-compatible apps that handle Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. With Palm Remote software and its built-in infrared port, the Dana becomes a home-theater universal remote control as well. If you don't need the power of a full notebook, the instant start-up, easy Internet access, and full-size keyboard for Office docs make this Dana a wise choice.

PC Tool Simplifies TV Viewing

SnapStream Personal Video Station 3
Sure, digital video recorders like TiVo and ReplayTV are a great convenience: You'll never miss a favorite show, and you'll never find yourself surfing 125 channels without finding anything on. But a DVR device is nothing more than a hard drive and a user interface. Sound like something you might already have? SnapStream Personal Video Station 3 turns any PC under two years old into a DVR. The package includes a TV tuner (either an internal PCI card or an external USB box), a remote, and SnapStream's sleek software. We love how the SnapStream software lets you create or change scheduled recordings from anywhere, through SnapStream's Web site, if your SnapStream-enabled PC has a broadband connection. The software even lets you stream live TV to any computer over the Internet. Try doing that with a fancy-pants DVR box.

Go-Video Networked DVD Player D2730


Price when reviewed: $300
Current prices (if available)

AlphaSmart's Dana Wireless


Price when reviewed: $429
Current prices (if available)

SnapStream Personal Video Station 3


Price when reviewed: $80
Current prices (if available)
At a Glance
  • AlphaSmart Dana

  • LG 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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