| ||September 3, 2003 |
| ||Time to ditch that old VCR. CNET readers are looking for more info on the latest and greatest DVD recorders, now that these machines are improved and more affordable. Plus, you're seeking out recent info about the new, smaller iPod killers. |
| || || || || ||DVD recorders |
You finally upgraded to a big-screen, beautiful TV; stepped up your home-theater audio system; and have even added a TiVo for digital video recording. So, why are you still recording video using that old VCR? Most of you have this exact question in mind and are putting DVD recorders (DVD-Rs) high on the list of the hottest gadgets on CNET these days. Luckily for you, our editors have recently looked at three of the newest DVD recorders from the biggest makers: Pioneer, Sony, and Panasonic. Why is this trio exciting? Our editors are thrilled that both the Pioneer DVR-810H and the Panasonic DMR-E100H come with built-in hard drives, so they can double as DVRs for those of you who haven't made the TiVo plunge. But the Sony, according to our editors, doesn't seem quite as amazing; without a hard drive or a program guide, this DVD-R may appeal only to camcorder users looking to easily burn their movies to disc. While these three recorders are the latest we've checked out, they haven't been run through their paces yet. While you wait for the full reviews, peruse our editors' top DVD recorder picks.
| || || || || ||iPod killers |
Apple's iPod seems pretty unstoppable. Just when some makers of MP3 players managed to come out with slightly smaller hard drive players, such as Creative's Nomad Jukebox Zen, Apple released even slimmer, cooler iPods. But a new crop of potential iPod killers is ready to be unleashed, and it's all thanks to a 1-inch hard drive that holds 1.5GB of music. Our MP3 Insider, Eliot Van Buskirk, wrote about this mighty mite in his recent column. The hottest MP3 players with this built-in drive include Rio's Nitrus and Creative's new MuVo2. And even more are coming from iRiver, RCA, Samsung, and Digitalway. As these iPod competitors come out, we'll have them covered.
| || || || || ||Dell Inspiron 8600 |
The Dell Inspiron 8500 desktop-replacement notebook got stellar marks from our editors; it even garnered an Editors' Choice for its gorgeous wide-screen display, lightning-fast performance, and good battery life. Now, Dell has released its follow-up, the Inspiron 8600, and you're hungry to find out whether it can live up to the reputation of its predecessor. We're currently testing the 8600, but it's already looking pretty darn impressive. According to notebook editor Tom Dunlap's First Take, "the Inspiron 8600 has a spec sheet that reads like a Who's Who list," including a 1.7GHz Pentium M processor, a 15.4-inch wide-aspect display, up to 2GB of DDR RAM, an optional DVD+R/RW drive, and integrated 802.11b (Wi-Fi). Plus, gamers will be thrilled that it also sports the GeForce FX Go5650 graphics card with 128MB of memory. All that goodness has to add up to a high rating, right? You'll see when our final review comes out in a few weeks.
| || || || || ||DVD decoder |
Making DVD copies has always been a hot topic with CNET readers, but it's apparently not a hot idea with the entertainment companies. This past week, the California Supreme Court ruled that a Web publisher could be barred from posting DVD-copying code, called DeCSS, online without infringing on his free-speech rights, overturning an earlier decision. An industry coalition called the DVD Copy Control Association had originally sued dozens of people in California courts, contending that posting the software online violated its trade-secret rights. And the judges believed property rights outranked free-speech rights in this case. The good news is that the ruling left some room for the defendants, asking a lower court to revisit the question of whether any industry trade-secret rights actually were violated. Meanwhile, more commercial DVD-copying packages keep coming, so you can still get your copying fix. DVD drive company Tritton on Friday said it would sell software called DVD CopyWare, even as 321 Studios continues to fight a lawsuit by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over its DVD X Copy Xpress software.
| || || || || ||Secretmaker |
A while back, you were looking for the best tools to help cover your electronic tracks, such as where you've been online or what you've been up to on your computer. And aside from possibly clearing your conscience, there's nothing wrong with cleaning up after yourself electronically; it's actually a good privacy precaution. The latest download making the rounds is Secretmaker, a package that CNET Download.com says includes "a spam fighter, a pop-up killer, a cookie eraser, a history cleaner, and a privacy protector." Not sure what that last tool is, but it sounds great, especially if you have something to hide. If you don't like that one, there are plenty of others to choose from. Check out Evidence Eliminator, Eraser, and Tracks Eraser.