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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

This week in gadgets

A prototype DVR gadget drops jaws in London. Also: Motorola announces wireless sunglasses, keyboard phone.

A prototype gadget from start-up Promise TV can record and index an entire week's worth of British digital-television programming. The device is a test version of a digital video recorder slated to be unveiled next month.

The project was commissioned by the BBC. It uses commodity PC hardware, including a bank of hard drives that can store 3.2 terabytes. At week's end, new programming overwrites previous programs, although those recordings can be archived on separate storage devices.

For the active set, Motorola announced new wireless products that range from a BlackBerry-like keyboard phone to a pair of sunglasses with a phone built into the stems. Still missing, however, was the iTunes-compatible phone that the company first announced along with Apple Computer a year ago.

In a nod to the eager speculation around that device, Motorola Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander said the product would be sold by major operators by the end of the current quarter. The iTunes phone has been the subject of intense speculation for months, as delays led analysts to speculate that Motorola and Apple had misread the potential demand for the device.

This year's holiday season may be a bit happier for people pining for a liquid-crystal display TV. That's because the prices of LCD panels, the most expensive part of LCD TVs, have slipped. The price of a panel between 40 inches and 42 inches dropped to $950 this month, research company iSuppli said. This is the first time such devices have cost less than $1,000.

The shift could bring the price of 40- to 42-inch TV sets down to $2,500 by the end of the year, iSuppli predicted. The most popular size for large, flat-screen sets is 42 inches, according to makers of the generally cheaper plasma version.