DirecTV Now delivers an impressive mix of channels for the money, but people who prioritize a cloud DVR should look elsewhere.
Sony's PlayStation Vue lets you ditch cable TV and still enjoy tons of live channels and DVR features, and you don't even need a PlayStation.
It's a reasonable option if you want a wide selection of classes at a relatively low price.
If you're ready to let go of old habits from previous versions of Word and want to make sleeker-looking documents, Microsoft Word 2007 is worth the upgrade. However, less-expensive alternatives handle its core features without the clutter.
Net Nanny's default setting filters fewer naughty sites than any major blocking package, but it's by far the easiest to customize and use. Unless you need CyberSitter's strict site filtering, go with Net Nanny.
Spybot is both free and adaptable for both beginning and power users, but it left behind several known spyware apps.
System Mechanic 6 Professional offers the best package of utilities for optimizing and protecting your hard drive, but the software's lack of documentation makes it poorly suited for the average computer user.
System Mechanic 4.0 Professional offers a better selection of tools and technical support than Norton SystemWorks Professional does.
McAfee VirusScan Professional 7.0 is a top-notch virus slayer for first-time users, but unless you use Outlook Express or Eudora, VirusScan Professional 6.0 users won't need to upgrade.
Flash becomes friendlier and more fun to explore as CS4 introduces a faster approach to animation, making this a worthwhile upgrade for both beginners and seasoned programmers.
This update should be worthwhile for security-minded businesses and creative firms. With Acrobat 9, Adobe brings new Web relevance to print-ready PDFs by enabling embedded video and animation. Forms, security, and overall ease of use are also enhanced.
If you're an advanced photographer and don't have Photoshop yet or if you need natural paint tools, version 7.0 is a must-have; otherwise, version 6.0 will do the trick.
McAfee Total Protection 2010 hits many of the right notes. It's easy to use and it's effective, but years of below-average releases will likely leave many users unwilling to give it a try.
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006 packs a powerful protection arsenal--but it's far too slow. Loyal McAfee users should upgrade for the automatic spyware and phishing blockers, but the rest of us should seek security elsewhere, such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 adds even more power to an already top-flight image editor/organizer package. Equipped with a chic interface and a fantastic toolbox, Elements is the best choice for digital photographers who want to put their photo collection in order and share with others.
Norton CleanSweep 2002 is our top pick in the uninstaller category. Its powerful set of cleanup tools, simple interface, and quality support are the best around.
Works 8.0 is ideal for technophobes and Luddites who need an extremely simple interface for their home-computing chores.
Norton AntiVirus 2006 improves its detection and removal of spyware and adware but lags behind the more proactive McAfee VirusScan 2006.