Thousands of popular movies and shows in a clean, easy-to-use interface, makes it well worth the $7 per month.
Adobe has improved the speed of Flash and its integration with other CS3 apps, although flashy new features are few. Plus, Flash now works natively on Intel-based Macs.
DirecTV Now delivers an impressive mix of channels for the money, but people who prioritize a cloud DVR should look elsewhere.
Google's experimental game streaming service launches without many of its promised features and just a handful of games. It works, but there's not much incentive to buy in.
Integration with Mac OS X Yosemite and a fair price make Parallels Desktop 10 the best Mac system virtualization option, despite a confusing installation process.
Adobe Lightroom 6/CC remains a fine photo-editing and organizing tool, but the new version doesn't rise much past its predecessor.
For home and student use, we think Norton 360 represents the best value for ease of use, tools offered, and overall system performance. We recommend it over McAfee Total Protection and Microsoft Windows Live OneCare.
Intuit TurboTax Premier 2005 is the best ease-of-use choice for filers with complex returns. If you have investment, rental, and small-business income--and you hate paying usurious accountant fees--buy this program.
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.
TurboTax 2008 is the most expensive tax app on the market, but it's also fast, complete, and straightforward. If finishing quickly is your goal, the extra cost is worth it. If you anticipate wanting live help support, look into TaxCut.
Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
This is a great tool for experimentalists who want to tweak under the hood for more power and better performance.
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.
VideoStudio 8.0 is a good pick for beginners who want to create and customize videos and DVDs.
Premiere 6.0 is easily the best, all-around midrange editing program for Windows. For complex Mac projects, however, choose Apple Final Cut Pro 2.0 instead.
PayCycle serves businesses with an affordable, easy-to-learn online payroll system.
SurePayroll is a convenient service for white-collar businesses--though it's pricier than PayCycle and slightly harder to use.
If your smart home detects a leak, HomeAdvisor will have a reputable plumber in your area call you.