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.
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.
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.
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.
Works 8.0 is ideal for technophobes and Luddites who need an extremely simple interface for their home-computing chores.
QuickBooks Simple Start is easy to learn, but the lack of budgeting, payroll, and Excel-import tools limits its usefulness. We recommend a more powerful accounting app, such as QuickBooks.
The well-designed QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro 4.0 is a cash register on steroids--a hardware and software system for managing a retail business.
QuickBooks Premier 2006 is the best upgrade in years. Its slick new interface is the best in small-business accounting, and its accounting toolkit is easy to learn. Small but growing businesses should buy it.
Intuit QuickBooks Premier 2009 keeps the program's well-designed, intuitive interface, while adding a few new features. It's a worthy upgrade for people serious about online banking, and it remains the best accounting program for small business owners. However, Intuit should be more generous with customer support, particularly for setup issues.
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.
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.
GarageBand users who want more sounds and instruments are better off with Apple/M-Audio's USB MIDI keyboard.
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.
Norton Internet Security 2009 hits all the right security notes and its superior protection technologies might even win back some jaded anti-Symantec folks, though for some technical support may continue to frustrate
Norton AntiVirus 2006 improves its detection and removal of spyware and adware but lags behind the more proactive McAfee VirusScan 2006.
This is a great tool for experimentalists who want to tweak under the hood for more power and better performance.
Ulead's MovieFactory 3.0 Disc Creator joins the ranks of solid, multipurpose disc-burning programs, but Nero 6.0 remains our Editors' Choice.