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DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now delivers an impressive mix of channels for the money, but people who prioritize a cloud DVR should look elsewhere.

Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 is the best update yet, thanks to its revamped design and modern features, but it lags behind iOS and Android.

Sony PlayStation Vue

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.

Editors' Choice
$22.94 at Amazon

Norton CleanSweep 2002

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.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 Series

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 provides adequate protection, but the program itself could use some work in telling the user what's going on.

Editors' Choice

Adobe Flash CS4 Professional

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.

Editors' Choice

Adobe Photoshop CS2

If you're a professional or ambitious amateur digital artist, we highly recommend Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Apple GarageBand Jam Pack

GarageBand users who want more sounds and instruments are better off with Apple/M-Audio's USB MIDI keyboard.

System Mechanic 6 Professional

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.

Microsoft Word 2007

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.

Editors' Choice

Adobe Acrobat 9

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.

Editors' Choice
$399.95 MSRP

QuickBooks 2006

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.

PowerDVD 16

The latest version of CyberLink's PowerDVD software now includes a dedicated TV mode and Chromecast streaming, in addition to future 4K Blu-ray support.

Norton Internet Security 2009

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

Kaspersky Internet Security 6

Kaspersky Internet Security 6 provides thorough protection against online threats, but ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6 remains a better buy.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

While there are a handful of new capabilities in the update to Adobe's entry-level image editor, the most noticeable is a more readable interface intended for middle-aged eyes.

Editors' Choice

Adobe Flash CS3 Professional

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.

Ulead DVD MovieFactory 3.0 Disc Creator

Ulead's MovieFactory 3.0 Disc Creator joins the ranks of solid, multipurpose disc-burning programs, but Nero 6.0 remains our Editors' Choice.

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