CNET Top 5
Home theater essentialsMust-have electronic side dishes for your new HDTV.
Maybe you waded through my recent Top 5 TVÃ¯Â¿Â½s, which actually was 9 of the damned things. Well, to reward you for that, IÃ¯Â¿Â½ve got the perfect side dish: Top 5 home video gear to go with that new HDTV! And yes, itÃ¯Â¿Â½s actually 5 Ã¯Â¿Â½ no pesky ties! LetÃ¯Â¿Â½s go. Warming things up at #5, Roku XDS streaming player. You want to join the whole Ã¯Â¿Â½screw you cable companyÃ¯Â¿Â½ movementÃ¯Â¿Â½? This is the best way to do it for a little money -- $100. YouÃ¯Â¿Â½ll get Netflix, Amazon, Pandora as well as MLB TV and Hulu Plus for a fee. Not iTunes or YouTube support, though. This thing wonÃ¯Â¿Â½t raise a vein on your forehead when setting it up. And we like this XDS version for its USB port for playing your own movies off a thumb drive. #4 is the Slingbox Solo, our favorite placeshifting device. Now, I think the Slingbox is something of a niche device; You either donÃ¯Â¿Â½t need one, or absolutely love it. It takes whateverÃ¯Â¿Â½s on at home and streams it to just about computer, smartphone or other connected device that can run the sling software. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s great if you have a pricey live sports package you waste a bunch of when youÃ¯Â¿Â½re away from the house. You can get one of these guys for as little as $160. Coming in at #3 is the Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray deck, our favorite straight up BD deck. Even if youÃ¯Â¿Â½re just lukewarm on Blu-ray, like yours truly, this box gets you streaming services like Netflix, Vudu and YouTube, 7.1 surround outputs and 1 gig of storage onboard and built-in Wi-Fi. Plus Samsung is pushing their own Apps platform so youÃ¯Â¿Â½re just about guaranteed of an Apple-like array of apps you can load on this box to make it a do-all home media terminal. Get one of these for under $200 bucks and even if you NEVER play a Blu-ray disc itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a good idea. At #2 we have the Harmony One do it all -- and make it easy Ã¯Â¿Â½ unified remote. These guys sort of own this space, and the model One is the sweet spot of their line. You program tasks like Ã¯Â¿Â½play DVD in 5.1 audio via HDMI input 2Ã¯Â¿Â½ or Ã¯Â¿Â½watch live TV with audio on the soundbar and a 4:3 aspect ratioÃ¯Â¿Â½ with single macros that are programmed via a web service. You just press one button. Yeah, kinda pricey at $250 list and maybe $170 street, but you tell me know expensive that is next time youÃ¯Â¿Â½re screwing around trying to get something to play right while your spouse stares at ceiling wondering why they married a dork. OK, before we hit the #1 present you should give your TV, look at how many TVÃ¯Â¿Â½s we own these days: Latest Nielsen numbers show just 17% of scraping by with one TV. 28% of us have two. 55% of us have threeÃ¯Â¿Â½or MORE! In fact the AVERAGE is now 3 per household. Ã¯Â¿Â½ OK, letÃ¯Â¿Â½s reveal the #1 best piece of home video gear to hook up to at least one of those TVÃ¯Â¿Â½s: ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s the Sony PS3 Slim. Just about the priciest thing on the list at $350, but still the best value. Games, Blu-ray, online streaming from its service as well as the others like Netflix. And since Sony says the PS3 will get a 3D Blu-ray update later this year, youÃ¯Â¿Â½ve got future proofing Ã¯Â¿Â½ but you will need a new 3D TVÃ¯Â¿Â½and thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s another Top 5. Full details on all of these are at Matt MoskoviakÃ¯Â¿Â½s list on CNET Ã¯Â¿Â½ keep an eye on it if youÃ¯Â¿Â½re in the market, this is a hot sector and new products pop up every few weeks. Just go to CNET, click the Home Video category, then Best Home Video productsÃ¯Â¿Â½or go to our Top 5 home at top5.cnet.com