Best Gear 2003: It's Showtime

Vivid special effects will blast into your living room with the latest in home-theater systems

HIGHLY DEFINED

New flat-panel televisions are getting a lot of attention these days, but the better value may be rear-projection sets. A quick price check proves the point: a 56-in. Digital Light Processing (DLP) TV from Samsung costs $5,000, Philips' 55-in. Cineos lists for $4,200, and Sony's 60-in. LCD Grand WEGA is $4,000. By comparison, a 50-in. plasma set, while handsome and sleek, will run you $15,000. And rear-projection TVs have significantly slimmed down their rears, compared with older models, so you don't need a weight lifter to lug one into your den.

ALL BOXED IN

Home-theater-in-a-box systems are by...

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