1999 Technology Buyer's Guide: Bigger, Better, More Beautiful--But at a Price

No other product category is so sweetly seductive and yet so baffling as home theater. Not too long ago, all you had to do was buy the largest TV you could afford, connect stereo speakers, plug in a VCR and voila--you had bragging rights to state-of-the-art home entertainment. Now there's DVD, Dolby Digital, high-definition TV, personal TV, rewritable CD--all dazzling technologies, to be sure, but disorienting too. HDTV, a digital format so luscious it can make an enthusiast weep, was the year's biggest tease, delayed by technical complications and industry infighting. Yet some experts are optimistic, saying it will really show...

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