Hot summer, cool gadgets

May 20, 2004|By Kevin E. Washington

Entertainment

Liteon 5005 DVD Recorder/Player

Affordable DVD recorders have been promised by manufacturers for a couple of years , but they're only now getting into the price range of home electronics consumers. The Liteon LVW 5005 ($400) makes a great addition to any home entertainment center. For one, you can record DVD plus and minus Rs and RWs along with CD-R and RW. It will play regular DVDs, DVD+VR, Video CDs, SVCD, audio CDs holding MP3s, JPEGs and other files. You can record up to six hours of television onto a DVD and it won't fade after repeated playbacks. If you haven't bought a DVD player and you plan to spend money on a slightly higher-end model than you can find on a discount club's floor, this is the one to buy.

Information: www.liteonit.com.

Mintek Portable DVD Player MDP 1770

The MDP 1770 player ($269) with a 7-inch screen is easy to use, even for people who are not technologically knowledgeable. All it requires is a read through of the user guide which clearly outlines what goes where. All you need to do is put the DVD into the device and plug it into the wall. You can use headphones to listen to your movie. Images are crystal clear and the sound reminds me of the multiplex - my wife watched The Sound of Music and chirped about hearing the birds in the background. You can even use an adapter for your car's cigarette lighter on those long trips in the car to juice up the lithium battery for the device.

Information: 866-709-9500 or www.mintekdigital.com.

StealthSurfer 2.0

Few ministorage devices can compare with the StealthSurfer. It is one of the tiny hard drives that have become abundant on the market. You can buy them at different sizes, starting with 128 megabytes ($99) up to 512 megabytes ($199) of storage space on a drive with no moving parts. Later-model Windows computers - ME and beyond - will instantly recognize the StealthSurfer as a hard drive as soon as you plug it into either a Universal Serial Bus 2.0 or 1.1 port.sized storage device. Not only that, you can protect the data with a password.

But what makes StealthSurfer so different is that it comes with self-contained version of Netscape 7.0. By using the Netscape 7.0 on the StealthSurfer, all of the material and lingering data left over from your surfing is on the little thumb-sized storage device. Not only that, you can protect the data with a password. Information: 888-742-4747 or www.stealthsurfer.biz.

Daewoo DP-42SM Plasma Television

I hesitate to mention the Daewoo 42-inch DP-42SM Plasma Television ($2,799). Not because it offers superb sound and picture in television and DVD viewing, but because it might encourage quite a few couch potatoes to avoid healthier pursuits like going outside and getting a little exercise. Suffice it to say, at the price of $2,800 and a street price of closer to $2,400, this big screen Plasma television's pricing places it much closer to the realm of the average consumer who wants to get a big picture with good color and solid depth - something most of the big screen televisions of the past just don't offer. Set this up with a Progressive Scan DVD player and you're in television heaven.

Information: 800-323-9668 or www.e-daewoo.com.

For your food

Thane Q BBQ Portable Outdoor Grill

I like to grill outdoors. But the county in which I reside prohibits me from plunking a grill on the grass outside my apartment's patio door and getting the old charcoal going. So the Thane Q BBQ ($99) grill really appealed to me. It's a portable gas grill that takes away all of the intimidation of using a gas grill. You simply plug a regular-size propane tank into the device and turn it on. As a long time user of charcoal, I was pleasantly surprised to see my food ready long before charcoal would get it ready.

The Thane is small enough to take about anywhere. As long as you've remembered to get a propane tank, you're off and running at the drop of a hat. At 13 pounds, and less than 2 feet tall and a foot long, it really does pack away easily into the junkiest of trunks. So I never have to worry about it taking the place of that last fly rod I want to cram in there.

Information: www.thane.com

Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker

When Mr. Coffee came up with the Cocomotion Hot Cocoa maker, I was tickled to death. But while I enjoy a cup of cocoa from time to time, iced tea is an everyday routine for me. There is no question that putting a few tea bags in a big pot of boiling water is the easy way to make iced tea. But having the device, which makes tea from tea bags and tea leaves, makes iced tea production a much smaller affair. You can make iced coffee as well if you like that. I was impressed with the ability to adjust the strength of the tea as well as the three-quart pitcher that did seem to keep tea colder longer than my regular pitcher.

Information: www.mrcoffee.com.

Microwave Oven Plus Toaster

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