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Sony's top-of-the-line DVD player available for about...


Sony's top-of-the-line DVD player available for about half-price

As one of the inventors of the format, Sony was one of the first to produce consumer DVD players, and the first to market a high-end model. Sony's DVP-S7000 ($600) has garnered a reputation as a stellar performer, collecting a fistful of awards. Because Sony is about to produce an even better player, it's now possible to get the DVP-S7000 for slightly more than half of what it cost a month ago.

As you'd expect from Sony's top DVD player, the video quality is simply amazing. There are gold-plated RCA jacks in the back for component video output as well as the usual S-video, composite video and stereo RCA outputs. There are also optical and coaxial outputs for Dolby AC-3 surround sound. The DVP-S7000 can take advantage of just about any high-end audio or video features your television and stereo system supports.

The DVP-S7000 has a couple of features I haven't noticed on other players. The first is Parental Control, which lets you determine the rating level of a disc that can be played without entering a code. The other feature is an optional, on-screen meter that displays the current bit rate, i.e., the complexity of the video signal being processed.

Sony's DVP-S7000 has pushed me past the point of no return. If I can help it, I will never go back to a VCR again. I've instantly become spoiled by the razor-sharp freeze frames, great picture quality and fantastic sound. It's definitely going to be a DVD Christmas around our house.

Information: 201-930-1000 or www.sony.com McAfee is a name associated with high-quality PC software utilities. Now the company, owned by Network Associates, has its most useful products into one package that offers just about everything you need to keep your computer happy, safe and clutter-free.

McAfee Office ($99.95) contains 10 programs. VirusScan hunts down everything viral, including malicious Java applets and e-mail attachments. Nuts and Bolts, one of McAfee's most popular products, helps you recover from hard drive crashes and helps prevent them from happening. Uninstaller removes applications, offering more useful options than the standard Microsoft Add/Remove utility. Automatically repairing common software and hardware problems as they happen is First Aid's job.

Hurricane speeds up Windows operating system and application launch times, while Oil Change can update much of the software on your system by keeping track of what versions you have and what versions and bug fixes are available online. If you're worried about the Y2K bug, 2000 Toolbox will scan your system and look for Y2K problems and fix some of them. Guard Dog provides Internet security by keeping your browsing habits confidential and preventing people online from accessing sensitive data on your desktop.

One of the most respected e-mail and document encryption programs, PGP Security, is also included. Rounding out this impressive suite of software tools is the Netopia Virtual Office, a free template-based Web site with an e-mail account.

Information: 408-988-3832 or www.mcafee.com

Gareth Branwyn

You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.

Pub Date: 12/21/98

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