DVD: Dallas: The Complete First and Second Seasons—Warner Brothers
Extras: 2 Dallas' premiere in 1978 helped to usher in a new television genre: the prime-time soap opera. It had been tried before, but the amazing success of Dallas spawned an instant wave of imitators. Flamingo Road, Falcon Crest, and Dynasty all soon hit the airwaves in an attempt to cash in on the craze. The attentive viewer will notice something similar about these shows: All of the characters are filthy rich. Yes, it seems that America loves to watch shows about miserable wealthy people. They say that money can't buy happiness, but I bet you'll have some trouble convincing Aaron Spelling of that fact.
Now that everyone's jumping aboard the DVD and high-definition bandwagons, it's time to start thinking about the necessary cables for your system. At the top of your short list are component video cables, no doubt. AViC has what you need with their CV3002 RCA-to-RCA component video cable. The company says that upgrading to this cable will give you brighter colors and more-vivid detail from your DVD player or HDTV receiver. The color-coded connectors make installation trouble-free, and the 3.3-gigahertz bandwidth capacity supports all ATSC signals with room to spare. Two meters are available now for $130.
(215) 825-5310 www.aviccables.com
Nothing pleases us more than to hear that the manufacturer of a solid product has introduced a complement to said product. Such is the case with PSB's new SubSonic 9 subwoofer ($1,599), which the company designed to be the perfect complement to their Platinum Series speakers. The sub has dual 10-inch woofers in an opposing-woofer design. According to PSB, this design cancels the opposite directional force exerted by a single woofer so that less energy is lost as the two forces interact with the cabinet. The Class H amp delivers a rated 400 watts of continuous output. Look for the SubSonic 9 early in the fourth quarter.
(905) 831-6555 www.psbspeakers.com
DVD: The Girl Next Door—20th Century Fox
OK, I'll admit up front I'd give this movie a good review if Elisha Cuthbert sat for two hours reading the 9/ 11 Commission Report. But here we get to see Cuthbert—best known as Jack Bauer's daughter on 24—in the role she was born to play: a porn actress who's house-sitting next door to a sexually frustrated high school senior (Emile Hirsch). As such, she swims, teases, drips and, yes, strips, more than once. Ah, the joys of DVD, and the A-B repeat function.
LG's new plasma is available in three different sizes—42, 50, and 60 inches—to suit theaters of any size. The 50-inch DU-50PY10 is fully integrated, with ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners and a built-in CableCARD slot. The television also features a 1,366 by 768p resolution and a rated 3,000:1 contrast ratio. The TV uses LG's proprietary XD Engine, which, according to the company, minimizes distortion, improves brightness, and enhances the overall picture quality. Inputs are plentiful, including HDMI, DVI with HDCP, RGB, and IEEE 1394. Pricing wasn't available at press time.
DVD: Purple Rain 20th-Anniversary Edition—Warner Brothers
The artist currently (and formerly) known as Prince experienced quite the career resurrection in 2004. The year began with his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he followed that up with his biggest album and tour in ages. With the purple one's place atop the pop world once again secure, Warner Brothers has found the perfect time to release the 20th-anniversary, special-edition DVD of Purple Rain.
DVD: South Park: The Complete Fourth Season—Paramount
Extras: 3 South Park was just warming up in season four, with the introduction, sans fanfare, of handicapped Timmy, who has since developed his own enormous following and would go on to be a dominant force throughout a year ranging from the esoteric nostalgia of the Trapper Keeper to the boys' first Holy Communion. (A chill just shot down my poor mother's spine.) This oddly timed season contained 17 episodes, with original airdates between April and December of 2000, ending with another fecally gifted yuletide and an homage to the "Spirit of Christmas" video short that began it all.
DVD: Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London—MGM/UA
If your kids are fans of the first Cody Banks movie, do yourselves a favor and just keep popping that puppy into the player. Steer clear of this strained and largely humorless sequel. What's the problem? Cody 2 has too much "spy" and not enough "kids." CIA operative Banks, now 16, is acting like a grown-up secret agent, which robs this film of the charm that Frankie Muniz displayed while learning the ropes in the first movie. There's zero chemistry between him and his female counterpart/love interest, Hannah Spearritt; and all the dads out there would probably agree that we'd rather watch statuesque Angie Harmon play Banks' "handler" than pudgy Anthony Anderson (even though Anderson tries to be funnier).
V, Inc.'s Bravo D2 DVD player is an update of the company's award-winning Bravo D1. The D2 has a DVI output that transfers a DVD's digital video signal straight to your display, bypassing analog conversion and the resulting digital-to-analog conversion artifacts. Through both the DVI and component video outputs, the unit's scaler can convert the signal to 480p, 720p, or 1080i (except in the case of Macrovision-protected DVDs). Playback options include Picture Zoom 1 and 2, MPEG-4, JPEG, DVD-R/+R, CD, CD-R/-RW, and Kodak Picture CD. The Bravo D2 is available in a titanium-silver finish for $250.
(714) 668-0588 www.vinc.com
DVD: National Lampoon's Senior Trip—New Line
The longest road trip you've ever taken won't feel so bad after sitting through this 90-minute "high schoolers-hit-the-road" piece of dreck. The jokes aren't funny, every character is an overdrawn cliché, and there's absolutely no one to hold our interest, let alone root for.