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Friday, August 17, 2001
A TV That Does It All

Every now and then you run across a product that combines two different types of gadgets into one nice neat little package. A new combination TV from Sharp Electronics combines three.

It's a TV with a built-in VCR and DVD player in its base, bearing the arcane name of 27DV-S100. The DVD can also play audio CDs and even CD-R discs that you've burned onto your PC with MP3 music files. And you can also watch a DVD while recording a TV show on tape.

The VCR has four heads inside and boasts a 400x rewind speed so that the wait during the rewind is shorter. The three-in-one TV is shipping this month and will sell for about $1,100 retail.

If that seems a little steep, Sharp has also combined a DVD player with a VCR into a single unit minus the TV. This one's called the DV-NC55U and, like the three-in-one TV, it lets you watch a DVD and record a program to videotape at the same time.

The device also comes with a Digital Theater Sound output for your home theater's sound system. And it too will play CDs and CD-R discs. This combined product will ship next month for a price of about $330.

The main disadvantage with combination products is that if one part of it breaks, you have to take the entire unit in for repair. TV-VCR combos have been on the market for a long time and are often good gifts for students heading off to college for the first time--because they save space in cramped dorm rooms and usually carry a reasonable price.

But consumers don't seem to be unhappy with the idea of piecing together their own home theater systems by mixing and matching the components they think are the best. However, if you're a consumer that doesn't like making complicated decisions like this, Sharp is helping to make your life easier.

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