Television: Optoma HD81. Top of the line in its price range spring of
2007, with DarkChip 3, 1080p resolution, and it's own external scaler.
Several users have had intermittent problems, however this one has been
running rock solid, only twice has it shut itself down for no reason.
Nice and bright, great picture, and newer model is reportedly even
Cable/Satellite receivers: If you have cable, get a TiVo, spare no
expense. If you have satellite, then you're out of luck. The HR20/HR21
from DirecTV is shaping up to be a decent receiver. I have two, one's
been upgraded with a 2TB eSATA RAID box from Cavalry. If you decide to
get the same eSATA setup, make sure it's 2TB with two 1TB drives (they
also sell a 2TB setup with four 500GB drives) and that it has an eSATA
port (they currently sell a model with just USB, and another with eSATA
Audio Receiver: Yamaha HTR-6060. 7.1 setup, decent price, works
IR distribution: Hot-Link Pro or Hot-Link XL. Currently using a
Hot-Link Pro X12 because I needed more than six emitters, just wish they
had a Hot-Link XL X12 (the XL only comes with six emitters). You can
expand it, but it was cheaper for me to go with the X12 with 12 emitters
and buy a separate cable to extend the ir receiver. It is working
flawlessly. Previously I was using a "Next Generation Remote Control
Extender." It's rather ingenious, you replace one of your remote
batteries with a much smaller battery plus transmitter. Unfortunately
it was picky about where it picked up, and the battery needed constant
Game System: I have a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Xbox, and
PlayStation 2. I say just buy them all, or if on a budget buy whichever
one has the games you like the most.
Audio/Video switches: I got a 4x1 HDMI switcher from Monoprice.com,
works just fine for me. Also bought a component switcher from them, no
complaints at all.
Phone: iPhone or a BlackBerry Curve. My wife wanted an iPhone, I
needed a phone that could use T-Mobile's [email protected] (which the Curve
could handle). Ended up with an iPhone for her, and a plain Nokia for
Camera: Pentax K10D. Takes great pictures, good enough for a
point-and-shooter, even better for a serious amateur. A newer model is
out now though.
Printer: Epson R1800. Long-lasting pigment-based ink. If you don't
need to print 13" prints, the R800 is basically the same printer but
prints 8.5" wide. For all non-photo stuff, I just use a plain laser
printer, currently a Brother HL-1440 (several years old).