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Digital cameras and TV tuners are hot tickets.

The newest PC peripheral to enter the multimedia scene is one that should find its way into the hands of professionals and dabblers alike. The digital camera was one of the hottest computing developments in the last year. These units' sleek designs and lightweight portability make them a popular choice as a fast, inexpensive way to add photos to Web sites, newsletters or presentations. Simple point-click-and-transfer operation completely changes the paradigm of photography--no more film to buy, no waiting for developing and full control over the output.

Digital camera prices range from less than $350 for a simple, three-button point-and-shoot unit that fits in your pocket to $2,800 for a full modular digital photographic system. But even the "low-end" cameras are packed with features: resolutions of 320x240 to 640x480, view/erase features, auto focus, power zoom, built-in flash and enough memory to hold 20 or more pictures. Some have built-in LCD panels, so you can see your photos as you take them.

Cable-ready TV tuners also opened some eyes in the past year or so. These cards use an infrared remote control to display TV channels or video from your camcorder or VCR on your PC monitor at full-screen size or in a window. Video-capture features let you preserve still images from a variety of sources, including TV, videotape or camcorder.

CD-ROM technology hasn't stood still, either. If you purchased a CD-ROM drive prior to the past 18 months, it was probably a 4X or 6X, at most. Now 16X drives ship with many PCs.

Soon you'll see the emergence of digital videodisc (DVD) drives, which will probably storm the market by the end of the year.

(The Philips PCA20TV, also among our favorites, is no longer available in the configuration reviewed by us.)







Multimedia: The Winners

Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.