For the second year in a row TechTV has produced an hour-long show listing their picks for the 20 greatest technology gifts of this Christmas. You can read the 2003 list here and an archived version of the 2002 list here.
Last year's list was incredibly helpful to me. Because of it, I bought my parents a TiVo (rated #1 in 2002). It has taken them about a year to master the basic features, which is not bad, considering they've had a VCR for well over a decade and still haven't learned to use it. Now they couldn't get by without their TiVo. I also used the list to select a digital camera for myself. I purchased the Fujifilm FinePix A303 (#7 on the list). It's a wonderful camera, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. Even a year later, it's still a good buy for anyone looking for an inexpensive 3.2 megapixel camera. All the new pictures in my blog were taken with it.
This year's list is also chock full of wonderful things. Number 1 is the Pioneer DVD Recorder With TiVo. In other words, it's a TiVo that can record programs to DVD. I did not know that such a device existed. For 800 bucks I won't be buying it for anyone this Christmas, but once the price comes down, you can bet I'll be getting one for myself.
One reason I've been awaiting this year's list so anxiously is to see what mid-range digital camera they would select. I was hoping to use my Fujifilm FinePix A303 for exactly one year and then upgrade to TechTV's 2003 choice. Now I'm not so sure. This year they chose the Casio Exilim Z4U. It's about $360, which is about $80 more than I paid for my Fujifilm camera, and it's only 4 megapixels. It uses SD cards, so I can't use my old XD cards in it. And the image quality is apparently not as good as it could be. The only significant thing it has going for it is the 2-inch LCD. I just don't think it's worth it. Sigh.
Other cool things on the list were the Sony DCR-TRV33 (a camcorder that records directly to DVD), Xmods Custom RC Racing Cars (for chasing the cats around the house), and the Panasonic Home Theater in a Box (which may be what I end up getting my parents this year).
If you were fortunate enough to have seen the show and have more than a passing familiarity with TechTV, you probably caught a very interesting semi-inside joke. When Cat Schwartz was presenting the HP Photosmart 245 Printer (at #12), she demoed it at a TechTV photoshoot where she printed out a studio photo of herself showing a significant amount of cleavage. I don't see how that could not have been a reference to this. The incident has already been addressed by TechTV as well as in Cat's blog. It happened months ago, and I really think it's past time the issue was dropped.