Digital gadgets: We're about to be bombarded with sharp new sound and vision - but is the hardware any good? Martin Skegg and Michael Oliviera- Salac find the best

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Welcome to the digital future. This is the place where information - be it sound, image, graphic or text - is broken down into combinations of binary code, and if you are unaware of this technological development you must have been suffering a media blackout. Digital allows enhanced and faster playback and perfect reproduction. Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) is a format for video, music and computer data. Digital broadcasting - radio as well as television - provides interference-free signals and a larger capacity than analogue. Hence, the much-touted 200-plus television channels coming your way, as well as a host of audio channels. Get ready for the revolution.

Digital television

Recently arrived in Britain amid a fanfare of publicity. Set-top boxes allow your existing television to receive digital signals. These will eventually become integrated into all television sets. Digital services will be available through terrestrial, cable and satellite, but be prepared to pay for anything other than the basic channels. Expect a revamped and interactive digital teletext service. Integrated email and Internet services should be with us next year.

LG 28in Widescreen Nicam Television

(Pictured above left) This crystal clear giant screen is digital satellite- ready with an electronic programme guide to help sort through all those options.

Price on application. For further information contact LG on 0870 607 5544.

Amstrad DRX 100 Digital Satellite Receiver

Available from next month to receive Sky Digital services. pounds 200. Available from Granada, Thorn, Tempo.

Digital camera

Pictures are stored on data cards or floppy discs - no more film or processing. The images can be transferred to a PC or a video or printed onto photographic paper. The quality may not quite be up to 35mm standard, but resolutions are improving constantly.

Olympus C900 Zoom Camera & P330-E Digital Printer

The camera has an LCD monitor to view pictures, plus tele- and wide-angle capabilities. The printer connects to the camera and prints images onto photographic paper.

Camera pounds 650; printer pounds 400. For further information and stockists contact 0171-253 2772.

Digital phone

Digital Electronic Cordless Telephony (DECT) will become the new standard for domestic telephones (those who have already swapped over are full of praise). It gives interference-free signals, clear reception and a longer range than any analogue phone. Digital call authentication means no one else can listen in to the conversation, and multiple handsets can be run off one unit.

Philips Onis 6411

Features include long-life battery, 40-number database, and a six-minute digital memo/answering device.

pounds 150. For further information contact Philips on 0645 282828.

Digital Versatile Disc

DVD looks set to become the audio-visual format of the future. Each disc has a large capacity for films and music as well as computer software. The equipment will play your music CDs, allowing a painless upgrade. Expect recordable versions in a couple of years, replacing VHS as the domestic video standard.

Pioneer DV-717 DVD Player

Point-and-click features include instant access to any point in the film and language preference from up to 12 choices. pounds 300; DVD discs pounds 15-pounds 20. For further information and stockists contact Pioneer on 01753 789 500.

Digital radio

The new format promises clearer signals without interference and CD-quality sound. Graphical displays on radios will give additional information such as play list, traffic reports and sports results. Broadcasters will run analogue and digital services in tandem until the planned switch-off of AM/FM around the year 2015 (more than 60 per cent of the UK can already receive BBC Digital Radio).

Arcam Alpha 10 Digital Radio Tuner

The world's first digital tuner for home use from a top quality UK manufacturer.

pounds 800. For further information and stockists contact Arcam on 01223 203 203.

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