The big screen keeps getting smaller. A new flock of tiny video recorders is hitting the U.S. market for those who want their shows on the road. We tested two new models: the Archos AV120 and the Panasonic SV-AV30.
To save your favorite programs, you plug the recorder directly into your television, cable box or TiVo player. The Archos AV120 ($460) stores about 20 gigabytes of data. That's enough to record Hitchcock's Marnie and still have room for more. While the screen measures less than 2 in. diagonally, the picture is surprisingly vivid.
Panasonic's SV-AV30 (right, $400) combines a video recorder with a mini-camcorder, still camera and MP3 player--perfect for streamlining your gadget collection. But its memory (at most 512 megabytes) offers meager storage. The upside: it has a slightly larger screen, though it doesn't top the Archos for picture quality.
The verdict: if you can't get to a sofa, this type of gadget makes for a fine substitute. But nothing beats the big screen. Even Hitchcock doesn't survive scaling down all that well. --By Wilson Rothman