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A High-Tech Living Room For Less

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Laptop
CompUSA
1775 Broadway, at 57th St.; 212-262-9711
The best deal often depends on who’s running a special offer. But CompUSA is the most consistent bet: A Toshiba Satellite notebook with Celeron M processor, 80 GB hard drive, and 512 MB RAM, for example, is currently $150 less than at other big-box stores. And although service is poor, sales clerks can throw in freebies: A little hesitancy might score a free carrying case. Online, rock-bottom rates and a great warranty make Walmart.com best.

Camera
B&H Photo-Video
420 Ninth Ave., nr. 33rd St.; 212-444-6615
Sure, the absolute lowest price can be found around Times Square, but after you’ve upgraded the tiny memory card and paid for a battery charger, you’re likely to come out behind. B&H buys nearly every camera in a product line, which helps it undersell legit competition most of the time. A spiffy point-and-shoot like the Canon PowerShot SD400 Elph is $255 ($15 less than at J&R), and for serious amateurs, the Nikon D200 is $300 less than at 17th St. Photo.

DVD Player
BJ’s Wholesale Club
66–26 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village; 718-326-9080
Features past a remote control are almost irrelevant, and reliability isn’t an issue on name brands, so price is almost all that matters when buying a DVD player. At BJ’s, you get the fiddler’s choice: For $45, you could buy a Toshiba Progressive Scan DVD ($100 at Best Buy), or you could take a date to one movie in the theater. Target does sell an off-brand for $35, but be wary of unknown electronics makers.

Home Theater System
J&R Music and Computer World
Park Row, nr. Broadway; 212-238-9000
Prices on consumer electronics drop so much during the big post-holiday sales that it’s foolish to buy any other time. Even then, though, J&R goes lowest: The Onkyo Home Theater system, which was $299 at Christmas, is now $249, compared to $269 at Circuit City. And then there’s selection: Big-box stores only have room for a few models, while J&R has names like JBL and Bose.

Flat-Screen TV
J&R Music and Computer World
Park Row, nr. Broadway; 212-238-9000
Flat-screen-TV prices can vary by literally hundreds of dollars. But those great online deals don’t include shipping fees; you might unwittingly be buying a refurbished model. Safer to go with J&R, which currently has the highly rated Panasonic 42-inch plasma at $2,700, as compared to Best Buy’s $3,000. J&R doesn’t do financing, so if that’s a factor, go to Circuit City, which often runs zero-percent specials for six or even eighteen months.


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