Pixel Perfect

The Best Gear, Tested

You won't need to be poolside in Beijing this summer to see every bubble in Michael Phelps's wake. NBC is airing more than 1,000 hours of hi-def action during the Summer Games, so the time has come to give up your high-minded but futile HD resistance. Sony's new 46-inch Bravia Z series high-definition LCD has a 30,000:1 contrast ratio for deep blacks and detailed shadows, and a next-gen color processor, so gold shines like the real thing. The three-inch-thick set isn't the slimmest, but its brain displays 120 images a second—double that of a standard set—smoothing fast-action scenes so well you'll see every footplant in the 100-meter dash. You can also stream select content from the Net (with a $300 add-on), plug a camera into the USB port to showcase your own athletic feats and travel shots, or connect an iPod and use the Bravia as a stereo. (Cue: Olympic anthem. Volume: Full.) $2,800; sonystyle.com

Sony Bravia Z Series High-Def LCD TV

More Gear