In the pipeline

What's new and maybe useful

Turning TV into DVD

Americans are embracing DVD. DVD movie sales are expected to jump 70 percent this year. Sales of movies on VHS tapes, conversely, will fall 10 percent, according to research firm Alexander & Associates.

Still, many consumers rely on VCRs to record television programs, something most DVD players cannot do.

But a new machine from Panasonic may prompt some to give up VCRs once and for all. Panasonic's new DMR-E30 not only plays DVDs, but records TV shows onto blank DVDs.

The device has dropped $2,700 in price from Panasonic's 1999 first generation DVD recorder.

Price: $800

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Summer sledding

The scene is a snapshot of pure Americana: children bundled up in heavy clothing, swooshing down a slope of snow on a wooden sled with red runners.

But with shorter winters across the country recently, the prevailing 21st century version may look a bit different.

Exchange the heavy clothes for shorts, the slope of snow for a grassy hill, and the old fashioned sled for a toboggan made for the off-road.

The SummerSled is a 36 inch by 24 inch plastic glider. Riders up to 250 pounds can lie belly down on the sled and let its seven strategically placed wheels carry them down a hillside.

Sledders lean to turn, and drag their toes to slow down.

Price: $80.

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Portable heat

Propane space heaters have helped keep campers warm outdoors for years. But since they emit small amounts of carbon monoxide, such heaters have never been recommended for indoor use.

Now, World Marketing of America says campers can keep their toes warm inside or out with its Portable Companion heater.

The company says the device can be used in a cabin or garage, because an oxygen depletion sensor automatically shuts down the heater when high levels of carbon monoxide have been produced.

The device weighs 7.5 pounds and runs on a connectable one-pound liquid propane tank.

Price: $80.

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