ABCs of X-Mas Special

D is for Digital Video Disc (DVD)

The Digital Video Disc, or DVD, is the fastest-selling consumer electronics medium in history. And why not? Unrivaled picture, sound and data storage, plus, they take up no more room than a paperback romance novel. We're already into the "second wave" of DVD infiltration, as folks buy new players and give their old ones to formerly dubious relatives.

The popular new player design this Christmas is a combination unit that both plays DVDs and plays/records VHS tapes, generally for less than $200.

But those are things you buy for yourself. The DVD gift item for others is the "box set," and none come grander this year than the longly titled "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Collectors DVD Gift Set." For $79.95 (prices here are full retail; bargains abound everywhere), you can give away hours of entertainment for Middle-Earthers on five discs, including several behind-the-scenes how-tos and extended scenes. (The basic $39.99 package has four discs.)


What makes the big package special is a lovely little book, extra DVD and limited-edition statuette of the hideous Gollum, poster child for unrestraint. There's also a coupon to buy an even creepier Gollum statue for another $79.

Other DVD sets that rule this Christmas are the digitally remastered "Adventures of Indiana Jones" films ($69.99, added material); Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 of "The James Bond Collection" ($124.96 each, and NOT in chronological order -- you must take your George Lazenby with your Sean Connery); the "X-Men Collection" of "X-Men 2" and "X-Men 1.5" ($29.95, added materials, because two films does not a "collection" make); Season 1 or 2 of "24," which means you can see this sprawling suspenser at your own speed ($59.95 each, thin on extras); Season 1 of "The West Wing" ($59.95, more dialogue than any other show out there); or the complete nine-hour miniseries "Shogun," which looks fabulous on DVD ($79.99, skimpy on bonus materials).

But let's get real. The DVDs everyone's getting this Christmas (no Hawaii home is complete without one) are Pixar's brilliant "Finding Nemo" ($29.95, bonus stuff galore) and Mountain Apple's timely reissue of Rap Reiplinger's "Rap's Hawaii" TV special, a show that defined local comedy for a quarter-century ($19.95).

The Star-Bulletin's countdown to Christmas continues daily, one letter at a time.

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