If you're not up on the Japanese toy biz, you may not have realized that rivals Takara and Tomy merged recently. And rather than using their partnership to show off what happens when you combine, say, Takara's Bowlingual dog translator with Tomy's canine camera, they've come up with something that, well, shows they want to be another me-too electronics company. The TakaraTomy Nano Channel, one of the first new products from the combined company, is a fairly average digital audio player, available in capacities from 128MB to 1GB, with MP3 and WMA compatibility, along with MPEG-1 and 2 video playback on its 1.2-inch display. The 1GB version is expected to sell for ¥17,000 (about $145), which isn't a bad price, but we still feel cheated. Given the combined heritage of these two companies, this thing should at least be totally kawaii, or have some bizarre gimmick like 3D video that can only be seen by cats. Oh, well. At least we still have Thanko.

I need some advice for my home theater loft