Gary Eng Walk
May 09, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In the 1950s, movie execs worried about losing their audience to an invention called television. Fifty years later, TV is once again giving Hollywood suits agita, what with all the eye-popping advances in home theaters. In the next five years, LCD and plasma sets (as well as digital-projection units) will get into more homes thanks to friendlier pricing (modestly mammoth 34-inch screens should dip below $1,000 by late 2006). Those with deeper pockets can expect to dish out $5,000 for Trump-size 70-inch sets. High-definition formats like Blu-ray and HD-DVD hold the promise of greater data storage (imagine an entire season of Lost on one disc) and amazing clarity (Nicole Kidman really does have pores!). Improvements in Dolby and DTS sound will make even James Cameron swoon. And wireless technology will minimize the thicket of cables patching together your A/V gear. That leaves just the overpriced popcorn and sticky floors — apparently, only theaters can work that magic.

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