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The Coolest Electronic Gadgets for 2012

BOSTON (MainStreet) -- Electronics fans willing to pay big bucks for cool devices can expect super-thin TVs, high-tech headphones and professional-grade home theater systems to be hot this year.

"Manufacturers are offering a bunch of luxury products for 2012," says David Carnoy, of market tracker CNET.com. "From high-end speakers to $600 earbud headphones to the highest-end Apple (AAPL) Macs, if you're willing to pay for the latest and greatest you can be just a little bit ahead of everyone from a performance standpoint."

Organic light-emitting diodes allow supercrisp video in TVs thinner than anything ever seen. LG's EM9600 is just one-eighth of an inch thick.

But beware: This year's cutting-edge products will likely wind up in the bargain bin in a year or two when manufacturers come out with even better versions.

"Unfortunately, that's a big downside to being an early adopter," Carnoy says. "You pay in a lot of cases for technology that's going to be surpassed in a few years by something better -- and a lot cheaper."

That said, here's a look at four cool high-end devices Carnoy thinks will be hot sellers in 2012:

JVC DLA-X90R home-theater system
Price: Around $12,000
This top-of-the-line home projection TV system can play 2-D and 3-D video with cutting-edge precision.

Using the latest "4K" technology, the X90 converts 2 million-pixel 1080p high-definition signals into 8 million-pixel images -- offering four times the resolution of already-crisp HDTV.

"It's just a great projector for the money," Carnoy says.

If $12,000 is beyond your budget, consider the $3,500 entry-level JVC DLA-X30. Carnoy, who's buying a DLA-X30 himself, says the less-expensive system is "probably the best deal around" because it only lacks "some of those gimmicky things that early adopters are paying extra for" in the X90R.

LG 55-inch EM9600 OLED TV
Price: Around $8,000 to $10,000
Due out around September, this state-of-the-art TV premiered in January at the annual International Consumer Electronic Show -- winning CNET's "Best of CES" award.

It's the first large-screen TV to use organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs -- the latest technology in video display. They allow manufacturers to provide supercrisp video in TVs thinner than anything ever seen. The LG EM9600 is just one-eighth of an inch thick.

"OLEDs are superthin, but produce a potentially better picture than a plasma TV or an LCD," Carnoy says.

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