These days, there is no doubt about it, when you go shopping for any electrical or electronic goods; you are faced with a bewildering selection of models and brands to choose from.
In this case we are in the market for digital video equipment, and you have several ways to go about finding it. You can go into town and visit some retailers and view the various brands firsthand. You will have to listen to the various sales pitches of course, but you may also get lucky and find some knowledgeable staff.
The main problem with this approach is finding an unbiased dealer, as obviously a dealer who is affiliated with a certain brand of digital video equipment is going to extol the virtues of that brand at the expense of other possibly equally good brands.
My preferred option is to find review sites on the net, of which there are many. The best are the independent review sites and the sites which contain user reviews, the latter especially should have no hidden agendas, as their opinions are based on their own personal experiences. If you take this route be prepared for a lot of surfing the net and a lot of reading. You can cut it down a bit by going to sites such as http://cnet.com which provide a lot of prices and information.
Another route is to have a look at the various consumer magazines, which usually list some of their review information online, or of course you could always subscribe for a month or two. These publications should prove to be totally unbiased in their product reviews, and as such are a good source of information on all manner of consumer goods.
In summary, I would say the wise option would be to do your research online, make a shortlist, then go down town and see the item in the flesh. If you can not get a good price and a good warranty in town, go back to your computer and buy your digital video equipment online.