I'm sure this gets discussed from time to time, but I have some very recent experience that I thought I would share. I started with A Video Standard when I played laserdiscs, and then rented Video Essentials (its successor) from Netflix because I was familiar with it, and because they didn't rent AVIA, which I didn't know much about anyway. (A disadvantage of renting is that you don't get the blue filter which you need. I used the one from A Video Standard.) The other day I bought a copy of AVIA, and Wow!, am I amazed at how much better it is. Audio tests are very complete, run in DD, and seem designed for DD systems. By contrast, VE seemed to run mostly in Pro Logic, and the test were very skimpy. The video testing with AVIA was easier to use. I found the flashing squares on the color test pattern much easier to deal with than the still squares in VE. The menus with AVIA are much better organized. You can very quickly skip to exactly the test you want to run. Actually, VE is no longer in print, to be replaced by Digital VE sometime soon. I sure hope they've improved it! Meanwhile, I can highly recommend AVIA. For beginners, there's a 40 min. introduction to HT that I found very well done. Lots on different kinds of connectors, how to use a sound-level meter, and so on... the same stuff that beginners ask about here all the time.