LOS ANGELES -- Got the latest "Death Cab for Cutie" tune on your iPod phone? That's so 2005.
With the new year about to begin, it's time to upgrade your electronics, reprogram your TiVo, juice up your music collection, restyle your wardrobe and mark your calendar with all the most-anticipated movies.
Haven't a clue where to start? Check out this quick list for what's hot in 2006:
"The parched desert that was 2005 makes for an interesting 2006," says Craig Marks, editor in chief of Blender magazine. "Record companies are eager, if not desperate, to try something different."
With artists no longer needing a label to reach a worldwide audience, fresh new sounds are ripe for the picking. So, never mind the record stores. You'll find all your new favorites on iTunes, MySpace.com or myriad other music sites.
Keep your ears out for Rhymefest, a Kanye West protege, and expect reggaeton's Latin flavors to add new spice to classic hip-hop.
Expect to hear more from R&B songbird Christina Milian, whose good looks and groovy sound position her to become the next Beyonce, and 16-year-old singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger, who Marks describes as "a Teen People John Mayer." Both rising stars are screen-ready: Milian captured attention as the young diva in the 2005 film "Be Cool," and Geiger has a recurring role on the new CBS series "Love Monkey." Geiger's debut album, "Underage Thinking," will be released in February.
The ever-experimenting rap duo OutKast will be back with a new record in 2006 -- the jazzy soundtrack to their new film, "Idlewild," which is set in a Southern speakeasy during the Depression. The film is slated for a March release.
The Killers will continue to make news in music and fashion, with their sharp suits inspiring rockers everywhere to dress up for a change.
Men and women will clean up their sartorial act for the new year. Anything less than crisp is out, says Stan Williams, fashion and grooming director for Maxim magazine.
Look for a return to preppy, collegiate styles, with upturned collars, argyle sweaters and tiny embroidered logos from the 1980s.
Though coveted brands may come and go, jeans are forever fashionable. Hot sellers for 2006 will include True Religion and 575 for women, Diesel and Rock & Republic for men. Butt cleavage will become a thing of the past as waistlines return to a more natural place.
Also, you'll want to think about keeping denim fresh with a few western elements, like a shiny belt buckle or a sweet pair of boots, or a patterned, textured top.
When it comes to dressing up, guys will take their style cues from music, Williams says, so expect sharp, tailored suits a la The Killers, Usher and Jay Z.
Women will embrace classic, ladylike looks in the new year, trading stilettos for platforms and belly-baring shirts for sleeker, more flattering styles.
Accessories-wise, 2006 will be the year of the tote bag, Williams says.
The coolest clutch? One that'll accommodates your electronic gadgets. The Digital Sound Bag from Red Envelope comes with a pair of stereo speakers and a clear plastic pouch for your iPod.
The iPod has become and will remain the must-have device, and the more gigs the better. Expect massive growth in downloadable video and TV offerings, says Will Smith, editor in chief of Maximum PC magazine.
For gamers, it's all about the Xbox 360, which will continue to dazzle with its hi-def graphics. It'll have competition soon, though. Rumors are that Sony's PlayStation 3 will be released in the spring. Both feature wireless controllers and a slew of new interactive games. Halo 3 and the latest Grand Theft Auto offering are also sure "monster sellers," Smith says.
Satellite radio will threaten to make terrestrial radio old news. XM has 160 channels, including Nascar and Major League Baseball coverage, and comes standard on many new car models. Sirius has 120 channels, featuring Howard Stern (starting Jan. 9) and coverage of the NBA and NFL. Improved operating systems mean handheld communication devices, such as the Treo and Blackberry, will become more user-friendly. New processors will also infuse PCs and Macs with more power.
"Superman Returns" is already generating big-screen buzz, with Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane and hunky newcomer Brandon Routh as the man of steel. It hits theaters in June.
"The Da Vinci Code," based on Dan Brown's mega-best-seller, is sure to be a hot ticket in May. It's directed by Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks.
Writer-director Michael Mann is bringing '80s institution "Miami Vice" to the multiplex, with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and bad boy Colin Farrell taking on Florida's drug-ridden underworld. The film is set to open in July.
"Casino Royale," the latest 007 vehicle, will entice moviegoers with Daniel Craig as the new blond James Bond in November.
With their fan base already in place, a spate of sequels are slated for 2006 release, including "X-Men 3," "Mission Impossible 3," "Jackass 2" and "Scary Movie 4." Also anticipated is Captain Jack Sparrow's return to the screen in July, and a possible cameo by Keith Richards, in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," which brings back the original "Pirates" cast of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
TiVos will be in heavy use when "The Sopranos" makes its long-awaited return to HBO in March.
Much anticipated, too, is the return -- albeit a cut-and-paste version -- of "The Chappelle Show" on Comedy Central in the spring.
MTV's "Laguna Beach" will continue to be a popular portal to the young and beautiful. Its new offshoot, "The Hills," arriving in the spring, will follow "Laguna" star Lauren Conrad as she cultivates her tan and cruises her convertible to outings social and professional in Los Angeles. Speaking of eye candy, ABC's Emmy-winnning series "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" will keep their super-hot status in 2006, as the network's "Grey's Anatomy" and BO's "Entourage." CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" and NBC's "My Name is Earl" will continue to be hot viewing in 2006.
Stars to watch include the smoldering Wentworth Miller, of Fox's "Prison Break," and funnyman Will Arnette of "Arrested Development."
Then there's the gals who coined the year's most overused phrase, "that's hot." Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton will be back for another vacuous season of "The Simple Life."