J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 136
Thursday, March 18, 2004
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Voice: 81-3-5288-5126, fax: 81-3-5288-5353
Name: Victor Japan
Price: Open (but approx. 2,400,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end May 2004
The Gist: It's always good to kick off GW with a world's first, so
please welcome Victor Japan's DLA-HD2K, the first home theater
projector in the known universe to feature a D-ILA panel. One thousand
yen to the first reader to tell me what the heck D-ILA is, and why on
earth we should all get excited about it and, indeed, choose it over
DLP, LCD or any other flavor of projector! On second thought, I'm
going to save my own money there and just mention that D-ILA, a
technology developed by JVC (Victor), is shorthand for "Direct Drive
Image Light Amplifier," which is what the HD2K model here has on
board. And, in case you're wondering, it works by "polarized beam
splitters performing color separation of the light source by modifying
polarization depending on the color." Phew! Or, in plainer English,
"you get way smoother, flicker-free, film-like images with more
accurate colors." And those 1080i high-vision images chime in at
1,920x1,080 dots with a contrast ratio of 2,000:1 and brightness of
500 Lumens. Not forgetting, of course, that the "projection head," as
it's called, also has that ever-useful 1.3-times zoom lens. The
projector comes in a very chic black finish that it shares with the
separate, slimline digital video processor deck where you plug in all
the sources and cables and stuff.
So if you can't wait to have the latest in home-theater tech, that'll
be a million bucks to you, sir -- or at least it may as well be that
much, because at nearly 2.5 million yen (about $21,000 in real money),
only the seriously wealthy are going to think about sticking one in
their darkened basements.
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Name: Epson R-D1
Category: Digital camera
Price: Open (but approx. 300,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: Summer 2004
The Gist: Carrying on the "world's first" theme this week, Espon has
announced the arrival this summer of the world's first digital
rangefinder camera. That is, unlike all the SLR-style autofocus
digital cameras you may be accustomed to, the R-D1 here focuses by
using triangulation, carried out by really, really tiny little
Euclidean geometry scientists living inside the camera. Oh, OK, not
really. It's actually really clever circuitry that does that.
The R-D1 is like the ultimate fusion of high tech and yesteryear, with
manual focus and shutter speed (Shock! Horror!) and a severe, retro
body casing, combined with a six-million pixel APS-C size CCD, a
"through the lens" 1x viewfinder -- so what you see is what you get,
basically -- and a hinged, 2-inch polysilicon TFT display that swivels
through 180 degrees. The camera has a VM lens mount, but it's also the
first digital camera, according to Epson, to accept Leica L- and
M-mounts and saves images to a max resolution of 3,008x2,000 pixels to
the SD memory card as RAW or JPEG files. It has USB and video out
ports and you'll definitely be paying more for it than people will
expect, given that it looks like you've picked it up for three bucks
at a neighbor's yard sale.
More info: http://www.epson.co.jp/
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Name: Matsushita RQ-L470
Price: Open (but approx. 12,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: April 10, 2004
The Gist: After those two world firsts, I think it's only right to
feature a bit of a techno throwback. Now, I'm certain this has a
really smart, blindingly obvious application that's just eluding me
right now, but the RQ-L470 from Matsushita is, at first glance a, er,
cassette recorder. As in tapes. But Matsushita seems really proud of
it but ... oh, hang on, it's capable of playback at variable speeds!
That'll be it. Apparently, this feature is indispensable if you're
studying English. I still don't get it. Or need it. And, I suppose, if
you're capable of reading this here newsletter, you won't either.
Anyway, the RQ-L470 also comes with stereo speakers and an external
mike socket. But not a radio. Oh dear.
More info: http://matsushita.co.jp/
Subscribers: 5,306 as of March 18, 2004
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