GW-247 -- Panasonic's HDTV Photo Player

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 247
Friday August 4, 2006

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Name: Panasonic HDTV Photo Player
Category: Digital photo viewer
Price: Open Price; estimated around 10,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 22, 2006

The Gist: Imagine you have a fancy digital camera that can
take megapixel after megapixel of high quality images, and
imagine you have a fancy HDTV with support for the latest
and greatest in the world of picture quality. Wouldn't it
be great if you could take advantage of the extra
resolution offered by HDTV when you want to show your
digital camera pictures to your friends and family?

Most digital cameras these days come with some sort of
cable or dock that enables you to display your pictures on
your television, but ones that can handle HDTV resolutions
are rare. As a result, that 8 megapixel shot you took while
at the Grand Canyon gets scaled down to a measly 640x480
-- a resolution makes your HDTV want to cry itself to sleep
at night.

That's why Panasonic has created the "HDTV Photo Player,"
a small device with a SD card slot that can output
high-resolution JPEG images to your HDTV. On the reverse
of the unit is a D4 jack, in addition to an analog audio
output, so you can enjoy your still images and videos in
resolutions suitable for HDTVs. JPEG images and QuickTime
Motion JPEG videos are supported, as are SDHC cards -- this
is one device that should be useful for years to come.

The HDTV Photo Player is equipped with the "Venus
Engine III," which you may recognize as the same image
processing LSI found in Panasonic's LUMIX line of digital
still cameras. This gives the entire device "that LUMIX
operation feeling," including thumbnailing, histograms,
16x zoom, a calendar, and so on. To add more fun, the HDTV
Photo Player is equipped with a USB port, and it can
connect directly to any printer that supports PictBridge.
Look for Panasonic's HDTV Photo Player this September for
around 10,000 yen.

More info: http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/
data.dir/jn060725-5/jn060725-5.html
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Name: Panasonic DIGA DMR-XW50, DMR-XW30, DMR-XP10
Category: Digital video recorder
Price: Open Price
Release date in Japan:
DMR-XW50 and XW30: September 1, 2006,
DMR-XP10: October 10, 2006

The Gist: Also from Panasonic come three new additions to
their "DIGA" line of digital video recorders. The DMR-XW50
should be available for about 160,000 yen from September 1,
and on the same day, the DMR-XW30 should go for about
130,000 yen. About a month later, the DMR-XP10 will go on
sale for about 90,000 yen.

As you would expect, the units differ in hard drive
capacity. The XW50 offers 500GB of space; the XW30,
400GB; and the XP10, 200GB. (And you thought the
numbers meant something, didn't you.) Furthermore, the XW50
is equipped with the capability to output Full HD video,
otherwise known as 1080p. Owners of the XW30 and XP10
will have to settle for 1080i. Finally, the XW50 and
XW30 now feature an "SD-Audio" function.

Those familiar with Panasonic are probably already familiar
with SD-Audio, but for those who aren't, here's a brief
explanation. SD-Audio is a standard for SD memory cards
created specifically for handling music. It takes advantage
of the copyright protection features of SD cards (they are,
after all, "Secure"Digital memory cards) to protect various
digital rights management technologies encoded with the
songs. You'll find plenty of Panasonic products that
support SD-Audio: their mobile phones, their digital
cameras, and of course, their digital audio players.

Now you can add Panasonic's digital video recorders to that
list; Audio CDs placed in the CD/DVD drive of the XW50 or
XW30 will be ripped at 8x to the DIGA's internal hard drive
and can be recorded to an SD card at up to 16x. Track
name/artist name data will also be pulled from an internal
database of about 350,000 songs, and new information can be
pulled from Gracenote using the Ethernet connection of the
DIGA. If you don't own any other Panasonic products that
support SD-Audio, no big deal... the XW50 and XW30 can
be used as jukeboxes.

The SD card slot bonanza doesn't end there. With support
for the new SDHC format, you're able to play your MPEG-2
files recorded on your SD cards, and you can display
high-resolution JPEG still images over the HDMI or D
connections.

One blindingly new feature of the XW50 and XW30 is to be
put into action on September 21st. Dubbed "Dimora," the
service allows you to schedule DIGA recordings using your
home PC. But that's nothing new. What IS new is the fact
that it supports digital broadcasts, and it supports
digital broadcasts all the way down to One-Seg. If you're
on the train watching a One-Seg program on your mobile
phone, and you have to stop because you've reached your
stop,you can have your DIGA recorder get the rest of the
program for you.

There are probably too many features in these new DIGA
units to list here,but the bottom line is this: these
new DIGA units reinforce Panasonic's support of the
SD format, and they serve as a nice example of the
company's stance on emerging digital broadcast
technologies.

More info: http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn060726-1/jn060...
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Name: Evergreen DN-SCM81
Category: USB audio
Price: 2,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Evergreen never fails to impress us with their
ability to offer moderately new technologies at rock-bottom
prices. Their latest is the "DN-SCM81," a USB audio
interface with analog 7.1ch support for a freakishly low
2,980 yen.

There isn't a whole lot to say about how the DN-SCM81
works, so we'll go ahead and say it: you plug this device
into your computer's USB port to add 7.1ch output to your
computer. On the front are an analog line-in/headphone
output jack and a 7.1ch output jack, and on the left
are two analog microphone input jacks. There's also an
optical digital input and output jack on the right side.
These optical digital jacks support Dolby Digital
passthrough and SCMS, so they just might serve a purpose
after all.

Another nice feature of the SCM81 is a mute button that
will mute ALL of its inputs and outputs. And really,
when you want to mute your audio system, it seems like
there are never enough mute buttons.

More info: http://donya.jp/everg/7.1/4547479502698/
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SUBSCRIBERS: 8,589 as of August 4, 2006

STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)

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