GW-275 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

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Japan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H

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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 274 Thursday September 20, 2007
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Name: eRevolution Segnity
Category: Portable audio/video
Price: Open Price
Release date in Japan: September 28, 2007

The Gist: Every so often, a Japanese company will take a
seemingly normal piece of equipment and add some extra
gimmick that somehow makes it ultra-Japanese. Such is the case
with eRevolution and their newly announced 'Segnity,' a portable
1-Seg television.

As we've addressed in several previous editions of Gadget Watch,
'1-Seg' refers to terrestrial digital TV broadcasts that are
specifically aimed at mobile devices. The new Segnity is
barebones from a technical standpoint -- it's essentially just a
1-Seg tuner, 2.7inch LCD screen, and miniSD card slot -- but that's
not why someone would go and pick up this product.

What's particularly Japanese about the Segnity is the voices that
provide guidance while you use the device. When you first power
it on, a rather unfriendly female voice mocks you (in Japanese,
of course): 'Gonna watch some TV, huh?' The feature is designed
so that there are three different emotional states of the
guidance: tsuntsun, or 'short', tsundere,
'hot-cold', and dere, "fawning". Those translations lose
some of the effect of the original Japanese words, but the point
is that the voice guidance essentially becomes gradually
attached to you as you continue to use the device: imagine
hearing 'No!!!! Don't go!' when you go to turn the thing off.
These three emotional states apply to all 11 of the device's
different actions (such as lowering the volume, changing the
channel), giving users 33 different voice samples they can enjoy.

To make this feature even more glorious, users can load
customized voice tracks on miniSD cards via software to be
released on October 28, and use them with the device. On these
SD cards, you can also load as many as 64 different still images
that will be shown when changing channels. eRevolution wants
users to be able to exchange customized voice samples over the
web. The company even said they're considering offering miniSD
cards pre-loaded with voices of famous characters (let's be
honest... anime characters) and voice actors.

More info: http://www.e-revolution.co.jp/zakka/segnity/index.html
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Name: Hitachi IV-R1000
Category: Home audio/video
Price: Open Price; estimated around 60,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 15, 2007

The Gist: For those with serious backlogs of TV programs to watch
comes the 'IV-R1000' from Hitachi, a device that essentially
allows you to hook two hard drives up to your home audio/video
system. Using the 8-track-sized 'iVDR-S' removable hard drives
from Hitachi, the IV R-1000 features a terrestrial
digital/BS/110 CS tuner and is slated for release on November 15.

iVDR is a format pioneered by Hitachi Maxell, but it's a bit hard
to call it a "removable media". An iVDR disk is literally just a
hard drive slapped inside of a convenient case. While
hot-swappable hard drives have been around for a number of years
for servers and enterprise-level applications, iVDR is a similar
technology brought to the world of consumers. Specifically,
Hitachi has oriented iVDR for recording high-definition video;
one of the standards ('iVDR-Secure,' or iVDR-S) format supports
the necessary Digital Rights Management technologies required for
recording HD broadcasts in Japan. Hitachi also recently announced
a plasma TV (part of their 'Wooo' line) with a slot for iVDR-S
drives. It's probably safe to assume the hard drives are sourced
from within Hitachi, as the company purchased from IBM's hard
drive division back in 2003 and renamed it to Hitachi Global
Storage Technologies. It's nice to see they have finally found a
way those economies of scale to the consumer electronics
division.

The IV-R1000 does not require much explaining; it's more or less
just a tuner with two iVDR-S slots. Because the device only has
one tuner, you won't be able to simultaneously record two
programs, which is a downer, but you are able to watch a show on
one drive while recording to the other. iVDR-S disks are
available in 80GB and 160GB capacities, where the former will
allow for about 16 hours of digital high definition recording,
and the latter roughly 32 hours. A quick search revealed that
the 80GB iVDR-S disks run just over 17,000 yen, so you're
certainly paying 'hard drive prices' for the media. Just for
comparison purposes, a 50GB write-once Blu-ray disc currently
runs about 2,500 yen.

IV-R1000 has one HDMI output, D4 output, S2 output, Composite
output, optical audio output, modular jack, and Ethernet port.

More info: http://av.hitachi.co.jp/tv/dgtuner/index.html
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Name: Kenwood Media Keg HD60GD9
Category: Portable audio/video
Price: Open Price; estimated around 54,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Early October 2007

The Gist: Kenwood's 'Media Keg' line of portable digital audio
players is renowned for audio quality, and now the company has
introduced their newest model, the 'HD60GD9.' While the facade
may look similar, there are a number of changes that make this
one worth investigating, especially if you're big on having high
quality audio from your portable devices.

The '60' in the produce code comes from the hard drive upgrade to
60GB. This is a welcome step up from the 30GB capacity of the
previous model. There are some rather technical changes under the
hood as well, such as giving the audio output jack 10mW per
channel now instead of just 8mW, and the addition of 'Search by
Artist' and 'Play Album' to the Quick Menu options. Still another
change is addition of support for AAC audio files, which joins
MP3, WMA (DRM is supported too), WAV, and Kenwood's own 'Kenwood
Lossless' format. While AAC files are supported, DRM for AAC
files (such as those sold on the iTunes Store) are not supported.

'Supreme EX' is the new audio restoration technology that enables
the player to interpolate data that is lost during the MP3/AAC
compression process. The EX is for the new support for
frequencies above 22kHz... which is out of the frequency range of
many humans' hearing. But that's alright, because surely someone
out there will notice a difference. Some additional features
include a USB 2.0 connection, 5-band graphic equalizer, 320x240
dot color display, and three pre-installed songs.

More info: http://www.kenwood.co.jp/j/products/home_audio/
personal/hd60gd9/index.html
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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
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