GW-45

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:

G A D G E T W A T C H

A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan

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Issue No. 45

Thursday, January 24, 2002

Name: Matsushita SC-SV1 MD stereo system
Category: AV
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: February 10, 2002

The Gist: Announcing a very sleek looking hi-fi system compatible
with the Net MD format (for downloading music files to MiniDisc
players via a PC), Matsushita is hoping the more net savvy amongst
us will take advantage of the prolific number of cheap ADSL deals
that abound in Japan and get wired for sound broadband-style.
That's currently around 3 million smart people, so the market's
sizeable, to say the least, and the untimely demise of Napster
hardly seems to have hurt music downloading at all -- in fact, the
portable audio market is one of the very few boom areas in the
worldwide consumer tech industry at present. So, you have your cool
MD system, you have your USB connection for high-speed data transfer
using Net MD and you have your 'BeatJam' software and you have a
stonking great subwoofer (and stereo speakers) to give the plywood
walls a bit of a rattling. Net MD allows the transfer of a
three-minute file in about 10 seconds, so you won't have to hang
around too long to get it all in portable format, and Just System's
BeatJam software provided with the SC-SV1 makes it all as easy as
pie to understand with it's special, over-sized 'Check in' and
'Check out' buttons on the display. The reproduced sounds emerge
from a couple of tiny, high quality, full range speakers complete
with stands. More info:
www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn020116-2/jn02011...

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Name: Victor SX-DD3 speaker system
Category: AV
Price: 75,000 yen
Release date in Japan: February, 2002

The Gist: Continuing the compact and bijou theme this week comes
Victor's new supermodel-thin component hi-fi system.
The SX-DD3 is the latest in the company's compact 'Aosis' series of
products that come bundled with thin direct drive speakers.The DD3's
subwoofer has an integrated 60W amp and is a bit of a chunky chap,
weighing in at just under 10kg. The two main stick speakers are
135mm tall, only 30mm wide, 15 mm deep and weigh 850g, making them
perfect for cramped Japanese homes. The cabinets comes in a nice
European cherry wood finish. Lovely. More info:
www.victor.co.jp/products/hifi/SX-DD3.html

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Name: Matsushita AG-HTL2 Hard Disk Time Lapse Recorder
Category: AV
Price: 298,000 yen
Release date in Japan: April 10, 2002

The Gist: With no messy tapes, smart searches and playback
both possible even while you're recording, and lots of purty
lights, hard disk recorders offer plenty of bonuses for video
enthusiasts.
With Matsushita's new AG-HTL2 hard disk beauty,
the functionality has been increased to try and bridge some of that
techno gap between the new digital recorders and good ole VTRs.
The machine is basically a 40-GB hard disk, allowing up to 21.5
hours of high-quality video to be recorded, with seven grades
of recording quality to select from -- 4 levels at 720x248 dots and
3 levels at 360x248 dots -- in eight-bit PCM digital sound. But once
the recording is done, a lot of people are going to be looking to
transfer the programs over to a more permanent format and make a
hard copy. There's a DVD-RAM option now, of course, with one of
Panny's other models, but with the new AG-HTL2, users who can't
quite let go of their tapes now don't have to. In hybrid backup
mode, the stuff you've recorded using the hard disk machine can
be dubbed over onto better-than-regular-video D-VHS or S-VHS
(AG-DTL2 and AG-6740) players and the AG-HTL2 can even be set to
automatically back up data recorded during the day. Using the mirror
recording function, the HDD recorder and VTR can be synchronized to
start and stop recording at the same time and because they're
synchronized from the start, you can later search through the dubbed
videotape from the main AG-HTL2 unit. Or, in standalone mode, it's
possible to control playback and recording on an AG-DTL2 machine
from the HDD unit(connection compatibility with the 6740 S-VHS
player is expected around June). And if you go for the optional
AG-YAN2 network interface card option, it's even possible to connect
the AG-HTL2 hard disk recorder to a PC on a LAN and watch real time
streaming pictures on a PC monitor. Not entirely sure why you'd want
to, except for the higher resolutions perhaps because you're then
staring at a very small screen. Far better to take the plunge now
and get that amazing plasma screen ,eh? More info:
www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn020117-2/jn02011...

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Name: Miyavix Tie Turn
Category: Accessory
Price: 3,480 yen (includes front and back protective sheet and
headphone cord reel)
Release date in Japan: January 23, 2002

The Gist: Apple's iPod has been selling like hotcakes in Japan --
all over the world for that matter -- seemingly entrancing portable
audio users who care more about looks and ease of use than price.
However, the expensive but beautifully crafted iPod is apparently
not without its niggling drawbacks which somewhat spoil the fun --
thankfully, Miyavix (via the Visavis web site) is here to save the
day with its 'Tie Turn'. Addressing the insufferable
inconveniences of having your Firewire port exposed (that damn sand
gets everywhere!) and your wires dangling all over the place, the
Tie Turn, cunningly disguised as a thin, translucent piece of
plastic, stretches across said orifice to plug the gap and acts as a
tidy winding post for your headphone cord. The Tie Turn package also
signals the end to scratches on the player's LCD screen, protecting
front and back with a kind of plastic sheet. One thing
though -- why didn't Apple just take a turn on the Yamanote line
when designing the iPod and take a look at all those salaryman horse
fanciers who seem to have had their pocket radios surgically
attached to their heads? Because they all have retracting earphones
that zip speedily into the unit casing at the touch of a button. Not
rocket science, is it? Seriously, though, Miyavix has put an immense
amount of thought into this product. They didn't want to create
something that hid or otherwise obscured the iPod's good looks and
upset its proud owner, nor get in the way of the all-important
action button/controller. They wanted to protect both sides of the
player with some kind of protective plastic sheet, but, again, not
ruin the iPod's looks in the process or even have the protective
sheet get too scratched up. And, since the company found that the
top sheet was OK while the bottom sheet got pretty messed up with
prolonged use, they're even considering selling the pieces
separately, so users don't have to replace the whole thing if they
find the bottom has too many scratches on it. More info:
www.visavis.co.jp/shop/goods/Tieturn/tieturn.html

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STAFF
Written by Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)
Editors: Japan Inc magazine staff (editors@japaninc.net)

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