GW-49

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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. 49

Thursday, February 21, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy and paste to your browser.)

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Name: IO Data D2LINK
Category: PC peripheral
Price: 7,800 yen
Release date in Japan: End of February, 2002

The Gist: PC freaks who must have everything running through their
computer, rejoice, for IO Data has improved its optical digital-audio
output adapter.
The USB-HKR2 "D2 Link" connects to a PC via a USB port and provides a
digital sound output for your DVDs, MP3s and so on. An update to the
popular USB-HKR, the second version is now DTS compatible -- great
news for any fans of the great sci-fi spoof "Galaxy Quest" and its
wicked DTS sound effects. Plug it straight into your home theater amp
and, using the packaged WinDVD 3.1 player, the D2Link will give you
Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS compatible output so you can enjoy high
quality sound and vision without having to splash out on a standalone
DVD player. The D2Link also allows a direct connection to a digital
audio player and/or MiniDisc recorder. Correct me if I'm wrong, but
doesn't this (much more egalitarian product) make Sony's proprietary
NetMD system a bit redundant? Don't worry about having to pick up a
digital audio cable either, because there's a 1-m cable included in
the deal: just make sure you've got a decent soundcard installed in
your computer first, of course.
More info: http://www.iodata.co.jp/news/200202/028b.htm
WinDVDTM 3.1: http://www.intervideo.co.jp/

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Name: Sharp DV-SR100
Category: DVD
Price: 125,000 yen
Release date in Japan: March, 2002

The Gist: This week is definitely a DVD week for Gadget Watch.
Announcing the first of two new DVD recorders, Sharp brings us the
dashing DV-SR100.
Capable of recording to both DVD-RW and DVD-R, the new
machine also has a digital DV (i.LINK) port for dubbing from a digital
camcorder or other digi-gadget, progressive scan playback and the
usual slew of features for this kind of digital jiggery pokery.
There's something about blue LEDs and recordable DVD: Along with the
now requisite sleek silver casing, the DV-SR100 has both a blue LED
panel readout on a pale background and a nice, shiny blue light under
the DVD tray. That's Sony's fault, of course, kicking off the craze
with the blue LED on its PS2 entertainment console. The hybrid
recorder will record for 1 hour in fine recording mode and up to six
hours in EP mode. The super-smooth progressive scan means your
pictures will be virtually flicker free and there's digital noise
reduction to boot. Of course, the great benefit of having both DVD-RW
and DVD-R capability is that you can practice to your heart's content
with this new technology - record and re-record ad infinitum to the
DVD-RW discs and then when you know you've got it right, lay it down
to the once-only DVD-R type. No degree in rocket science required!
What do you mean that's not the point?
More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/020213.html

Name: Pioneer DVR-3000
Category: DVD
Price:125,000 yen
Release date in Japan: March, 2002

The Gist: Pioneer's at it too, though. As part of a joint 'digital
media project' with Panasonic, Pioneer is also launching its own DVD
recorder -- the DVR-3000. It has a smart, blue LED of course, smack
bang in the center of the fascia, and is the spiritual successor
to the company's DVR-1000 player, released in December 1999 (a world
first). And so you can feel smug about waiting until now, the new
DVR-3000 is half the price of its old granpappy but inherits many of
the high-end features and functions of Pioneer's flagship DVR-7000
model, including one-touch recording from the remote, i.LINK
input/ouput and progressive scan circuitry. The DVR-3000 was jointly
developed with Sharp, as we mentioned, so the two players share many
cool features (auto start recording, VR and video recording modes,
'disc-navi' listings at a glance, MP3 compatibility, and so on). In
fact, the two machines from Panasonic and Pioneer are, to all intents
and purposes, identical: same specs, same price, same functions, same
on sale date. The Pioneer's dimensions are a tiny, un-noticeable
fraction smaller and the Panny has more blue LED going on, but that's
about it.
More info: http://www.pioneer.co.jp/press/release295-j.html

Name: Sony DCR-IP55 MicroMV digital camcorder
Category: Camcorder
Price: TBA
Release date in Japan: April 25, 2002

The Gist: Incredibly, Sony has already announced the second wave of
its new MicroMV camcorders, using the company's tiny, proprietary tape
standard.
The main reason for the update is that the camera now has a
1,070,000-pixel CCD. 2.5-inch TFT LCD monitor, making it megapixel for
the first time. The announcement actually covers a whole bunch of new
digicams, but it's the MicroMV model that caught our eye here at GW,
because the first of its kind has only been on the market for a few
months. Recording to the MPEG2 specification and with a touch-panel
hybrid LCD monitor, the IP55 boasts an impressive Carl Zeiss lens.
There's a Memory Stick slot and USB port and the camcorder is
Bluetooth compatible. You have a 10x optical and 120x digital zoom to
play with and over eight hours of recording is possible using one of
the optional 'stamina' batteries. Another change is the new "sliding
grip" to hold and steady the camera -- something sorely missing from
the first rendition of the camera given its elfin proportions and
tendency to wobble.
More info:
http://www.sony.co.jp/sd/CorporateCruise/Press/200202/02-0212/

Name: Sony DVP-F41MS Memory Stick DVD player
Category: DVD
Price: TBC
Release date in Japan: March 1, 2002

The Gist: The DVP-F41MS is a Memory-Stick-packing compact DVD player.

The B5 size player stands on its end in the trendy, space-saving
vertical orientation, although, by the look of it, the LED display
remains horizontally aligned. And why would you want to put Memory
Sticks in a DVD player, you ask? Why, to use the machine to display
digital still camera pictures (from a Sony Cybershot, naturally),
camcorder movies or even play back your ATRAC3 tunes on your TV,
silly. The DVP-F41MS can also handle CD, CD-RW and CD-R discs, as well
as DVD-RW discs created in the VR and Video modes the two previously
introduced DVD recorders from Panasonic and Sharp are capable of, as
well as DVD-R discs. The player's very light, too, at only 1.5kg.
More info:
http://www.sony.co.jp/sd/CorporateCruise/Press/200202/02-0213/

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STAFF

Written by Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)

Editor: J@pan Inc editors (editors@japaninc.net)

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