GW-55

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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. 55

Thursday, April 11, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Matsushita Sound Window
Category: IT/AV
Price: Depends on application
Release date in Japan: Now

The Gist: The first time I ever saw high definition TV, it was in San
Francisco. A football game was being broadcast and I swear it looked
just as good as if the teams were playing in my back yard and I'd just
rolled up a window in the house to watch it. Truly incredible.
That has nothing to do with the Matsushita Sound Window, but I thought
I'd tell you anyway. Destined for use in mobile IT and AV gear, the
new Sound Window is a transparent panel speaker that does away with
the old, fuddy-duddy method of reproducing sound with cones and
drivers and instead employs aerodynamic-drive technology to
pneumatically vibrate the see-through panel, which in turn acts as a
speaker diaphragm. It apparently uses only 1/25 of the power of
competing direct-drive panel speakers and can be mounted over the top
of a regular display screen without interfering with the visuals. This
Scrooge-like approach to energy consumption is probably why Panasonic
has just been awarded the 'Energy Star Partner of the Year Award' by
the US Department of Energy. Far less bulky than conventional
electrodynamic speakers, the Sound Window's driver can vibrate an area
up to ten times its own area and, in contrast to regular speakers, can
be placed at any point behind the panel and still cover the whole
surface effectively. And because it's transparent, it can of course be
made to fit invisibly over any surface.
More info:
http://www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn020327-1/...

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Name: Sharp AQUOS LC-20C3
Category: AV
Prices: (LC-20C3) 200,000 yen, (LC-15C3) 140,000 yen, (LC-13C3) 88,000 yen
Release date in Japan: (LC-20C3) April 3, 2002, (LC-15C3) April 24,
2002, (LC-13C3) May 17, 2002

The Gist: Brighter and with higher contrast and viewing angles than
before, the new Aquos line of LCD televisions is really an incremental
improvement on the previous models and, frankly, is bound to annoy
quite a few people who've already been wowed by Sharp's gizmos and
stumped up the cash for one of the 'older' LCD TVs.
Now viewable at up to 170 degrees (an improvement of 10 degrees) and
with a significantly-boosted contrast ratio of 500:1, the LC-20C3,
LC-15C3 and LC-13C3 models are the 20, 15 and 13in models
respectively, all silver and priced from a tasty new low of 88,000 yen
for the baby one.
One of the only complaints reviewers have had with previous Aquos
televisions was the meager provision for sound. The new C3 line has a
cool 2.1-channel, two-way, three speaker sound system built in and --
importantly for Japanese users -- an integral BS Analog tuner.
The same guy, Toshiyuki Kita, fashioned these new 'C' models but, in a
flash of design brilliance that only countless years of design school
and grueling on-the-job training can provide, Kita-san has made them
look exactly like they were before he first 're-designed' them as
soulless, utilitarian PC monitors. Pure genius.
The backlight system now also returns a brighter image measured at 450
cd/m2 (that's an extra 20 candles for your buck). Packed with more
features and returning better images than its LC-13B1-S predecessor,
the new, 88,000 yen LC-13C3 13-incher also comes in at 15,000 yen
cheaper. Now, that's a bargain.
(Sharp is also putting out a few systems at retail that combine its
AN-30CR1 home theatre system rack, the SD-AT100 1-bit DVD theater
system. There's also another package with the rack and DV-SR100 video
recorder without the speakers. The 30in Aquos LCD TV bad boy
that this racking is designed to fit is an optional extra. But not
that optional, if you've gone and bought all the other gear.)
More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/products/lc20c3/index.html

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Name: Samsung SyncMaster 151Q/171Q
Category: IT
Prices: (151Q) 49,800 yen, (171Q) 74,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Now

The Gist: Just a quick note on what Samsung has been up to, to provide
some balance to Sharp's changes in the Aquos line.
Samsung has announced two new models in its fantastic SyncMaster line,
which both represent a great alternative to the Aquos televisions. The
main bonus with these products is the high definition capability,
compared with the Aquos' 640x480 resolution. The 151Q is the XGA
(1,024x768) version and the larger 171Q is the SXGA (1,280x1,024)
version. They both have brightness ratings of 250cd/m2 and weigh 4kg
and 5.9kg respectively.
More info: http://www.samsung-shop.eins.ne.jp/html/news/n_020329.html

Name: Sony DCR-TRV950
Category: Digital video camera
Price: 260,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 10, 2002

The Gist: Looking quite blocky, but with a compact, rectangular body
housing an impressively large 3.5in LCD viewfinder monitor, Sony's
new digital camcorder is a great synthesis of size and function.
The 1,070,000 pixel, three CCD system devotes a CCD each to red, green
and blue (RGB) light and uses a 14 bit DXP (processor) for the
analog/digital conversion. The upshot of the three CCD camera system
is that the digicam produces 690,000x3 CCD effective pixels for moving
images and 1,000,000x3 CCD effective pixels for still photography. And
being megapixel, you should get 1,152x864 dot still photos out of the
TRV950 camera.
The 3.5in TFT LCD monitor is a touch panel, on which the user can
control spot focusing and, with the aid of the supplied stylus, can
write and send emails via its easy-to-use Bluetooth-compatible
networking functionality. The emphasis for Sony, as always for us
Luddite plebs, is on making the camera as simple to use as possible.
More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200204/02-0404

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Name: Seiko Epson ELP-RM50W1
Category: Television
Price: Open (but approx 1,000,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: End of April 2002

The Gist: With all the fuss about high-tech, wall-hanging, ultra thin
plasma and LCD televisions around nowadays, you'd be forgiven for
thinking that the humble (in pretensions, not size) rear projection
television has been consigned to history.
Well, Seiko Epson doesn't think so, announcing a new, super thin 50in,
widescreen rear projection TV recently, dubbed the ELP-RM50W1. Unlike
most rear-projection behemoths, the ELP-RM50W1 is a world-beating and
incredibly measly 35cm thick and the screen takes up the major part of
the real estate when viewed front-on (you need to take a look at it
on the website). Often, rear pro televisions seem to be 70 percent
cabinet, 30 percent screen and come with an 'initial divorce
proceedings' application form handily taped to the cabinet for when
you try to slip it by the wife.
The 16:9, widescreen ELP-RM50W1 turns this proportion on its head,
with the screen looking absolutely massive and supported on a small,
unobtrusive trunk, so it's not like you'd be bringing a great big,
ugly, black box into the living room. Boasting a truly impressive
brightness rating of 500 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 1000:1, the
2,760,000 dot high-definition display is good for a 1,280x720 image.
That means support for every resolution format from VGA to UXGA
(including 525i/525p/625i/625p/750p/1125i) and video format from
regular composite to component. The RM50W1 also has a lot of cool
functions you might expect from a digital STB for ease of use,
including simple onscreen menus, a PIP function, zoom and categorized
cursors.
More info: http://www.epson.co.jp/osirase/2002/020404_2.htm

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Subscribers: 1,988 as of April 11, 2002

STAFF
Written by: Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)
Edited by: J Mark Lytle (mark@japaninc.net)

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