GW-72

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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. 72

Monday, September 2, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your
browser.)

(Quick writer's note: Will Fastie from Baltimore wrote in suggesting
that I should have mentioned that the lovely DVP-F25 player in last
week's GW was compatible with all manner of disc media. I wanted to,
Will, I really did. However, I was wearing a shirt and coat that day
which is unusual for me and eerily made me feel compelled to make an
executive decision, in keeping with my attire. That decision was to
stop blathering on about how the latest players all read CD-R/RW,
DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, video CD, MP3-recorded CDs and whatever else. But
it appears you want this kind of info and hey, who am I to argue?)

Name: Sharp XV-Z90S
Category: Home theater
Price: 450,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 25, 2002

The Gist: We like to kick off GW with a "World's First!" or "World's
Lightest!" or even "World's Craziest!" gadget whenever possible and
this week we have Sharp to thank. Not very crazy or even very light at
4.5kg, the XV-Z90S is, however, the world's first wireless 4:3 home
theater projector. Thanks to a separate (color matched), wireless
transmission unit that has to be hooked up to your input source (DVD
player and so on), owners of the Z90S need never have to mess around
with punching holes through the ceiling to trail wiring (handy if
there's no ladder around and you don't happen to be nine feet tall) or
working out how to rearrange the living room to make space for the new
AV rack of gear that's hooked up directly to the projector. It can all
be safely tucked away in a closet or even another room entirely,
operating as it does on the IEEE 802.11b wireless standard.
The 800x600-dot DMD (Digital Micro-Mirror Device) loaded DLP projector
chucks out 600 ANSI lumens and achieves a contrast ratio of 1200:1. In
my opinion, one of the most important features of a projector is the
array of inputs. And the Z90S is stuffed full of them. It's "HiVision"
compatible (accommodating 1125i, 750p, 525p and 525i formats) and can
cope with any signal from an NTSC, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N or SECAM set,
which pretty much covers the entire AV universe, I reckon. There are
inputs for a PC (VGA, SVGA and XGA) as well as for component and
S-video. There's a lens shift function and 2D keystone correction to
get the right shaped image on the screen wherever you put the
projector, and the unit sits on a tilting stand which can move in all
directions. Complete with a wireless remote control, the Z90S has also
seen improvements in the lamp and power circuit (now using a "twin
duct" system), lowering the rpm of the internal fan and thereby
cutting the noise output to a lowly 29dB.
And, if you don't need the wireless function, there'll be a version of
the same model minus the wireless transmission unit available from
October 25 for 100,000 yen less.

More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/020827.html

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Name: Casio CW-70
Category: Peripherals
Price: 21,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 13, 2002

The Gist: The CW-70 is a canny little unit that allows direct printing
onto CD-RW and DVD discs for easy labelling. Um, that's about it,
really. You could use a big marker pen, of course, but the result
won't be anywhere near as classy as if you did it with the CW-70.
There's a full keyboard on top of the machine so it can be used as a
stand-alone unit or, with the bundled Disc Title Printer Version 3.01
software and your USB cable, you can really go to town with it
connected to a PC and stamp TrueType fonts onto the disc and screw
around with layouts and that kind of stuff.

More info: http://www.casio.co.jp/release/2002/cw_70.html

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Name: Sony DAV-S880
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx. 100,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: October 21, 2002

The Gist: The DAV-S880 is a -- take a deep breath here --
multi-channel, SACD-compatible, DVD 5.1-channel home theater system
from Sony. Other models, which are variations on the theme or simply
are being announced at the same time, have similarly lengthy names
that are likely to give me RSI if I have to type them all out. But
they're cheaper and lesser systems so we're not interested anyway.
You really need to take a look at the pictures of this thing on Sony's
Web site. The designers of the S880 have been shooting for the
skyscraper effect with the new system, aiming to outdo the look of its
S800 predecessor and producing four "tallboy style" satellite speakers
that are impressively thin and vertigo-inducing, at 1,050mm. That's a
lot of millimeters. Now with a progressive-scan-capable DVD player and
D2 digial connectors, the system is also Dolby Pro Logic II and
MPEG-AAC friendly, adding to its Dolby Digital and DTS capabilities.
The impossibly cool and stylish aluminum setup comes loaded with the
company's proprietary "S-Master Full Digital Amp" technology that
gives totally authentic reproduction and, with much lower heat ouput
than in other systems, means the circuitry can all be squeezed into a
much smaller space, reducing the overall size of the components. Oh,
and just in case Will is reading, I should add that the DAV-S880 will
spin up an amazing variety of discs, including DVD-Video, SACD, VCD,
CD, CD-R and CD-RW.

More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200208/02-0822/

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Name: Toshiba EPR-U15B
Category: Kitchen implements?
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: September 16, 2002

The Gist: Another world's first to finish off this week's GW, and what
a beauty it is. Toshiba is known for producing many fine, lustworthy
gadgets, but I bet you didn't know how active the company is in the
business of waste management. Accordingly, the company has produced
the EPR-U15B, the world's first "voice guide" home waste disposal
system.
The EPR-U15B turns your useless garbage into more useful fertlizer for
your tomato plants and talks to you to keep the process on track.
Using its three moisture, temperature and "agitation" sensors, the EPR-U15B warns of excessive moisture level if the waste bin is full of bio-waste and things are getting a little too wet for comfort, saying,
"Don't put in any more until the lamp goes out" or, conversely, if
it's getting a bit too hot under the collar, "Please pour in more
water."
If the waste is doing just hunky dory right there in your "gomi bakko"
(waste bin), it'll chirp "itadakimasu!" or even "wan wan" (the
sound in Japanese of a dog barking) or "nyaa nyaa" (the sound a cat
makes). Made of platinum, the U15B can apparently also help to
suppress the smells emanating from the waste basket. The spinning
isn't too noisy at 38dB and it'll only cost you about 270 yen a month
to run.

More info: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2002_08/pr_j2701.htm

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STAFF
Written by: Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (editors@japaninc.com)

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