J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Issue No. 75

Thursday, 19 Sept 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your

Name: Matsushita
Category: AV
Price: (TH-14TA3)Open (but approx 80,000 yen)
TH-17TA3 Open (but approx 140,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: (TH-14TA3) October 1, 2002
(TH-17TA3) November 1, 2002

The Gist: A fantastic looking fusion of form and function, your
average skinny LCD television is as much a style statement as proof
that you're a techno pioneer. So the more the merrier, we say, and
particularly when you can lay claim to another world first, which is
what Matsushita is doing with its THTA3 series. The 640x480 dot LCD
televisions come in two flavors this week, 14 and 17-inchers, with a
viewing angle in both planes of 160 degrees, S-Video, Composite, PC
monitor and D2 digital video connections (the last only on the bigger
screen) and both use the same "LCD AI" system of their bigger 20-inch
sibling, the TH-20TA3 (released on September 10th). Matsushita claims
that the LCD panels have the world's fastest response speed, at16ms.
Which doesn't mean they're really quick off the mark in a 100m dash,
but rather that there'll be a lot less of the blurring sometimes
associated with cheaper panels.

The televisions are low-temperature "poly silicon" panels; a far
superior technology to the traditional "amorphous silicon" LCDs, with
a contrast ratio of 400:1 and putting out 450 cd/sqm brightness-wise.
There's even a headphone socket for viewing on the quiet while the
wife is trying to sleep. The only potential downer is that both models
are 4:3 televisions, but if you're using them for watching regular TV
rather than movies, it's probably no great shakes. And they do have an
aspect ratio function, allowing users to switch to 16:9 or, if they're
feeling particularly dumb that day, use the zoom.

More info:

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Name: Sharp MD-F230
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx 27,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: September 25, 2002

The Gist: The fact that the F230 coming in three lovely colors is one
of the first things Sharp mentions in its release would suggest the
target market for this machine. The MD-F230 is a hi-fi system capable
of high-speed dubbing, primarily aimed at users who want to engage in
a bit of (highly illicit) CD to MD recording. As an example, the
one-touch recording should allow a 60-minute CD to be transferred to
MiniDisc in 30 minutes. It will also read CD-R/RW discs (which is far
more useful than you might first think, as I found out to my cost
last week trying to spin up a CD-R disc on my Xbox). It also has a
"Hyper Track Edit" feature, providing myriad editing functions and
making it about as easy as it can be to make your own "original" MDs.
Nudge nudge, wink wink. There's a radio thrown in for good measure
plus a couple of 8cm full-range stereo speakers.

More info:

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Name: Compal PVE-PX22
Category: PC peripheral
Price: but approx 19,800 yen
Release date in Japan:

The Gist: Nicknamed the "Tempest XGA Pocket EX," the PX22 is a video
convertor box for use with your computer that produces high resolution
images on your TV (thanks to the ATI RADEON VE trickery inside) so you
don't get stuck watching stuff on your tiny PC monitor. With
connections plastered all over its tiny body -- an S-Video cable to go
to your regular TV and an RGB socket for your plasma on one side of
the unit and a VGA socket (for your PC) on the other -- it'll output a
1,024x768-dot (XGA) signal at anything between 60 and 75 Hz using a
Windows PC or up to 832x624 on a Mac at 75Hz. The PX22 can be powered
by your PC (USB or PS/2) or by using an external AC adapter and, on
the fourth side, is a row of cute little buttons that allow
adjustments to picture position, size, brightness, contrast and so on.

More info:

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Name: Casio XFER
Category: AV
Price: XF-800 160,000 yen
XF-600 125,000 yen
Release date in Japan: (XF-800) September 21, 2002
(XF-600) End October 2002

The Gist: The world-famous calculator company has this week produced
another totally mind-blowing, world-altering calculating machine in
the XFER. Not really; actually it's a wireless LAN LCD television
(yeah, I know it's the second this week. I watch a lot of TV -- what
can I say?) Two of them, in fact, as the 336,960-pixel XF-800 has an
eight-inch TFT LCD screen and the XF-600 model has a -- go on, guess!
The separate TV tuner unit uses MPEG-2 compression and sends the
images to your LCD panel over the IEEE802.11b protocol at 2.4 GHz.
Recharging on the unit is effected by placing the thing back in its
PDA-like stand after it's been going for about two hours and there's
even a wall-mounting unit included in the package.
But I've saved the best bit for last -- both television units are
waterproof (as is the remote), and they have a signal range of 30m, so
your lifelong dream of being able to sit up to your neck in a
steam-filled "o-furo" (bath), sipping on an ice cold beer while
watching the Monday Night Football game (minus the ads, I love you
Gaora!) can now become a reality. Or is that just me?

More info:

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Subscribers: 2,505 as of September 19, 2002

Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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