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

Issue No. 87
Monday, January 20, 2003

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Name: Samsung's Mighty Big TV
Category: AV
Price: More yen than you or I can afford
Release date in Japan: TBA

The Gist: The Japanese aren't renowned for boasting about the physical
dimensions of the gadgetry they produce -- small is usually better --
but, in this case, Samsung Japan (OK, so they're really Korean) wants
everyone to know they've done good. Their new toy is the biggest
widescreen LCD panel in the whole, wide world (for this day/week/
month), at a humongous 54 inches; normally plasma territory. This
wallops the LG Philips effort, previously the most massive LCD
display, which weighed in at 46 inches. The Samsung set has a
6,220,000 pixel, 1920x1080 dot display, a 170-degree viewing angle in
both planes and a response time of 12ms. There's a contrast ratio of
800:1 and brightness of 500cd/m2, making this the Daddy of all LCD
displays for all you rich folk out there looking for the perfect
complement to your new home theater.

More info:

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Name: Victor NS-X77WMD
Category: portable AV
Price: Open (but approx 43,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: February 3, 2003

The Gist: It's a double MD deck, portable CD/MiniDisc combo unit and
it's MDLP compatible. The important bit being the "double MD deck"
feature, because it means that your shiny new boombox can cope with MD
to MD recording at 2x dubbing speed (not to mention CD to MD at 4x
speed). The X77WMD (what's up with these mad product names?) also
comes with an AM/FM tuner, putting out 6W into 2 channels. The swanky
new feature that Victor seems particularly proud of, though, is
bizarrely the back- and side-lit LCD display with what the company
describes as a "layered illumination" effect. Indispensable, I find,
when the, er, single-layer LCD displays just don't cut the mustard. In
the dark and everything. The whole machine is a compact 440x245x221mm
and weighs only 6.6kg. And it looks pretty neat.

More info:

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Name: Thomson RCA LYRA RD2780
Category: Portable wizardry
Price: $399.99
Release date in Japan: June 2003

The Gist: Honestly, a couple of hundred years ago you'd have been
burned at the stake for possessing a gadget like this. Especially if
you lived in Salem. The RD2780 combines an audio player with a video
player and funky screen, making it the ultimate in portable
entertainment machines and, no doubt, turning you into a total chick
magnet. Possibly. With a two-and-a-half inch, 20-gig hard disk and a
3.5 inch TFT LCD screen, the "RCA Lyra Audio Video Jukebox" can be
hooked up to a PC or television -- acting as a hard disk in the former
case and a VCR in the latter. How cool is that?! You can squeeze up to
80 hours of TV or whatever else on the player, listen to mp3 and
mp3Pro files, watch WMA clips and, if you're feeling particularly
boring, show your mates your latest JPEG digipix of your holiday in
Whistler. It'll take an incredible 100,000 images, so you can
"entertain" them for, literally, millennia. Literally. The RD2780 has
video and USB 2.0 connections and a Compact Flash slot.

More info:

BiOS knows data centers. Why? For years our expert
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Further info from

Name: Sony DCR-DVD100/200/300
Category: Digital camcorders
Price: Open (but approx 43,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: TBA

The Gist: It's hard to be patient when you're a total gadget freak,
but if you can manage it, you reap the dividends. Sony has just
released information on a widget that, at long last, makes me want to
update my own digital camcorder -- this one records to DVD!
The recorded discs will play back in most DVD players, including PC
drives and, it says here, Sony PlayStation 2s. Being Sony, they don't
mention Xbox, but it should play back in those too, unless they've
craftily included some software trickery to prevent that! The series
(DCR-DVD100, DCR-DVD200 and DCR-DVD300) uses 3-inch DVD-R and DVD-RW
discs and will record both still (640x480 on the 100 model, 1152x864
on the other two) and up to 60 minutes of moving images. The
lens comes from Carl Zeiss again, so you're guaranteed high quality,
with a 10x optical zoom. Instant access to your footage, DVD-style,
thumbnails and all that goodness is now at your fingertips, folks, and
the cameras are even smart enough to stop you recording over stuff
you've already taken. It's possible to edit the discs while they're
still in the camera. Sony claims that the special "Super NightShot"
shooting mode will allow users to take pictures in total darkness
(can't wait to see how well that works). You should be able to pick up
the base DVD100 model for under a grand. Greenback grand.

More info:

Name: Sony broadband Memory StickPRO
Category: Peripherals
Price: Open, but MSX-1G 92,000/ MSX-512 46,000
MSX-256 20,000 yen

The Gist: Won't make a big thing of this, but Sony has been busy
preparing for the Las Vegas CES consumer electronics show and has
released information on a host of new Memory Stick stuff. With a
theoretical maximum transfer speed of 20MB a second (that's eight
times faster than previous Sticks, fact fans!), the MSX Memory
StickPro series, starting from about 20,000 yen, are aimed
at "professional" users who, in that tiresome manner professionals
always seem to adopt, expect more from their Memory Sticks. The MSX-1G
has a -- wait for it -- capacity of 1GB (940MB actually useable but,
hey, 1GB plain sounds better), plus there's a 512MB and 256MB version.
I'll let you work out what they're called. The new sticks have a
maximum transfer speed of 160Mbps (or 20MB a second) and a minimum
write speed of 15Mbps. That should satisfy even the most demanding
professional. The sticks use MagicGate copyright protection
technology, which no one but Sony really cares about.

As an added bonus, Sony has also created a new double-sided Memory
Stick, the MSA-128S2, which has a switch on the back side and, when
flipped, allows you to access the 128MB on either side. Sony's
"Fantastically Gifted And Cunning Product Naming Department" has
dubbed this memory selection function the "Memory Select function."
Genius. Giving you a total of 256MB (for our more mathematically
challenged readers). Out March 21, the double stick should retail for
about 18,000 yen and is compatible with all the other electronics kit
that can take the regular 128MB sticks.

More info:
(256MB double-sider)

Name: Sony Vaio Note V505AX
Category: PC
Price: Approx $1,900
Release date in Japan: TBA

The Gist: Another CES special, the PCG-V505 is the first ever Pentium
IV-loaded B5-sized notebook computer. Hurrah! Featuring a combo
DVD/CD-RW drive, the new 505 model has a 12-inch TFT display and a
(selectable) CPU of up to 2.2 GHz. Should be plenty to send email to
your mates and download porn, then. Loaded with all that excellent
proprietary Sony multimedia software, the new machine has, of course,
a Memory Card slot, as well as an iLink port, two USB ports and, being
a Vaio, looks great.

More info:

Subscribers: 2,913 as of January 18, 2002

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

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