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

Issue No. 170
Thursday November 25, 2004
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Name: Logitec dvdjuke Pod
Category: External hard drive
Price: 32,790 yen for 40GB, 44,100 yen for 80GB
Release date in Japan: Early December 2004

The Gist: Available in both 40GB and 80GB capacities, Logitec has introduced
the "dvdjuke Pod." While I'm not exactly a huge fan of the product's name,
I do like what it has to offer -- it doubles as a "media center" type device
with integrated video and audio outputs. The process to get movies playing
from the dvdjuke Pod is simple; you need only copy audio/video files over
to it through Windows (or Mac) since it's recognized as a plain vanilla
hard drive. From there, you manually transport the dvdjuke Pod over to
your home theater setup (easy considering it weighs only 220g), plug it
in, and you're ready to play the files you just transferred.

The dvdjuke Pod plays back an impressive range of formats: MPEG-1/2, DivX,
and XviD for video, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, AC3, and OGG for audio, and finally
JPEG for image files. In fact, the only format I see missing from that list
is Windows Media Video, which could cause problems for some users. But as an
added feature that seems, well, pirate-friendly, the dvdjuke Pod can actually
play DVD-Video image files as well, typically taking the form of .iso files.
Both Mac and PC users will find the dvdjuke Pod right at home on their systems,
as it can be formatted under NTFS, FAT32, and Mac OS Extended formats, and
connects by the USB 2.0 interface.

More info:
Name: Toshiba RD-17V1
Category: Hybrid TV
Price: 160,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Early December 2004

The Gist: The RD-17V1 from Toshiba contains both 160GB hard drive and
DVD-RAM/RW drive, and is thus being dubbed the "industry's first hybrid
LCD TV." Inside of the 17" TV's case, you'll find yourself two ways to
store your favorite programs -- both hard drive and DVD writer.

The screen has a resolution of 1280 x 768, and also features a D-Sub 15
pin input, meaning you can connect it directly to your computer's video
card. It sports a 170 degree viewing angle, and has a contrast of 600:1.
Furthemore, it has the "Digital Direct Playback Function," where video
is taken directly from the digital DVD or hard drive source -- without
conversion to analog. With those kinds of specifications, the RD-17V1
would make a suitable replacement for a monitor, but I probably wouldn't
recommend it given the price.

As far as recording features go, the RD-17V1 is equipped on par with the
RD-XS33 released by Toshiba in July. For those of you who don't remember
off the top of your head (not like I did either), this would equate to a
4x burning speed for DVD-R, 2x for DVD-RW, and 2x for DVD-RAM. It does
not support Electronic Program Guides (EPG), rather, it supports manual
setting and G-codes.

What I found most interesting about the RD-17V1, however, were its inputs --
it features a DV input, and supports recording to the hard drive or a DVD
using this. If this weren't enough, the 17V1 is also equipped with an
analog RGB input, D4 input, S-Video input, composite input, standard
audio inputs/outputs, and even an optical digital audio output.

More info:
Name: Yamaha YSV-1 "Digital Sound Projector"
Category: Single speaker surround sound system
Price: 157,500 yen
Release date in Japan: Early December 2004

The Gist: If you're filthy rich and someone on your holiday shopping list
is into experimental surround sound technologies, you will probably want
to look into Yamaha's new "Digital Sound Projector." Though I'm sure the
internal dynamics of the YSP-1 are quite complicated, it more or less
boils down to a single oblong speaker housing consisting of 40 small
speakers and 2 subwoofers. As the speaker is over 1m wide and about
113mm thick, it should easily find its place mounted below your LCD
TV (also mounted on the wall, because you are indeed rich).

But the innovation of the YSP-1 isn't just how you can put it below
your TV; Yamaha totes the YSP-1 as the first 5.1-channel surround sound
system to consist of only one actual piece of equipment. By channeling
sound out of certain speakers in the field of 40, Yamaha enables the
Digital Sound Projector to literally project sound in certain directions.
Those of you who have played pachinko can imagine the sound wave as a
metal pachinko ball, where the speakers are the pins inside the pachinko
machine causing the metal ball to go different directions. In other words,
certain speakers in the array play certain sounds, and the YSP-1
distributes "rays" of sound throughout a room. The rays will then bounce
off of the room's walls, creating the illusion of speakers in certain
positions. "Sound" complicated? Well, it is; hopefully some of the
images in the Yamaha press release (linked below) may clarify things for you.

More info:

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Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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