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

Issue No. 176
Thursday January 20, 2005

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Name: Evergreen Donya PDVD Player DN-805WOL
Category: Portable DVD/MP3 player
Price: 12,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Released by Evergreen on January 14th was the "Donya
PDVD Player DN-805WOL," perhaps the first low-cost portable
DVD/CD player with MP3 playback. The point of interest here
is the "DVD" part of that -- the DN-805WOL, while it may
resemble a traditional MP3/CD player, can in fact play MP3
files stored on both CD-R and DVD-R. For someone who has
massive amounts of MP3 files, this functionality would provide
a fantastic way to have access to many files, as DVD-Rs can be
had for around 50 cents these days. With 4.7GB of storage per
disc, you could have literally thousands of hours of MP3
audio readily available for mere dollars (or yen).

Speaking of price, that's another thing I noticed about the
DN-805WOL; it costs only 12,800 yen (about $124 USD). When
you consider the fact that it not only functions as a portable
audio player, but also as a portable DVD player (it includes
AV output cables for playback of DVD-Video), there is quite
a bit of value wrapped up in such a small package.

However, take care before you rush out and purchase one. The
DN-805WOL may be "portable" in the sense that it has small
dimensions, but there's nothing portable about its battery
life. The player is vastly hindered by a measly 8-hour
playback time for CDs and 1-hour playback for DVD. I hope
that other manufacturers or even Evergreen themselves will
take the hint and realize there is a market for portable
DVD/MP3 players.

More info:
Name: Sony DCR-DVD403
Category: DVD camcorder
Price: 135,000 yen
Release date in Japan: March 3, 2005

The Gist: Continuing with our DVD theme this week, we introduce
Sony's new DVD Handycam, the DCR-DVD403. Equipped with a 3.31MP
CCD, the DVD403 can write to DVD-R/RW and DVD+RW. Interestingly
enough, the camera can now write discs so that they do not need
to be finalized if they record for more than a specific amount
of time (5 minutes for HQ, 8 minutes for SP, and 15 minutes for
LP). In other words, if the discs are used long enough in the
camcorder, they can be removed and played in a DVD player,
without any need to do anything on the camera itself.

1.4GB and 2.8GB media 8cm DVD+RW media will be available in June
for the camcorder, where the 1.4GB disc offers 30 minutes in SP
mode and 2.8GB disc 50 minutes in SP mode.

The DVD403 itself has a 3.31MP CCD (2.05MP effective for video,
3.05MP effective for images), enabling it to not only take high
quality video, but images as well. Its lens has a 10x optical
zoom, and 120x digital zoom.

Recording features on the DVD403 include three modes: HQ (around
9Mbps), SP (6Mbps), and LP (3Mbps). It also supports recording
in 16:9 wide screen, thanks to a larger CCD; the camera doesn't
convert 4:3 video to 16:9, but literally uses more area on the
CCD, making for higher quality recording. To go with this
wide-screen recording is a wide-screen monitor; the 2.7" LCD features
touch panel operation. Interestingly enough, the camera's internal
microphone supports 5.1ch surround recording. When combined with
the 16:9 video, this would make for a nice home-theater experience.

Included with the DvD403 is a NP-FP70 battery, allowing for about
125 minutes of recording. Also included with the camera are an AC
adapter, AC cable, USB cable, and wireless remote controller.

More info:

Name: Bluedot BDP-1850
Category: Portable DVD player
Price: 42,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: It interfaces out the wazoo on Bluedot's new portable DVD
player, the BDP-1850. While it will, of course, play a slew of audio
and video formats (DVD-Video, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD, MP3, and JPEG)
from DVD and CDs, the point of interest here is what the DBP-1850
adds to the mix: an SD card/Memory Stick slot and USB port. What
would that do, you ask. Pretty much anything as far as media
portability is concerned. If, for example, you record a video using
your mobile phone (likely MPEG-4), you could take the SD card out
of your phone and pop it in the BDP-1850.

Or, in my case, I may encode a video to play on my Playstation
Portable (Memory Stick Duo). When I have a chance, I could instead
play the video on the BDP-1850's 8" TFT. Digital camera owners on
vacation could take the BDP-1850 to review their pictures at night
while at the hotel. In the same fashion, owners of USB flash memory
or USB hard drives can easily connect their devices to the BDP-1850
for added fun. As you can see, there's plenty of reason to have
memory card slots and USB ports on a portable DVD player; the BDP-1850
gets the market a step closer to the ubiquitous media compatibility
that will probably be all the rage in the years to come.

Let us not ignore the DVD playback; the BDP-1850 is equipped with an
analog audio output, coaxial digital output, and composite video output.
Furthermore, it has two earphone outputs, which is nice for sharing
your entertainment with someone else.

Using the included battery pack, the BDP-1850 can play with the LCD
on for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, or for about 4 hours with the
LCD off -- certainly not too shabby for a player of this versatility
and price. Included are a cigarette lighter adapter, remote controller,
and inner-ear style earphones.

More info:
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