The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 210
Thursday October 13, 2005

1. Sony X Video Station
2. Panasonic SL-CT830
3. Olympus Voice-Trek V-40, V-50

ICA Event - Oct 20

Presenter - Gary Blankenship, Technical Director in Japan
for Foundry Networks
Topic - The Next Generation of Internet Protocol -
Opportunities and Challenges for Enterprises in Japan

RSVP Complete event details at
Date: Thursday, October 20, 2005
Time: 6:30 Doors open, sit down dinner included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members),
Open to all - Location is Foreign Correspondents'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Sony X Video Station
Category: Home video server
Price: 89,800 yen to 299,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Orders begin October 25, 2005

The Gist: How often do you ask yourself, "Why can't I record
four TV shows at the same time?" I personally ask myself
this question on a daily basis. What about the next logical
question: "Why can't I record eight TV shows at the same

Relax, because Sony answers both questions with their new
"X Video Station" line of video servers. The X Video Station
will be available in three different combinations: a model
with 4 TV tuners and 250GB of hard drive space, a model with 8
TV tuners and 500GB of hard drive space, and finally a model
with 8 TV tuners and 2TB of hard drive space. According to

Sony's math, the last configuration would allow you to record
8 channels for three whole weeks. The days of missing
programs because you go on a trip are completely gone. The
"Time Machine" feature will display all the recorded programs
like a standard program lineup, so it will be as though you
never even left.

The X Video Station isn't a PC in the normal sense of the word.
Sure, it has hard drives and a motherboard and all that,
but since it's a server, you'll need a Windows PC to tap into
its functionality and adjust its settings. The X Video
Station's operating system is stored in flash memory, so don't
go trying to delete it thinking you'll have more space for
the upcoming episode of "London Hearts." You will also have
options as to where you want to put the X Video Station: it
features standard video output for being connected to your TV,
but you can also view its contents on your PC using a network

There are four video bitrates to choose from: 1.25Mbps
(352 x 240), 2.5Mbps (352 x 240), 4Mbps (720 x 480), and 6Mbps
(720 x 480).

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Panasonic SL-CT830
Category: Portable audio
Price: 16,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 25, 2005

The Gist: Panasonic hasn't given up creating MP3/CD players,
it seems, as they have announced the "SL-CT830" portable CD

player. Set to be available in silver and black color variations,
the CT830 continues the traditions set forth by previous
Panasonic CD players by offering an almost maniacal battery life:
when using 2 AA alkaline batteries in addition to the player's
standard (rechargeable) batteries, you'll have a whopping 170
hours of playback time. Hey, that might actually be long enough
to last you the duration of the flight from Japan to the USA!

The player features Panasonic's own "D.SOUND" engine, which is
itself a combination of "Digital Amp," "Equalizer," and
"Digital Re.master" functions. It's nice to see Panasonic is
still working to improve the players, too, as the new model
features an enhanced equalizer. "H.Bass" will also help with
the player's bass reproduction.

Included with the CT830 are Panasonic's new "Double Drive
Insidephone" earphones, which actually contain two different
drivers per earphone: one for low frequency sounds, and one for
mid-high frequencies. You could think of the earphones as
providing "2.2ch" sound, since you'll have a left channel,
right channel, and two miniature subwoofers to boot.

The player supports the playback of CD-Audio and CD-R/RW discs
with MP3 files; there is no mention of WMA support.

More info:

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Olympus Voice-Trek V-40, V-50
Category: Voice recorder
Price: 20,000 yen for 512MB model, 30,000 yen for 1GB model
Release date in Japan: October 28, 2005

The Gist: Olympus Imaging is coming out with a new portable
voice recorder that appears to have nothing to do with imaging,
yet is interesting nonetheless. We've seen plenty of portable
WMA/MP3 players with integrated USB ports, but this sort of
thing is hard to come by in the world of voice recorders. The
company's new "V-40" and "V-50" models have just that.

The battery of the unit is detachable, and when removed, the
unit's USB port will be exposed so you can connect it directly
to your PC or Mac's USB port. The device is supported under
the USB Storage class, so transferring files requires no special
software. But playing the recorded files might -- for voice
recording, you can choose SHQ, HQ, SP, and LP quality modes,
all of which are in the Windows Media Audio (WMA) format.
The V50 (the 1GB model) allows for roughly 35 hours and 25
minutes of recording at the highest quality setting, and the
V-40, 17 hours and 40 minutes. You should see about 11 hours
of recording time with a single AAA battery.

Furthermore, the V-40 and V-50 can play MP3 and WMA files.
Transferring these files is done in the exact same manner as
transferring audio off of the unit: the USB Storage class.
For playing audio, you'll see a 7-hour battery life from a AAA

More info:

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Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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