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

Issue No. 237
Saturday May 13, 2006

(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: AudioTechnica ATV-557D/555D
Category: TV remote
Price: 2,625 yen
Release date in Japan: May 26, 2006

The Gist: AudioTechnica, of all companies, is releasing a few universal TV
remotes that received some attention this past week.

Both of the remotes are able to control 17 different companies' TVs that
contain terrestrial/BS analog tuners, as well as 11 different companies'
TVs that contain terrestrial digital/BS/110 CS digital tuners. There is a
button for switching between analog and digital broadcasts, as well as "3
digit input" for inputting the channel numbers for digital broadcasts.
This sounds like a no-brainer for most Americans, but in Japan, many
standard remote controls only have buttons for channels 1 through 12. They
can be programmed to make a sound upon a key press, and they also have a
lock function to prevent alteration of the settings. There's also a
power saving mode that extends the standard 1-year battery life to 2

Where the remotes differ is their styling. The 557D has large buttons and
is available in black and white. It has two LEDs for sending signals, so
it can be used in a wider area. It also has a 10-meter range, but when
you're in power saving mode, the range is only about 5 meters.

The 555D, on the other hand, has a body with a thickness of only 14mm and
is available in black, red, silver, and beige colors. If you've been
looking for a "designer remote," this is probably the closest you'll get
-- the buttons are triangles. The 555D's range is normally 7 meters, but
it drops to 4 meters when in power saving mode.

More info:
Name: JVC Everio GZ-MG47
Category: Digital video camera
Price: Open Price; estimated around 100,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: As an entry-level model in their hard drive digital video camera
series, JVC has announced and released the "GZ-MG47." Entry level will
still cost around 100,000 yen, but in the world of video cameras that
feature integrated hard drives, this is one of the least expensive models
you'll find.

JVC managed to get a cheaper model of the previous "GZ-MG67" out the door
by swapping its 2.18MP CCD for a 1.33MP CCD. This dropped the number of
effective pixels for video to 690,000, and for images, to 1.23MP. Of
course, the video format is still MPEG-2 PS (otherwise known as SD-Video),
and the audio remains Dolby Digital.

Apart from a 20GB hard drive, the MG47 features what has been described as
the "industry's brightest" lens (at F1.2), which has 15x optical zoom.
Four recording modes are available for video: Ultra Fine, Fine, Normal,
and Economy. The first three modes have a resolution of 720 x 480. Even
under Ultra Fine mode, the 20GB hard drive has space for about 5 hours of
video, so the advantages of having a hard drive are clear. There's also
an SD slot, which can accommodate both still images and video recording.

The 2.7" LCD has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and will display thumbnailed videos
in the index display function. It can also search based on events, so
contents can be managed by "children," "travel," and "business," for
example, if these categories are assigned when the videos are recorded.

Video is transferred over the USB 2.0 interface. The USB Host function
also means you can connect the camera to JVC's own special Everio DVD
writer (the CU-VD10) and create DVD-Videos without using a computer. It's
also nice to see JVC honest about battery life: they say continuous
recording time with the included battery is about 1 hour and 10 minutes
(LCD on), but "realistically" it's about 35 minutes.

More info:
Name: Sony Playstation 3
Category: Video game console
Price: 20GB: 62,790 yen, 60GB: Open Price
Release date in Japan: November 11, 2006

The Gist: Sony Computer Entertainment has announced the price and release
date information of the highly anticipated Playstation 3. You've read the
above prices correctly: Sony said the 20GB model is set at some 62,790
yen, and the 60GB model is simply "Open Price." Americans are offered the
same systems a week later for $499 USD and $599 USD, respectively.

62,790 yen for even the lower level model probably seems pricey "for a
video game," as my dad would say, but it's important to point out that
Sony has far larger plans for the Playstation 3 than just video games.
Indeed, they've literally loaded the system down (it weighs 5kg) with
almost every modern technology you could imagine, and even some you can't

Unfortunately for us consumers, in order to experience everything the PS3
has to offer, we'll need to purchase the upper level 60GB model. The 20GB
model and 60GB model do, of course, have different hard drive capacities,
but only the 60GB model includes an HDMI port, has wireless LAN
capabilities, and a Memory Stick/SD/CompactFlash card reader. Purchasers
of the 20GB model can later add wireless LAN and a card reader to their
units, but they'll need to buy these on their own. For HDMI, they're out
of luck.

Given the Playstation 3's inclusion of a Blu-ray optical drive, and Sony's
stance on high definition content in general, it seems odd that they would
omit HDMI from the cheaper model. Instead of giving a lengthy technical
explanation of why this is a problem, we'll instead just say that HDMI
COULD be required to play Blu-ray movies to their fullest (digital)
potential in the future. As a result, owners of the 20GB Playstation 3
could find themselves in a sticky situation where they can't enjoy Blu-ray
movies in as high a quality as owners of the 60GB Playstation 3.

Otherwise, the Playstation 3 has an AV Multi Output jack and optical
digital audio output, just as the Playstation 2 does. The AV Multi Output
can do 480i all the way to 1080p (unlike the PS2), so even if you're not
watching full-digital Blu-ray movies on your HDTV, at least game
developers have plenty of breathing room for improving the graphics of
their titles.

Inside the PS3 you'll find a Cell processor, capable of handling the
48Mbps video stream that is standard of Blu-ray disc movies. There are
four USB 2.0 jacks, as well as a 1000BASE-T ethernet port, and Bluetooth
2.0 functionality.

Taking advantage of this Bluetooth functionality is the Playstation 3's
controller. At first glance, it's exactly the same as the Dual Shock 2
controller included with the Playstation 2. Sony wouldn't just leave you
with the same controller, though -- they've added a 6-axis tilt and
acceleration sensor, so tilting your controller to the left,
for example, would make your airplane tilt to the left. It will be
interesting to see how game developers take advantage of the new
functionality of the controller. Don't bother calling this new controller
a "Dual Shock 3" though; Sony has removed the vibration function

More info:
Due to technical problems, the previous edition of
"Gadget Watch" was posted more than once. Japan Inc.
apologizes for the inconvenience. -- Editor

SUBSCRIBERS: 8,651 as of May 13, 2006

Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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