J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan

Issue No. 41 Thursday, December 13, 2001

Name: Sharp IM-MT880
Category: AV Price: Open
Release date in Japan: December 17, 2001

The Gist: MiniDisc players are still going strong over here thanks
in part to rental giant Tsutaya and its liberal attitude to CD
rental. Consequently, there seems to be a constant stream of new MD
players from all the major electronics players, including Sharp. The
IM-MT880 (MD-J to its friends) has all the usual MD features,
including MDLP, group and track naming and playback of ATRAC and
ATRAC3 sound formats, but the best function is compatibility with
Net MD, the new MD track downloading standard championed primarily
by Sony. Hooking up to a computer via a USB connection, the player
can receive tunes directly from the computer to the MD-J at high
speed using OpenMG management software, as well as edit track
information and so on. The process is protected (the "nice" word for
it) by MagicGate and there's special "OpenMG Jukebox Version 2.2 for
Sharp" software provided to convert your MP3, WMA and WAV files into
the ATRAC3 format needed by the player to play back the tunes.
Battery life is anything from six to 33 hours, depending on the
battery type and how the machine is used and, if this kind of thing
actually matters to you, there's a seven color optical LCD "navi
remote control" (green for SP mode, red for LP4, etc) to add a
splash of pizzazz.

More info:

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Name: Samsung SynchMaster 181T
Category: Monitor
Price: 169,800 yen
Release date in Japan: On sale now

The Gist: Boasting an ultra thin (18.6 mm) bezel, the SynchMaster
181T is a very classy looking, dual interface, 18-inch SXGA LCD
monitor. The actual size of the monitor is the same as a regular
15-inch model, but thanks to that slim surround, Samsung squeezes 3
more inches of screen into the unit. Tiny, expensive apartments make
space saving a winner in Japan. The dual interface means the 181T
has both a digital DVI-D and analog RGB connection round the back.
Capable of a resolution of 1,280x1,024, the monitor weighs only


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Name: ITEM-16 Co. Ltd. Poster Sound
Category: Audio
Price: Varies
Release date in Japan: n/a

The Gist: Definitely in the "weird" category but quite possibly not
the "wacky," Poster Sound does exactly what it says -- makes your
posters wired for sound. Basically, the company proposes sticking a
"Sound Engine," measuring 33 cm x 43 cm and only 2-cm thick, onto the
back of any poster of your choice, creating a big, flat bipolar
speaker. This effectively means you can have sound emanating from
anywhere in the room from just about any source, of course, and has
obvious appeal for shopkeepers, cafe owners and any service-oriented
business. Added to this, the Sound Engine outputs 360-degree sound,
filling the air all around the new speaker and allowing owners to
place them in the middle of a room, table or whatever, and not have
to worry about the usual speaker placement rules. Don't just take it
from us; read what the makers say on their own website: "Application
is widely provided as putting to wall, hanging from the ceiling and
standing itself by foot." Quite.

More info:

Name: Panasonic TH-LC75 and TH-LC55
Category: Home Theater
Price: (TH-LC75) 468,000 yen; (TH-LC55) 368,000 yen
Release date in Japan: January 10, 2002

The Gist: Announcing a new Sirius Jr. range, incorporating two new
low-cost portable LCD projector models -- the XGA TH-LC75 and the
S-VGA TH-LC55 -- Panasonic is making a real effort to bring
projectors into Japanese homes in place of those huge and horrible
rear projection TV sets. The Sirius Jr. pumps out a bright (really
bright, in fact) 1200 lumens (ANSI) but is still incredibly small:
the size of an A4 piece of paper and only 3 kg -- far smaller and
considerably lighter than competing LCD projectors. That doesn't
stop it throwing a massive image onto a screen or wall, though,
producing an 80-inch image from a distance of around two and a half
meters. Aimed at making big-screen presentations a snap even for
suits who are total novices at that kind of thing, the Sirius Jr.
has an "advanced auto setup" routine that takes only 1.5 seconds.

More info:
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Subscribers: 1,445 as of December 13, 2001

Written by Max Everingham (
Editor: Japan Inc magazine staff (

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Copyright (C) 2001 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.