J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:


A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan


Issue No. 42

Thursday, Dec 20, 2001
Due to the unexpected arrival of Christmas, Gadget Watch will be
taking a breather until January 10, 2002.
Have a cool yule - see you next year.

Name: Matsushita BS Digital HDTV
Category: TV
Price: 840,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 20, 2001

The Gist: The advent of the remote control was a real Godsend, lets face it.
No longer did we tech-lovin' couch potatoes and armchair sportsmen (maybe that's
the same thing) have to haul ourselves out of our comfortable stupors and
traverse the vast, bone-aching distance between sofa and TV to switch channels.
As time went on and the TVs, DVDs and whatever got more complicated, the remotes
gained more and more buttons, became ever more confusing and getting lost down
the backs of countless sofa. Thank goodness, then, for Matsushita. Keeping the
functions and dispensing with the fuss, our friends at Matsushita (Panasonic)
has devised a remote control with voice recognition, eliminating the need for
most of the buttons. In this case, trimming the number of buttons needed on the
handset from 71 to 14. Users simply speak instructions into the microphone built
into the remote -- it'll recognize the names of channels and certain functions
(such as 'rewind'). Isn't technology a wonderful thing?! To go along with the
spiffy new remote, Panasonic has also announced a new 36-inch BS digital high
definition TV, the TH-36DH200. The new TV has an EPG (Electric Programming Guide),
as well as an internal BS digital tuner and a built-in 80-Gb hard disk recorder.
The hard disk will take up to 70 hours' worth of recordings in regular mode
(seven hours of digital). There's also an SD memory card slot, naturally.
More info: 3-3/jn011213-3.html

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Name: New Broadband Personal IT Television Airboard IDT-LF2
Category: Wireless AV
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: January 25, 2002

The Gist: Looking to improve upon its excellent wireless Airboard idea, Sony
brings us the forgettably named IDT-LF2.
The most obvious changes concern the LCD screen (now 12.1 inches and over twice
as bright) and broadband connectivity. The Airboard is basically a wireless display
that receives input signals from a base station (using the IEEE802.11b standard),
which in turn can have all sorts of gear connected to it. The idea is that the base
station stays in one place and users can then carry the Airboard around the house
with them. It's also possible to wirelessly connect to the Internet (with the base
station plugged into a socket of some kind). In my experience, based on an earlier
test of the first Airboard, the main thing Sony needed to improve was the battery
life which was poor to say the least. That's exactly what the company has done,
increasing battery life to around two hours; still not long enough to watch many
movies, but better than the 25 minutes or so the previous one lasted. To ease the
pain of recharging, a new cradle has been fashioned so you don't always have to
return the display to the base station. There's also wireless LAN compatibility
and a new USB port on the base station so you can hook it up to a printer.
More info:

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Name: Aiwa XD-DV10
Category: Portable DVD player
Price: 29,800 yen, 12V AC car adapter (DC603) 3,000 yen
Release date in Japan: now

The Gist: Taking aim at the millions of us who regularly get stuck in traffic jams
in our nice, shiny new cars on the way to Tokyo central, Aiwa has come to relieve
some of the pain.
Bringing us the XD-DV10 DVD player which can cope with the DVD movie, CD, CD-R,
CD-RW, MP3 and video CD formats, Aiwa reckons it's time we got some serious entertainment
in our vehicles on the way to work. Good work, Aiwa! The XD-DV10 has optical digital
(for Dolby Digital and DTS) and analog terminals for audio output, as well as video
(composite signal) and S-video connections. The amazing thing about the DV10 is that
it weighs only 750g and is 23cm wide, so you can take it wherever you want -- that,
in fact, is the whole point. For the fun in the car mentioned previously, the player
comes with an AC adapter. The DV-10 may be thin and svelte but it doesn't skimp on
the features, capable of more trickery than most low-end players, including slow-mo,
step, repeat, bookmark, program, resume, zoom and angle change. And it comes in silver,
of course, with a remote almost as big as it is.
More info:

Subscribers: 1,488 as of December 20, 2001

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

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