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

Issue No. 85

Thursday, December 12, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your

Name: NHJ iFP-190TC
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open (but approx 27,800 yen)
Release date in Japan: end November 2002

The Gist: Christmas is nearly upon us and what better gift to give
than music on the go? If you're having to contend with the delights of
the overheated carriages on the Yamanote line in the depths of winter
when all around you are dressed up like trussed turkeys in muffler,
coat, gloves, hat and goodness knows what level of thermal
undergarments and yet, you, as a grubby Westerner, are sweating like a
stuck pig, at least take your -- or your loved one's - mind off it all
with a snazzy portable audio player. Styled much like Sony's Memory
Stick efforts in the audio arena, NH Japan's Toblerone-like player --
in a very smart silver casing -- doubles the onboard memory of its
predecessor to 256MB and will belt out up to 20 hours of music on its
single AA battery.

There's an FM radio tuner on board, too, for when you get sick of
playing the same round of tunes; it can also be used as a voice
recorder. Recordings can be saved into a maximum of 100 folders,
transfers are done via the player's USB port, and it all weighs only
32g. If you're really sad, er, I mean super-stylin' and flash, you can
wear the thing around your neck like a pendant.

The player is also "firmware upgradeable," so it's less likely to go
out as fashion or rather lose out feature-wise to newer offerings next
year. To add that touch of extra class to the package, the 190TC comes
bundled with Sennheiser MX300 headphones. Nice. MP3, WMA and ASF format
music files.

More info:

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Name: LG Philips 52W
Category: AV
Price: TBA
Release date in Japan: end 2003

The Gist: LG, the innovative Korean electronics firm giving its
Japanese competitors a serious run for their money, has just achieved
the impossible! Allegedly. The company has just announced the
development of the biggest wide-screen (16:9) TFT LCD panel in the
world, at 52 inches. That's usually plasma territory and previously
considered impossible to achieve on any kind of commercial scale, but
LG just did, and with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (2.07 million
pixels), this baby is ready for anything high-definition you can throw
at it. The viewing angle, at 176 degrees, is also world-beating and if
your lounge is anything like mine, with sunlight streaming in at one
corner and killing off half the picture on my rubbish 21-inch TV,
this basically beats any other viewing arrangement hands down. That'll
give Sharp something to think about.

More info:

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Name: Sharp Auvi Excellence SD-SG40
Category: AV
Price: 150,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 12, 2002

The Gist: Talking of Sharp, the company's championing of 1-bit audio
continues unabated this week, as the SD-SG40 is revealed to the world.
With an integral 1-bit digital amp, the new "Auvi Excellence" gear
samples at 5.6 MHz, which is 128 times higher a sampling rate than
regular CDs (as opposed to 64). Clearly, this will make the music
sound at least 128 times better than anything you've ever heard before
and generally be utterly astonishing. More astonishing, say, than
watching a Christine Aguilera video and finding she actually has some
clothes on. The system has an 80W combined maximum output and combines
an MDLP-capable MiniDisc player, CD player and AM/FM tuner. It may not
be the study in silver a lot of folk are used to seeing with new AV
kit these days, but the stylishly minimalist black exterior and (with
the exception of the supplied subwoofer) the "all-in-one" one-box
setup would make a great centerpiece in anyone's home.

More info:

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Name: Sotec Play@TV
Category: PC
Price: 28,000 yen
Release date in Japan: end January 2003

The Gist: That sly PC maker Sotec, best known for knocking out great
PCs at gratifyingly low prices, has come up with what it terms a
"media receiver." Well, you call it what you want, Sotec, but the
upshot of the "Play@TV" is that it can send movies, still pictures and
music files that you've recorded on your PC over to your television
for playback. Hooked up either via wired-up 10Base-T or wirelessly via
a PC card and using IEEE 802.11b, the Play@TV then uses its Play@TV
viewer software to send it all over to your TV and this is incredibly
useful because,, I don't really know. The only
applications I can think of for this are pretty much illegal. Ah well.
The included "Media Organizer" data management software will make
short work of all sorts of files: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, WMV and DivX, on
the movie side, WMA, MP3 and WAV music files and JPEG, TIFF and BMP
files and the video connections round the back include Composite
(sucks!), S-Video and D1. The machine runs on PCs that themselves run
on Windows XP.

More info:

Subscribers: 2,824 as of December 12, 2002

Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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