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Tokyo Edge: April's coolest gadgets, 2007.

Tokyo Edge: April's coolest gadgets, 2007.

IO Data 1TB HD Recorder

High-definition TV is great when watching it live, but recording it often presents problems. For a start most recorders can not handle HD signals and those that do often come with a hefty price tag. So it is nice to see a lower price high-definition recorder from IO Data. The snappily-named HVR-HD1000LE packs 1TB of storage space. The company has managed to reduce the price in part by removing the tuner from the recorder. Instead it hooks up to a TV or satellite tuner over an EEE-1394 connection. There is room to record 103 hours of Japanese terrestrial digital TV in full high-definition. No plans have been announced for sales outside Japan.
RRP: $US669
Web: www.ioplaza.jp/shop/contents/071000le.aspx (Japanese)

LG New Beetle MP3 Player

LG Electronics is teaming up with car-maker, Volkswagen, on a digital media player styled along the lines of the New Beetle car. The player sports an aluminium body and will be available in three of the same colours as the car: salsa red, shadow blue and sunflower yellow. The design of the player's user interface was inspired by the car, and the device also has a small VW badge on the front panel and a New Beetle logo on its rear. However the inspiration does not extend to the shape of the player, which looks like other MP3 players on the market. The specifications are fairly standard for a media player of its class. It has a 2.4-inch colour LCD screen and can play MPEG-4, Windows Media Video 9, MP3, Windows Media Audio and Oggformat files. It will come in two versions: 2GB and 4G. Launch plans have not yet been decided.
RRP: To be announced
Web: www.lge.co.kr (Korean)

Panasonic AVCHD Camcorders

They have only been on the market a few months, but Panasonic's high-definition camcorders are already getting an upgrade. The SD card-based HDCSD3 and DVD-based HDC-DX3 will capture video at 1920 x 1080 pixels in their highest quality mode compared to just 1440 x 1080 pixels resolution on the two previous cameras, the SD1 and DX1. That is an interesting jump, especially since the older cameras were advertised as "Full HD". Apparently the HD was not quite as full as it could have been. At the two lower qualities recording modes the resolution remains unchanged. They record in AVCHD; the new HD format jointly developed by Sony and Panasonic. Panasonic does not have any plans at present to put them on sale elsewhere.
RRP: HDC-DX3 - $1176; HDC-SD3 - $US1275
Web: http://panasonic.jp/dvc/ (Japanese)

Toshiba Gigabeat U

Toshiba pleasantly surprises with a colourful choice of models each time it launches new Gigabeat music players, and the U-series are no exception. Available in white, orange and blue, the players have a 1.1-inch colour EL display, can play Windows Media (unprotected or DRMed), MP3 or WAV audio fi les and have a built-in FM transmitter so users can listen to songs through a radio and do not have to worry about audio cables. Battery life is about 20 hours and a 10-minute quick charge will get three hours of playback. They are on sale now in Japan.
RRP: 2GB - $US141; 1GB - $US116
Web: www.gigabeat.net/mobileav/audio/ (Japanese)


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