NICT, JVC Kenwood team up for wall-sized 3D HD display, lets in your face advertising get literal (video)
Been holding out hope for a real-life holodeck? Well, looks like Japan’s got wall number one out of four already covered. We kid, we kid. That Trekkie tech future’s still a ways off, but recent prototypes like this 200-inch auto-stereoscopic 3D screen are bringing that illusive reality one step closer to our living rooms. Exhibited during CEATEC 2011, this 1920 x 1080 full HD display plays images at 60fps using an array of 57 projectors, and offers up viewing angles of 13 degrees. What does all of that mean for you? Well, the setup gives viewers a limited ability to peer around projected objects, so long as they stay within a 1.3m (about 4ft) area. It’s yet another fruit of the collaboration between the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and JVC Kenwood, except this one’s headed for the realm of outdoor digital advertising. Home theater aficionados looking for a virtual entertainment solution can always opt for Sony’s HMD, but that kind of defeats the glasses-free allure.
If you’re familiar with Fujitsu’s AH572 and S761/C laptops, then you’ll certainly recognize the similarities on their Japanese cousins. On the left we have the beastly 15.6-inch AH77/E, which sports an Intel Core-i72670QM processor (2.20-3.10GHz), 750GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, Blu-ray drive and a handy circular scrolling pad. We dig the slanted keys and their color-accented sides (combinations include black on red, white on black and black on blue), and likewise with the removable dust trap near the heatsink on the bottom side, though the already-discounted price of ¥175,320 ($2,284) is rather steep for a machine lacking a dedicated graphics card — you get an Intel HD Graphics 3000 instead.
If you’re looking for something lighter than the 2.9kg AH series, then consider the SH76/E: at 1.34kg, it’s one of the lightest 13.3-inch laptops that come with an internal DVD drive. Specs include a Core i5-2520M chip (2.5GHz-3.2GHz), 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, the same circular scrolling pad, the same dust trap and an impressive 13.7-hour battery life. Like its international cousin, the SH76/E can also swap its optical drive for a pico projector or a weight-saver frame. With the exception of the flimsy and duller display compared to the AH model’s, the SH’s overall build quality was satisfactory. However, Fujitsu wants ¥161,820 ($2,110) for its latest portable laptop, so you might want to customize it with cheaper components on the company’s Japanese website (choosing a 500GB HDD would save you about $980, for instance). Both models will be available in a week’s time.
Sure, we may not see flying cars in our lifetime, but a mainstream digital dash is a definite possibility. The all-glass vehicle dashboard has been conceptualized by other manufacturers in the past, but this year it’s Panasonic’s turn to try its hand at building a multi-display system. The electronics maker brought its Cockpit prototype to the CEATEC floor, causing quite a stir among passersby. The dash itself was little more than a semi-functional mockup, presenting recorded rendered video on the main 20-inch LCD and dual 10.4-inch secondary displays. The main display’s current objective appears to be improving safety, using a series of cameras to eliminate blind spots and alert drivers to other road hazards. Real-time driving stats are displayed atop a video feed, either from the rear camera (when in reverse), or one up front.
We spent a few minutes behind the wheel of Panasonic’s mockup, which consisted only of a pair of (rather comfortable) leather seats, along with a trio of LCDs, which the company claims are currently based on panels used in other Panasonic products, but may eventually utilize custom displays. This wasn’t an actual vehicle prototype — only the “cockpit” was on hand. The main display will (hopefully) focus the driver’s attention away from distractions on those two smaller screens — the one in the center can be used to control standard vehicle settings like climate and entertainment, while a second display positioned directly in front of the passenger seat can play movies and other content.
Are we there yet? No, so you better get comfortable for the long drive ahead. Overall the setup looked like it could have potential, though Panasonic warned us not to expect anything final until the end of the decade (2018 at the earliest). Jump past the break for a Cockpit drive-by.
There’s no question that Japan gets all the cool gadgets — many of which never make it stateside. Well, we have yet another tease for you, in the form of an eight-tuner Toshiba DVR with five terabytes of storage. The DBR-M190 reserves six of those tuners (and four TBs of storage) for its Time Shift recording, which as its name implies, transports you to an alternate dimension — in realtime, mind you — allowing you to watch past HD episodes of those favorite Japanese programs that you otherwise neglected to record. OK, fine, it can’t actually shift physical time, but the home DVR does allow you to record 15 full days of HD content from six channels. Or 30 days from three channels, or 90 days from one — you get the idea. It also offers 3D Blu-ray playback. Huzzah!
There’s some pretty heavy compression in place in order to squeeze all that HD content with the allotted storage, but Toshiba reps insisted that the content looks acceptable. Clever as they are, reps also neglected to have that heavily compressed HD video available for demo at CEATEC, but were happy to let us peek at a show recorded using a much more liberal amount of compression, which nets you just one-fifth of the advertised amount (think three days, not 15). Still, three days of 24 hour content from six channels ain’t too shabby, but that 200,000 yen price tag (about $2,600) is a bit of a deal breaker, no? As is the fact that you can’t plug this puppy into cable networks overseas (Time Shift is only compatible with basic cable channels in Japan). Jump past the break to see it in action, and expect to see it hit Japanese shores sometime in mid-December.