Sunday, August 14, 2005

Technology - gaming and other innovations

Since the last lecture was on gaming, I thought I would post some news about upcoming gaming consoles (including PlayStation 3) and other innovative technology from Japan. (Source- Metropolis online magazine)

"Playing the field
Sony and Nintendo take on the world

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand (or just don’t care about the fripperies of the gaming world) for the last few weeks, you’ll have noticed the announcement of new games consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Setting aside America’s finest, Nintendo’s new Revolution console can be safely ignored for now, as the company hasn’t really worked out what it’s going to do yet, but its latest Game Boy iteration is a gem—the Game Boy Micro (probably around ¥15,000 when it comes out in the fall) measures just 50x101x17mm and pretty much flogs the Game Boy platform to death. Beyond the size, there’s nothing new in the box, but its cuteness should make it a hit. The real biggie is Sony’s PlayStation 3, which—if we’re to believe the hype and the methane generated by a zillion hairy journalists in LA in May—is a fabbo mega-computer that can also play Pac-Man. Of course, it will really turn out to be good at movies and maybe a little music too, so look out for it at around ¥39,800 before Christmas.,"

**Note- 15,000 Yen is equivalent to approximately $193.623 NZD, while 39,800 Yen is equivalent to approximately $513.728 NZD. (A useful site for currency conversion is
Since Japan gets everything early, I don't think NZ will get PS3 before Christmas- wouldn't they have started advertising it already?

"Don’t throw away those old tapes

While we may think the future’s all-digital, it’s not always easy to abandon those old home movie tapes or episodes of Happy Days recorded way back in the 20th century, which is where neato gadgets like Pioneer’s ¥80,000 DVR-RT7H come in. The RT7H (didn’t it save the day in the last Star Wars?) features a triple-header of VHS, DVD and HDD within its shiny shell, and boasts simple ways to suck your old gear out of its analog time warp into the digital future. The one-button dubbing feature allows for the transfer of VHS content to DVD at the push of, well, a single button. Moreover, the device’s software brain makes sure everything always fits onto the DVD just so. When it comes to programming on the hard disk, it can be transferred to DVD at the rate of an hour’s worth every 40 seconds, after which there’s a big red button marked “Delete” that need be pressed only once."

**I think this is a really good way of combining old and new. After all, in the future when DVDs are phased out, what can you do with your collection aside from purchasing them all over again in the newest format? Such as.....

"Panasonic Diga DMR-E700BD Blu-ray recorder

Blu-ray machines are shooting out of Japan's electronics big boys like nobody's business. The new round of would-be DVD replacements are tipped to succeed because they can, A) store loads of data (around 50Gb) on their next-gen disks; and, B) do so very quickly. In a nutshell, that means they're able to record high-definition television (HDTV), should it ever take off, and can do that fancy time-shift trick we all know and love. Panny's ride on the blue wave also has tuners for just about every flavor of broadcast out there and is likely to cost around ¥250,000."

**Note- 250,000 Yen is equivalent to approximately $3,226.91 NZD. Even if this technology becomes popular, it's too expensive to become a fixture in everybody's home, unlike DVD players which are only around $200. The caption above wonders whether high definition TV will ever take off. The problem is that with HDTV, celebrities can no longer hide behind thick makeup and bright lighting to make them look flawless. HDTV has great resolution, so picks up every blemish and wrinkle, so celebs resemble normal people. To be honest I think people prefer to watch something visually pleasing, although it may be an illusion.


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