September 14, 2006, 2:38 PM — All high-definition, all the time. That's the way it sometimes feels looking through the new products from East Asia's consumer electronics powerhouses. The rush to market with high-definition TVs has been going on for some time and now it's the turn of video cameras (highlighted last month), games consoles (the PlayStation 3 and upcoming Xbox 360 HD DVD drive) and other gadgets.
This month a Blu-ray Disc drive and home photo viewer both do the HD tango, and a upgraded version of Sony's LocationFree TV base station serves to remind that there are still some obstacles to HD ubiquity. While sending a 20M bps (bits per second) digital TV stream through the air might be easy, sending the same thing across an Internet connection remains much more difficult. In fact, for the vast majority of Internet users, it's impossible. That's why even with an upgrade, LocationFree still won't transmit HD images across the Internet.
Sony LocationFree Base Station
Sony Corp. is upgrading its LocationFree platform with more efficient video compression and a receiver add-on for televisions. The new base station, the LF-PK20 (called the LF-B20 in the U.S.) streams using the MPEG4 AVC compression system. The pay-off for users is better pictures at lower bit-rates because its more efficient than the MPEG2 and MPEG4 systems used in the current devices. Sony is also adding a new receiver device, the LF-BOX1. Named the "LocationFree TV Box," the device connects directly to a television to allow for viewing of streamed video on a TV. The LF-PK20 will go on sale in Japan on Oct. 20 and will cost around ¥33,000 (US$282) and the LF-BOX1 will be available from Oct. 27 for around ¥23,000. Details of overseas sales were not announced.
Samsung 8GB Music Player Cell Phone
As the world's biggest maker of flash memory chips and one of the biggest cell phone manufacturers it shouldn't be a surprise that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is putting the two together. Its SCH-B570 cell phone packs 8G bytes of built-in memory -- that's double the amount of memory in Apple Computer Inc.'s hit-iPod nano and enough room for about 1,600 MP3 music files or about 16 movies. Did we mention there's also a receiver for South Korea's mobile satellite broadcasting service (S-DMB) and a 2-megapixel camera. The phone goes on sale in South Korea soon. It won't be available overseas.
Web: http://www.sec.co.kr (Korean)