IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics show with over 1000 exhibitors, kicks off in Berlin today with most of the major players hosting press conferences. Click here for full stories
Here’s the news from the show so far:
* Wireless on wheels – a wearable PC for bike couriers
* Samsung delivers hard drive camcorder
* Thomson’s handheld video device
* Sharp’s wireless TV
* Metz hard drive TV with internet control
* KiSS Technology to debut wireless home TV
* Meridian Audio hits the G Spot
Wireless on wheels
It wouldn’t be a consumer electronics show without someone announcing a new piece of PC clothing. But as it’s the Fraunhofer-Institut (they invented MP3 doncha know) we are actually taking their revolutionary Bicycle Courier concept a bit more seriously.
It’s actually an item of electronic clothing comprising PDA, mobile phone, and a screen and control panel woven into the fabric. The clothing also includes a navigation system, kidney warmer (we’re not making it up ) and automatic security that recognises the owner of the bicycle and releases the bicycle’s lock. The whole system is powered by the bicycle’s dynamo. Sadly it won’ t stop them cutting you up at the lights though.
Samsung delivers hard drive cam
It appears that Samsung’s IT Cam – the first ever hard disk-based camcorder which premiered at CES – is heading for Europe. It stores video, still images and pretty much anything else you want on a 1.5Gigabyte hard disk.
As each chunk of footage is saved as a separate file it is very simple to find scenes and edit them. It is pretty small, sports an LCD screen and comes with a USB 2.0 connector for fast downloads. Video at just 30 frames per second won’t win any Oscars though. We reckon it should retail for around £400.
Getting worried about the number of boxes under your TV set? Samsung has come up with a solution in offering a digital terrestrial decoder with an integrated DVD player. Not had a good look at it yet so can’t say what the Electronic Programme Guide is like. If, however, it can give information on programmes up to a week in advance, and if next year Samsung bungs in a hard disk video recorder into the package, it could be a real winner.
Thomson announces handheld video
Take-anywhere handheld video players are big news this year thanks to Archos’ AV320 video jukebox and microsoft waiting in the wings with its Media2Go devices.
Latest to join the party is French firm Thomson with its video system for sale in Europe (pictured is the American version, branded under Thomson’s RCA name). The RD2780 is a compact unit that features a 20Gigabyte hard disk and a 3.5inch LCD screen (slightly smaller than the Archos). Recordings can be made direct from a TV and then viewed later on its screen. Apparently it can store up to 80 hours of video.
Its retail price will be less than £500 which makes it cheaper than the Archos. There’s no news on how long the battery will last though.
Hard drive telly offers internet control
Though unknown in the UK, German manufacturer Metz is displaying a couple of interesting products at the Berlin IFA show.
Metz is joining the growing band (well Samsung and Philips) of manufacturers to debut a TV with an integrated hard disk recorder. Its widescreen set sports an impressive 100Gigabyte hard disk with enough space for 200 hours of programmes. Best of all though the set can be programmed via the net so if you have forgotten to set the recorder you can log on at work and activate it.
It is also showing what it calls the first Granny (or should that Gross Mater) proof remote control. Its handset is well specified and will control all kinds of AV devices. However, it also comes with a switch that when pressed turns it into a basic remote with simple channel and volume up/down settings.
Sharp’s Spaghetti Free TV
It is what we have all been waiting for – a TV set without a mass of wires that turn your living room into Spaghetti Junction.
Billed as a revolution in television technology, Sharp’s system is a TV without any wires or antennae. Powered by an integrated Lithium Ion battery it’s an LCD set that connects wirelessly to a unit that sends out video signals (including TV signals, DVDs etc).
Sharp even claims it is possible to take the set and watch TV in a sunny garden. The TV will be available soon with a price tag of around £1200. The only downside is that the battery needs a recharge after two hours – long enough for Premiership football game but your screen will go blank well before Titanic sinks.
Danish company KiSS Technology, which has released several DVD players that sport Ethernet connections, is set to massively expands its range at IFA.
Its key launch could well be a 42in plasma screen that includes an integrated DVD player and a wireless Ethernet connection to access the internet and content from a PC.
Other new products include the DP-1000, a slimline DVD player compatible with DivX movie files and the DP-508, a DVD player with an 80GB hard disk and the ability to access music, video and photo files stored on a PC.
Completing the range, the DP- 558 has all the 508’s functionality plus an integrated TV tuner.
Unlike its previous DVD players the new products can all be integrated within a wireless home network.
All products are due to be launched in Europe by the end of the year.
Cambridge-based company Meridian Audio marks its first new product range for over a decade with the launch of 12 new ‘G range’ CD/DVD products at IFA.
Pictured is the attractive G91 DVD Audio Player Controller which includes multiple video inputs and outputs including component video. An RS-232 port is provided for communication with a Windows-based application for set-up, configuration and customisation. The G91 is expected to cost around £3,500