So what’s going to be big news at the Berlin gadget-fest IFA? Here are a few things our man will be checking out.
Samsung – Expect Samsung’s stand to be dominated by products that feature integrated digital TV tuners. Everything from media and DVD players through to camcorders will sport tuners that work with the DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) system, a variant of the DAB digital radio format that has already been very successful in Britain. You may have a wait before you see anything on those screens for while Germany will have a range of DMB channels, including one offering World Cup football next summer, it probably won’t be until 2007 before a similar service arrives in the UK.
Humax – Those very clever Koreans Humax have lined up a 40in high-def ready LCD TV that incorporates a pair of Freeview digital TV tuners and a 40GB hard disk video recorder.
Hitachi – Expect to see a European outing for Hitachi’s DVD recorder with built in terabyte hard disk. The chances of it ever arriving in the UK though are pretty slim.
Blu-ray vs HD-DVD – In a re-run of IFA 1997, where Tosh and Sony battled it out to establish a DVD format, this year the pair will be pushing their DVD successors in HD DVD (Tosh) and Blu-ray (loads of others). Both are designed to offer the kind of storage capacity that will enable consumers to record high definition TV.
Flash- based camcorders – Sanyo will be displaying the Xacti E6, its latest Flash-based video camera, whose key feature is a prominent three-inch screen. Samsung will also be ramping up its Flash memory video camera range.
Panasonic – Promises to focus on High Def TV and SD. So maybe we’ll see some top-end flash based personal media players and some stonkingly large plasma and LCD screens.
Sharp – We’d put our money on a European debut for its 65inch LCD TV – the world’s biggest apparently – which will go on sale in the UK next year.
U3 – Smart USB storage that can also hold software programs and settings as well as files, thereby enabling users to instantly personalise any computing device. It says it will kill off the laptop. We say oh yeah.