Cor, time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like only last week that the IFA show took place, and all the major consumer electronics firms announced their hot new products. Oh, hang on, it was only last week. Ho hum.
But now the dust (or silicon) has settled, it’s time to recap on some of the best gadgets and gizmos (if a 103-inch plasma telly can be referred to as a gizmo) spotted by Tech Digest’s intrepid team at IFA. From Blu-ray players to wireless hi-fis, ‘entertaibles’ to, er, giraffe-shaped TVs. Read on for more details.
1. Panasonic’s 103-inch plasma telly
There isn’t a specific European release date for this monster telly yet, but that won’t stop footballers, lottery-winners and Michael Winner from clearing a living-room wall in anticipation. This high-def TV set delivers two million pixels of footage, and includes Panny’s Super Cinema mode to make black colours even blacker than ever. The ultimate screen for iron-stomached horror movie fans, in other words.
2. Philips’ 100-inch LCD TV
Don’t get the impression that IFA was just a gigantic bout of televisual willy-waving. Well, okay, it was a bit. Philips showed off its own 100-inch LCD model complete with Ambilight to add extra atmosphere to your HD movies, wildlife documentaries or filthy adult DVDs. Philips didn’t say that, I hasten to add. For the moment, the company hasn’t announced when the TV might be on sale, sadly.
3. Samsung’s BD-P1000 Blu-ray player
The first Blu-ray player to be commercially available in Europe, no less. It plays content at native 720p, 1080i, 1080p and ZX81 video resolutions (I did make one of those up, mind), and can play your existing collection of CDs and DVDs, as well as Blu-ray discs. Plus there’s a memory card reader, full audio format support and improved bitmap and text subtitles. But let’s face it, you want this so you can lord it over the neighbours.
4. Philips’ Entertaible
Because pool and bar billiards just aren’t hi-tech enough to cut it nowadays. The Entertaible lets you play board or video games on a 30-inch touch-screen LCD display. Apparently this will include classic board games, but also "brand new games offering unprecedented levels of user interaction". I think this means the ability to chuck your pint of cider at an opponent to put them off their stroke in Pong. Maybe.
5. Harman Kardan Go + Play iPod speaker system
‘Go + Play’ sounds like something a robot would say to their robo-child, if they were getting under their cyborg-feet in the kitchen. But I digress. This has nothing to do with robots beyond its resemblance to the ones from the Smash adverts. It’s a speaker system that lets your iPod lie flat when connected, has all manner of sophisticated audio technology inside, and can even connect to your TV to watch your video clips. Smart.
6. SanDisk V-Mate memory card recorder
Want to watch TV shows on your mobile phone? Fed up with only being able to download two-minute clips rather than your favourite shows? SanDisk’s new V-Mate may help you out. It connects to an analogue audio and video output from any source – for example your telly or DVD player – and records it straight onto a memory card. And it supports just about every format out there. Pop the card into your phone, and you’ve got Time Team on the go. Or, er, something more cutting-edge, of course.
7. LG’s projector wallpaper
What’s wrong with woodchip? Well, it’s not very gadgety. But LG’s AN110 wall-mounted projector most certainly is. You can hang it on the wall like a picture frame, enabling it to blend into your designer decor (or flying ducks). LG proved it at IFA by showing off some sample rooms, each with a suitably gaudy vibe.
8. Philips’ WACS7000 wireless hi-fi
Stream that long-awaited second Cheeky Girls album around the house wirelessly with Philips’ new hi-fi, which improves on its predecessor’s limited connectivity. The base hi-fi streams music to ‘slave’ units around your house, and you can also plug your iPod into it – an increasingly standard feature for any hi-fi. Meanwhile, the internal hard disk is now a thumping 80GB. Bonzer. That’s enough Philips stuff now…
9. HannSpree’s zoo series TVs
There aren’t enough consumer electronics shaped like animals. But Taiwanese firm HannSpree is doing its bit to rectify this outrage with its zoo series tellies, including this one shaped like a giraffe (or a strange-coloured cow with a really long neck – we’re not sure). The company is moving into Europe, so fingers crossed that the animals will make the journey too.
10. Commodore Gravel
It’s sad to see once-great gaming firms reduced to selling stuff that gets sprinkled on your driveway… Oh, hang on, this is actually a new handheld entertainment system, capable of playing music, videos, games, and even radio and TV programmes. It’s got built-in Wi-Fi, 1GB or 2GB of internal flash memory plus an SD memory card slot, and a 2.8-inch screen. But does it play International Soccer or Paradroid?