ZVUE! $100 Personal Video Player Causes a Stir

At a price point that is sure to create interest, HandHeld Entertainment are going after the Christmas “tween” market with the $100 ZVUE! Player.

Long suspected to be vapourware, until it was actually seen in an interview. The device is based around Secure Digital/MultiMedia Cards and an ultra bright 2.5 inch full-colour screen (still TFT based, not OLED). About the size of an iPod, the ZVUE! will play full motion videos, MP3s and display digital images. The media cards are being branded as ZCARDS! and will be priced from $5.99 upwards, depending on capacity and content. The player has no inbuilt user memory and needs a media card to function.

Connectivity is provided via a USB1.1 socket and it features, a rather sociable, two headphone sockets. The battery life of around eight to ten hours is provided through standard AA batteries.

Nathan Schulhof, president and chief executive officer of HandHeld Entertainment said: “The ZVUE! has the right combination of features, price and content to make it the ultimate, ‘must-have’ and ‘must-give’ device for the 2003 Holiday Season.” The device certainly sounds interesting, but we’re worried about the proprietary format – though since Schulhof is credited as the inventor of the portable MP3 player, he may just know what he’s doing.

The ZVUE only plays files encoded in the proprietary HHe format – so you won’t be able to play just any old media files on it. This system will live or die based on the quality of the content available for it.

Retail content packages are to include cartoons, music videos and extreme sports.

HandHeld Entertainment

CNet PVP Roundup

Review of six 19″ LCD screen

Review of six 19″ LCD screens, the majority of them are under 1,000 Euros. The test are particularly tough including high-res game play. The screen all use two type of screens, the MVA (Fujitsu) or PVA (the Samsung version of MVA), with both of them being 25ms response times (the average time required for a liquid crystal cell to go from active to inactive and back to active again).

They’re all (Acer L1931, Iiyama AS4821DT BK, Nec LCD1980SX, Nec LCD1920NX, Samsung SyncMaster 192B, Sony SDM-S93) judged as pretty much the same standard.

Review link

New 22 Inch TFT LCD Displays from Fujitsu Target PC Multimedia and Television Markets

Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe has announced the introduction of two 22-inch high-definition, full colour active matrix TFT-LCD displays for PC multimedia and television applications. A new robust structure makes the panels resistant to external stress and vibration, making them ideal for use in consumer environments.

Giving an effective 22-inch diagonal screen size equivalent to a 25-inch CRT, these latest LCD displays integrate Fujitsu’s MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment) ‘Premium’ technology, which offers significant enhancements in contrast ratio and overall viewing angle, while reducing response time down to 25ms.

Fujitsu’s advanced TFT-LCD MVA process technology features liquid crystal molecules angled in more than one direction within a single cell. This is achieved by the division of the cell into two or more regions, called domains, and by using protrusions on the glass surfaces to pre-tilt the molecules in the desired direction. By combining very small areas of molecules orientated in two directions, one opposite the other, the brightness of the cells is made to appear uniform over a wide range of viewing angles.

This unique patented technology provides what is widely acknowledged as the best performance of any TFT-LCD panels currently available. Typically, MVA ’Premium’ displays provide a viewing angle of 170° in the horizontal and vertical directions and 160° in any direction. The displays offer a high contrast ratio of to 600:1, a high brightness of 500cd/m2, a palette of 16.7 million colours and a colour purity of 85% as defined by the European Broadcast Union. MVA technology ensures that panels are free from grey scale inversion and colour distortion.

The response times of the new displays are as fast as 25ms, the rise time being 15ms and the decay time 10ms or less. The 10ms response from white to black, which is the most recognisable transition to the human eye, is particularly fast, making MVA LCD technology particularly suitable for reproducing moving images.

The LCD displays incorporate twelve replaceable backlight CCFLs (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) with a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. An on-board inverter power supply and an LVDS interface are provided.

The FLC56XWC8V (*XGA) PC multimedia version provides a resolution of 1280 pixels (horizontal) x 768 (vertical) with a pixel pitch of 0.375 mm and the FLC56UWC8V (*HDTV+) television version offers 1920 x 1200 pixels with a pitch of 0.247 mm.

Note* XGA = Extended VGA. HDTV+ = High Definition TV+

Garry Kasparov vs 3d Virtual Reality

Garry Kasparov will be playing another Man vs Computer chess match at the New York Athletic Club starting 11th November this year.

The unique twist on this match, is that using the X3D Display, the chess board will appear to be “floating in the air between man and computer” and he will use voice commands to move the virtual 3D pieces. 3D viewing has been possible for quite a while, but X3D Technologies are claiming X3D Display is viewable by the naked eye, rather than with the normal synchronised shutter glasses.

Billed as “the most dominant chess program and the most powerful 3D software to challenge the greatest chess brain of all time”, it will be Webcasted at www.X3D.com.

This event is a little different from a lot of their other sponsored entertainment content, which is headlined by Swimsuit models in 3D.


3D Flat Screen

I don’t know how many of you have seen 3D moving images; I went many years ago to the 3D showing at the IMAX theatre in New York. When you got into the theatre you donned a large, semi-comfortable headset that had an Infra Red sensor on the top of it. The theatre used this to control the speed on the shutters opening and closing over each eye, to ensure it synced with the film projection. The film didn’t feel that 3D until the shark came swimming into the theatre – gasps all round.

Following ten years of research in the UK, Sharp Laboratories has created a flat LCD screen that doesn’t need goggles. Amazingly they claim products using this will be available early next year.

Clearly I’m looking forward to seeing on but I bet the movie and TV companies of the World must be rubbing their hand – having just got everyone to buy DVD’s of the things they already had on VHS – next, they’ll all have to get the 3D version.