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As prices gradually fall, Japanese consumers are increasingly eyeing flat-panel televisions not just for their good looks but also as a way to save electricity and space. Shipments of LCD TVs this year have already passed 600,000 units and are up 41% on the same period last year while shipments of PDPs, which are more expensive, totalled 92,000 at the end of August, a jump of more than 300% on last year.
Several companies introduced new line-ups of TVs just before Ceatec and prototype displays were on display at Ceatec, such as a 15-inch monitor with organic light emitting display monitor from Sanyo and Eastman Kodak and a monitor that gives the illusion of three dimensions from Sharp.
Alongside the displays, prototype next-generation optical disc recorders were on show, most based on the Blu-ray system that is currently under development by a consortium of nine companies. However, Toshiba showed a prototype of its competing Advanced Optical Disc system
AODs can store between 20Gbytes and 27Gbytes and so are aimed at recording high-definition broadcasts., a market which is still in its infancy in Japan and the USA and virtually nonexistent elsewhere in the world. Until a market exists, and the technology is perfected, the recorders are not expected to become commercial products.
A related area in which commercial products are appearing much faster is that of DVD and hard disk drive based video recorders. Many companies had their latest commercial products on display including Sony, which showed its recently announced Cocoon Channel Server CSV-E77, a Linux-based hard disk drive recorder with 160Gbyte drive.
The company has also launched a second hard disk recorder, the Channel Server CSV-S57, at the show. It has an 80Gbyte disk and fewer features than the Cocoon device although has a lower price.
Sharp demonstrated its latest hard disk drive based recorder for high definition broadcasts. With a 160Gbyte hard disk, the prototype has enough space to record several hours of broadcasts but is expected to be considerably more expensive than current hard disk recorders, a Sharp representative said.