Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular was held last Thursday evening in the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York. It’s a press-and-analyst-only event that introduces some of the fall season’s new technology-oriented products to the press.
Senior Analyst and Editor
Pepcom is not intentionally a display event, but given the extent to which consumer electronic products depend on displays, it’s inevitable that the single-minded display junky will find interesting applications to think about.
The most interesting of those applications were to be found in cameras. (Many major camera manufacturers - including Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Samsung, and Kodak - have discovered Pepcom.)
The most innovative camera display application was the inclusion of a picoprojector in the pocket-sized Nikon CoolPix S1000pj. (See photo. The projector lens is in the middle of the camera, right above the CoolPix logo.) Insight Media has been following picoprojector technology and products closely. The technology is exciting and challenging - and has often seemed to be a solution looking for a problem. But in the S1000pj, Nikon seems to have discovered a natural application for the technology.
I spent only a few minutes with the camera, but I was impressed with the projector. In a hall with moderately bright lighting, the 10-lumen, VGA picoprojector delivered a pleasing, decently bright, well-converged image when positioned to produce an image of about 8 inches on the diagonal. A dedicated button on top of the camera turned the projector on and off. Nothing fussy. It just worked, as a product for this market has to do. Nikon says the projector can produce images up to 40 inches (presumably in a dark room) and that the camera’s battery will power the projector for up to an hour.
At an MSRP of $429, the S1000pj seems a bit pricey for the general consumer market, but Nikon Senior Technical Manager Lindsay Silverman said retailers were ordering the camera at greater volume than Nikon had anticipated. He also said that the picoprojector is Nikon’s own design. We look forward to seeing the picoprojector module in detail and to evaluating the S1000pj in the near future.
The S1000pj seems to share its basic compact body and many specifications with Nikon’s new S70, which is notable for its 3.5-inch AMOLED touch-screen monitor. (The S1000pj has a 2.7-inch LCD.)
Samsung’s novel use of displays in cameras is to add a second one. The company’s two DualView models place a 1.5-inch LCD on the front of the camera "to give consumers the ability to truly step out from behind the camera and put themselves in the picture." The top-of-the-line TL225 also features a wide-format, high-pixel-content (1.15 Mpixels) main display with 3.5-inch diagonal and touch screen with haptic feedback. That’s a few more pixels than even prosumer digital SLRs, such as the Nikon D90 and Canon EOS 50D, have.
At the other end of Samsung’s long table, Jason Redmond was showing off the company’s Model 8000 TV with LED edge-lighting. The 8000 is 1.2 inches thick, and the company’s new model with direct LED backlighting is a just slightly thicker 1.6 inches. That direct-lit model, originally called the Model 9000, is now called the 8500. It shares the 8000’s construction except for the different backlight, Redmond said. Samsung was also showing off its first consumer PC monitor with LED edge-lighting. Pricing on Crutchfield for the 8000 model is $3,009, while the 8500 model is available for pre-order at $4,499, so a $1,500 difference to upgrade to a thicker, direct backlight unit. Both feature White LEDs.
Toshiba, regrettably, has joined the manufacturers who confusingly and inaccurately insist on calling their LED-backlit LCD-TVs "LED TVs." Toshiba is using the misnomer to describe its Model 55SV670U direct-LED-lit, 55-inch LCD-TV, which is in stores now. The 55SV670U is a hefty 4.45 inches thick, but otherwise has cutting-edge specifications. The MSRP is $2999. The 46-inch version is $2299.
And, being shown only for the second time in the US was Toshiba’s first Blu-ray Disk player. When I commented on the irony of Toshiba promoting a Blu-ray player after the bitter format war that ended with Toshiba’s HD DVD format giving way to Sony’s Blu-ray, a Toshiba representative said, "And it’s not over yet." I wonder what that means.