Multimedia devices debut

A pair of new Sony multiformat recordable DVD drives and an NEC projector that uses mirrors instead of lenses to get the picture across are among the noteworthy product announcements at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, NAB 2003, in the US.

Do It With Mirrors

NEC is previewing a projector designed to provide large images even in the tightest of spaces. The WT600 uses no lenses to display your images; instead, it has a system of four aspherical mirrors that bounce the image back and forth until it's projected onto a screen or wall.

The unique mirror system enables the WT600 to display a large image even if the projector is as close as 8 to 10 inches away from the screen. The prototype model displays images 40 to 80 inches across on the diagonal. When the projector ships this fall, it should display images up to 100 inches on the diagonal, according to Dan Zubic, NEC product line manager for projectors.

The unit weighs about 10 to 12 pounds and offers all of the usual ports and inputs, including standard RCA, S-Video, and two-way USB. You can connect it via wired or wireless networks, and it has a resolution of 1024 by 768.

The product is similar to NEC's LT260 in terms of optics and image quality, Zubic says. Pricing is not set, but Zubic expects it will sell for less than US$7000. NEC plans to formally introduce the WT600 at the InfoComm conference in June.

Multiformat DVD Support

Two new Sony units shown here update Sony's popular multiformat recordable DVD drives, the internal DRU-500A and the corresponding external model, the DRU-UL.

The new drives, like their predecessors, read and write to DVD+R/RW as well as to DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW media, which should protect the investments of buyers concerned about the ongoing DVD format wars.

The new internal DRU-510A and external DRU-510UL boost the DVD+RW and DVD+R recording speed; they support 4X recording for both, an increase from 2X DVD+RW and 2.4X DVD+R speeds in the older units. CD-RW speed also improves, from 10X to 16X. The drives continue to write DVD-R at 4X, DVD-RW at 2X, and CD-R at 24X.

Expect the internal DRU-510A to ship in early May and sell for about US$350, according to Sony. The external model will ship in June and should cost about US$430. The external drive offers both FireWire (IEEE 1394) and USB 2.0 ports. Both drives come with a full suite of software to help you burn music and video onto your chosen media.

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