Tuesday, November 2, 1999

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Kimi Quint looks at Sony's new 65-inch High Definition
digital wide screen projection TV that is on display at
Sony Expo 2000 at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Sony Expo a
show of all

The first cordless headphone
to reproduce Dolby digital sound
and a 65-inch HDTV are among
the products featured at
the Ala Moana Hotel

By Tim Ryan


EACH year in Honolulu, Sony Corp. invites gadget-hungry people to see, touch and experience the company's latest consumer products. Attendees leave dreaming how all this cool stuff might improve their increasingly digital lifestyle while mentally reconfiguring the bank account to find a way to pay for it.

At this year's three-day Sony 2000 Expo -- today through Thursday at the Ala Moana Hotel -- the company is introducing several new products, improvements on existing ones, and holiday specials like the oh-so-cute-but-do-I-really-really-need-this special edition "Aibo" robotic dog, selling for $2,500.


Bullet WHAT: Sony Expo 2000
Bullet WHEN: Today and tomorrow; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bullet WHERE: Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom
Bullet ADMISSION: Free

Karl T. Okemura, Sony Hawaii's director of sales and marketing, says there's already a buzz about some products like Aibo, which he called "an unbelievable success."

"It's initial release last year sold out in Japan in 20 minutes and four days in the United States," Okemura said. "But Sony will draw lots from people who call in orders or order through the Internet for the next batch."

Sony Hawaii has three Aibos, he said.

Okemura expects another popular item -- even at $10,000 -- will be Sony's new big-screen television: the 65-inch High Definition digital wide screen projection TV.

"We put in a circuit changer called Digital Reality Creation which takes away all the scan lines you normally see with projection televisions, and the DRC fills in all that missing information vertically and horizontally for a near-perfect picture," he said.

Then there's the Virtual Dolby Digital Headphone System, at a more affordable $549, which reproduces Dolby digital sound using infrared, cordless technology. The 10-ounce system has a range of 33 feet, and multiple infrared headphones can be used with the same transmitter.

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the first portable compact disc player, Sony is introducing the first portable CD player with a slide-in CD loading mechanism, that not only eliminates pesky hinges but allows for a thinner design The player previously known as "Discman" also has a new name -- CD Walkman. It also gets an exceptionally long 62 hours playing time from its two AA batteries, Sony says.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Sony sales representative Dean Matsunaga, helping with
preparations for Sony Expo 2000, holds "Aibo," a robotic
dog whose name is derived from the phrase, "Artificial
Intelligence roBOt." Aibo also means companion in
Japanese. The event starts today at the Ala Moana Hotel.

For those who never have time to update the pictures of the kids, Sony's offering the CyberFrame, price to be announced, a video/picture frame that displays still images or MPEG movies stored on Sony's Memory Stick digital storage media.

When it's in slide-show mode, this frame lets the user have several images displayed one at a time in a full-color, 5.5-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. Users can create a slide show of favorite images putting in intervals of 3 or 10 seconds, 1 or 15 minutes, or select a daily setting.

One of the most amazing aspects of the CyberFrame is its Automatic Angle Detector that allows the gadget to determine whether the photo is a portrait or landscape and then adjusts accordingly.

CyberFrame also will play back JPEG or MPEG movie file formats with sound from any Sony Digital Camera or Handycam Camcorder that uses the Memory Stick storage media.

Here's a quick look at some of the other items featured at Sony Hawaii's 15th annual show:

Bullet The company introduced the FD Trinitron Wega flat-screen television a year ago in four sizes 27, 32, 36 inches, and the unusual 24-inch format. This year there's the addition of a 20-inch model, $450. A major advantage of the flat screen is lack of distortion around the edges and when viewing the screen from the side.

Bullet The MXD-D3 CD player/MiniDisc recorder, $499, is the first high-speed compact disc-to-minidisc dubbing unit that allows for digital music recordings in one-half and one-quarter the amount of actual time.

Bullet The DVP-CX850D DVD/CD player, $899, is the industry's first 200-disc changer and offers the "Disc Explorer" system that helps sort, file and categorize discs;

Bullet Metallic-colored phones -- silver, green, red, and blue, $30;

Bullet Street Style Headphones with an exclusive behind-the-neck design, $40;

Bullet Psyc (as in psychedelic colors) Discman personal stereo, $139.

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