LCD price system: Amid the expensive scramble to sell 3-D televisions, Sony has come up with a new series of high-definition LCD TV sets that are fairly reasonably priced.

The BX30H sets combine good quality vision with 500-gigabyte hard drives for storing video footage. The relatively lower prices are in part due the modest screen sizes the BX models come in: 22-inch, 26-inch and 32-inch screens.

Sony doesn’t skimp on picture reproduction, however, with a number of features to enhance image quality. The sets have 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and CCFL back lighting. This system uses cold cathode fluorescent tubes to provide a more economical method of back lighting, which in turn provides brighter and better-quality pictures. The 1366 × 768 resolution is not fully high-definition, but in screens of these smaller dimensions the difference is not noticeable. It has 24p True Cinema, which means it puts out pictures at 24 frames per second. That is in line with what you see in cinemas, hence the moniker. The BX series also have 5.1 channel audio output to maximize sound performance as well as Bravia Engine 2 and Bravia Sync technologies to further boost image quality and HDMI plugs for connectivity. The design is pleasantly simple with color choices of black or white. The BX series comes on the market June 10 with the 22-inch model costing ¥79,800, the 26-inch costign ¥94,800 and the 32-inch costing ¥99,800.

In the age of Ethernet networks, it isn’t clear just how valuable a hard disk in a TV is, especially if you are recording high-definition content that eats up storage. But considering the price, and general quality of the BX screens, the bonus feature is enough to make these sets tempting offers. As long as you don’t need something bigger of course. www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/201003/10-0309B/

Memory lane: Panasonic’s RX-D45 portable CD player is a throw back to the olden days. It’s a soundsystem complete with the familiar cylindrical shape featuring a single speaker at each end covered in metallic mesh. In the middle are a handful of buttons and a small LCD screen that control the device’s operations. It has a front-loading CD tray and microphone input. It also features a telescopic aerial to improve the reception of the FM/AM tuner. The speakers are 8-cm 2-Watt models that use a bass reflex system. In this kind of configuration, the sound from the rear of the diaphragm in each speaker is used to boost the efficiency of the system at low frequencies. This is supposed to produce a better sound than more typical closed box speakers. But on the other hand, it also uses a 1Bit DAC, a cheaper means of producing sound with a consequently more limited performance than more expensive equipment. The gadget will cost ¥11,800 when it hits the market on April 9.

Panasonic might seem to lack imagination with the RX-D45, but for those not in love with portable digital-music players, who instead want to play their CDs on the go, the simple device is a good, cheap option. ctlg.panasonic.jp/product/info.do?pg=04&hb=RX-D45

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