For folks who have a tough time leaving their TV sets even to cook or use the bathroom, a few Japanese companies have come up with a way to let customers bring their tubes with them.
Electronics makers Sony, Sharp and Casio have created flat-panel displays about the size of a thin spiral notebook that let consumers watch their TV shows wirelessly in any room in the house. The monitors receive their signals from a base station with a Wi-Fi transmitter.
Sharp sells such a set online and through the Good Guys electronics store for $1,300 to $1,700. Sony plans to release its 7-inch and 12.1-inch LocationFree portable broadband LCD TV sets ($1,000 and $1,500, respectively) in October. And Casio is poised to sell its 10-inch Xfer XF-1000 Wi-Fi TV on June 13 for the equivalent of $1,500 (170,000 yen) in Japan. The company plans to introduce the Xfer to the United States in “early 2005,” said Casio spokeswoman Cheryl Balbach Nelson.
All three models offer similar features. They contain the same components: TV monitor and transmitter box. Once the TV sets are charged, they hold about three hours of battery life. The selling point, of course, is the Wi-Fi, which replaces cables between the monitor and various components of the entertainment center, including the cable box, stereo, VCR and DVD player.