By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The Thomson Consumer Accessories Solutions Business introduced four accessories products intended to improve consumers' home entertainment experience by enhancing or simplifying performance. These include an intelligent TV remote control, two wireless headphones and a computer input lineup that frees the mouse from the desktop.
Thomson introduced the products last month at the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show press preview at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York.
Sold under its high-end Acoustic Research brand, Thomson's ARR1540 universal learning remote control offers an LCD touch screen, integrated atomic clock and internal room temperature sensor, and is designed to put users in complete command of their home theater systems. This “intelligent remote” serves as “command central,” controlling up to 15 components and containing an extensive “smart code” library for the operation of multiple consumer electronics product brands, including HDTV/HD tuner codes.
At the touch of a single key, the LCD touch screen on the ARR1540 displays all control options, while a dedicated test key simplifies programming and verifies code selection. A total of 31 programmable keys are provided for each component, while 10 macro settings provide up to 25 steps and event timers. Memory backup, while charging the batteries, saves all customization and programming. The unit is set for early 2005 availability at $179.95 suggested retail.
Two induction-charging RCA-brand wireless headphones are said to deliver a crisp, clean sound for listening outside the house. Called the WHP175 and WHP170, the 900MHz wireless headphones can transmit audio signals through walls, floors and ceilings. Both utilize induction charging without the need for cable connections or fine adjustment on the docking station. Headphones can be placed any which way in the cradle and will charge.
The WHP175, at a suggested $129.95 retail, features auto-tuning, whereby the headphones are automatically tuned to the transmitter with the press of a button and remain in tune thereafter. The WHP170, without auto-tuning, has a suggested $99.95 retail. Both use rechargeable 600mAh nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that are included. The WHP175 will be available early in 2005, and the WHP170 was set for late November availability.
Thomson's recent acquisition of Gyration, the company that provides low-cost, high-performance miniature gyroscopes for CE applications, is allowing the French maker to consider new products down the road based on Gyration's wireless consumer products and motion sensors that include its already-available computer mice and controller products that operate “effortlessly” in the air.
One of these products, the Gyration Ultra GT cordless optical mouse, GP1000-001, at a suggested $79.95 retail, is already selling at retail, but is said to be a precursor to similar Thomson products. The mouse provides users with optimum comfort and control for the PC or MAC, and for presentation functions with little more than subtle hand movements. With the wave of a hand, users control a PC, with up to a 30-foot range.
The GP1000-001 includes a rechargeable NiMH battery with desktop charger, RF receiver with USB connector and Media Center control software for Windows and a quick-start guide.
A GP210-001 Ultra Professional Optical Mouse, at a suggested $179.95, is designed for slide show presentations, including free-hand drawings, highlighting and special effects.
Both units are available individually or in combo packs with compact or full-size keyboards, and the USB dual receiver provides the capability for simultaneous operations of both mouse and keyboard.
A cordless remote control, GP2000-001, aimed at consumers with Media Center PC technology, has a suggested $149.95, and operates on four AAA batteries. It provides in-air control for Media Center Edition products with a range of up to 100 feet.
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