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Nikko Unveils ‘R2D2’ HD Projector

Nikko Home Electronics (South Hall 2 25405 and Sands 69439A) will launch here a unique high-definition-capable LCoS front projector designed to look and sound like the multifunctional robot R2D2 from “Star Wars.”

The multimedia home theater projector, called the R2D2 home entertainment projection system (shipping in March at a $2,500 suggested retail), will incorporate a DVD player with multiformat compatibility and a unique remote control that is shaped like the Star Wars Millennium Falcon spaceship.

The robot will project a high-quality video image, up to 80 inches vertically, on walls or ceilings, in a manner similar to the way the movie’s R2D2 robot projected a holographic video communiqué from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode IV.”

In addition, the R2D2 system will play back all 12 of R2D2’s noises from the movie, to add to the illusion of a fully functioning robot. Using the remote, users can drive the motorized projector from room to room.

“With all the detailing, we created an exact copy of the R2D2 robot that is a high-performance video projector unlike anything in market,” said Norman Goldberg, Nikko home electronics VP.

The unit’s built-in DVD player will accept DVD videos and audio CDs, including MP3 playback.

Stereo audio can be played through the system’s built-in speakers or transmitted via FM radio frequency to a home or portable A/V system. Optical audio outputs are also available for surround sound.

The R2D2 system features a dock for a video-capable iPod so that stored MPEG-4 video files, music files or digital photos can be played back on a big screen. It also includes built-in slots for SD and Memory Stick flash cards and has a USB input.

With the R2D2, Nikko is getting into the home theater projector market for the first time through its newly created home electronics division, said Goldberg. Nikko’s core business has been in the manufacture of remote controls and remote-controlled toys, which are also sold through its erector division.

The new division is currently plotting a distribution strategy, Goldberg said.

“We know mass merchants, but we don’t believe the toy network is the right place for this [projector],” Goldberg said, adding that the home electronics division expects to target A/V specialty dealers with assisted sales support.

The company will also unveil an R2D2 Skype Web cam at the show. Like the projector, the Web cam ($349 suggested retail) is wireless and can be driven from room to room via remote control. The head swivels and rotates.