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Nikko Unveils ‘R2D2’ High-Def 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 multi-functional robot R2D2 from “Star Wars.”

The multi-media 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 multi-format compatibility, and a unique remote control, which 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 playback 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 AV system. Optical audio outputs are also available for surround sound.

The R2D2 system features a dock for a video iPod so that stored MPEG4 video files, music files or digital photos can be played back on a big screen.

High-definition video images are projected using a high-quality three-chip LCoS projector.

It also includes built-in slots for SD and Memory Stick Flash cards and has a USB input for connection to digital cameras and other devices.

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 Webcam at the show. Like the projector, the Webcam ($349 suggested retail) is wireless and can be driven from room to room via remote control. The head swivels and rotates, allowing image capture from a range of angles.

“If you put him on a desk, and the subject moves out of range, the other party can control the shot, the volume, and lighting remotely over the Internet,” Goldberg said.