Japan's upcoming switch to digital terrestrial broadcasting is prompting computer manufacturers to come up with new devices that stream digital TV as well as perform all the other functions of a PC.
Fujitsu Ltd. has announced no fewer than 22 additions to its FMV series of computers that are "designed to meet modern lifestyles," including a number that can replace the family television set.
The Esprimo family of desktops includes the FH- and EH-class of all-in-one computers that have built-in liquid crystal displays, all of which are equipped with tuners for terrestrial digital TV broadcasts.
The FH models can even simultaneously tune in two digital programs transmitted over terrestrial broadcast, broadcast satellite or 110-degree communications satellite. On top of that, they have an ultra-long "10x double recording mode" that permits the machine to store up to 1,789 hours of programming.
Sony has equally high expectations for its VAIO range in the months ahead, anticipating shipments of 8.8 million units during the fiscal year to April 1, up from 6.8 million computers in the previous year.
Demand has been in part encouraged by Japan's transition to digital broadcasting this summer, meaning that all-in-one desktop PCs with TV playback and Blu-ray recording and playback capability are proving popular.
NEC is another developer that has made the introduction of three-dimensional images one of the core technologies of its computers, with the Valuestar series acting as a bridge between a computer and a television to take advantage of the full digitalization of terrestrial TV. Another factor behind the popularity of NEC products is its alliance with Yamada to incorporate the cutting-edge Yamaha Sound System in the Valuestar W and N series.
The Fujitsu range also includes the much talked-about Esprimo FH99/CM - the first desktop machine that enables a user to see three-dimensional images without the need for special glasses.
The new computers will hit shelves in Japan on January 20 and are expected to be released in overseas markets in the coming months.