|Nikko R2-D2 home-entertainment system with Millenium Falcon remote (click on image to see larger view)|
January 10, 2007 - So you stood in line 48 hours to see Star Wars: Episode III and still fantasize about Princess Leia in a gold bikini? That no longer qualifies you as the ultimate Star Wars super-fan. Toy manufacturer Nikko Electronics has raised admission standards for that club to a new level with its R2-D2 Home Entertainment System ($2,499).
Everyone's favorite droid is packed with more technology than even George Lucas could have envisioned. First, it's a fully capable LCoS projector (800 x 600 resolution) that delivers up to an 80-inch image - on either a wall or the ceiling. Staying true to form, images appear from R2's holo-projector (as in Episode IV, when he broadcast the "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi" message from Leia).
For sources, R2 includes a DVD player that also spins CDs and discs loaded with MP3 or MP4 files. Auxiliary inputs (composite- and S-Video and stereo analog audio) allow you to use R2 to project other video sources, such as your favorite Star Wars game title. You can also show the Death Star plans loaded on your laptop via the VGA input. Of course, how up-to-date could R2 be without iPod support? A discreet front panel swivels around to reveal a dock that accepts all current-generation iPods with connectors on the bottom; besides playing music, R2 can beam photo and video files stored on the iPod. A variety of memory-card slots and a USB port round out R2's inputs.
R2-D2 is totally self-contained, with a 20-watt amplifier that can play stereo or simulated surround from internal speakers. He can also emit 11 authentic sounds from the films. Alternatively, you can use a built-in FM transmitter to broadcast audio to a local system or take the digital bitstream from R2's optical digital output.
And in case all that's not enough to engage your hyperdrive, R2 is fully controllable from an infrared remote modeled on the Millenium Falcon. Drive him from room to room, so the entertainment can follow you anywhere.
Nikko also demonstrated a light saber-styled Skype phone that doubles as a remote control for the included mini-R2-D2 web cam ($299). Mini-R2 can be viewed and controlled over the Internet from anywhere in the world, accompanied by "realistic" saber audio effects.
The Super Geek title is now officially back up for grabs. May the Force be with you!
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