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Panasonic's upcoming HD digital slide projector

Panasonic's upcoming HD digital slide projector

For the past few years, several of Panasonic's plasma TVs included memory card slots so that you could view photos stored on SD/MMC cards. Now the company's gone the external route, announcing the HDTV Photo Player DMW-SDP1, which allows you to view your photos "in 1080i high-definition quality." The little box will retail for $129.95 this fall and comes with a remote to navigate through your images and take control of your slide shows.

The HDTV Photo Player DMW-SDP1 connects to your HDTV via an included component video cable and Panasonic says that it "differs from other photo viewers by utilizing the Venus Engine III image processing LSI, the same system found in Panasonic's acclaimed line of LUMIX cameras." The company adds, "The Venus Engine III affords users a quick response time by dramatically reducing start-up time and further reduces the image-to-image interval to as short as 1 second."

As you might expect from a digital slide projector, you get some transition effects to spice up your slide shows, and the DMW-SDP1 also supports motion JPEG playback. Besides the standard VGA (640x480), wide aspect VGA (848x480) motion images, Panasonic says, "the SDP1 offers dynamic motion image playback which especially benefits viewing on wide-aspect HDTVs." Additionally, the player will offer high-definition motion image (1,280x720, at 15fps) that's recordable with the company's LUMIX DMC-LX2, and you'll be able to connect the DMW-SDP1 to PictBridge-enabled printers via USB.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the player accepts only Panasonic-backed memory card formats (SD, SDHC, and MMC). You'd think a company would want to broaden its market for a product like this and add slots for more formats. But what do I know, I'm just a lowly tech editor.