Fully Charged: Pioneer is back in the TV biz, and the incoming PS Vita Slim and Vita TV

Start your day the techie way, with our morning round-up of the latest news
Pioneer Kuro

Pioneer is back in the TV game – in name at least

A few years ago, Pioneer made the best televisions in the world. The Kuro range of plasmas offered such detail, such contrast and such deep, dark black levels that they could reduce a 33-year-old single man to tears of pure joy in less than ten seconds. But despite the Kuro plasmas offering picture quality that was objectively years ahead of their rivals, nobody bought them, because they could snap up inferior (but still decent) TVs from the likes of Samsung and LG at a fraction of the cost. So eventually Pioneer cut its losses and stopped making TVs altogether. It was a sad day for those 33-year-old men. It was a sad day for us all.

Well, now the Pioneer name is coming back to TVs. Dixons has announced that it’ll be selling full HD Pioneer-branded models in 40, 46 and 50in sizes in Scandinavia from December.

But before you get excited, consider a couple of things: these TVs aren’t Kuros. In fact they aren’t even plasmas – they’re LCDs. Pioneer sold its plasma business and patents to Panasonic years ago, and this partnership with Dixon is almost certainly a marketing exercise from the retailer rather than a reason to celebrate. Should they launch in SG, we’ll be looking carefully at the new Pioneer sets to see if they deserve the name on the front. [Source: ERT]

PS Vita Slim and Vita TV coming your way

It’s amazing how a cool change of clothes and a slimmed down figure can do wonders for your appeal. The new Vita Slims come in two limited editions - the Gundam Breaker as part of a  starter pack with plastic Gundam figures (S$399) and the God Eater 2 Fenrir Edition ($369), as well as six other colour combinations (S$299) for the more conservative gamer.

The new hardware is almost a fifth slimmer and lighter than the original and its 5-inch display comes fronted in HD LCD for real believable gaming.

On a separate note, the Vita TV (S$149) is a microconsole that will allow users to play more than 600 titles for PS Vita on the big screen. And when you can tear yourself away from gaming, the Vita TV streams movies too. It’s also available bundled with a DualShock 3 controller for S$219.

The PS Vita Slim will be available in time for Christmas shopping on 14 November 2013, while Vita TV fans will have to practice patience for a while longer as the mini console will only be available on 16 January 2014.


Additional reporting by Elissa Loi

Russia says: squat for your subway ticket

Russia has found a novel way to promote the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics: making subway train passengers exercise to earn a free subway ticket. The Moscow metro has installed a ‘squat booth’ (our name, not theirs) in one station that tasks commuters with performing 30 squats in two minutes. If they succeed, they’re rewarded with a single-journey ticket (normal value: about 60p).

It’s all part of the Russian Olympic Committee’s campaign to bring ‘Olympic values’ to everyday life in the country ahead of next February’s events. Other examples popping up in Russian cities include pedal-powered smartphone chargers and transforming buses’ hanging straps into activity-tracking bands.

[Source: Discovery]