We have several bakeries in our area. One of them has recently gone hitech to encourage sale in these more constrained times. I don’t know if it works or not, but here is what they did.

Samsung LN32B360 - 32 Widescreen 720p LCD HDTV

First they bought a large screen LCD TV. I’m not sure of the exact size but I would reckon it’s either 32″ or 37″ wide, but I’m guessing something like the Samsung LN32B360 – 32″ Widescreen 720p LCD HDTV would be about the right size. To get the best, you will need HDMI and a decent screen size and resolution, too.

WD TV HD Media Player

Then they bought one of these smart little devices: WD TV HD Media Player which connects through HDMI to play full HD video files, audio files and photo files. Connected through HDMI or even traditional AV Cable, you will be able to create presentations from your display products (cakes, baked goods, breads), behind-the-scenes videos, videos from parties and gatherings, or even slideshows (converted to video formats) each of which will showcase your baked goods for customers. In fact, the display was big enough that it could be seen from outside the store.

Since the connectivity is provided through USB ports on the back of the device, you can add usb drives, large external drives and almost anything else that can be connected via USB for storage. I was wondering if you could add an external DVD drive. I think it should work, though its access speed won’t be as fast as some of the cards you can buy now.

We’d thought of using something similar for our school, as a way to create an external way to showcase our students’ talents. We are able to use YouTube and FLVs for video posting on the Web, but we have nothing to showcase to prospective customers and their children exactly what we’re doing.

I had considered using a CRT TV with a cheap DVD player, but there’s a lot of trouble making DVDs, getting the quality right and fiddling with the recording settings. But if you could simply use any output files in AVI, WMV or MPEG formats… that would save a LOT of time, produce a better result, and enable me to create channels of videos for different occasions… Even just the capturing of the video files would be faster on a device like a hard-drive based VideoCam so files would be created just once, then copied, edited and resaved. I predict that I could save about 1/3 of the time from copying and making DVDs alone! oh, the possibilities.

No words from my baker friend if this helps sell more products… but who cares? It’s still cool.

Addendum: In the news – it seems that Tokyo’s Toy Show opened with some of the greatest high-tech gadgets from Japan. Doraemon is now a companion robot by Bandai. “…The 16-centimeter-high device has a vocabulary of 1,300 words and will react to conversation from its owner, although it lacks the ability to really understand what’s being said…” So perhaps choosing a sun-powered battery charger for those expensive toys might be a life saver!