So far 2008 has been a great year for gadgets. From the first Centrino Atom-based computer and a smartphone from Sharp that will go on sale in Japan this month to Sanyo's new model of its waterproof Xacti digital still camera has even clearer video and includes the ability to follow your friends' faces underwater.

And we can't forget NEC's Lui PC, which combines a PC and digital video recorder that can be accessed over a home network or internet. So there's nothing to stop you logging into the base PC and viewing its desktop or even the recorded programmes.

We also can't overlook research and development either. We've seen the launch the Seiko Epson chip that can support a touchscreen, and means epaper can now be written on digitally. Meanwhile Sony has repeated the jaw-dropping achieved by its super-thin XEL-1 OLED, with a pair of prototype OLED display panels that are just a few tenths of a millimeter thick, which could mean ever thinner TVs in the future.

NEC Lui PC and home media server

NEC has launched a new PC and home media server called Lui. The Lui can tune into digital high-definition TV broadcasts, and stream both live and recorded programs to compatible TVs and computers. It also allows remote Windows desktop access from portable devices. It's akin to a digital video recorder and PC packed together into a single, large case and is intended to sit in the living room next to a television as a central server for multimedia content.

The top-end model has a Blu-ray Disc drive and 1TB of hard-disk storage for video built alongside a fully-fledged computer running Windows Vista Premium and based on a 2GHz Core2Duo processor and with its own 320GB hard disk drive. For this NEC is asking users to pay $3,753(£1,876). The two thin clients dedicated to accessing the Lui are also available. One model looks like a small laptop PC and has a 10.6in screen while a second looks more like an Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) and comes with a 4.1in screen.

The former will go on sale for $854 (£427) and the latter for $475 (£238). Their use is dependent on a network connection and link back to the home Lui server. NEC has no plans to sell the Lui PC overseas.

The NEC Lui PC and home media server

NEXT PAGE: A waterproof camera and new mobile phones from Samsung and LG

  1. We round-up the coolest gadgets launched this month
  2. A waterproof camera and new mobile phones from Samsung and LG
  3. The Scarlet TV series and razor-thin OLED panels
  4. The Fujitsu wooden laptop