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Gizmo trend: TV in a card

Dubai: A Dubai-based inventor has put a TV in a greeting card, literally.

This ‘Hallmark-of-the-digital-world' invention is the brainchild of Britons Russell Lawley-Gibbs, a Xerox executive in Dubai, and his partner Robert Green, a video producer, who together came up with the new TV-in-a-card gizmo.

Pop open the cover and it reveals a 4.3-inch 320 x 240-pixel resolution LCD screen. A custom chip powers the micro-thin display with built-in storage that can hold about 30 minutes of video.

The idea was hatched during a conversation Gibbs and Green had one lazy afternoon on the Dubai Marina beach. "With Dubai, the city that has so many innovations, the fit seemed perfect. Dubai - where everything is possible - actually was the inspiration behind the card," said Gibbs.

The electronics are sourced from Asia, but the packaging can be customised.

Rob, who spent many years in video production, said: "If you send out a DVD, nobody watches it, but send out a TV in a card, where all the person has to do is open the card, [and] everybody watches it." He said he would have been delighted to provide Prince William and Kate Middleton with a memory of their happy day, with a customised wedding card. "We came in just a bit late."

The cost gets cheaper per piece with more orders.

"So, a single five-minute video will set you back about $90 (Dh331), but if you have as many friends as the royals you could expect to pay half (between $40 (Dh147) and $50 (Dh184) ) of that."

Gibbs thinks it will appeal to "special people in your life" - your spouse, parents or children - or special customers for corporate users.

By bridging the gap between ‘same old, same old' direct mail and digital content, the duo think their gear will take mailing to new heights and keep postmen busy.

But who will buy these cards?

According to Gibbs, their customers range from individuals who want to send personal greetings - a new baby, a special birthday, a video CV - to companies who want to promote products such as showcasing a venue, luxury goods or spa.

High-end car makers can also use it to send out test driving invites. For the green crowd, one version of the card has a small solar panel powering the battery. The duo are confident it will be a hit among the elderly too. "An awful lot of people still don't use the internet," said Gibbs.

The cards also plug directly into a PC or Mac via USB and videos can be downloaded and copied across AVIs or MP4-format videos.

Vital Specs

Size: 4.3-inch LCDResolution: 320 x 240-pixelCapacity: 30 minutes of videoPrice: $40 (Dh147)to $90 (Dh331)

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