Sony kick starts CES with a panoply of products and technologies
Sony today unveiled an array of innovative products and forward-looking technologies that span virtually all of the consumer electronics industry’s major product categories and move in new directions, including the world of 3D.
From networked Internet televisions to the world’s lightest 8-inch notebook PC (as of December 2008), Sony capped off the pre-Consumer Electronics Show press day with a dazzling assortment of new product and technology announcements.
The entertainment and electronics powerhouse is also out in full force at CES this year with representation from Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Ericsson and Sony Music Entertainment.
To begin with Sony took the wraps off of new networked BRAVIA(R) LCD high-definition television models with rich Internet applications called “BRAVIA widgets” that deliver real-time information, as well as streaming video via BRAVIA Internet Video Link capability integrated right into the TV sets.
Sony’s new XBR9 and Z-series television models are Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA(R)) compatible and feature an Ethernet connection so the sets can directly access Sony BRAVIA Internet Video Link content using an existing broadband connection. The service offers one of the largest selections of free and premium movies, TV shows, sports, music and more from partners like Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube(R), Yahoo!(R), Slacker (sm) and others.
BRAVIA Internet Widgets, enabled by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, expand and personalize the TV experience by adding on-screen applications that provide such real-time information as weather, stock updates, financial news, Yahoo! video, Flickr(R) images and other content.
Sony’s full HD 1920 x 1080 progressive (1080p) 52-inch KDL-52XBR9, 46-inch KDL-46XBR9 and 40-inch KDL-40XBR9 televisions (measured diagonally) feature a wide color gamut cold cathode fluorescent backlight (WCG-CCFL), which delivers a broader color palette, resulting in on-screen images with more natural or “life-like” colors.
The XBR9 models also include Sony’s new Motionflow(TM) 240Hz technology with its exceptionally crisp and detailed images — ideal for fast motion sports and movie action scenes. The Motionflow algorithm goes beyond traditional 120Hz technology by quadrupling the frame rate of conventional LCD televisions and interpolating three new frames. The XBR9 models will be available this spring.
Sony also unveiled its first green line of Eco BRAVIA televisions in the United States. The new VE5-series (models KDL-52VE5, KDL-46VE5 and KDL-40VE5) reduce power consumption by more than 40 percent compared to Sony’s other LCD televisions, and exceed Energy Star 3.0 requirements. The new Eco BRAVIA sets will be available in the United States this summer.
“HD is in our DNA,” said Sony Electronics President and Chief Operating Officer Stan Glasgow at the company’s pre-CES press conference here in Las Vegas. “Whether it’s our business and professional equipment — be it the cameras used to shoot most major sports events or the 4K SXRD projectors and lens adapters fueling the transition in digital cinema to 3D — to our BRAVIA TVs for the consumer market, high definition is in practically everything we do.”
In the Home
In a “home” section of its booth, Sony demonstrated a variety of high-definition television sets, as well as home audio and video products, including the latest Blu-ray Disc players, PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system and PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable) handheld entertainment system. In this section, Sony has 19 new BRAVIA flat-panel LCD HDTVs on display, ranging in screen sizes diagonally measured from 26 to 52 inches.
Sony is also presenting its multi-function DVDirect(TM) recorder line-up with two new models. These devices can quickly transfer home videos to DVDs without using a computer. The new DVDirect VRD-MC10 recorder is a step above the VRD-MC5 model now in the market, incorporating outputs for playback of the discs it creates. In addition, Sony will now offer the DVDirect Express VRD-P1 video transfer solution specifically designed to work with some of the company’s new Handycam(R) camcorders.
Out of Home
The latest VAIO PCs, digital imaging products, Walkman video MP3 players and Reader e-book devices, along with other portable innovations from Sony Ericsson and Sony Creative Software are on display in the on the go area of the booth.
Making its global debut at CES, Glasgow revealed the 8-inch VAIO(R) P series Lifestyle PC. About the length of a business envelope and roughly as thin as a cell phone, the VAIO P Series notebook weighs just 1.4 pounds and is small enough to slip into a jacket pocket or handbag while integrating full-functioning Windows Vista(R) features.
The notebook incorporates built-in wireless WAN 3G Mobile Broadband (a subscription to a third-party carrier is required), 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth(R) technologies. Users can toggle among various wireless options for the most efficient connection — Wi-Fi for working at a coffee shop; Bluetooth for peripherals; and Mobile Broadband service on the Verizon Wireless nationwide network when traveling outside the reach of hotspots.
It also incorporates real-time GPS functionality, making it easy to find restaurants, hotels or other sites of interest. The Lifestyle PC will retail for about $900. It can be preordered online beginning today at www.sony.com/pr/pseries.
Another product debut Glasgow presented was Sony’s Webbie HD(TM) cameras, which are perfect for people looking to share moments online virtually as they happen.
The two new stylish cameras make it easy to capture and upload MP4 video and still photos directly to the Web (Internet capable PC required). With a 5 times optical zoom and 20 times digital zoom on the MHS-CM1 model and 4 times digital zoom on the MHS-PM1 model, Webbie HD(TM) cameras capture daily events in high-definition video (1440×1080/30p) and 5-megapixel still photos. Embedded software makes it possible to upload content online in a few simple clicks.
Embedded PMB Portable software quickly transfers content to video and photo-sharing websites with direct upload buttons to popular sharing sites. Video files can also simply be dragged and dropped from the camera to your personal computer folders.
The Webbie HD CM1 camera will be available tonight at Sony Style(R) stores and online at sonystyle.com for about $200. The new PM1 model will be available in April for about $170.
As a leader in the high-definition camcorder segment, Sony also introduced four hard disk drive Handycam(R) camcorders with high-performance optics, large storage capacity and advanced technologies. The new HDR-XR520V, HDR-XR500V, HDR-XR200V and HDR-XR100 models preserve content in high resolution with 1920×1080 high-definition video recording and up to 12-megapixel still image capture.
Product features of the top-of-the-line HDR-XR520V unit include a 240GB hard drive (a portion of which is used for data management) that holds up to 101 hours of HD video (LP mode), embedded GPS, a back-illuminated Exmor R(TM) CMOS sensor and improved optical image stabilization. Sony is the only camcorder manufacturer that embeds GPS and Smile Shutter(TM) technologies for digital imaging applications. The new camcorders will be available in March.
The HDR-CX100 Flash Memory Handycam(R) camcorder preserves memories in high resolution by capturing 1920×1080 high-definition video and 4-megapixel photos. For around $600, the model also features intelligent Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology, 8GB of embedded memory and three color options (red, black and silver) — all in a compact design.
To help photo enthusiasts get photos they take from their cameras to a display device, Sony unveiled four new digital photo frames. The line is highlighted by two 10-inch models (DPF-X1000 and DPF-V1000), which offer SVGA resolution, a widescreen LCD, and between 1 to 2 gigabytes of memory.
On the compact camera front, Sony continues to combine powerful imaging and intelligence features to make taking great pictures easy. The entry-level W model Cyber-shot camera that Sony announced today has features that until now were only found in high-end models, including Intelligent Scene Recognition and Dynamic Range Optimizer.
Glasgow foreshadowed that the company is holding the biggest news in its camera category for the CES opening morning keynote presentation on Jan. 8, by Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Corporation. Additionally, Glasgow teased that the keynote will illuminate on new forward-looking technologies, including Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and 3D entertainment.
Also in the out-of-home area, Sony’s new Walkman player lineup includes a unique headphone style digital music player (model NWZ-W202) featuring a cord-free and wearable design. It also includes Sony’s first Walkman players (models NWZ-X1051 and NWZ-X1061) with 3-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED) touch-screens for great video playback, digital noise cancellation for improved audio fidelity, and Wi-Fi for wireless access to music services (with an Internet access point).
In addition, Sony Ericsson unveiled two Walkman and Cyber-shot mobile phones. The new W508 Walkman phone is perfect for expressing yourself with its eight customizable covers.
The 3.2 megapixel C510 Cyber-shot handset makes taking and sharing pictures effortless. It offers Face Detection, SmileShutter and PhotoFix features, as well as HP Snapfish and YouTube applications.
Exemplifying Sony’s dazzling entertainment presence at CES, Jeopardy!, the popular Sony Pictures Television quiz show, will be taping 11 episodes as part of its 25th anniversary celebration with Alex Trebek as the host. This is the first time a nationally syndicated quiz show will be produced live at CES. Combining the adjoining Jeopardy! set with Sony’s main booth at the show, the company far surpasses any other exhibitor in total CES exhibit space.
Glasgow concluded by announcing that in addition to a variety of 3D content and 3D television prototypes displayed in the booth, Sony will also be making it possible for the FOX network to broadcast tomorrow night’s BCS game in 3D live from Orlando, Fla., to about 100 movie theaters around the country, including a private screening party here in Las Vegas at the Theatre De Arts in the Paris Hotel.