On August 25th, Sony held a small reception for members of the press and public to showcase their upcoming product lines for the holiday season. You better really like 3D, because it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and it’s going to be pervasive come the 2010 holidays.
The Sony offerings were confined to a single small room. On display were a few new 3D TVs, updates to the VAIO line, digital cameras, smart phones, 3D Blu-Ray players, and sound systems. Noticeably absent though was the Playstation 3 and its soon to be released Move accessory line. There were no formal lectures or demonstrations; the products were meant for hands-on sampling, though there were several Sony reps offering assistance and able to answer questions at their stations. Despite being touted as an event to show off new product lines and soon-to-be-released items, most of the products on display have been out for quite some time. I took a few buddies with me and explored the different stations, tried out the 3D glasses (big and heavy), and played with a handful of “toys”.
Below are a few of the stand-outs that I was able to have some one on one time with:
First up is the Bravia NX810 line of 3D TVs, releasing in September in 46, 55, and 60-inch screens. They start at $2700 and each subsequent size will add an additional $1000. These are all 1080p, contain built in Wi-Fi, DynamicEdge LED edge backlighting adjusting to the ambient light in the room, MotionflowPRO 240Hz motion compensation technology to produce smooth fast-moving images, as well as other standard Bravia-features. In addition, the stand the TV sits on allows the screen to be tilted up by 6 degrees to compensate for TVs on low tables. As far as picture goes…well, how can 3D look bad on a gorgeous 60″ screen? Unfortunately none of the three come with the 3D glasses or the signal emitter–roughly an additional $200 or so for two glasses and emitter.
Also coming in September will be the Sony DSC-WX5 Cybershot 12.2MP digital camera. This little guy has a number of pretty slick features which should make even the most amateur photographer feel like a pro. Its Auto mode can evaluate a scene for high motion and engage a multi-shot mode in order to ensure you capture the best shot, it contains background defocus which takes two shots to identify the background and the subject then blurs the background to create a bokeh effect (I had to look that up), and a flash mode which takes an additional shot without the flash in order to use for a color reference when shading the picture with flash. None of these modes were actually shown on the floor though because…this camera also has a 3D sweep panorama mode. How this works is by slowly sweeping the camera horizontally while pressing the shutter. The camera then stitches the result together to create a 3D panoramic shot. This didn’t work so well in my limited time with it, however the sample images a Sony rep displayed from Yosemite did look kinda neat. In order to view the 3D images though, the camera must be connected via HDMI to a compatible TV. The LCD camera screen simulates the 3D images when you tilt the camera back and forth—the effect is like looking at one of those hologram stickers. In addition to still shots, it can capture HD video both at 60i and 30p. This will retail for about $300 and is available in either black or silver.
Moving away from the 3D toys, there’s the Dash, which is available now at about $200. This was actually my favorite item of the show, and currently sitting in my Amazon wishlist. It is touted as a personal Internet viewer (very similar to the Chumby), but it’s more like Internet at a glance. Through a series of apps, you have access to various websites and can check facebook status updates, the latest news stories, the weather and traffic, or stream Netflix from anywhere with a WiFi connection. It has a 7″ color touch screen, but it’s meant to function primarily as a souped up alarm clock–waking you up with tones, mp3s, or Internet radio. Imagine waking up to your favorite song, getting the latest celebrity gossip from TMZ while still laying in bed, rolling over to check the weather before heading to the closet, and having a final glance at the traffic report before heading off to work.
Those were the highlights for me at the meet-up, otherwise there wasn’t much different than you’d see on a trip to an average Best Buy. But, hey, the view from Sony’s 35th floor was pretty sweet!