Sony Press Conference – CES 2011

Posted Wed Jan 5, 2011 at 10:25 PM PST by Dick Ward

If you’re looking for impressive, Sony’s press conference is the place to be. They went all out, introducing tons of new products and even wheeling out some celebrities to make things more interesting.

The one thing that became very clear during Sony’s CES press conference was that Sony loves 3D. Not just loves, but loves 3D. Every branch of the company is banking on 3D being successful, and the sheer amount of dedication that Sony is putting into the new tech will be a big help.

To introduce the conference, a 3D video plays on a massive screen that must be something like 70 feet long and 15 feet high. The video is impressive, and leads into an extended trailer for the upcoming film ‘Green Hornet.’ At the end, the stage revolves and out comes the Green Hornet's car carrying Sony president Howard Stringer along with the movie’s stars Seth Rogan and Jay Chou.

Stringer comes out in 3D glasses and forgets to take them off for the whole first segment. When he comes out for the second, he calls it out as proof that 3D glasses aren’t that uncomfortable after all. It’s a good gag from the CEO.

Stringer announces that the 24/7 3D channel – now called 3net – will be launching in the next few months. It’s a dreadful name, but the concept is certainly welcome to fans of 3D that don’t have anything new to watch.

A few prototypes are brought out including the Headman, a personal media viewer that handles 3D and looks like a kid’s space toy. It’s an interesting concept, but it just seems so bulky and odd that it’s hard to imagine the device taking off.

Though it’s less fascinating to look at, the prototype glasses-free 3D portable Blu-ray player seems like a much more likely candidate, offering owners the opportunity to enjoy their 3D content on the road without having to carry around an extra pair of glasses.

High-end Sony TVs get an upgrade to Corning Gorilla Glass, which is not only optically superior, but is made to withstand typical household accidents like, for example, throwing a Playstation Move controller at your screen.

Included in this is the flagship KDL-55HX929 LCD, which boasts full HD for both 2D and 3D content as well as the ability to improve the picture of streaming content and even regular television thanks to a tech called X-Reality.

Sony isn’t backing away from Google TV and says that the buzz proved that they had a solid idea. They don’t make any announcements about new Google TV products, but it sounds like they’re sticking with it.

There was a bit of a vague announcement about Time Warner content coming directly to your TV without the need for a set-top box. We’re guessing that this is just for Time Warner subscribers, but it sounds interesting.

Sony spent some time showing off a new 3D Handicam that shoots in Full HD and offers a 3.5 inch glasses-free display. The video they played for us was a little creepy, but the picture quality was impressive, even on that massive screen.

If there’s one thing that’s really going to push 3D it’s not going to be Sony’s big beautiful flagship LCD or even the company’s new Handicams. It’s something called Bloggie 3D.

If you’ve never heard of it, the Bloggie is like Sony’s version of the Flip video camera. It’s small and cheap and simple, making it a great pickup for casual videographers. The reason it’s so exciting is the price. For $250, you’ll be able to record 3D video in 720p and watch your video on the Bloggie’s glasses-free display or on any other 3D capable screen. That’s a price point that a lot of people can get behind.

The company introduced some new Cybershot cameras and guess what? They do 3D. The quality didn’t seem amazing, but that’s based on two example pictures on a massive screen so we’re giving it the benefit of the doubt until we can go hands on.

While it seemed like ‘Killzone 3’ was going to be the big 3D PlayStation game this year, Sony talked more about ‘Uncharted 3’ and showed a 3D trailer to go with it. Maybe it’s the massive screen or the way the video was shown, but the graphics looked a little jaggy. Hopefully that’s not a sacrifice for the 3D tech.

Sony finished up the event by pushing the Qriocity video on demand service hard. Of course, it’d not just movies any more. Music Unlimited by Qriocity is coming soon after debuting in the UK and Ireland last year.

The service works a lot like Zune Pass, giving you access to millions of songs any time you want. The big downside is that it’s a streaming only service, which means you won’t get to put any of that music on your MP3 player.

It’s a slick looking program with a great looking interface, but it just doesn’t seem like something that’s going to make a huge impact an an increasingly smartphone reliant customer base.

To wrap things up, Sony brings out the Cirque du Soleil folks to dance and do balancing acts to Elvis music. Why? Because they’re Sony and because they can.

Tags: CES 2011, 3D Cameras, 3D TVs, Qriocity, Sony (all tags)