LAS VEGAS--It wasn't a Sony exec that welcomed us to Sony's news conference Wednesday, but Jimi Hendrix--in 3D. Sony opened its CES 2010 news conference, as expected, by emphasizing 3D technology.
The Hendrix video is a demonstration of Sony's plan to remaster concert footage in 3D. He was quickly followed by CEO Sir Howard Stringer, who introduced country singer Taylor Swift. She performed one song live, but was also projected in 3D on the screen behind her. Sony says it plans a slew of live 3D performances just like this.
Update 4:40 p.m.: Sony USA President Stan Glasgow introduces a new line of Bravia TVs, which are descending from the ceiling to very ominous music. The NX800 will launch in March in sizes from 22 inches to 60 inches. They have LED backlighting, glossy and matte finish options, and are very thin, Glasgow says. Pre-orders will begin tonight.
Update 4:55 p.m.: The latest Blu-ray player will show 1080p video, has integrated Wi-Fi, and streams Netflix.
Next up, Sony's version of the Chumby, called the Sony Dash. You can stream video, get online, update your Facebook status, etc.
Kaz Hirai, president of Sony's Networked Products Group, is now reviewing the PlayStation's last year. It was the best holiday season ever, he says. But "something more will be required" to keep consumers coming back, he adds. The PlayStation Network, which now has 2,700 movies and 16,000 TV episodes, is already a significant business for Sony and is now moving beyond the PS3 and PSP. The PlayStation Network will be accessible from Sony notebooks. It will include movies from all major studios, in standard-def and HD beginning in February in six countries. To handle this, a new business unit called Sony Networked Entertainment Services has been created.
Update 5:00 p.m.: The new Sony Reader Daily Edition is like the Reader, but for newspapers. Initial content will include subscriptions to Dow Jones (Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, etc.), The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, and others.
For the first time, as noted previously today, Sony is offering SD cards in a range of sizes. However, Glasgow says, "We'll continue to advance the Memory Stick format."
Update 5:05 p.m.: Sony is also introducing two new Cyber-shot cameras. One will have GPS and a compass inside for geotagging. Glasgow brings up Nigel Barker, one of the judges from "America's Next Top Model," to talk about about them. Together, they demonstrate how Sony's Transfer Jet technology allows images to be moved wirelessly from one camera to another. Later this year, Transfer Jet will also work with Vaio PCs and digital photo frames.
Update 5:15 p.m.: Sony has several new notebooks. The eco-friendly F series Vaio, which is made of recycled materials, and the Z-series, which is thin and light, but also has HDMI output and a Blu-ray player. Glasgow does not mention the price, but it's high: $1,830 to start.
Stringer comes back to talk up 3D, the company's favorite topic, it seems. Sony, IMAX, and Discovery are teaming up for a 3D network in the U.S., he says. "Imagine Shark Week in 3D," Stringer says.
Update 5:25 p.m.: There will be golf in 3D, soccer in 3D, and concerts in 3D (starting with Kenny Chesney this summer, according to Stringer). Sony will be the chief sponsor of ESPN's upcoming 3D network, which will be kicked off with the World Cup this summer.
To watch this channel, Sony will help by launching 3D TVs this summer. Each one will come with two pairs of active shutter glasses. You can also buy the glasses and 3D transmitter separately for "flexibility," Sony says. That way you don't have to buy a whole new TV if you want to watch 3D. There will also be more 3D-related announcements for Vaio PCs and cameras soon, Glasgow says.