CES 2014: Sony president talks about the future of 4K
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CES 2014: Sony president talks about the future of 4K

10:47 /

At CES 2014, Sony Electronics President Mike Fasulo sits down with CNET to talk about consumer adoption of 4K televisions, and he also shows off some of Sony's newest gadgets.

-Welcome back to CNET's live coverage of CES 2014. I'm Bridget Carey and joining me is my CNET colleague, Jason Jenkins, from our London office and Mike Fasulo, Sony's president in the U.S. Welcome Mike. I am glad you brought a few toys with you today. -Always. Thanks for having me. -You guys had a great keynote this morning kicking things off on the first day of CES, but also lots of gadgets were shown off at press day. So, could you tell us about what you brought today? -Sure. Hard to figure out where to start 'cause we had so much exciting things to talk about, but let's start here with this camera. This is a 4K camcorder-- -Okay. -for Sony. -Yes. -I'm dubbing it 4K for 2K. So, it's a 2,000-dollar camcorder. You can see you can hold it in the palm of your hand, right? It shoots in-- -Jason, our wonderful model here. It shoots in 4K. -You look great in 4K. -Yeah, thank you. Thank you. I look better a few years ago, but, you know, what are you gonna do? You can't-- -No, no. Why did Sony wanna come up with a 4K camcorder. Well, for personal creation, right. -Uh-huh. -So, personal content. When we look at 4K, we look at it in the broadest extent of personal content, TV shows, streaming, downloading. Obviously Sony Entertainment Network 4K is a download service. You know, we announced last evening with Netflix that we haste things streaming 4K through Netflix. So, looking at giving customers a variety of choices and making it easy and simple for them to really enjoy the technology. -Do people still buy camcorders? I mean, surely people just use their phones for this whole thing now, right? -Well, they will now. I mean now they have a good reason to. I mean this camcorder, like I said, it's more than half the size of our previous camcorder in 4K. It shoots 4K, but also high definition, right. So, you could use this to do your little film creation-- -Uh-huh. -for up and coming filmmakers or you could take it on a wedding. Take it to your wedding, or recital, or on vacation. So, it's a reason for customers to get back into camcorder, but, yes, they do-- they do use their smartphones. -You guys are really pushing into 4K televisions this year too. I mean it's something that kinda started the ball rolling last CES. So, where do you see consumers kinda getting more into 4K televisions? Is this still an early stage? Is it gonna take a while for most people to buy them for the living rooms? -It will take some time for adoption. -Uh-huh. -You know, it's a brand new paradigm. It's new technology, what we witnessed in HD to quite a few years quite honestly, but I'm saying a lot more adoption in the industry, which should push the technology forward quicker than we saw in HD, so from a standards point of view, we've, you know, blocked and tackled through some standards. We've got the motion pictures industry capturing content and creating entertainment in 4K. We've got TV shows in 4K as I said earlier. Distribution digitally through streaming and downloads. So, it's a little different, actually a lot different than HD, but it still will take some time for mass adoption. -Uh-huh. -And I mentioned too the size is an issue because to really see that quality of a 4K television, it has to be a little bit bigger than most people buy typically for TVs. -Well, the great thing with 4K is you could go right up to it and you get no pixelization, right, so 2 inches away and you're seeing a great screen. -And that projector you guys announced today too. -Yeah. -It's a 4K projector. -Short Throw. Short Throw. 147-inch projection. But last evening I announced nine new 4K Bravia televisions from Sony, which is quite a nice assortment. And, you know, I've been-- I've been trying to explain to folks is that consumers should really do their research. They should really go out and get a demonstration at retail or online and get a quality understanding of what 4K can do 'cause there'll be various versions of 4K in the market. Some will simply be panels, but without the engines behind the panels, you know, the color purity, the upscaling, the immersiveness, the sound, you're really not getting the full experience. So, I encourage people to do their homework and go out and get a demonstration. -Do you see that as the key to getting 4K to take off here? Which is the people need to see it in action, right? -I do. I do. I think once you get a demonstration there's no turning back. Seeing is believing. -We also have a few other things we can see today. -Yeah. -So, you have a new smartphone here. -I do. This was also announced last evening for the U.S. It's the Xperia Z1S and this will-- -Take a look. Thank you very much. -This will be through T-Mobile-- -Uh-huh. -and will be coming to the U.S. soon. And what's interesting with this smartphone is inside the phone or all of Sony's core technologies from our imaging sensors that we have in our cameras to our audio from our audio innovation in home to our television display technology built right into the smartphones, so-- -There was a lot of talk about imaging in the keynote today and this phone itself has a 20-megapixel camera. So,-- -That's correct. -how important is that becoming in the selling factor of a smartphone to have the camera power behind it? -Well, I think it's becoming critically important. And as an imaging company, we're more than happy to provide that. We announced not too long ago lens-style cameras. So,-- -Right. -a camera you can actually attach to your smartphone-- -Uh-huh. -or keep it detached with NFC or WiFi and actually use your smartphone as the remote, right. So, smartphones, you know, the penetration of smartphones is significant and why not give the customer better ways of capturing images? -It's so hard to imagine that to stand out when you have so much competition in the android space, I mean, is that where you guys see a strong point for Sony to kind of make a difference and get the consumer's attention with cameras? -Imaging is clearly one of our pillars. -Uh-huh. -Right? But so is great televisions and great audio. You know, we really try to get to invoke emotion and hit the senses of consumers and the passion points. -Uh-huh. -I mean that's-- this year our theme is play, right? And play is fun. So, let's have some fun with it. -So, this phone has been out in Europe for a while. How come did it take so long to come to the U.S.? -How do you know? -Because I'm from-- We've reviewed this a while ago. It's a great phone. We like it, but it's unusual to see something come out in Europe first to be honest in phones and-- Why did it take so long to come to the U.S.? -Well, when we went through the merger, you know, frankly we had a larger share in Europe through the merger, our primary focus during that time was the Japan market. And now, we're not gonna enter a market in just tiptoe in. So, we're ready now to enter the U.S. and what a great way to do that with a device as this. -And you also have something on your wrist. I mean, wrist wear is a big talking point of CES this year. -It's the SmartWatch 2, which is a phone on your wrist. -Uh-huh. -And you can put apps on it and get your phone calls on it or your e-mails on it. -What are you getting back from feedback from research when it comes to consumers and their interest and understanding of SmartWatch 2? 'Cause I mean as tech reporters we're hearing it all the time. But what are you guys seeing? Maybe a little too early to actually speak with confidence on that topic 'cause it's still very new, right? And you only have two wrists. So, how many things can you put on your wrists? But what we are hearing is ease of use is critically important. People wanna take their content with them. They wanna be able to multitask whatever the device may be. The easier we can make that for them, the more they'll buy into the proposition. -Uh-huh. And there's also a camera here. -Yeah. There's also a camera. This is our Alpha 5000. I announced this last evening as well. -Thank you. -And that is a 600-dollar camera. The world's lightest interchangeable lens APS-C camera. -Pretty cool. -Pretty cool. -And again, a great, great machine. It-- You know, I could see a professional photographer taking this with them 'cause they're so lightweight and it's got such great quality or the point and shoot customer that wants to step up their game. So, a really nice camera. Very affordable and a really lightweight package. -What kind of features does it have? I know a lot of times the back has a lot more connective features than we're used to. -Yeah. It's got the tiltable screen. It's got a 16 to 50 zoom lens. -Show that tiltable screen, man. -Oh, okay. -It comes all the way up like that. -It comes all the way up. It's got-- It's 180-degree tiltable. It's got the APS-C semi sensor in it. So, you know, it's a really great camera for an affordable price. -Well, speaking of things that bend, what's your take on bendable screens for television? It's a very buzzy thing right now because it's like ooh and all, but where do you see the practicality and where that might be going in technology for televisions? -I think, you know, we had-- we brought one to market in the U.S. this year. It's been a niche for us. It's sold okay, but it's been a niche. I frankly prefer the wedge design that we introduced last evening. It's elegant. It's great design, but it's also functional with immersive sound built right into the cosmetic of the television. -You guys also make some pretty good Windows PCs, but Windows as a whole hasn't been doing so well recently. What do you think it needs? -Only Microsoft needs to change to drive that forward. -You should ask Windows. It's Microsoft though. Not me. We have a great relationship with Microsoft. We're constantly innovating along with them and, you know, our Duo and our Fit this year have been really successful. So, we're pleased with the-- with our file business. -Well, thank you, Mike. I really appreciate the time you take to show us some great gadgets and talk to us about Sony. So, thank you so much. -My pleasure. Thanks for having me here. -Well, there's lots more to come up here at CNET. Next up, we have one of the most popular supersessions at CES. It's CNET's Next Big Thing coming up at the top of the hour. Brian Tong will have more details after the break, so don't go anywhere.

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