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Sony's ads tout its multimedia focus

In an aggressive effort to expand its markets, the company is launching new television ads created to hype the combined value of its computers and audio equipment.

Sony Electronics is launching new television ads created to hype the combined value of its computers and audio equipment.

Sony is largely known in the United States for popular consumer electronics products such as the Walkman portable stereo and its Trinitron television sets. But during the past year, the company has made an aggressive effort to expand into the home computer market, largely by leveraging its popular audio and video products.

Sony's PlayStation II game console, for example, will offer features typically thought of as the domain of the PC industry, such as Internet access and superior graphics performance. In addition, the company has promoted its Vaio line of notebook and desktop computers by promoting the compatibility between the PCs and Sony's own digital video and music devices.

Vaio--which stands for Video-Audio Integrated Operation--will be one of the main focuses of the new campaign. The ads, which were created by San Francisco agency Young & Rubicam, will premiere this weekend on ESPN and CBS during college football games, Sony said.

"Our new advertising campaign illustrates this convergence by demonstrating how consumers can create their own home movies using the latest Sony integrated products and get more out of their PC experience," Ken Omae, senior vice president of Sony's consumer division, said in a statement.

Sony chairman Nobuyuki Idei, will also demonstrate the PlayStation II and discuss "The Power of Hardware in the Networked Society," in a keynote speech at this month's Comdex trade show in Las Vegas. Other Sony executives have made similar public pitches.

Sony also introduced a new $100 mail-in rebate for customers who purchase new Vaio PCs and Digital Handycam products before January.