The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is typically dominated by cutting-edge tech. Sony instead stood out with a and an appreciation of old-school vinyl.
The turntable, which is able to convert the records into digital high-resolution audio files that can be enjoyed on any device, spoke to a renewed push by Sony to capture your ears. The company introduced new headphones and speakers, showed off an LED light bulb that plays music and a circular glass speaker. There were also an array of wireless sound bars, speakers and audio-video receivers.
But Sony's press conference on Tuesday was, admittedly, a snoozer unless you're a real audio buff. Yes, Sony had new televisions, and again stressed the benefits of its ultra high-resolution 4K video, but they barely merited a brief mention. It also unveiled Ultra, a new app that allows consumers to buy streaming movies and television shows from its Sony Pictures Home Entertainment movie collection in 4K.
"It promises to be fantastic digital streaming experience," said Sony president and chief operating officer Mike Fasulo.
Pump up the volume
But most of the interesting products fell back to the realm of music. There's the newwith an integrated wireless subwoofer, which supports streaming services such as Spotify Connect and Pandora. Other wireless products include the SR-ZR7 four-speaker set, which Sony says reduces noise levels, and the smaller SRS-ZR5 speakers. Both speakers can be mixed and matched to create a wider stereo effect.
"It's not just about volume," Fasulo said. "It's about dialing up the sound quality."
The company introduced two wireless and Bluetooth-enabled Blu-ray players. Both the UHP-H1 and the BDP-S6700 will upscale images to near 4K definition, so your high-definition copy of "Avatar" will almost look like it was recorded in ultra-high 4K definition.
The company also introduced two new wireless models to its, the Wireless NC and Wireless earbuds. The h.ear line was also extended to include wireless speakers that can play music for 12 hours. Sony called the speakers, which support Google Cast and Spotify Connect, "the world's smallest."
Sony also expanded its line of Extra Bass audio equipment. As the name suggests, Extra Bass products are designed for audiophiles who love the rumble of the low end, especially for fans of hip hop and electronic dance music, Fasulo said.
PS4 gets a shout out
While the PlayStation 4 typically doesn't have a presence at CES (it gets its proper venue at the E3 video game trade show in June), Sony CEO Kaz Hirai took the time to tout the 5.7 million units it sold this holiday, totalling 40 million since its debut two years ago.
Microsoft said that Xbox One sales outpace sales of Xbox 360 in the same timeframe, but didn't provide any hard numbers.
Google gets some love
Sony said all of its new 4K TVs slated to ship to the US this spring will feature the Google Android TV software platform that can be used to stream videos, movies and games as well as download the most popular apps.
Sony even had Google executive Lucas Watson on stage to reiterate the importance of 4K video to YouTube, a noted that it supplies YouTube stars with Sony equipment to shoot their content.
Sony's new X93D television, which comes in 55- and 65-inch sizes, and the 75-inch X94D, each feature a new "Slim Backlight Drive" feature. The company says that new technology will create "deeper blacks and brighter peak highlights," to create a richer picture. Meanwhile, the X850D series, available in 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch models, will offer better brightness, contrast and vibrancy, according to the company.
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