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Sony switches gears at this year's line show

It unveiled more than usual at CES this year, and combined the line show event with PMA, drawing a smaller crowd.

Sony line show 2009
Stephen Shankland/CNET

LAS VEGAS--With the exception of the camera section, the hall where Sony held its annual product showcase here was practically deserted Monday evening.

In past years, the Sony line show, held two months after CES in the same town, has usually brimmed with tech journalists and gadget reviewers who've gathered to see Sony's real coming-out for the year. (Sony typically holds back at CES in order to show the majority of its new stuff for the year at its own event.)

This year was different. There are likely two factors involved here. Sony had the grandest stage of all at CES this year. Chief Executive Sir Howard Stringer was given the high-profile keynote slot during the show, and the Japanese electronics giant took full advantage. Sony rolled out its P-series Netbook, a Walkman with OLED display, a mini Flash-based camcorder, motion-sensing TVs, and more. What was shown Monday night was heavily weighted toward products like those already on the market.

The economy is probably taking a toll as well, judging by the minuscule number of journalists sent to cover the event (despite really reasonable room rates!). Sony actually combined two events this year, so logic would dictate that the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) crowd plus consumer electronics reporters would be out in force. Not so. In addition to combining them, the line show is usually an all-day event. This year's program lasted two and a half hours. Fewer than usual Sony execs were in attendance as well.

But Sony still trotted out a hefty load of cameras, it being PMA and all. There was one new line of TVs (the W-series), cheaper Blu-ray players, new home theater systems, and miscellaneous headphones, and some peculiar-looking boomboxes.

Click on the photo above for a full gallery of pictures of Monday's event and here for Crave's complete coverage.