Sony again banks big on 4K video at CES

Rolling out new cameras, camcorders and televisions -- all enabled with 4K -- the electronics giant is hedging its bets with high-definition video.

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Dara Kerr
Roger Cheng
2 min read

Watch this: Sony's showstopper, the 5mm-​thin, ​4K LED TV

LAS VEGAS -- For Sony, it was once again all about 4K ultra-high-definition video.

From an crazy-thin television to a portable Go-Pro-like Action Cam, Sony unveiled a number of products at its Consumer Electronics Show press conference. The common theme: the ability to shoot or display 4K video.

The electronics giant has a vested interest in promoting 4K video, which it believes will drive a new wave of consumer electronic purchases. But there remains few sources of 4K shows or movies, which is why Sony is keen to ensure that many of its products -- from smartphones to cameras -- can shoot 4K videos.

Sony was one of many companies pushing for 4K adoption, with the industry hoping the superior visual quality will drive television sales the way high-definition TVs drove demand. Samsung and LG likewise offered up a slew of 4K televisions.

That push includes the debut of 4K to the Sony Action Cam, which takes on the white-hot GoPro extreme video market. The company even had skateboarding legend Tony Hawk on stage to relay his experiences with the device. Hawk said the camera was rugged enough to strap to his skateboard, while still being able to film crisp, high-quality footage.

Sony struck an upbeat tone during the show, often proclaiming that it aims to "wow" the consumer with its premium products, all in the hopes of striking an emotional chord. The company has had a rough several weeks, with Sony Pictures still reeling from a hack that left thousands of private corporate e-mails and documents exposed for public scrutiny.

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk takes the stage at Sony's CES event to promote the company's new 4K action video camera. Sarah Tew/CNET

CEO Kazuo Hirai kicked off the presentation by addressing the issue. Sony was "unfortunately the victim of one of the most vicious and malicious cyberattacks we've known certainly in recent history," he said. He also thanked his partners and consumers who went to see "The Interview," the controversial comedy that authorities believed was the catalyst for the attack.

He ended his statement, however, on a lighter note, giving a shout-out to the other holiday Sony movie, "Annie," which performed poorly in the theaters.

Sony spent half the presentation going over some of its existing products and the successes it has made in areas such as imaging and sensors. He also touted the success of the PlayStation 4, which boasted total unit sales of 18.5 million units.

On the mobile end, Sony also unveiled a new steel Smartwatch 3, which runs on Google's Android Wear software. And with a look to the future, Sony showed off the Smart B-Trainer, a prototype headset that plays music and provides encouragement to someone exercising.