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Sony CEO trots out the stars for CES keynote

A celeb-powered address on technology and entertainment falls short on new product news. Photos: Sony's Stringer on stage

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
LAS VEGAS--Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer was joined by "The Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown and actor Tom Hanks for a star-powered CES keynote address Thursday morning.

But it would have taken all the skills of Brown's Bible-sleuthing protagonist (which Hanks will play in the upcoming movie version) to find any new product news in the speech.

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Video: Tom Hanks stars at CES
The actor joins Sony Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer on stage.

While Stringer outlined the "pillars" that he says are key to the future of electronics and entertainment, he didn't provide any information that wasn't covered in Wednesday's press conference. And although he showcased the PlayStation Portable's ability to let consumers watch television programs any time, from anywhere, notably missing was a release date for Sony's much-anticipated next-generation video game console, the PlayStation 3.

Rather, Stringer focused on Sony's initiatives in "e-entertainment," high-definition TVs, filmmaking equipment and other devices.

Perhaps the most standout moments of the talk came when Stringer invited Brown on stage to talk about the new Sony Reader, a high-quality e-book reader that has been reviewed favorably in its overseas release. A few minutes later, Stringer brought out the star and filmmakers of "The Da Vinci Code" film adaptation--Hanks, Ron Howard and Brian Glazer--to talk about the company's HD filmmaking equipment.

The entertainers discussed how the film is progressing and how the technological advancements in high-definition filmmaking and projection systems are keeping the theater-going experience alive and thriving. Sony also debuted a scene from its upcoming release of "The Da Vinci Code."

Stringer keynote

Beyond digital cinema, Stringer asserted that Sony is well- positioned to succeed in the transition to higher definition, both inside and out of the home.

"The transition to HD is especially important to Sony, because from film production in Hollywood to television viewing at home, Sony has connected every link in the HD chain," he said.

Meanwhile, Stringer introduced Dell CEO Michael Dell, who chatted with him about the importance of the Blu-ray disc format for both the consumer electronics and IT industries. Dell also joked, at Stringer's expense, that Dell sells far more HD displays than Sony.

Stringer visited briefly with Sony Computer Entertainment of America President Kaz Hirai, who said PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable outsold Microsoft Xbox 360 during the holidays. Stringer closed his talk with an upbeat message about the company's prospects for the future.