Sony said today that it is doubling down on its investments in stereoscopic 3D, even though the technology is off to a somewhat slow start.
Sony introduced 3D Bravia flat-panel TVs in the past year, and it backed up that effort with support for the whole 3D ecosystem, making everything from 3D production equipment to 3D movies. The company touted 3D at its press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show, the tech industry extravaganza this week in Las Vegas. The goal is to redefine TV.
One of Sony’s big new films coming is The Green Hornet, so of course Sony showed off a long 3D clip from the film as it introduced Stringer. Seth Rogan and Jay Chou (pictured with Stringer at top), the stars of the movie, drove out in a car from the film. It had machine guns on the hood and Stringer as a passenger.
Stringer said Sony is stronger and more profitable than it was a year ago. By the end of March, more than 50 million TV screens will be Internet-enabled by Sony connected TVs, PlayStation 3s, and Blu-ray players.
The PlayStation Network now has more than 60 million registered users across Sony connected devices, including the PlayStation Portable, PS 3, and other devices. Stringer claimed Sony was the 3D leader, though Samsung said at its press conference that it has sold more than 70 percent of the 3D TVs in North America in the past year.
Sony will introduce 3D versions of its Bloggie camcorders and revamp its 3D authoring and playback products from top to bottom. Its studios are also coming out with more 3D movies and launching the 3net TV channel with 3D shows in conjunction with Discovery.
“3D is far more than a science fiction gimmick” to highlight special effects, Stringer said. “3D is merely a reflection of reality.”
At its press conference, Samsung said that it expects the industry to sell 6 million 3D TVs will sell during 2011, up from 1 million in 2010. That’s a big growth rate, but it’s a small percentage of overall TV sales. Sony said it is marching ahead with lots of 3D TV models. Samsung and LG also said today that more than half of their TV models are 3D flat panels.
Meanwhile, Stringer said he expects that more than 65 million internet-connected TVs will be sold in 2011. Beyond 3D, Sony is also preparing to launch TVs with higher resolution than 1080p high-definition TVs. Known as 4k, these newer TVs have far more detail than today’s TVs.
Phil Molyneux, the new head of Sony Electronics in the U.S., said the company’s goal is to become the No. 1 vendor of consumer electronics (again) by 2013.
Sony now has 27 connected TV models under its Bravia brand. Molyneux said that Sony will bring all of the Time Warner cable programming to Sony’s connected products.
Sony’s new HX920 series 3D TVs — including a flagship 55-inch model — will use Sony’s latest 3D technology. Those models are hitting the market in March. Sony also introduced a new 3D Blu-ray player with built-in Wi-Fi networking and Skype calling.
Sony also has a 3D camcorder that can record imagery in 3D and then play it back on a screen where you can see the images in 3D without 3D glasses.
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