In 1994, James Cameron had a vision that would change the movie business forever. It took nearly twenty years to bring that vision to the silver screen, resulting in the highest grossing movie ever made. What the renowned director likely didn’t expect with the release of Avatar was the larger effect the movie would have on the television and movie industries.
3D technology has been around for decades, but until recently it was nothing more than a fad enjoyed by young children at Disneyland. In the last two years, it has become the new standard that viewers flock toward.
After the billions of dollars grossed at movie theaters all over the world, it was the next logical step to take this state-of-the-art technology and shrink it down into consumers’ living rooms. Last year, major television retailers all over the world released their first generation of 3D televisions, with mixed results.
As usual, Sony took the lead and set the gold standard for the home entertainment industry. That trend will only continue as this year’s line of 2011 models hit the market with Sony Bravia leading the pack.
In total, Sony’s 2011 line of new TVs includes 37 new models, with 32 internet-connected models and 23 of them featuring built-in 3D HDTV technology.
Revolutionize Your Living Room
Between their mid-range and high-end models, Sony is releasing 22 High Definition “Smart TVs” in the next year that will forever change the home viewing experience.
“We have the widest selection with the smartest televisions,” says Brian Siegel, Vice President of the Television Business Unit at Sony Electronics. “Everything from being able to have streaming audio and video, to a fully immersive connective experience that gives you access to everything the Internet has to offer using your television interface, including GoogleTV.”
Each SmartTV comes equipped with Sony’s Bravia Internet Video service, including Internet streaming sites like Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon Video on Demand. Sony also offers access to its own Music Unlimited and Video on Demand programs.
“While there are other products out there that offer some limited forms of Internet browsers, the Sony experience allows you to not only be able to access Internet content but also search across all connected content and devices, giving the user the ability to access all stored music, videos, and other programs on their personal computers or smartphones.”
Additional Internet-connected features include Skype support for video chat in 720p. And for all you gamers out there, there’s no reason to feel left out.
“Sony is the only hardware manufacturer that provides full HD-3D gaming via Playstation3, and the number of titles is increasing on a regular basis,” says Siegel.
Don’t Take Me Out to the Ballgame
One of the big questions with the next generation of 3D TV’s is how well they will show sports. With ticket prices to most major sports going through the roof, not to mention overpriced concessions and obnoxious fans, there is something very appealing about watching your favorite sports stars come to life in the comfort of your own living room.
What puts Sony at the forefront of 3D sports broadcasting is the fact that most of the major sports channels, including ESPN, use Sony 3D cameras to film their sporting events.
“Sony prides itself on our legacy of what we like to call ‘from the lens to the living room;’ we have the widest assortment of commercial 3D cameras and most of the major networks and sports organizations use Sony hardware while filming,” says Siegel.
Who wouldn’t want to watch Lebron slam down a dunk in crystal clear high definition 3D while sitting comfortably in his or her favorite chair?
“It’s very important to us that viewing television is a family and community type of activity,” says Siegel. “We aren’t just focused on quality of picture for one person; we’re focused on picture quality for the entire room so the viewing angle is very important.”
A major problem with most current 3D televisions on the market has been a narrow range; people are forced to cram together in front of the middle of the screen. This is not an ideal setup for your average Super Bowl party or any other sporting event.
“We’ve been very focused on picture quality while also providing the widest viewing angle for any 3D TV available on the market. So while competitors will claim they are at about 13 degrees viewing angle from center, we’re plus or minus seventy five degrees.”
Enhanced Image Processing
Sony’s new high-end TVs will come standard with the X-Reality PRO Engine. This dual-chip image processing system matches incoming video signals with their “ideal” settings based from a massive video and film library. The image is then automatically adjusted to meet these settings. The X-Reality PRO Engine works with everything from full and compressed HD signals, to low-res videos streaming off the Internet.
Lower-end models will retain the single-chip X Reality Engine, which uses Sony’s “Intelligent Image Enhancer” technology. This program separates incoming video signals into three distinct parts--the color/contrast, the image outline, and the texture—and then enhances them each individually before displaying the image on the screen.
“Sony’s active 3D technology is a full High Definition 3D experience that is unlike anything else you see on the market,” says Siegel. “It’s the only option that provides for a 1080p user experience.”
Make Your Own Avatar
In addition to its new line of 3D televisions, Sony has also pioneered the first generation of full HD 3D camcorders.
Capture the world around you in vivid high definition that looks so real you’ll be tempted to reach out and try to touch it. The more compact Bloggie 3D pocket camcorder will also be available for those on the go.
The latest generation of 3D products can be found at Sony stores around the world, including the company’s new flagship Century City store in Los Angeles.