Here we go folks, Time for Sony's Press Conference, which brings me to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the first time at CES 2009. The floor is still being setup, but Sony's got their booth alive and kicking complete with food and an open bar. Snazzy.
We're about 10 minutes from starting and they just tricked me by opening up their booth making about 40 new rows of chairs in front of me. I thought I was in the 7th row... Excuse me while I move closer.
4:15 PM PT - Ok, that's better. Now I'm in the real 6th row and a pair of 3D glasses was waiting on my new seat. Sony is showing off some new 3D HDTV technology that I'm guessing will be demoed for us live, on stage. It's taking longer to fill the seats than Sony expected, but the DJ is spinning some bitchin' house music so we're ready to get this party started up in here (up in here). It remains to be seen if we'll lose our minds and go all out.
4:30 PM PT - One drink down and we're ready to go. Rick Clancy is appearing to us on the Jeopardy stage via TV to welcome us to the press conference. Jeopardy will tape 11 shows from CES. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune were the first syndicated game shows to be broadcast in HD. That's Sony Pictures Television, but Rick's got more for us as Sony is an "entertainment powerhouse."
4:33 PM PT - We're getting a preview of a new BRAVIA commercial featuring soccer star, Kaka. I'd put the accents over his name there, but I don't think I know how to on this Macbook. Sped up workers are building something in a town square. It's a spinning picture display (zoetrope) that uses HDTV's. It's real and holds a Guinness Record.
4:36 PM PT - The bigwigs have been introduced and first up is Stan Glasgow, President & COO of Sony Electronics. "The economic malaise was staggering at times," but Stan remained optimistic. Overall sales in the US were down slightly, but Sony Electronics enjoyed higher than expected sales with certain products like BRAVIA televisions, the BD-350 Blu-Ray player, and the Sony Reader eBook device (my gadget of the year, suckas!).
Stan will expand upon US internet television, 4K resolution, and more.
4:41 PM PT - Sony will release two new Walkmans with a fully in-ear model that features "Zap In" that previews the scientifically best part of a song stored on the device. Another Walkman will feature an OLED screen. For the record, Sony LOVES OLEDs. They seem to be the only ones, though.
We'll be seeing more Sony Ericsson phones with built-in Walkman and CyberShot technology. "How do we help photo enthusiasts get their photos to the device they want?" I don't know, stop using proprietary formats? Wait, no, they are debuting 4 new digital picture frames with Bluetooh.
There will be big digital imaging news at Howard Stringer's Keynote tomorrow.
Sony will also launch two new Full HD HandyCam's that use hard drive and flash memory. Woot!
Now, a new camera for the YouTube generation. One-button pushing HD video recording. The Webbie! The Webbie camera will utilize the MPEG-4 format and allow for easy uploading to compatible video services. One model is available NOW at www.sonystyle.com. Go, buy, and upload viral videos. YouTube is HD now, isn't it?
All new VAIO computers with Blu-Ray drives will support BD-Live including an 11" display model. Wait, why do I want a 1080p Blu-Ray on an 11" screen?
Whoa, the VAIO P Series. A 1.4 pound mini-laptop that rocks an internal 3G broadband card, 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth. Man, it's even got GPS. It also uses the Xross Media Bar and a webcam. This is available for pre-order online tomorrow morning for a late January 2009 release. WANT.
4:51 PM PT - Blu-Ray hardware and software sales have been amazing. Come on man, talk about killing HD-DVD... someone has to. No surprise here. Sony expects Blu-Ray sales in 2009 to be even higher.
He goes onto the PlayStation 3 and talks about the games on display in the booth as well as the "recently launched Home," which, apparently, "everyone is talking about." Keep telling yourselves that, Sony. Man, he isn't going to show off any games right now, but the PlayStation 3 press conference is still upcoming.
More OLED TV prototypes for 2009... one model is .9 millimeters thin, 1,000,000-to-1 contrast ratios, and there are new 27" and 21" screens. "Sony will remain the only company that has an OLED display for sale today and tomorrow." Yeah, just bring the prices down!
4:55 PM PT - Oh, he's talking about going green, but TV's are being raised behind him. They are the new "Eco" BRAVIA's that reduce power consumption by 40% and exceed Energy Star 3.0 requirements. They also have an Eco switch, which lets the TV's use 0 watts while in standby. Sets in 40", 46", and 52" will be available this summer in US.
BRAVIA Internet Video has added 25 new channels. They also streamed a movie to BRAVIA customers 4 weeks before it was available on DVD or Blu-Ray. Nice!
The new 2009 BRAVIA XBR9's will use 240Hz and support internet connectivity. They will be available this Spring. The picture quality on the display model in front of me is very amazing, but it's perfectly calibrated to do that. Oh, hey! Yahoo powered widgets. Sweet, and these support video. I'm looking at you, Sharp.
5:01 PM PT - Rick is back for some closing comments. They will be airing the BCS Championship Game in 3D tomorrow to 100 theaters around the country.
The booth contains some consumer prototypes of 3D television sets and expect more from Sir Stringer on 3D in the keynote. News announcements and entertainment tomorrow. It's over and I'm grabbing another drink!