It’s time for Sony’s big reveal, showing off this year’s latest tech gadgets at CES 2015. Tune in here for a constantly updated feed of all the newest goodies from one of the biggest names in consumer tech.
Alright guys, we’re all done here, all finished now. Jump in the comments if you have anything to share!
12:00PM, 6 January: Hi guys! If you want to watch along, here’s the live stream on uStream, or you can just click on the embed below to jump in live:
12:00PM: And we’re live! We’re seeing a nifty intro video showcasing some of Sony’s fanciest products, including its nifty smartphone lens cameras, PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller, and CyberShot RX100 III compact.
12:01PM: Sony bigwig Kazuo Hirai is on stage. #sonyCES is the hashtag, guys. We’re going to be talking a few things, including The Interview. Kaz is getting straight to the point, talking about the recent “extortionist” cyberattacks.
12:04PM: Kaz is thanking people who watched The Interview in theatres, or in “various online venues”. It’s important to note that we didn’t get it here in Australia, annoyingly, but maybe we can chalk that up to the chaos of the hack.
12:05PM: “Today, right here, we’ll show you and share with you many examples… of technological advancement defining our path forward.” We’re getting a quick run-through of PlayStation View, a US product that blends live TV as well as streaming programming from Sony’s services like Crackle and Video Unlimited. The US is a weird market when it comes to live and on-demand TV both, but it’s one that Sony is clearly paying attention to.
12:10PM: “We’re putting our sensors to a new task — automotive.” I’m guessing we’re going to see a great self-driving or assisted-driving prototype using Sony’s advanced image sensors on stage soon. ADAS is Sony’s name for said assisted driving package, and it’s looking forward to the future where more auto manufacturers jump on board with this kind of tech.
12:12PM: We’ve moved on from cars to Sony’s LifeSpace UX, a particularly innovative “listening and viewing experience” that does away with screens and speakers and uses novel tech to light up walls and uses things like light bulbs to create sound.
12:14PM: We’re getting a reminder of Sony’s philosophy of kando, applied to everything that it does. That, and products that “stimulate a more deeper emotional response.”
PlayStation 4 is getting a call-out, selling 4.1 million units “this holiday season”, more than 18.5 million PS4s shipped since launch. Kaz is, predictably, “likin’ those numbers.” It’s the biggest PlayStation platform yet. 10.9 million gamers use PlayStation Plus, the premium online component of the PS4 and 3 et al.
12:18PM: PlayStation done, now we’re moving onto premium cameras, from the compact RX100 III I mentioned earlier to top of the line cameras like the A7S — and newer A7 Mark II, with full-frame 5-axis image stabilisation built into the sensor itself, rather than reliant on the lens attached.
Another innovation is Sony’s 4D Focus system, satisfying “even the most discriminating” users. 64 lenses will be in the entire Alpha line-up soon, that’s quite a few for an upstart mount.
12:21PM: We’re getting a bit of a primer on the Sony Pictures side of the company — both TV and movies alike. Sony Pictures is the arm that got so devastated by the recent hack that employees had to go find a bunch of Blackberries in the basement to keep their communications secure. That’s how bad it was.
Kaz is saying that 4K is a huge part of the tech giant’s lineup, with a laundry list of shows either being produced in 4K already or slated to be shot in 4K very soon.
12:25PM: Sony Music, same laundry list of accomplishments as Sony Pictures. Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, Fancy, et cetera, et cetera.
Alright, now it’s time for the good ol’ new tech. Up on stage now is Mike Fasulo, COO Sony Electronics. We’re starting with 4K Ultra High Definition. TVs, cameras, broadcast gear…?
12:25PM: Unprecedented design, performance, and convenience. Perfect picture, and convenience. The first up is the X900C 4K Ultra HD TV — it looks pretty lovely. (Although everyone is quiet? Maybe they’re all just stunned, who knows.) It’s 0.2-inch thick — that’s thinner than (some) Xperia smartphones, and it has a crazy skinny bezel.
12:28PM: X1 is Sony’s new 4K processor. Each year brings a new video processor for Sony, as all the other brands, but apparently the X1 is a pretty big improvement on previous iterations. We’re getting a spiel on how excellent the X1 is for upscaling, although I’d take a large grain of salt with the statement that it “improves the bit-rate” of video sources.
12:31PM: All of Sony’s 2015 TVs will run on Android TV! That’s a pretty crazy jump forward — a very bold one, at least. Fingers crossed that in Australia, we don’t get a gimped user experience. Voice control, apps, games from Google Play, all on Sony’s big screen TVs.
“BRAVIA’s Google Cast will let you throw content from your smartphone, tablet…” — whether that’s a built-in Chromecast equivalent or an integrated feature of Android TV, I’m not sure, but it is definitely an integral part of the Smart experience, so fingers crosed again that it works well.
12:34PM: We’re getting a primer on Netflix stats, but chief streaming officer at Netflix, Greg Peters, is on stage to talk up a more expanded partnership between the companies.
12:36PM: Here’s a big surprise — Netflix says that Sony and Netflix are “working hard together”, and they’re “tremendously excited” by Sony’s move to make Android TV an integral part of its 2015 screens. Seeing as Netflix uses a bit of the ol’ internet, I can understand why they’re happy about it.
We’re also hearing about Netflix’s nifty High Dynamic Range service — increased contrast on its 4K video (and below). It’s a tweak for existing video, and while it “adds tremendous realism” to video, I’m really not sold on software adjustments if I’m honest with you. HDR is coming to Sony’s TVs this year, in any case.
12:40PM: “Consumers want choice. Sony is delivering choice.” That’s all about the wide range of services that Sony offers on its Smart TV and other ‘net-connected platforms, but it’s also about new content creation devices. One of those is a new 4K camcorder, 30 per cent smaller and 50 per cent cheaper — US$1000. That’s 4K for $1K, says Mike.
There’s also a 4K Action Cam, capable of 100Mbps video bit-rates and with Optical Steady-Shot three times better than the previous model.
12:42PM: Sony gave Tony Hawk a 4K Action Cam and he took it to the snow. And to the skate park. And to Tahiti. Let’s be honest, you can’t see that amazing video quality on the livestream, but I’ll take his word for it.
12:44PM: Tony Hawk is here! And he has a skateboard. Aw man, he didn’t skate onto the stage like Obama. Hawk is talking up the 4K Action Cam, as well as his old Super 8 cameras and the like. He’s a big fan of shooting in 4K, natchy.
12:46PM: Urgh. First selfie stick reference.
Hey, at least there’s a new Tony Hawk game coming out soon, and it’ll be on PS4.
12:48PM: Music listeners are looking for a “better listening experience”, and Sony’s approach to that is Hi-Res Audio. (It’s big into Hi-Res, with a great new Walkman and a bunch of other audio devices.) The NW-ZX2 is “the ultimate high-res experience on the move”, with DSEE HX upscaling and the ability to play some very large and aurally detailed audio files on the go.
LDAC on the ZX2 and other ’15 models is a tech that transfers data with three times the bandwidth of Bluetooth, so presumably you don’t have to give up your wireless headphones when you’re listening to high-res audio. You just have to buy new ones!
12:53PM: There are plenty of other Hi-Res Audio devices, including wireless speakers. But we’re now onto smartphones and tablets. Android 5.0 is rolling out globally starting next month, to all Xperia Z mobiles.
Hey, there’s a new stainless steel SmartWatch 3 and modular holder coming out soon! The SmartWatch 3 is the only Android Wear device with inbuilt GPS, and there’s an interesting partnership on the way with Virgin Atlantic.
12:56PM: The LifeLog public API launches today. LifeLog is Sony’s fitness and life-tracking system, and it has a bunch of potential, so maybe some fancy dev can make it a little more exciting.
Another fitness gadget! The Smart B-Trainer is an all-in-one headset that takes the duties of your smartphone, fitness band, smartwatch and so on and puts it all… in one. Like Sony’s innovative ear-mounted Walkman headsets, the B-Trainer puts all the gear on your head.
12:59PM: Alright guys, that’s a wrap! We’re all done here. Let us know what you thought in the comments field below. Interesting line-up, huh? For me, the assisted driving tech has to be the most exciting, even though it’s a little ways off. Let your opinions be free.