Plans on Becoming A Little Clearer: Sony's 3D TV

Sony basically expects that 3D televisions will make up on 30 percent and 50 percent of all sets it sells in the financial year that starts in April 2012, one senior executive said late last week. The goal further indicates Sony’s confidence in 3D entertainment ahead of a roll-out of the technology next year.

Sony basically announced its 3D ambitions in the early September when the president and CEO Howard Stringer informed the company was planning its launch on the 3D capable Bravia TV sets and Blu Ray disc players as well as adding 3D to the PlayStation 3. Sony’s plans for the latter two products are already becoming clear: the Blu-ray Disc Association is working on a 3D disc standard while Sony plans to add 3D to all models of the PlayStation 3 via a firmware update. On the TV side however, perhaps the biggest and most crucial part of the picture, Sony basically had not disclosed many details but now that picture is beginning to come into a focus.


The 3d compatible sets will usually have a small piece of addition to its hardware threat lets the machine show 3d content but they will also work as conventional TV sets, as said by Hiroshi Yoshioka, executive deputy president of Sony and head of the unit that includes its TV business, in an interview. Yoshioka didn’t elaborate on the additional hardware however, but says it would add a little to the production cost of the TV set.


By far, the largest expense for 3D viewing will be the glasses that are needed to give the illusion of a 3d image. Those could cost up to around US$200 and won’t necessarily be bundled with a television. By selling the glasses separately, Sony will be able to keep its 3D compatible sets competitive with others sets while needing a higher outlay from customers that want to get the 3d experience. Yoshioka stressed that Sony has yet to determine the premium for 3D-compatible sets and whether it will bundle the glasses or sell them separately. But basically the TV business is perhaps the most prices sensitive of the entire Sony’s product areas, particularly in the US market. Thus the company will likely cut down the additional costs.


Sony’s TV business has been losing money the recent years, but Stringer committed this month to turning a profit on televisions in the next financial year, which runs from April 2010 to March 2011. Success with 3d will be crucial if Sony is to accomplish its goal of grabbing a 20 percnet share of the LCD TV market in the upcoming years.


Sony’s 3d plans to revolve around gaming, movies and sports as well. Sony is already working on gaming with the PlayStation 3 upgrade plans and its movies division, Sony Pictures, is already producing 3D movies. If history is any indicator, sports is basically an additional area where users are willing to pay a little more money for a great experience. The company’s existing relationship with broadcasters through its movie division and TV production house could serve well when it comes to the promotion of 3d but even it is does not there will be a secondary rout to 3d capable sets. Sony is expanding its PlayStation Network service to cover its televisions and will launch a new content delivery service next year that will pump movies, TV shows and other video content directly into Bravia TVs and Blu-ray Disc players from its own servers. The smaller- scale experiments have already taken place in the US, where Sony recently gave its “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” movie to Internet-linked Bravia TVs even before its DVD release.




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