Following the oversubscribed Sony press conference on 6th January, we return to Sony's booth on the first official day of CES 2010 to check out further some of the gadgets that we missed due to a lack of time. We know it may get a bit old by now but we had to start with the new BRAVIAs and 3D.
"Timeless, beautiful designs" is something that Sony's top creative honcho appears to have on his mind constantly. Fumiya Matsuoka revealed this in a media session about the creative processes and ideas behind the new Monolithic Design found in practically all of Sony's new mid and high-end BRAVIA TVs. To paraphrase Mr Matsuoka, the TV itself is an element of the room's interior design and while it's not in use, it should blend in with the room. Similarly, when it's in operation, the TV should not distract the user from the actual program shown on the TV.
This is but one element of the philosophy behind the Monolithic Design motif in Sony's new BRAVIAs. Another is the 6 degrees upwards style or tilt of the BRAVIA when mounted on its silver bar stand. This apparently was borne out of research suggesting that this was the optimal viewing angle for users, though it's dependent on having the TV fixed at a lower height than your eyes. If not, it's best to stick to the standard, vertical position, and that's something you can adjust with the stand.
Finally, the last design element is the contrast of materials used; in this case, the use of metal and glass in the BRAVIAs. One impression we get from Mr Matsuoka was that he regarded some of the market trends now, like borderless frames and thin LED TVs as, for lack of a better word, fads. And that the important thing now for Sony is to create a classic design that will last. It's certainly a valid design philosophy and not that surprising from the point of view of a designer. From the way Sony is focusing on its Monolithic Design now and perhaps for the next few years at least, it may seem like the 'design/art' school of thought has the edge over the engineers currently (after all, we know that Sony is capable of making those very slim LED TVs if it wanted to). In any case, we're all for aesthetically pleasing designs ourselves, even if it's a part of a product differentiation strategy from Sony.