Entering Sony's 3D World

Entering Sony's 3D World

Sony's Stereoscopic Ecosystem

To dominate the 3D race, it isn't just about creating the better product for consumers but to build a comprehensive and cohesive 3D ecosystem. That's Sony's vision, if we could sum it up in a few words. Staged within the artsy walls of TheatreWorks, Sony showcased their 3D entertainment suite at the press event earlier, including two recently introduced 3D-ready BRAVIA models dressed in Sony's trademark Monolithic design. Mr Taisuke Nakanishi, Managing Director of Sony South East Asia, started the ball rolling by highlighting on the company's plans for the consumer space.

As usual, Sony is paying a whole lot of attention on their BRAVIA cause. "With 3D BRAVIA TVs as the centerpiece in the 3D ecosystem, Sony offers consumers unparalleled clarity and picture quality for fun and immersive 3D cinematic and gaming experiences", says Mr Nakanishi.

Much like Panasonic's game plan, Sony has grand ambitions to cover every angle in 3D production; from 3D content creation to bringing stereoscopic images to hero products such as their BRAVIA televisions and Cyber-shot cameras.

To sum up Sony's agenda, it is apparent the Japanese consumer electronics giant is taking a holistic approach to complete their 3D universe, starting with the creation phase (shooting in 3D), to distribution (broadcast and software packages), and finally, to the display franchise for consumers to relish. For 3D content, Sony will be focusing their efforts in other areas such as music and gaming, apart from 3D movies. Another notable mention is the recent firmware update for their PlayStation3 console, which enables users to view Blu-ray movies in the third dimension besides playing 3D featured games. On another note, Sony also discussed HDTV sales trends derived from GfK market surveys, which includes the fast-gaining popularity of LED-backlit TVs and the surprising dip in LCD TV sales for Q1 this year. 

It would be awfully boring if 3D content is only generated for movie titles, wouldn't it? Using Shakira's recent performance at the 2010 World Cup shot in 3D as an instance, Sony promises more titles on the musical bandwagon for consumers to jive to in the months ahead.

No explicit reasons were given, but local LCD TV sales figures saw a slight dip in Q1 of 2010 as compared to upward trends witnessed last year. According to GfK, only a 100,000 units were sold in Singapore during the first quarter, versus almost 120,000 units sold in Q4 of 2009.

Is there anything the PlayStation3 can't do? Besides tackling 3D featured games, the latest firmware update from Sony (version 3.50) also enables the gaming console to playback 3D Blu-ray titles.

As an added pitch, Sony's "wraparound" glasses not only blocks out most ambient lights, but is supposedly flicker-free as compared to their competitors' 3D franchise.

To prove their 3D worth, Sony demonstrated what their recent cameras like the Cybershot TX9 can do. Essentially, the camera is able to grab 3D panoramic shots using the 3D Sweep Panorama function, both in portrait or landscape mode. You'll need a 3D TV to view the captured images, of course. More importantly, Sony also brought our attention to two 3D-ready BRAVIA models, the NX810 and NX710. Hot on the heels of the flagship LX900 unveiled months ago, Sony will be offering the NX810 in 55-inch and 60-inch sizes, while the NX710 will come in 40-inch and 46-inch outfits. Powered by Sony's Dynamic LED backlights, the NX810 and NX710 will feature a Full-HD panel and digital tuner. However, you might want to note that the NX810 touts a Motionflow PRO rate of 200Hz, while the NX710  only revs up to a 100Hz. Being 3D-ready sets, additional accessories are required such an external IR transmitter and active-shutter glasses. Fret not, however, for Sony is bundling both models with a 3D package which includes an IR emitter, two pairs of glasses, three 3D movies and two 3D games. More on their prices and 3D packages below.

Apart from their BRAVIA TVs, Sony is also bringing the 3D hype to their Cybershot and Alpha cameras such as the TX9 from the T Series.

A 3D panoramic view captured with a Cyber-shot camera. The camera actually features two off-centre bands in the CMOS sensor to create a stereoscopic shot.

The BRAVIA NX710 is showcased along with the BDV-IZ1000W 3D Home Entertainment system. A 3D-ready set, like the NX710, requires external devices like an IR emitter, as opposed to a fully integrated 3D TV which comes with a built-in emitter.

As the picture suggests, there is a spike of more than three grand between the 55-inch and 60-inch NX810 models. The 40-inch NX710 is rather affordable as it is. Note that prices indicated here are inclusive of an IR emitter and two pairs of active-shutter glasses. Both BRAVIA models are available for retail.