Sony develops 'new kind of television'

Cracking the box

Sony

Sony plans to revive its fortunes in the TV market by launching a new type of telly that it hopes will compete with - of all companies - Apple in the future goggle-box marketplace.

So said CEO Sir Howard Stringer, speaking to the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, he didn't detail the new kind of television he has in mind.

But he said: “I spent the last five years building a platform so I can compete against Steve Jobs. It’s finished, and it’s launching now.

"There’s a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set."

The recent Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs quotes the former Apple chief saying earlier this year that he had finally figured out how Apple could do something new with the traditional television set.

That led some observers to conclude Apple is working on a voice control system based on its Siri technology.

Couple that with a recording capacity - "TV, record all the future episodes of The Simpsons" - would be a leap forward from fiddly remote controls and complicated DVR user interfaces.

Apple has never shown any interest in helping punters watch and record broadcast programming. It would rather they bought shows from its iTunes store after transmission.

Sony seems to have a similar notion. Stringer's "platform" ties the TV to the PlayStation, but makes the same PlayStation Network-sourced content available on other devices, from the recently released Tablet S to the upcoming PS Vita and Sony-branded smartphones.

"We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we do]," said Sir Howard. "Every TV set we all make loses money.” The only way around that: to drive content sales that will cover the cost of the hardware. ®

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