Inside Sony's Home Entertainment HQ in Japan
Image is everything, say Bravia boffins
Feature Sony is getting back to basics in an effort to revitalise its underperforming TV division. After haemorrhaging cash for eight long years, a fresh management team are betting the farm on new display technologies and a return to core values in order to turn things around.
To see just how sweeping these changes are, the iconic Japanese brand invited Reg Hardware along to its new home entertainment HQ in Tokyo. Here we found a Sony that didn’t appear half as battered as you might expect. Indeed, at times it seemed positively effervescent.
Sony's Tokyo home entertainment HQ
One reason is Noriaki Negishi. As the new deputy president of the brand’s home entertainment group, it’s his job to revitalise Sony’s global TV business; it’s a role he seems to positively relish. “In the days of Trinitron, people knew that Sony TVs gave the best picture. They wanted a Sony before they even walked into a shop. Today that isn’t the case.” The solution, he says, is to inspire people with new technologies, to encourage the brand’s engineers to break new ground.
At January’s CES, Sony countered the OLED offensive of LG and Samsung by doing just that. It unveiled its own proprietary display technology, called Crystal LED. This self emissive alternative was clearly a little rough around the edges, but impressed with its astonishing brightness and colour depth. Curiously, the brand wasn’t talking about Crystal LED during our visit. Instead the focus was on more immediate developments.
X-Reality Super Resolution picture processor explained
A key new ingredient in the brand’s 2012 TVs will be the so-called X-Reality Super Resolution picture processor. It’s the most powerful IC Sony has ever put in a TV. Able to do multi-frame image analysis on the fly, it can extrapolate extra information from two points of colour or contrast and apply linear gradation.
For extraordinarily accurate image interpolation it references an on-chip database of theoretical image patterns. It’s particularly effective on low bitrate on-line video sources, such as YouTube. Unsurprisingly, Sony is confident that streaming video will be a major source of entertainment in the years to come.
Next page: The not so rough guide
Good to see Sony getting back to what made them so great in the first place...in the pre flat panel days, there was nothing to touch a Trinitron set for picture quality, hell we've got a 32" model at home that still gives the flatscreens a bloody nose in Standard Def. Think it might have to last another year so it can be upgraded to one of these new sets.
*awaits inane comments about rootkits and removing random functions from the PlayStation nobody used*
I remember when "back to basics" was a handy phrase for any project/company/political party.
No Sony, please don't invent more bells and whistles to lure us to your screens. Make it as dumb and good as possible. Make it physically unobtrusive as possible. Then make it as cost similar amounts to Samsung/Panasonic. Simple.
BTW the future isn't streaming via the TV, it'll be streaming to the TV. The TV needs do nothing except turn pixels on and off as it's told. (Seeing as Sony make tablets, phones, STBs and consoles that do just this, it wouldn't hurt their business to slim down the TV features at all.)
I saw Sony's HQ last year from the bullet train, very modern and black. I'm quite pleased with myself that I didn't take a photo, I'm not that sad yet :)
Re: and try and forget the propriety connections
Has a good nose around a LOT of Sony kit
Phono - standard
BNC video - standard for decent kit - also found on Sanyo & Panasonic
Scart - standard
HDMI - standard
Firewire - standard
USB - standard
Micro USB - standard
Headphone - standard
CAM interface - standard for lots of CAMs
Aerial socket - standard
Ah found a few
1) 14pin K socket - you could get adaptors to use 10 pin cameras on 14 pin recorders - NOONE did the other way round - was fitted to the Beta portables, adaptor leads to use better cameras (from JVC or Canon) with best decks (Sony SL-F1).
2) Little specific micro sockets on my HDV camera - well no room for anything standard to get component out.
3) Playstation video out socket - but same between PS2 and PS3
4) PS2 controller port.
Oh and if you bring their formats into it
CD - standard
MD - was pretty popular but overshadowed by MP3
Beta - was best
Video 8 - was a standard
Umatic - standard
Only had a hand in
DV & Blu Ray
My 14" TV is from 1983 I think - last used in our caravan - now have a Relisys LCD TV / computer monitor in it - easier to pack.
It works but not in use, might resurrect it so the children can try some old console games - got a Megadrive somewhere.
My 19" Trinitron is still running great at 23 years old. It's still my main TV.