Interview: Sony on the future of its TVs

Our latest campaign for MotionFlow, with the zoetrope, hopefully shows customers what our TVs can do, without talking too much about the technology.

TR: There's so many Bravia TVs out now, do you think this is confusing for consumers?

DA: There are a lot of models in the range, but we believe that there's a reason why each and everyone exists.

It's all about steps up. There's three ranges that show differences in the technology we use in our TVs: the S, V and W series.

These are the core of the range. But around this we have different premium products, like the 200Hz Z series and then there's our designed-focused products, like the Picture Frame TVs, and our eco range, which is a similar TV from our W series but offers a range of eco-friendly features.

TR: Are eco products a big thing for Sony going forward?

DA: Definitely. It's very important to us. While we have got one range centred round 'eco', we are quite proud that all our TVs have eco features, and our production techniques mean that we are trying to be as eco-friendly as possible.

TR: Is there plans to get rid of the 'eco' range and just make all your products as eco-friendly as possible?

DA: Our power consumption on the TVs is already quite low, and this is getting lower as each new range comes out. But the specific thing in our eco TVs this year is the extra investment in the power system which reduces power consumption by around 42 per cent.

TR: What's Sony's plans for 3D?

DA: We don't have any firm commercial plans for 3D. We did show off some 3D demonstrations in CES in Vegas earlier in the year and they were outstanding.

It's all about content for us. Now that more and more movies are being shot in 3D, something could happen.

Sony has changed over the years and we are no longer a company that tries to develop things on our own on an insular basis.

I think the key to us now is to work with partners and develop propositions together. Televisions are a prime example of this, we would be quite open to working with different parties to bring stuff like 3D content to the market.

TR: How is Sony set for these tough economic times?

DA: We are like other organisations, we have to challenge what we do and how we do it. But it all comes down to technology. We've got some very reliable TVs and that makes the difference in times like these.
Also it's about branding. We have invested heavily in the Bravia brand in the last four years and it's paying off.

We're as excited about the future as ever.

TR: What can you tell us about 'Neon', the programme recommendation software that Sony is rumoured to be working on with Macrovision?

DA: To the best of my knowledge there's nothing called Neon. We are looking at various interactive features for the future and I think that you can already see that some of the recording technologies in the market do recognise people's favourite genres and things like that.

Sony is definitely interested into looking into the evolution of that kind of approach.

We obviously manufacture recording devices as well and what we find with hard-disk recorders that the usability is really one of the key selling points, that's why consumers enjoy using products like this.

We can definitely expand on this in our televisions. It can only enhance the user enjoyment of the TV by tapping into people's viewing habits.

TR: What are your plans for OLED? How has the XEL-1 fared in the UK?

DA: I'm not going to lie to you and say that it is flying off the shelves, but we never saw the XEL-1 as a mass-market product. We really made it just to prove that we could make it.

Sony is focused more on big-screen technology at the moment. OLED tech is certainly still important and you can see some stunning OLED screens in our upcoming Walkman [NWZ-X1000] series of media players.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.