LAS VEGAS -- Sony is showing off a host of new technologies here this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, including a touch-screen display that will let users wirelessly access video content around their homes, and a music download service.
The 12-inch portable display will be released later this year and is partly designed to boost Sony's brand image in a market that has seen the entry of many new companies in the last few years. That image, despite new competition, still holds sway over U.S. consumers, says Hideki Komiyama, the president and chief executive officer of Sony Electronics.
Consumers will be able to take the display to any location in their homes within range of a wireless access point or digital media adapter, and watch movies or television, says Tim Baxter, senior vice president of marketing for the home entertainment products division. A smaller device to be released alongside the 12-inch display can also be used in conjunction with any wired or wireless broadband connection to access home media libraries while on the road, Baxter adds.
Music Ventures Unveiled
Other home electronic products are in the works from Sony for shipment in the United States later this year. They include a wireless DVD sound system, new dual-format DVD recorders, and a Blu-ray Disc ROM player, Baxter says.
Sony is also joining a long list of companies with music download services, Komiyama says. Known as Connect, the service is scheduled to launch around the second quarter with content from major labels as well as independent recording companies, with songs available to download for the familiar price of 99 cents each. Several other services, including Apple Computer's ITunes and Dell's service with MusicMatch, also sell songs for 99 cents each.
To store all those songs, consumers will be able to purchase MiniDisc players based on a new format called Hi-MD. A $7 MiniDisc created using this format can store 1GB of information, or about 45 hours of music, says Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' digital-imaging products division. Sony announced four new Walkman music players that utilize the technology, as well as several other flash-based music players.
See PC World's ongoing CES coverage.