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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 6, 2010 at 4:24 PM

CES: Sony upgrading PS3 to play 3-D games and movies

LAS VEGAS — Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer reiterated plans to upgrade PlayStation 3 game consoles with firmware downloads to play 3-D movies and games.

All you’ll need is a 3-D television, such as the company’s new 3-D Bravias going on sale in the summer, bundled with two pairs of 3-D glasses.

Preview demonstrations of the system will be given soon at Sony stores, such as the one in Seattle’s University Village.

Stringer started his CES press conference by announcing that the company has reached an agreement with the Hendrix Experience estate to license the late Seattle guitarist’s catalog and will re-release the material, including some that hasn’t been published before.

Then he introduced Sony’s current star, Taylor Swift, who gave a performance that was recorded in 3-D.

The company introduced a new “monolithic design” series of Bravia TVs going on sale in March and new Blu-ray players and home theater systems.

Then it rolled out the Dash Web appliance — a “personal Internet viewer” designed “to view your favorite parts of the Internet at a glance,” Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow said.

Kaz Hirai, president of Sony networked products and services, said the company sold more than 3.8 million PlayStation 3 units during the holiday season and talked up new games coming to the system.

But Hirai’s big announcement was that Sony is broadening the 3-year-old PlayStation network developed for the PlayStation and PlayStation Portable, using its infrastructure to bring new services to other Web-connected gadgets.

“We’re also extending our premium video service to even more Sony devices,” he said.

The network will support a new premium video service debuting next month, delivering movies to PlayStations, Blu-ray players, Web-connected Sony TVs and Windows PCs.

Hirai said the network now has 38 million registered users around the world, boosted by the sale of 3.8 million PS3 consoles during the holiday season.

Glasgow introduced 17 new camcorders and announced that new models will finally support the SD memory card format, in addition to Sony’s Memory Stick cards. Sony HAD held back on supporting SD, a format backed by its competitors Panasonic and Toshiba.

“It’s all about providing consumers with choice,” he said.

Among the cameras is a new pocket HD camcorder called “Bloggie” that’s designed to easily upload videos to social Web services.

Also new is a Cybershot camera with a “party mode” that automatically takes candid photos during a party when it’s set on dock.

Glasgow also introduced the obligatory green product, a new Vaio W series “Eco Edition” with a case made of recycled CDs and DVDs. It ships in a package made from recycled plastic bottles.

Comments | Topics: bravia, CES, ces

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