Daily Reaction: Sony CES 2013 ‘Wows’ the Audience

Kicking off 2013 with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony had a real opportunity to pull itself out of the red by showing that they understand the change in market, and are adapting to reach a whole new generation of consumers. The Daily Reaction team of Sebastian and Dan break down Sony’s show to let you know what they unveiled, and if Sony is starting out 2013 strong, or if they are still fumbling around in the dark.

Dan: Having watched Sony’s trade events live for a number of years, I am starting to think that Kaz just loves becoming an internet meme. As, during the CES show, Kaz was set to unveil the new powerhouse 4K OLED TV by Sony, but was instead greeted by the infamous ‘bluescreen of death’ on Windows OS, rendered beautifully in 4K. This showing not only caught Kaz off-guard (which he managed to play off surprisingly well), but also the thousands watching at home who could only look on as Sony’s trump card to pull their sinking TV division out of the ground failed fabulously. Sadly, no matter what else was shown, or what could have been followed up with, this single incident will become all that people remember and is the most covered topic in the media.

Luckily, Sony did finally bring a bit of information regarding their plans to launch a 4K network in the United States that would allow consumers to enjoy content in higher definition than ever before. Along with that, Sony showed off several cameras and TVs – both consumer and studio level – that are capable of utilizing the new 4K format. Sony is now looking to push past the ‘TrueHD’ of 1080p to 4K in homes of consumers, not just theaters.

Given that Sony have been using the PlayStation format to push new tech for years, and the PS4 is rumored to release this year, the likelihood of it supporting 4K now seems almost guaranteed. Whether this means that Sony will be using the PS4 as a means to simply play 4K content, or by using it as a box that will also handle its new 4K content service, we will have to wait and see.

Seb: Bah. I’m a big fan of Sony products, but this show was a major disappointment. This image I screencapped encapsulates what Sony brought to the event:

That’s Kaz Hirai talking about Sony’s amazing plans for the future while 2 PSPs and the cancelled Life With PlayStation app in the background. In 2013. Awesome.

Then there were other highlights, like Sony saying they had teamed up with the loveable Simon Cowell for some headphones, and then proceeded to prove that the headphones were good quality by showing a comment from, uh, Simon Cowell, who is totally impartial here, honest.

Luckily, we had some nice vids with loud music and some slick editing. The main, central video was their “Wow” vid – you can see it here from 5:48 – which openly admits that Sony hasn’t had the best of times: “we used to make people say wow all the time… we forgot the power of that for a while… wow should be the gauge for everything we do”. The music heightens, the voiceover states: “We’re coming back one wow at a time”. Finally, I’m excited. Wow me Sony, prove to me why you’re awesome.

The show ended.

Wait, what? So where were these “wows”? The only highlight of the show – outside of Peter Molyneux’s brother talking about his balls – was the Xperia Z, which looks like a solid phone, but sadly nothing was really shown as to why it’ll wow people. Some pundits have said they enjoyed the NFC-enabled “one-touch” presentation, where you can touch your Sony phone against your Sony headphones to make your music play. It’s nice, but mostly pointless and something that could be done without all the touching by wi-fi or Bluetooth. Worst of all, however, is that it’s the new version of stupid proprietary cables. Want to sync up your TV and phone? Both need to be Sony. Oh and be sure to buy some Sony speakers, Sony headphones and a Sony tablet while you’re at it.

I was not wowed, something made worse by their own self-admitted need to wow people. The general opinion is that Samsung – their fiercest competitor – had a better show on the same day, while companies like Apple and Google are able to easily produce far more interesting shows at their own events.

I didn’t feel like I was seeing the amazing technologies of tomorrow, but rather a recap of what everyone else revealed in 2012.

Did you watch Sony’s CES show? What did you think of it? if not, what would you have liked to be shown by Sony at this year’s CES? Let us know in the comments, or by streaming us live on Twitter at Seb and Dan.

Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and pics of your bluescreen to [email protected].