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Sony Racing Apple To Develop 'a New Kind of TV' 273

PolygamousRanchKid writes with an excerpt from SlashGear about Sony's efforts to reinvent the television set — a task many suspect Apple is focused on as well. Quoting: "'There's a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set,' CEO Howard Stringer told the WSJ (in a paywalled article). ... [W]hat Apple and Sony agree on is that the traditional TV paradigm must evolve if the segment is to become profitable again. A new model is 'what we’re all looking for,' Stringer confirmed, suggesting that 'we can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money.'"
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Sony Racing Apple To Develop 'a New Kind of TV'

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  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @09:54AM (#38022834)
    A new kind of TV...... but no indication of what
    • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:00AM (#38022972)
      If Sony, in it's role as "content provider" has it's way, I'm sure that the list of requirements will include "Has a way to directly collect charges for each and every minute of viewing our stuff..."
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BOUND4DOOM ( 987004 )
        If it is Apple, you must buy all your content from us and can only be watched on iSomething. We will say when and how you watch it as well
        • by sglewis100 ( 916818 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:44AM (#38023758)
          That's only true if you pretend AppleTV doesn't have channels like NHL, MLB or NetFlix, and that AirPlay lets just about any app stream from just about any iOS device. They may not support jailbreaking (although it's trivial to do, and then you can run Plex, XBMC, etc), but they certainly let you watch content not sourced from iTunes. I haven't spent $1 in the last year on movies or TV shows from iTunes, yet I have an AppleTV.
        • It's so incredibly apropos that the article is behind a paywall.
        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Too bad that is not reality in any way.

          ipad lets me view and hear anything.
          AppleTV does the same.
          ipod, iphone, etc...

          have you even touched an apple product before?

          • ipad lets me view and hear anything. AppleTV does the same. ipod, iphone, etc...

            Flash? Vorbis? FLAC? You can stop lying now.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that content == format for you. "iPad lets me view and hear anything" doesn't say that Flash, Vorbis, FLAC, etc work. It says that he can watch what he wants on it. For 99% of users, that won't include transcoding. Apparently, for you, it does.
          • by sosume ( 680416 )

            But does iTunes offer you Porn?

            • But does iTunes offer you Porn?

              If you can't find porn on an iOS device (or anything else beyond DOS) connected to the Internet, well.

              Well, words fail me.

        • all your content from us? is that so bad? how many channels in your cable package do you actually watch? i have to pay for more than the basic package to get Discovery, Science, History, etc but Oxgen and BET come with the basic? $5 bucks for OTA channels on DirecTV?

          Apple didn't make you buy an album to get the 1-2 good songs.. I call that al la carte.. someting TV needs desperately.

          the 100 year old business model for broadcasters needs to change.

          I'll be first in line for any company that let's me pay ONLY

      • If Sony wanted to, they could have a leg up on Apple.

        This is make or break time, if Apple became dominant, Sony's only hope would be in selling panels for apple to include in their products. Were Sony to deliver a vendor neutral framework for program delivery over a connected TV, that they and other providers could use to monetize their content, it's just possible it could work. They need something like the RadioPlayer in the UK, that allows multiple radio stations, BBC and Commercial to utilize a single de

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          At the end of the day, Apple manufactures nothing apart from software, getting a leg up on a fullly featured electronic manufacfturer is going to be impossible unless Apple buys one to take on the rest.

          New kind of TV. The big thing about TVs is their life versus what used to be the life of a computer. Now computer upgrades have been slowing right down and the majority of people are pretty much starting to hang onto them until the computer die.

          So the new TV, basically just jam a fully featured computer

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        And use MemoryStick only.

    • by altoz ( 653655 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:03AM (#38023030)

      In other words, 3d isn't selling, so we have to come up with something else to make everyone upgrade their TV sets.

      • It isn't selling well because it's still beta technology. Even the most expensive top-of-the-line 2011 models have problems with 3D. Either requiring stupid looking, battery-eating, oversized, heavy active glasses and/or cross-talk or other things. In a few years I think 3D will become more popular.
        • Passive glasses seem to work fairly well. They cost about $20 a pop or you can just keep the ones from the movie theater. I have a 42" 3D set that ran me $699 and came with a couple of pairs. Took the little one to see Lion King 3D and now she has a pair sized for her eyes. The biggest issue is lack of content (I get three channels, only one of which is really worth watching, and it's not 24x7 yet). It's also broadcast in SBS, so there's technically a reduced resolution in one direction versus regular TV, b
          • I'm waiting for the day when I don't need the glasses for 3D. I already wear glasses. Wearing a second pair on top of my glasses or putting in contacts just to watch 3D doesn't appeal to me.
            • by swb ( 14022 )

              Not only that, I find it doesn't work that well due to the clumsy fit. The 3D effect seems to be sensitive to the distance between the lens and your eye, and its difficult to get a comfortable fit with glasses on, and when it's comfortable, the effect seems "off".

            • I'm waiting for the day when I don't need the glasses for 3D.

              That technology already exists, its called "Turn off your #$@#$! TV, go outside and see the world".

            • 3d is a fad that just won't die.

              no one my age buys these (over 40). but when I see the deals' sites (slickdeals and such) and all the 'kids' who drool over this crap, I remember who the target audience is.

              kids who got their first job, have lots of income, live at home and pay little rent or expenses and have nothing but free time to spend gazing at the glass tube. they want to impress their also-same lifetyled friends so they blow money on expensive toys, like big tvs.

              they also like to spend on 7.1 speake

              • I wouldn't say it's a young man's game exclusively. But sure, for the most part it's true. I remember doing this sort of thing with PC gaming. I was always upgrading my CPU, RAM (faster timing..etc), Motherboards, Video cards. Oh God, especially the Video cards. Oh, and benching marking the hell out of them for bragging rights. Now, not so much. I may upgrade my video card once every two years if I'm lucky, and I don't want to upgrade my PC at all if I can help it.

                So why the change in heart from my early 20

          • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:19AM (#38024310) Homepage Journal

            Please don't feed your small child very much 3D TV programming.

            Her brain is just now building up neural pathways for stereoscopic vision. It is incorporating all kinds of visual inputs to understand distance. This includes the angular separation of images (what you get from 3D TV) as well as focal cues based on distance (what you do NOT get from 3D TV.)

            Her brain needs to understand both are important together, which is a skill she can never get from the television. Establishing the neural paths based on faulty inputs could impair her stereoscopic abilities for the rest of her life. And if that's due to early childhood 3D TV, that's just sad.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sycodon ( 149926 )

          It isn't selling because 3-D TV for the home is stupid.

          It's pretty ridicules for the theater too.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          "In a few years I think 3D will become more popular."

          I dont. It has never became popular in the 20 some reintroductions in the theater.

          Why? because 95% of films shot are NOT shot in 3d but psudeo 3d.

          There has been exactly 3 films shot in the latest iteration of 3d. all the rest are fake 3d that are processed to look 3d but fall down hard or are CG only movies.

          3d is a utter failure and it ruins the regular theater experience. they dont remove the 3d lens for regular movies so they end up darker because

        • There are a number of problems. One is that most solutions are inconvenient. It seems like another would be that there are multiple incompatible technologies, making finding the right content a pain (although I might be wrong on that matter). Another is that most 3D movies are not well done. In addition, there are some biological issues that will remain as long as we have a flat screen. Finally, we can get a pretty good gist of what is going on in 3 dimensions with a normal screen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Elbart ( 1233584 )
      I'd prefer a new kid of TV-content.
      The current one plainly sucks.
    • Since 3D isn't panning out the only thing left is to eliminate broadcast. Many of us are watching television only that way now, e.g. via DVD (television shows, anyway) as well as Netflix and the web. If we eliminated broadcast television entirely in favor of using the spectrum for last mile connectivity, everyone would be better off. Well, in theory... that depends heavily on net neutrality.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Yup because that pesky free broadcast TV... how dare people watch free content!

        • Yup because that pesky free broadcast TV... how dare people watch free content!

          You may or may not have noticed this, but there's no shortage of free content all over them thar intarwebs. Indeed, at any given time you can find more variety of free content than you can even with a combination of FTA satellite and rabbit ears anywhere in the world, not least because much of what is broadcast is also webcast.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:03AM (#38023012)

    "'There's a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set,' CEO Howard Stringer told the WSJ (in a paywalled article). ... [W]hat Apple and Sony agree on is that the traditional TV paradigm must evolve if the segment is to become profitable again. A new model is 'what weâ(TM)re all looking for,' Stringer confirmed, suggesting that 'we canâ(TM)t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money.'"

    Somehow this doesn't make me very enthusiastic about the prospect of "a new kind of TV." Sounds like they're just trying to come up with excuses to charge more money for essentially the same products. They don't seem to have any specific ideas about what to do aside from "we need to make more money."

    • by SIR_Taco ( 467460 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:15AM (#38023226) Homepage

      You need to think like a big corporation.

      When they say: "Every TV set we all make loses money" it doesn't mean what you think it means.

      What they are really saying is "Every TV set we all make doesn't continue to make us money once it's been sold"

      • For companies like Sony TV's were a core business. Sony use to be the Name in TV's They could make a TV do a lot of Good R&D and sell them at a profit.
        Now Sony is getting competition from other makers like LG and Samsung. And they seem to make a cheaper TV that for all intensive purposes is as good as the Sony so Sony cannot charge the brand name premium to them, that will cover its extra R&D and built up workforce that their Old TV company had. So for every TV they sell they can actually be maki

        • And they seem to make a cheaper TV that for all intensive purposes is as good as the Sony...

          It is early. I'm grumpy. I haven't had my coffee yet.

          So I'm being my nicest and suggesting that you might not have that part [] right.

          • by Surt ( 22457 )

            Of course he got it wrong, but: those words actually make sense in this particular context.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Tron made me ill in 2D.

          • Oh come on, it wasn't that bad. In most ways it's the same picture as the original. And if you didn't enjoy the moment when Flynn elevated privileges then you must have a dead spot inside. I'd have watched the whole movie just to see that.

            If I'd seen it in a theater I'd have been pissed. I would like to see it on Blu-Ray sometime; I finally got a player, but I need a remote for it. If anyone's BDP-S300 died and they want to sell me the remote under $20 shipped, which is what a cheap universal remote that ca

      • When they say: "Every TV set we all make loses money" it doesn't mean what you think it means.

        What they are really saying is "Every TV set we all make doesn't continue to make us money once it's been sold"

        I think you're both wrong. I think he's referring to piracy as if it were lost sales, and he wants to do something about it. Maybe he's envisioning a television with no inputs, with a PS3 built in, and if you don't want to consume what Sony wants you to consume, you can go fuck yourself. Of course, that won't work; not only will there be hacks to add video inputs, but consumers want choice. That's the one thing they actually know. When you start telling them they can't do things that other people let them d

      • rent-paying ftw!

        translation: if we don't get a recurring income, we are not screwing over our 'customers' well enough.

        fuck sony. I have not bought sony goods for over 10 years, now.

        fuck them and the DRM they rode in on. (wait, what?)

    • by poity ( 465672 )

      It has to be further integration in their ecosystem, probably like on-demand content with targeted interactive commercials from which you can immediately buy whatever it is being sold.

      Say you have itunes/sony network on-demand movies in your to-watch list and it's Friday afternoon, so the TV detects that you'll probably want to enjoy some movies tonight and says "How bout some pizza and snacks delivered to your door?" (Or it's a RomCom and you're a dude, so it's says "Don't forget the condoms bro") Then you

  • Not exactly true. The organization loses money because there's not enough profit on the TV sets they sell to pay for the organization. Maybe they should restructure their organization?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. Saying every TV set loses money suggest that each additional TV they sell will put them even further in the red. That happens when the cost of parts, labor, repairs, shipping, and other things attributable only to that 1 specific TV is more than what they sell it for. In the case you are suggesting (which is what I believe is really going on), those other things are sunk costs. Selling additional TVs might not be enough to cover those costs, but it covers at least some of those costs, thus the comp

  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack ( 534373 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:08AM (#38023086)

    The remote for the Sony TV will be a wall of buttons and under those buttons will be more buttons and there will also be a function key so that each button has 3 or more functions.

    The remote for the Apple TV will have no buttons and will probably be useless but at least it will look good on the fireplace mantle as a knick-knack.

  • Download caps kill non cable / satellite TV video systems.

    Can apple or Sony get

    local RSN feeds?
    ESPN 1, 2, news + ESPN ALT and ESPN 2 ALT.
    MLB network + alt's
    NFL network
    NHL network + alt's
    NBA TV + alt's
    VS / nbc sports network + alt's
    CBS sports network?
    other NBC cable channels for NHL playoffs and Olympics
    local channels? (in some areas OTA is hard to get and other may need to change from cable / sat locals to OTA locals to a new antenna.
    and so on.

    • Not sure about that. I have Comcast with 15 MBPS down/3 MBPS up and a download cap at 150 GB/month. I also have my PC connected to my 40" television using HDMI, and most of the TV I watch is streamed from the Internet, with a couple of torrents. Have been doing this for most of the year, and I have yet to even come close to the download cap. Granted, I typically don't watch sports over the Internet because I use either local stations through the limited basic cable I have, or go to a sports bar. Still, I pr
    • AppleTV right now can get MLB, NBA, NHL games - on their subscription platforms. []

      But yeah, nothing else. Which sucks.

  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vdalived'> on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:10AM (#38023114) Homepage

    If only Apple and Sony are looking into new TVs, well Apple is about to win that race.

    • If only Apple and Sony are looking into new TVs, well Apple is about to win that race.

      Sony has way more worldwide recognition than Apple. Apple has failed before, and will probably fail again. Sony has succeeded before, and could succeed again... though I'm not holding my breath. But don't take it as a foregone conclusion that this race will even have a winner. Indeed, Sony, Apple, *and* the consumer may lose.

      • Okay name me Sony's most recent successes?

        Playstation? PS3 was a joke, it adopted slowly, they screwed up security for online gaming and further screwed up by not telling everyone right away, plus the playstation line was simply feeding off the knowledge they gained while working with Nintendo and it's quickly running out.

        Blu-Ray? Adoption is slower than DVD, because no one wants to invest quickly in HD TVs because no one wants to replace what isn't broken, Blu-Ray are more expensive and the digital revol

        • Okay name me Sony's most recent successes?

          Keeping zillions of fanboys sucking their cocks even through all these debacles.

          Sony's TVs used to be a symbol of quality but not any more.

          Yeah, not since the 1980s. They've accomplished a lot since then. Their TVs still have great picture anyway. Not any better than my Aquos, but great. Not as fast, either :)

      • Apple is a *way* bigger company with far greater resources than Sony. And in the market this will play in, they have a stronger, very well established reality distortion field.

        They are clearly after the idea of iVideo where iTunes went before. The Mafiaa however is terrified this will happen and will fight it tooth and nail, just like they are trying to prevent Netflix from establishing the same sort of franchise.

    • I think Google's ideas had some merit but their execution is lacking. The two fold problem is content and UI. Getting content whenever or wherever you want is somewhat of a dream. Where I think Apple probably has some contribution is in the UI.
  • You mean like HD sets, that only really came into the market a few years ago?

    Or better yet - 3D! That worked out really well, too, people FLOCKED to stores to not buy those.

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:14AM (#38023196) Homepage

    Now we get to watch endless reality and talent shows in a different way.

    I can't wait!

  • by The Creator ( 4611 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:15AM (#38023214) Homepage Journal

    It's going to be a projector i connect to my existing computer. The computer can already do everything i want, pause, reverse, forward, watch what i want when i want it. If someone invents a new brilliant feature i want it's just an 'apt-get install new-brilliant-feature-i-want' away.

  • Cable card is mess and in some systems you need SDV tuners added on as well. Even then some systems like cable vision clam some channels (may work with a SDV tuner) do not work on cable card. Also you need to get guide data and channel mapping from some where.

    Tru2way still has some cable card mess but no SDV tuners needed and you can get VOD BUT it forced the cable co guide and GUI on you.

  • As things stand most people have a duopoly or triopoly on how they get their television. 1 or 2 terrestrial providers and possibly satellite. As things stand most of the channels that aren't local boadcast or in the impossible not to carry (sports packages) have to pay to be carried on a provider. Until they are willing to stream wholesale on the net there isn't going to a whole lot that can be done to improve content.
  • they mean adding another monthly subscription fee.

    • I think you are right. Sony doesn't have the design or engineering talent to create something truly innovative. Even if they did and were able to come up with something truly revolutionary, there is no way it would be allowed to succeed. Sony, more than just about any other company, is frozen by the innovator's dilemma.

    • Don't forget Draconian Rights Manipulation for all those "must have" Sony movies and TV shows intended to prevent you from time or format shifting their steaming pile of streaming.
  • My suspicion tells me this "new kind of television" is nothing more than a standard television with a media server built in. Perhaps something like a computerized television; in Apple's case an iMac marketed as a television.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:01PM (#38024974) Homepage Journal

      Probably. But Apple has a remarkable way of taking a product that everybody has made before and giving it a makeover into something everybody wants. The underlying technology is the same, or even worse, but the interface finds the sweet spot of giving a lot of people exactly what they want.

      It rarely seems like a significant technological advance to Slashdot users, who usually want more control over their devices. But many people don't want maximum control; as long as they get most of what they want right in front of them it makes them very happy.

      It often incorporates a cutting-edge technological decision. Sometimes that means cutting things away, like skipping the floppy drive. Sometimes it means adding something, like Siri or a touchscreen phone.

      I've got no idea if they'll succeed this time, but I wouldn't count them out and I wouldn't dismiss the idea as being just like something else. The details turn out to be 90% of the problem.

      Sony, on the other hand... I'm not expecting much.

  • So these $3,000 3D LCD screens with $299 eye glasses are not profitable.

    $800 for a standard 1080p 42" screen isn't profitable.

    Might I suggest cutting the CEOs pay to regain profits. You shouldn't need to sell 10,000 TV to pay for your CEO.

    Just saying...

  • Corning (or someone else) had some good videos about a day in glass... and in my view they are closer than concentrating on whats in the living room.

    Simply put : TV everywhere. Being able to display what the user wants where they want it. I have friends with a TV behind the mirror in their bathroom, at first I though it was the most idiot/arrogant thing ever but if I could do it I would. However I would extend it to being able to display not only what cable/broadcast/satellite could but also display on dema

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @10:41AM (#38023676)
    And we will force...allow OEM's to license the technology for an exhorbi...attractively priced fee. I know nobody here listens to the radio anymore but I do and would love to see HD radio take off. But if a simple handheld radio is $49.99 [] because of the licensing fees associated with the HD technology how on earth do they expect it to ever go mainstream? That is what most companies are looking for now. A permanent revenue stream where you invent once and license everywhere. I support capitalism and believe it helps mankind strive to improve but when the only motive is greed and not being the best this is what you get.
  • They are both looking for a way to tie a TV into their broadcasting system so they can:

    1) Harvest user preferences.
    2) Control the media distributed.
    3) "Proprietarize" distribution to thwart competition.
    4) Charge media producers to distribute media.
    5) Charge advertisers to attach advertisements to media.
    6) Charge customers to access media tied to advertisement.

  • Basically I want the iMac version of a TV. That is to say I want a large-ish flat screen that can be hung on a wall and that has the following baked in:

    1. Blu-ray player (so I don't have to have an external player)
    2. WiFi (for streaming and internet, e.g. hulu/netflix)
    3. Bluetooth (for the remote control and keyboard/mouse)
    4. Two digital HDTV receivers (watch one thing while recording another)
    5. USB 3.0 (so I can plug in a thumb drive and show pictures)
    6. HDMI (so I can plug in a camcorder and show
    • All of this is available today and much more, just get a HTPC. And you will have far far more flexibility and ability to adapt it to future changes.

      The problem with an all-in-one is that any time any ONE of the functions it has built in becomes outmoded you need a whole new $5000 thing.

      • I've actually looked at building a HTPC with all this built-in. It's not easy. Probably because my other requirement is that it be small and fanless, which probably means an Atom-based solution. There are plenty out there, but all that I've seen lack enough slots to support WiFi + Bluetooth + TV Receiver without one of those coming via an external USB device. Also there seems to be a dearth of Bluetooth remote controls, meaning I need an IR receiver built in to the chassis (and support on the mobo).
        • You are still trying to have an all-in-one with the limited flexibility and future that entails. Accept the external USB devices and it's much easier and more flexible. And you might want to consider a non-Bluetooth RF remote control. Or remote control via some of the nice IPhone apps out there.

          • Considering I'm using a CRT right now and recording stuff to VHS tapes, I think I could live with the limitations of the all-in-one I described for a good long while.
  • Before they invent a better TV, can they just come out with a better cable box? One that doesn't take 3 or 4 seconds to change channels (I know digital tuning takes time, how about 3 tuners that auto-tune the next channel up and down so when I'm flipping through channels, it changes instantly to the next channel). And one where scrolling through the program guide doesn't take forever. I'd be happy to give up the inane live-video previews on the channel guide if that meant that when I hit the page down butto

  • Sorry, cannot be done. TV is dead. Sorry, but the problem is not TV at all, but the available content. But go ahead, be two more to fail at this.

  • I finally broke down and purchased one last night. And let me tell you, they are hard as hell to find. I had to check the entire state I'm in.

    But it's like the Kindle Fire. What we want are cheap polished devices... or we want Apple. At least, until the market has real competition. It's not that way with phones now, but at one time it was. That's the fight Amazon thinks it can win. Get in cheap, then polish, polish, polish. I think TVs will go the same way. Only this time, Apple doesn't have a succ

  • There are two camps here:

    Camp 1: People who want an information stream - turn on a "channel" and it plays in the background for hours, always there as a comforting sound and intermittent entertainment whenever you happen to look. My wife falls into this camp. Sure, she uses a DVR to record programs she likes, but she is just as happy turning on a channel and watching whatever is on. In fact, she PREFERs this mode for most of her daily viewing - she's only half watching but she likes the noise. No, I have

  • "New kind of TV" is a very important sounding way of saying "simplifying the iTunes interface to be more remote friendly". Whatever smart TV Apple cooks up will be very cool, but also be tethered to the Apple store if you want to use it's best features.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington