CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sony Electronics Inc. unveiled the latest in high-tech equipment yesterday in Waikiki. Sony employee Amy Koppmann held up a new portable consumer high-definition camcorder that sells for about $1499.
New Blu-ray format dominates Sony show
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN appropriate for Sony Electronics Inc. officials to include drool bibs in the goodie bags handed out to its dealers yesterday. (Actually using the bibs to keep from drooling on the newest, coolest Sony products since, well, last year's dealer show -- now that would have been uncool.)
The annual Sony Hawaii Dealer Show and Training Sessions introduce Sony's local retail dealers to the products Sony Electronics will roll out for sale this year.
The headlining stars of a lunch-hour media briefing yesterday were not just Sony Hawaii Co. President Don Kim and Hideki Komiyama, chairman of Sony Electronics, but the Blu-ray Disc Player and a Vaio computer that records discs using Blu-ray technology.
Video from the Blu-ray Player was displayed on screens in the presentation room at Hilton Hawaiian Village while the executives spoke. The high-definition technology made a sun-and-fun beauty shot with sparkling ocean look better than it would through this columnist's own eyes when actually at the beach. Then again, these eyes haven't been 20/20 since before the fourth grade.
Blu-ray's competitor is the HD-DVD format, backed by Toshiba. Each has support from big players on the hardware side and movie and game makers.
"Ninety-five percent of content creators will be supplying Blu-ray product," Komiyama said. Some companies support both formats, so first adopters have research to do before deciding what to buy.
By next month, 105 movie titles will be available for Blu-ray, said Bill Kennedy, Sony Home Product Division headquarters trainer.
At $999, the Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray disc player does not record onto discs, but the $2,300 Sony Vaio-RC desktop computer and a Blu-ray equipped laptop do. The computers and player will be available in June. There will be a Blu-ray player-recorder down the line, but Kennedy could not specify a time frame.
Sony's latest high-definition video camera, the HDR-HC3 HDV 1080i Handycam, can take three seconds of footage and play it back in slow motion over 12 seconds, "which is a great way to analyze your golf swing," said Jamie Lum, product manager of Sony Hawaii's Consumer Products Group. Optional Bluetooth wireless microphones and receivers can be used on other camcorders.
Still cameras, some of which capture moving images, are also a part of Sony's arsenal. Anti-blur technology is touted in the company's new Cyber-Shot camera, which starts at $500.
Parents of gamers should brace themselves for November, when the Sony PlayStation 3, with Blu-ray technology, is released for a still undisclosed price. Though game hardware is not his kuleana, Kennedy assured readers of TheBuzz that the company will not make only five of them for the entire planet, leaving hundreds of thousands of customers enduring whining kids for months and months while waiting for consoles to appear in stores. "That would be bad," he said.