Sony Betting That People Want To Watch 4K TV, Have Their Every Move Tracked… And Play Tennis

The 85" XBR-85X950B is one of 9 new 4K TVs Sony is introducing at this year's CES.

The 85″ XBR-85X950B is one of 9 new 4K TVs Sony is introducing at this year’s CES.

Judging by Sony’s first press event at CES 2014 (CEO Kazuo Harai will be giving the keynote speech when the actual event opens tomorrow morning), the tech titan is really banking on the hope that consumers are already over boring old 1080p HD and that they’ll be willing to pay for the higher resolution of 4K TVs. The company has gone as far as putting out a consumer-grade 4K camera so people will create their own content for the sets.

In addition to a new slate of 4K TVs, ranging in size from 49″ to 85″, Sony announced that its newest version of the 4K Handycam is significantly smaller and less expensive than its predecessors, at around $2,000.

The smaller, still kind of expensive, 4K Handycam.

The smaller, still kind of expensive, 4K Handycam.

The hope is that early adopters will be enticed to use these Handycams to shoot video that doesn’t need to be scaled up to display on a 4K TV, because right now there isn’t exactly a huge bevy of content available for these sets.

That point was underlined when Sony bragged that its 4K video download store — which it says is the only one of its kind in the U.S. — has amassed a library of a whopping 140 titles available for viewing since its launch in summer 2013. Of course, there was a time when people scoffed at Netflix’s streaming selection.

Speaking of Netflix, that company’s CEO Reed Hastings made yet another pop-in to a CES presentation to talk up 4K, reminding people that the new season of House of Cards has been shot and edited in 4K and that upcoming Netflix originals will also be done this way.

Of more interest was Hastings’ insistence that Netflix has been able to wrangle 4K streaming to the point that a home with a 15 Mbps downstream Internet connection or better should be able to access 4K files without a hitch. We’ll see what happens when the amount of content and the number of 4K TV owners increases.

4K TV, unlike 3D, seems like an inevitability, as it doesn’t require additional hardware, limit viewing angles, or make large portions of the population motion sick.

Moving on, Sony dives deeper into the wearable tech waters with SmartWear Experience products. Interestingly, Sony’s first product in this line goes around your wrist, but it’s not just another smart watch. Rather, it’s something called the Core, that goes into a SmartBand wristband. The device can basically track everything you do — how far you walk, who you call, text, what pictures you take — and puts it into a handy timeline Sony calls Lifelog. It’s both intriguing and a little scary:

From the very general everything monitor to one that seems incredibly specific — the Tennis Sensor. It literally attaches to the bottom of your tennis racket and analyzes and records your shot — swing speed, ball spin and speed. The sensor will be being demoed on the floor this week, so we’ll try to get our hands on it and see if we still have that magic touch (spoiler: no).

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