Sony announce raft of new 3D devices and content

Sony-3D

With Sony going 3D crazy this week, they have launched their new 3D plans consisting of a raft of different 3D content that will be available over the next 6 months; comprising Games, Movies, Music, Sports, and hardware.

First off will be 3D gaming and this will come via the Playstation Network, those of you who have stumped up the cash for a new 3D enabled TV will probably want know. What can I watch in 3D now? The answer is games. You will be able to download the 3D update and will be awarded WipEout HD, SuperStardust HD, Pain, and finally MotorStorm Pacific Rift Demo all for free in full 3D glory.

Sony have already confirmed that Sony Pictures will be making their next three blockbusters in full 3D glory, these will include; the new and un-named Spider-Man, The Green Hornet and last but not least the new Resident Evil: Afterlife.

More family friendly content will come via Monster House and Open Season and with Sony have confirmed that Sony Music will get involved in the 3D revolution with music videos from Shakira, SIA’s gig at the round house in London, iconic music videos, which will be remastered into 3D. And finally, Jimi Hendrix will be brought back to life with many of his classic videos making the jump from 2D to 3D.

Sony will of course be filming the World Cup in 3D but you won’t be able to watch it in the comfort of your own home unless you live in South Korea or America. But all is not lost, as they will be previewing content at their 1,300 affiliated Sony stores across the UK and in selective cinemas.

Hardware-wise you will be able to pick up Sony’s new Bravia 3D TVs with 200Hz high frame rate technology and with full 1080p resolution – you’ll have never seen 3D quite like this.

Spearheading the revolution will come via from a complete range of Sony Blu-ray Home Cinema Systems. A 3D firmware update will be released in line with the overall 3D launch on June 12th. The BDP-S570 Blu-ray player model, now on sale, is the first with 3D playback out of the box

Another part of the revolution will come via Sony 3D glasses, using active shutter technology to deliver full High Definition 3D are designed for both comfort and stamina. Smaller pink and blue glasses are available for people with smaller face such as children, and with a battery life of approximately 100 hours and an auto shut off function – the Sony glasses will allow you to enjoy the 3D action for longer.

Elsewhere you be able to pick up a world first 3D compatible NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras, which in conjunction with a compatible Bravia 3D televisions. The high-speed burst of frames is stitched together automatically to create detail-packed 23 megapixel panoramas with a 226-degree effective angle of view. And finally Sony is going to make a 3D laptop – what next a 3D radio? Only time will tell.

Sony takes aim at the novice snapper with A390 and A290 DSLRs

Hot on the heels of Sony’s NEX range of interchangeable lens compact cameras comes a more traditional pair of DSLRs aimed at the novice snapper.

These 14mp entry-level DSLRs are pretty much the same, although the A390 features an LCD screen that tilts and folds, while the A290’s screen is fixed to the body. The A390 also features Quick AF Live View, which avoids squinting through the viewfinder – a boon for first-time DSLR users who are used to the screens on compact cameras.

Sony-DSLR-A390-290

While rumours have been abounding on the net about the new releases for a while, they have failed to excite camera buffs. That’s because the cameras are essentially just a step up from Sony’s A230 and A380 models, with the greatest difference being a new grip designed to make handling more comfortable and of course the image-stabilised 14.2mp CCD sensor.

Newbies, however, will be helped out by the intuitive graphic display that has been designed to enable the user to understand the relation between shutter speed and aperture, and the effects of your chosen settings on the final image. An onscreen help guide explains the camera functions and gives image samples to illustrate how the settings work.

Interchangeable lenses feature the Sony A-mount, which is compatible with Minolta and Konica AF lenses. One battery charge should get you 500 images, though be aware that using live view mode on the A390 will more than halve that.

Both cameras also include a mini-HDMI terminal for connection to an HD-Ready TV and support for PhotoTV HD has been designed to get even better image reproduction on Sony’s BRAVIA TVs. BRAVIA owners can also let you control slideshow and playback function using your TV remote.

The UK is still waiting for prices to be announced (the cameras will be released in the summer) although in the states the A390 will be hitting the shelves at around $600, the A290 at $500.

Professionals look out – Sony’s NEX-3 and NEX-5 puts expert photography in reach of amateurs

Whilst DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses may produce high-quality images and look the business, owners of these top-notch devices nearly always seem to admit to also possessing another, albeit smaller camera, which they can conveniently place into a bag or pocket and leave their DSLR safe at home for those more ‘special’ photo opportunities.

The reason for this is twofold: One these types of cameras are pretty pricey so people don’t want to run the risk of having it stolen down their local pub, and two SLR cameras are usually big and bulky and therefore not practical to be a permanent feature in a handbag. That was until Sony produced the NEX-3 and NEX-5, which by being the ‘world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital camera’, has generated a revolutionary approach to DSLR cameras.

New to the Alpha family, the NEX-3 and NEX-5 are sleek, slim, subtle, the former being just 25.4mm at its slimmest point and the latter being 24.2mm, and easy to use, but do not compromise the high picture quality associated with ‘conventional’ DSLR digital cameras, meaning professional photography is now available to the less professional of photographers.

The real beauty of Alpha’s latest additions is the fact that they are compatible with a wide range of interchangeable lenses, which significantly enhances photographic capabilities and smashes the limitations standard lens digital cameras frustratingly adhere to. Perhaps the greatest of these frustrations is the inability to capture an image with a wide field of view, an irritation which can be resolved by boosting field of view by using the VCL-ECU1 Ultra Wide Converter or the VCL-ECF1 Fisheye Converter. But Sony have taken panoramic vision a step further as the NEX-3 and NEX-5 are Alpha’s first cameras which feature Sweep Panorama with 3D capability. By sweeping the camera horizontally or vertically, whilst the shutter button is pressed down, the camera will burst into a series of high-speed frames, creating 23 megapixel panoramas with a 226 degree angle of view.

Although still images are not the only aspect of modern shooting to reach ground-breaking new depths with Sony’s latest cameras, as the NEX-3 and the NEX-5 are the first Alpha cameras to offer HD video recording. This full HD (1920 – 1080) video recording can be connected to a HD television and together provide for the upmost of quality in home recording.

Instead of DSLR cameras gathering dust in the cupboard until a wedding or christening takes place, enthusiasts will be able take advantage of the indisputable rewards DSLA cameras provide on a more daily level from June when the NEX-3 and NEX-5 will be available in the UK.

Smaller than a notebook, smarter than a smartphone: the Sony VAIO P

As the iPad nears its UK launch date, netbook manufacturers are getting scared – very scared. In the face of the tablet revolution, the choices are two: dissipate or innovate. Sony have chosen the latter option and created the VAIO P Series – an ultra-portable, lightweight computer with some heavyweight features.

Advertised as “smaller than a notebook and smarter than a smartphone”, the VAIO P certainly lives up to its word. Not only does it weigh in at a paltry 632g, the handheld device has also been specially designed for use on the go. As well as a centred trackball (for increased balance), the computer has an additional touchpad and mouse buttons located at either edge of the screen, to be operated by thumbs while holding the computer in two hands – perfect for standing or walking with the device, making it a long way from simply being another ‘lap’top.

The handheld device boasts Windows 7 Home Premium, as well as an 8-inch screen (with a massive 1600×768 resolution), Intel Atom processor, 2GB RAM and 64GB SSD flash drive. That’s the same size hard drive as the top-of-the-line iPad, and a screen with a much higher resolution (1600×768 versus the iPad’s 1024×768). However, the screen is 1.7-inches smaller than Apple’s 9.7-inches.

The comparisons between the VAIO P and the iPad don’t end there, with Sony’s new device going head-to-head with Apple’s in every department, bar the form-factor. The VAIO P Series features a built-in GPS and a digital compass, as well as on-board 3G, Wi-Fi and an accelerometer.

However, it is Sony’s custom software that makes these additions particularly interesting. The VAIO Location Search software uses this hardware to offer a real-time map view, displaying your current map position and orientation, along with nearby points of interest and even local weather conditions.

The built-in accelerometer has been designed to respond to physical movements – either deliberate or natural. Give the device a gentle shake to ‘flick’ through pictures or the pages of a PDF document, or to navigate back and forth through your web browsing history. Turn it on its side, and it automatically flips the screen for easy reading of documents or web pages in portrait mode. Obviously taking inspiration from the Sony Reader, the notebook’s additional mouse buttons are placed within reach for easy page-turning when reading in portrait mode.

The notebook also has an ambient light sensor to dynamically adjust the screen illumination depending on conditions, as well as a button dedicated to changing the screen resolution – allowing the user to select a larger font for on-screen reading, or switch back to maximum detail for movie viewing.

And, if all of those features haven’t convinced you to invest come June, it also comes in five colours – black, white, pink, green and orange.

Sony makes a stand – the new hidden home cinema range

If you want the benefits of surround sound, but can’t be bothered with the faff of setting it all up, the latest range of Sony home cinema stands could be the answer.

Acting a bit like an iPod dock, the stand connects to the television via built-in wires and – hey presto – you have virtual surround sound without the need for rear speakers. This keeps things simple and helps your living room stay wire-free while you enjoy the latest movies and games to their best advantage.

Sony-TV-Stands

The science in the stand that makes all this possible is a combination of Sony’s S-Force PRO technology, which creates the surround sound experience, and an S-Master digital amplifier to keep the signal clear. These are packed into a compact unit, ensuring that the stand – designed to match the Bravia monolithic styling – remains slimline.

Available in three sizes to suit TVs from 32” to 60”, the stands have plenty of shelf space to store a DVD or Blu-ray player, cable or satellite box and games console, with three HDMI inputs and one output to accommodate all these other pieces of kit. The stands also incorporate a radio tuner and a media port to connect to an iPod or similar device.

You can run everything via the new Bravia internet widget, which calls up control menus to the TV screen. You can also choose which sound field suits you best from a choice of nine, including movie, sports and games. The stands will be able to handle any future upgrades too, as they can pass through 3D video from the latest Blu-ray players to new generation TVs.

The RHT-G5 has been designed for 32-inch to 40-inch TVs, the RHT-G11 can accommodate 42-inch to 52-inch models, while the RHT-G15 is suitable for sets up to 60 inches.

The two larger stands will be launched in May 2010, with the RHT-G5 following in June, although prices are yet to be released.

Sony iPhone headphones – something for everyone

It’s become a modern-day love/hate story for the iPod generation: The ecstasy you feel when you finally get your mitts one of Apple’s sleek little devices, is immediately overcome by the disappointment of experiencing its below-par, bundled earphones.

The limitations of the standard-issue accessories are a much-vented source of frustration for consumers who have already splashed out a small fortune on the game-changing music gadgets. Despite their iconic design, the thin casing of the earphones produces a tinny, synthetic sound and often, excessive noise-leaking. The latter is particularly an issue for “shyPod” owners, who would prefer not to inflict their dubious music taste on others.

Sony-iPhone-Headphones

However, all this could be about to change with the release of Sony’s new range of MDR-EX300iP and MDR-E10iP inline, remote-controlled headsets, designed especially for iPods and iPhones. The two new additions will join Sony’s less advanced MDR-EX38iP model, which is already on sale, and Apple’s premium in-ear earphones, in an increasingly competitive market.

The headsets’ USP seems to be that there is something for everyone. Keep-fit fanatics will be impressed by the accessibility of commonly-used functions, which are conveniently nestled together on the mini remote. This neat option will hopefully make exercising to music a fumble-free experience. The device has buttons to play/pause, skip tracks and adjust volume. It also proves handy for iPod Shuffle users, as the remote includes a button to activate the gadget’s unique VoiceOver function, while for iPhone users, the earphones’ built-in microphone is designed for easily making hands-free calls.

As for sound quality, an impressive set of stats would appear to give it the edge over competitors. According to Sony, both models of the headset features a 13.5mm Neodymium driver unit that’s oriented vertically in the ear. This combination teams extra sensitivity with powerful bass and a wide, dynamic range. The MDR-EX300iP has a frequency response of 5-24,000 Hz and the MDR-E10iP has a response of 18-22,000 Hz.

If Sony really does deliver on all its promises with the MDR-EX300iP and MDR-E10iP models, iPod and iPhone users will, at long last, be able to enjoy a multi-faceted sound experience to match Apple’s renowned innovation. It’s taken a while, but Sony might have finally cracked it.

The MDR-EX300iP and MDR-E10iP headsets come in a variety of colours, and consumers can opt for either in-ear or over-the-ear styles. They are compatible with every generation of iPod and iPhone, and are available at all good electronic retailers from May.

Size is of the essence: Sony’s new Vaios

Women, it seems are not the only ones desperately trying to shed some pounds to meet society’s demands, which insanely equates being thin with being desirable. As technology has been lifted into similar spheres of the slim and slender having perseverance over the big and bulky, although within the realms of technology the equation is not so insane. The very essence of ‘a notebook’, which is steering the phenomenon of ‘surfing the net’ whilst being on the go, means the lighter, smaller and ‘thinner’ the machine, the better.

Sony-Vaio

Sony recognizes the growing urgency for technology to be thin, and their VAIO series of notebooks takes ‘being slim’ to the same level that Twiggy took to it to in the 1960s. Determined to bring the depth dimensions under 10.00 mm, the Sony Vaio M is 9.99mm in depth and weighs just 1.45 kg, allowing Sony to proudly market the Vaio M as the “thinnest notebook ever!” There are no real outstanding features to mention with this micro processor, predictably the operating system is Windows 7 and it comes with Bluetooth support, which is a “standard” feature nowadays. Although being this slight and proportionately pleasing usually comes at price and the Vaio M, which is to be launched in Europe at the end of this month, will set you back a staggeringly high 1,739 euros (approximately 1,555 GBP).

But the Vaio M is only part of Sony’s group of emerging “superthin” and “super sexy” notebooks. Never wanting to shun from the limelight, Sony are ostentatiously dubbing the Vaio E series as being “a masterpiece of simplicity and aesthetics”. A “masterpiece” for their petite dimensions, for their simplicity to use, which require no boot up systems, maybe, but a masterpiece in extensive capabilities or innovatory features, the new Vaio E 14” and 17” are not.

The Vaio E Series 14” boasts a beautifully slimline chassis, is available in various striking colors, has a super sharp 1600 x 900 resolution and a low resistance touchpad, although attractively pleasing aside, the Vaio E Series 14” doesn’t offer any outstanding features or technologically innovatory surprises. Perhaps this is why Sony is so keen to promote the aesthetical attributes of this series.

A 17” version has joined the 14” as being the latest collections to the Vaio E collection. Possessing the same ultra-thin chassis, the only real difference with this model is that it because it has a large 17.3” screen, it is sizeable enough to accommodate two hard disc drives and has a maximum storage of 500GB. Like all of the new E series models convenience and appearance are priorities, and consequently both the Vaio E 14” and 17” come with Quick Web Access, which provides multiple tab browsing and a ‘split’ view.

These multimedia, ultra-skinny, and especially attractive notebooks will be available in the UK from May 2010, although a price has not yet been announced.

Sony’s serene, hi-tech alarm clock

If your anything like me you dread the noise that emanates from traditional alarm clocks, my current alarm clock sounds like something from an alien planet – it’s a high-pitched foreign screech – I hate it. But Sony is about to release the serene and soothing ICF-C71PJ (we know it doesn’t sound that serene) but trust me this alarm clock looks to change the world of alarm clocks.

Sony-Alarm-Clock

Gone are the alien alarm noises and taking their place are five built-in soothing sounds from the natural world that provide you with an alternative to those annoying high frequency noises. You can choose from crisp digital recreations of undersea world, waves, mountain brook, rainfall or a birdsong to suit your mood.

The compact brushed aluminium finish will no doubt look great in anyone’s bedroom. It’s the first alarm clock to feature a built-in projector, which will project the time on to your wall or ceiling allowing for comfortable viewing.

There are multiple ways for this alarm clock to wake you; these include listening to your favourite radio shows with the FM/AM digital tuner, or you can plug-in your iPod or any other personal music player into the audio jack and listen to your favourite songs as you welcome in a new day.

Other notable inclusion are a built-in thermometer, which will give you the ambient temperature of your bedroom, making it a valuable way to check whether you have your heating set correctly for a good nights sleep.

This alarm clock dispels the problem of a late night power cuts with a battery back-up, which ensures that you always wake on time every time.

Sony have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about what functions a really good alarm clock should have, and they have decided that you shouldn’t hate you alarm clock – you should love it. And I think you will love this alarm clock, you will almost certainly hate the name, but for everything else it’s serene, thoughtful and full of features.