Sony Keynote: Tru2way Denied

LAS VEGAS -- 2009 International CES -- In what might go down as the longest keynote in the history of keynotes, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer spent much of his two hours on stage talking about how his products will go over the top with broadband connections -- and exactly zero time discussing Sony's plans for tru2way .

Stringer told the crowd that by 2010, 90 percent of Sony's products will connect to each other or, wirelessly, to the Internet. One of those items will be Sony TVs that support the so-called Bravia Internet Link, which gives users access to the Web, and, of course, Sony's online store, which is chock full of movies and TV shows that compete directly with cable's own video-on-demand (VoD) offerings.

Sony, Stringer said, will bake that technology into "several" high-end, high-definition TV models beginning this spring.

Cable might also want to keep an eye on Sony's new WiFi-capable Cybershot camera, which automatically uploads pictures to photo-sharing sites and social networking sites. A deal with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will give those customers complimentary access to the telco's 10,000 or so WiFi locations.

Maybe Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), cable's WiFi champion, should jump in on that opportunity too. (See Cablevision Plays WiFi Card and Cablevision Doubles Up on WiFi.)

Sony is also trying to reinvent the old clock radio with a new WiFi-connected picture frame, offering access to customized sports, weather, Internet radio, videos, and anything else the user can squeeze through the broadband pipe.

"Wouldn't you like to wake up to Big Ben?" Stringer asked the audience. "The clock, I mean." An important clarification, and just one of several rim-shots the Sony man delivered during his morning marathon in Sin City.

Sony also used the keynote as an opportunity to give the crowd a taste of budding 3-D technology, showing movie clips from Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks Animation SKG, and some shots from the recently played Orange Bowl.

The images were admittedly cool, and they didn't make anyone throw up their morning waffles. A plus.

But what about tru2way? After all, Sony was front and center of that memorandum of understanding inked last year. (See Sony Supports tru2way and Revealed: The Tru2way MOU.) On top of that, Sony does have some tru2way activity cooking -- it's planning to sell a CableLabs -certified "set-back" box from Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) alongside some Bravia models. (See Sony Drives ADB's Set-Back.)

But there was no mention of the technology this morning, so apparently tru2way wasn't sexy enough to make the cut. Besides, when it comes to CES keynotes, perhaps tru2way is considered so last year. (See CES: Roberts Declares Open Season.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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