It’s a big year in HD for Sony Electronics. The Blu-ray high-definition DVD format is coming in July and the PS3 game system, with Blu-ray playback and HD gaming capability, is due to arrive by year’s end. In addition, the company’s Bravia line of HDTV sets continues to be a market leader. Randy Waynick, SVP, Home Products Division, Sony Electronics, spoke with Ken Kerschbaumer about the HD market.
What is your general perception of the HD transition? What are consumer electronics manufacturers doing right and what are they doing wrong when it comes to selling HDTV sets?
The HD transition is in full motion with a steady adoption rate but we’re taking specific steps to help customers navigate the acronyms and technologies with consumer education programs such as our HD Web site which is at www.sony.com/HDTV. We’re also listening to the consumers so we understand their needs and better enhance the full HD experience. An example would be our Bravia product in conjunction with an audio Dream system. They compliment each other and provide a better experience for consumers because HD is more than TV.
Sony is now moving its Bravia LCD flat-panel and SXRD Grand WEGA HDTV sets to 1080p. Why should a consumer buy a TV set that is 1080p when thereis no way to broadcast 1080p?
Well, 1080p sets provide true, full high-definition with two million pixels or almost double that of traditional HDTVs. And with the advent of Blu-ray and Playstation 3 later this summer and fall, 1080p content will be readily available for an amazing viewing experience. Additionally, the new 1080p models offer signal processing circuitry that will enhance broadcast signals and deliver a great HDTV picture compared to other HD formats such as 1080i and 720p.
Speaking of Blu-ray, the proverbial wisdom on the street is that most consumers will wait until either HD-DVD or Blu-ray “wins” before making apurchasing decision. Do you think that will be the case or do you think the sales will exceed expectations?
We absolutely expect consumers to adopt Blu-ray as the next generation high-definition format. With the abundance of pre-recorded content, industrysupport and array of hardware including stand-alone players, computers featuring Blu-ray ROM and recordable drives and PS3, Sony expects a steady format adoption regardless of competing technologies.
From what we hear on the street, Blu-ray is going to provide what consumers want, without being limited by what other formats technology can deliver.
Do you think the next-generation DVD formats will drive the sale of HDTV sets? Why or why not?
The introduction of Blu-ray will definitely provide more motivation to those thinking about an HDTV purchase. HD content is coming to an apex where consumers can see the true benefits of programming on a quality HDTV. Just imagine the flood of HD content being fed to the market that people will want to fully enjoy.