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CES 2012: Sony Sticks with Google TV

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Sony’s CES-eve press conference is always a must-attend, and it didn’t disappoint this year. The tech journo audience was thrilled to see Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld drop by to promote the upcoming Men in Black 3 (in 3D).

“Barry did an absolutely great job directing the movie and you did a great job paying for it,” Smith said to Howard Stringer, Sony’s chairman, CEO, and president.

American Idol Kelly Clarkson dropped by to close the show, singing her single “Mr. Know It All.” Between celebrities, Stringer showed a variety of upcoming Sony products.

Sony is expanding its Google TV lineup in 2012, though not by much. The company is introducing the NSZ-GS7, a network media player powered by Google TV. It’s compact and akin to the Logitech Revue in features. Users will be able to download Android Market apps on it and stream content from Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, HBO Go, and more. A picture-in-picture feature lets owners surf or use apps while watching TV. It comes with a motion-aware backlit remote with a touch pad on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other. The device will hit stores this summer, although pricing hasn’t been set.

Sony Google TV Remote
The remote (backlit, thankfully) for the new Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV media player 

Sony is also updating its existing Google TV Blu-ray Disc player with the NSZ-GP9. This offers connected features similar to the NSZ-GS7 network media player. The remote is also similar, although it adds voice search. 

Sony Google TV Blu-ray

Sony's new NSZ-GP9 Google TV Blu-ray player, with voice-recognition remote

The hour-long presentation featured plenty of 3D demos, and Stringer openly tried to dispel skepticism about the future of 3D in movie theaters and homes.

The presentation highlighted the Sony Entertainment Network for streaming video and audio, showed off the upcoming PlayStation Vita gaming portable (coming on February 22, and able to stream Netflix from the start), and impressed with the Sony Tablet P, an upcoming folding dual-screen tablet, capable of fitting in a pocket.

Other product highlights include Memories Online, a part of the Sony Entertainment Network for viewing and sharing photos and videos; ultra-light titanium 3D glasses; video cameras that greatly reduce handshake blur; and a new Wi-Fi-enabled model of the Bloggie pocket video camera that can shoot and stream live HD video. Sony also demonstrated leadership in 4K resolution video with the first 4K home theater projector.

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