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April 20, 2014

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Sony aims to become global leader in 3-D

Company announces new 3-D televisions, gaming console and feature films

CES Opening Keynote Address

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks Wednesday during the keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show at the Hilton Center. Launch slideshow »

CES Unveiled

Mitsubishi unveils its new 3D televisions at the CES Unveiled event Tuesday at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »

It was standing room only as members of the media donned 3-D glasses to watch pop star Taylor Swift perform in the flesh — and on-screen in three dimensions — during Sony's press conference Wednesday afternoon at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Swift, who performed her hit song, "Love Story," was projected on a screen behind her in 3-D to highlight Sony's emphasis on pursuing the technology in its electronic products and entertainment offerings.

"Our goal is to become an undisputed global leader in 3-D," said Stan Glasgow, Sony president and chief operating officer. "We are well on our way to making this a reality."

At this year's CES, 3-D is a hot trend with Sony being among many expected to tout developments around the technology.

Last year, Sony showed off some of the first 3-D products at CES. By this summer, they will land in living rooms.

At the press conference, Sony announced new televisions in its Bravia line that will make 3-D viewing available to the home audience. The sets became available for preorder on Sony's Web site Wednesday evening, Glasgow said, and are available in sizes that range from 22 to 60 inches.

Consumer Electronics Association analysts have predicted that a quarter of all TV sets sold in 2013 will be 3-D.

TV sets aren't the only item in the Sony line of products going 3-D, the company announced. The popular PlayStation 3 gaming console will become 3-D compatible through firmware upgrades. It will also be able to play 3-D Blu-ray films.

Some of Sony's new televisions and Blu-ray players will have integrated wireless connectivity, Glasgow said.

As far as the company's entertainment offerings, it plans to release a number of feature films this year in 3-D, Glasgow said, citing the success of the films "Avatar" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" as indications that consumers are hungry for a new dimension in film viewing.

The company announced sponsorship of ESPN's new 3-D network and plans to broadcast at least 85 sporting events, including PGA golf and professional soccer, in its first year.

Sony announced Tuesday plans for a television network that broadcasts entirely in 3-D in conjunction with partners IMAX and the Discovery Channel in 2011.

"Imagine 'Shark Week' in 3-D … We might have to equip everyone with a defibrillator," Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer said with a laugh.

Sony is also bringing a third dimension to music, with plans to release Kenny Chesney concert footage in theaters this summer as well as remastered classics, including performances by Jimi Hendrix.

Sony unveiled a new product it calls Dash, which Glasgow described as a "personal Internet viewer."

The handheld device, with a 7-inch diagonal touch-screen, "is designed to deliver your favorite pieces of the Internet at a glance," Glasgow said. It uses a variety of "apps" to deliver customized content through a home's wireless network.

Sony also announced an e-reader that will have exclusive access to the New York Post and Dow Jones content.

In its photography department, Sony announced that its new cameras will be compatible with SD memory cards, not just Sony memory sticks.

"America's Next Top Model" photographer Nigel Barker came on stage to demonstrate the new "Transfer Jet" technology Sony cameras are equipped with. Transfer Jet allows for wireless transmission of photographs between devices. The cameras are also equipped with GPS technology that embeds information that can be used when sharing photos with programs like Google Earth.

As Barker snapped photos of the crowd, he crowed about how smart the cameras are.

"I'm afraid you're going to come up with a fierce-detector next year and put pros like me out of business," he said, referencing Top Model host Tyra Bank's catch phrase.

Sony also introduced new laptops in its Vaio line, including a small, three-pound model in the Z series and an eco-friendly model made with recycled materials.

Upgrades to digital camcorders, including a new model called the "bloggie" which resembles the popular Flip camera model, were also announced.

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