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Sony's Glasgow On Tru2way, IPTV, Blu-ray

7/07/2008 09:41:00 AM Eastern

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico — IPTV is a work in progress, Tru2way didn’t happen overnight and watch out for Blu-ray in the second half.

Those are but three observations of Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, who spoke with TWICE exclusively during the recently completed Consumer Electronics Association CEO Summit, here.

Sony’s Bravia Internet Video Link, introduced last year, is its initial foray in IPTV. Days after the Glasgow interview Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, announced in Tokyo that "Hancock," the new Will Smith movie, will be streamed in HD to owners of Bravia TVs and Video Link this fall, prior to a DVD or Blu-ray release.

The "Hancock" experiment in the United States illustrates much of what Glasgow told TWICE about how Sony sees itself positioned in IPTV. "The fact that Sony has its own picture company and has for many years, we wanted, No. 1, to take advantage of that. But, more importantly, we wanted to give the consumer more opportunities and options for content."

success. "We’ve been working on this for six years. This has not been a short negotiation." But it is a good deal for the CE and cable industries.

Soon after the Sony announcement, Panasonic, Samsung, Intel, ADB and Digeo all signed up and backed the agreement.

While the main advantage of Tru2way is the ability to "get rid of the cable box and have uniformity across the country," Glasgow said the technology can be put inside TVs "to keep the price point down as low as possible, but the real thing will be the interactive features the cable company offers, the menu guides" and other factors.

He added that all is not settled yet. "There will be a lot of issues and business models will have to be determined. Retailers will now have a chance because in putting the technology in the TV it will raise the ASPs of televisions. I see an opportunity across the board, simplicity for the consumer, because they will have one remote control, not two."

And he predicted that down the road DVRs and servers could use Tru2way technology.

As for Blu-ray, when asked if the format has taken a low profile after the end of the format war, Glasgow said, "I feel it is just a perception by the press. Demand for Blu-ray product is far higher than the actual supply ... so we are all gearing up [production]. We can’t keep up with demand."

He said in the second half there will be significant Blu-ray introductions and promotions from Sony and other suppliers. Home Blu-ray video recorders will not be on the drawing board for this year, but when asked, Glasgow said, "I see it in the future ... [but] the cost of the drive has to come down dramatically. You will see products in the not too distant future that will record on Blu-ray in a simplified fashion."

Sony has worked with more content partners, and more alternative content will be available. Glasgow added, "Does it give us and those other content providers an extra revenue stream? Yes. Over time, that’s possible. We were very interested in doing a Sony channel and putting all of our various resources together for the consumer, and we are still working on Sony channels."

As bandwidth to U.S. homes expands, Glasgow expects programming likewise to grow. "Content delivery systems are evolving and TV is a critical place to provide content."

In discussing Tru2way Glasgow said it wasn’t an overnight