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Sony, Comcast To Open Joint Concept Store

Philadelphia — Comcast and Sony said they will open a jointly branded retail store here Tuesday on the lower-level concourse of the Comcast Center.

The venue will combine a Sony Style electronics store with a retail showcase for Comcast cable TV products and services, including CableCard-enabled TVs and set-top decoders and high-speed cable broadband services.

The store, which will be called Sony Style Comcast Labs, may be used as a test and possible model for the rollout of similar stores in other locations, the companies told the Philadelphia Inquirer. It will also showcase future technologies in the pipeline for both companies.

The first Sony Style Comcast Lab store opens Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Demonstrations will include “The Future of High-Speed Internet: 100 Mbps surfing and downloading live,” and “The Future of Home Phone Service: The enhanced cordless telephone,” featuring email, IM, text and Yellow Pages.

The Sony-Comcast hybrid is the reported brainchild of Sir Howard Stringer, chairman/CEO of Sony Corp., and Brian Roberts, chairman/CEO of Comcast.

“Consumer electronics are becoming increasingly advanced, and the strategy behind the Sony Style stores has always been to create a comfortable environment where consumers interact with and educate themselves about the latest technology,” said Stan Glasgow, president/COO of Sony Electronics in the U.S. “At Sony Style Comcast Labs, trained staff show consumers how to unlock the full potential of their devices by demonstrating how Comcast’s advanced delivery services integrate beautifully with Sony’s hardware products and entertainment content.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter added: “This is another great example of innovation and consumer technology being showcased in Philadelphia by Comcast. Comcast has attracted great partners like Sony that continue to benefit our citizens with cool products.”
Sony currently operates about 40 Sony Style stores in the United States. Although the stores sell products to shoppers, they are equally intended to showcase diversified Sony products and to give consumers a hands-on demonstration of products they may have only seen or read about online, and ask more detailed questions of store staff.
Comcast has also tapped retailers to carry some of its services in select markets. Currently, about 5,000 retail stores from chains including Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target have relationships with the carrier.