Sony chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer — surrounded by a billion dollars' worth of Hollywood, music and baseball superstars — gave the opening day keynote speech at International CES that was part inspirational and part sales pitch for the company's vast array of products and services.
Since this was CES an almost-required demonstration of 3-D video was part of the 90-minute exposition. The highlight was a preview of "Monster Vs. Aliens," a 3-D production in the works from Dreamworks Animation.
Film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks gave a spirited speech touting 3-D as cinema's next big wave as he introduced the clip.
Although Katzenberg is a pretty big name, for star power no one could beat actor Tom Hanks who seemed to have a blast lampooning CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro's keynote. (See p. 1.) Hanks and Stringer had a lively give and take about technology, with the actor swearing his allegiance to all things Sony — even his beloved Betamax. He even tweaked Sir Howard, thanking LG for the row of teleprompters in front of the stage.
Hanks was not above doing his own selling, especially the upcoming "Angels & Demons" film coming from — you guessed it — Sony Pictures. Hanks asked Stringer "to take the hold off of my paycheck" now that he did his bit. Stringer hit back with a laugh: "Maybe I won't!"
Along with Hanks and Katzenberg, baseball superstar Reggie Jackson appeared, reliving his three home runs during the '77 World Series. That gave Stringer the opportunity to note Sony had just signed a deal with the new Yankee Stadium to provide more than 550 Bravia HDTVs for the new ballpark.
Superstar Usher of Sony Music then performed a ballad. He, too, jokingly swore his loyalty to Sony, saying his two children were born in Sony hospitals.
Stringer also showed a working demo of a new display technology called Flex OLED. He was also bullish about Blu-ray, and Pixar's John Lasseter came on stage to rave about the quality and tout the benefits of BD Live technology.
Stringer then introduced celebrity medical expert Dr. Mehmet Oz. Sony's TV's division is now offering his show for syndication.
More extensive coverage of Stringer's keynote, as well as all CES keynotes, is available at www.TWICE.com.