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Sony 3D Push Seeks To Make Up Lost Time

SAN DIEGO — Although joining the 3D TV fray a
little later than rivals Panasonic and Samsung, Sony
marketing executives told TWICE they have hit the
ground running this month in rolling out to retail a
comprehensive lineup of 3D Bravia sets backed by
an integrated corporate 3D message.

Sony has begun flagging the attention of curious
3D customers by urging them to come back into
stores now, some three months after Samsung and
Panasonic introduced their first 3D sets, to see what
it considers to be the best 3D TV demos available.

Sony is delivering Bravia 3D LED TVs
in three series to regional and national
dealers of various sizes through July,
ramping up to more accounts over the
course of the next three months.

The company is also arming dealers
with an arsenal of marketing resources,
from extensive on-floor sales training
assistance to an assortment of in-store
merchandising kiosks — both customized
and “off-the-rack” — that enable
showcasing multiple components of
a Sony 3D TV system together for an
in-store demo, to engage shoppers intrigued
by the 3D buzz.

The training initiative, Sony said, is focused
on communicating “how Sony
products stand apart,” placing Sony brand
advocates in the market to work with all
sizes of retailers. In addition, the company
has hired “several hundred sales reps”
who are working alongside stores’ sales
associates several days a week in assisted
sales environments of varying sizes.

Sony said it is emphasizing its differentiation
from the rest of the 3D TV pack by
pointing to three pillars of strength in its
new TV lines — superior 3D picture quality,
superior set design and styling, and a
powerful connection to the Internet for an
expanded entertainment experience.

Chris Fawcett, Sony U.S. TV business
unit VP, said consumers should not be put
off by talk of 3D glasses incompatibility or
standards yet to come, adding that Sony is
putting significant resources into making
sure consumers get plenty of use for the
long term out of the sets they buy today.

“Sony has thought through all of the
aspects of 3D entertainment, not just the
television product but also how it relates
to Blu-ray players, Blu-ray home theater,
the PlayStation3 gaming system, the content
creation that we’re doing with Sony
Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, in
addition to the partnerships we are funding
in the market to make sure 3D broadcast
content is available as well,” he said.
“We are educating the content creation
community to make sure that 3D production
happens, so that downstream the
consumer can enjoy a Bravia 3D TV, confidently,
not only in what the hardware
presents but knowing that Sony’s expertise
has infl uenced creation of content in
the highest quality as well.”

Fawcett pointed out that the “Monolithic
Design” of Sony Bravia sets this
year — presenting a flat plane of glass
with a minimum separation of materials
for a more uniform look at feel — “has
been strongly received by consumers,
retailers and design aficionados.”

“We’ve seen the Monolithic Design as
an opportunity to redefine Sony’s stance
as a market leader in overall television
design,” Fawcett said.

Bravia LED 3DTVs offer a 3D picture
with a wider viewing area, enabling more
people seated in a room to receive a signal
with their glasses than other models.

Sony’s closed-optic glasses technology
blocks out more ambient light than competitive
models in the market, Fawcett said,
by minimizing distractions while keeping
a darker viewing area so that the contrast
between the television and the glasses is
stronger for better picture quality.

“Versus our plasma competition, we
see a brighter picture on a Sony 3D set
because of a new technology we call LED
Boost, which helps us control the backlight,”
Fawcett said.

Another strength for Sony in its 3D effort
will be its popular PlayStation3 gaming
system, which has been updated to
support 3D Blu-ray movie playback in
addition to 3D video games.

“Gaming is a very important platform
to help drive the overall 3D awareness,”
said Mike Abary, Sony Electronics consumer
products group senior VP. “It is
an element amongst many in the message
of balance in the full 3D solution
that comes from Sony — it consists of
our hardware, our content that includes
gaming and movies and broadcast,”
Abary said.

In addition, Sony’s rollout efforts are
highlighting the Bravia Internet Video
capabilities as a key piece in “the Sony
ecosystem,” said Abary, though delivery
of 3D content over the platform is
still not ready for primetime.

“While 3D might be an emphasis right
now, we are not de-emphasizing any of
our platform services and content,” he