On Wednesday last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the Sony Carnival on behalf of Geekzone. With around 50 other journalists and bloggers from a variety of different newspapers, magazines and TV shows, I was able to preview some of the new product offerings from Sony which included LCD TVs, cameras, camcorders and laptops - basically, I got to go to a gadget geek's heaven!
It was held on the stage in The Civic theatre in central Auckland - massive runs of coloured fabric and multi-coloured lights hung high above centre stage, draped out to the half dozen odd displays they had setup. Each display focused on a different range of products, with the staff dressed up as carnival workers. Popcorn was handed out to add to the authenticity of being at the carnival - my thoughts were Sony really must have the marketing budget to go to such lengths! I have to admit though that it was a refreshing change from the very plain (and now boring) product showcases I've seen in the past.
I could write a very length post on all of the products I saw, instead I'll briefly outline some of the highlights for me from that morning:
- Sony Bravia HD 3D TVs - one word: WOW! I saw a very impressive demonstration of watching 3D in your own home played off Blu-ray discs. You are still required to wear special glasses (different from those used in the theatre) which I don't feel is ideal; nevertheless, watching live Rugby or playing PS3 all in 3D is very exciting - whether this will be adopted into mainstream or purely remain as a gimmick, time will tell.
- Sony BDP-S570 Blu-ray player - not only a nice and tidy Blu-ray player, this device can be plugged into your home network and you can browse the BRAVIA internet video channels, show your favourite YouTube video in full screen, or watch movies shared from your computer. It has USB ports for plugging in a keyboard (much quicker typing searches in than using the remote) plus an optional wireless network dongle. Having seen the RRP, it sits at a very affordable price point, and I'm hoping to get a unit to do a full review soon.
- Sony TX5 - this digital camera looks just like a standard camera, it's very slim at 16.7mm and is an respectable 10.2 megapixels. Its impressive feature is that it works underwater (up to 3m) without the need for bulky waterproof housing. The touch screen on the back of the camera also works while fully submerged.
- SD card support! - Sony has (finally) realised that not everyone wants to purchase their proprietary bubblegum-stick shaped memory sticks, so now the cameras and camcorders support standard SD cards as well as the Sony memory stick.
- Sony bloggie - marketed as a "snap camera", this device is a small and compact HD camera designed for quick and easy uploading of video files to social media sites (such as YouTube). It comes with a built-in USB arm, and can do up to 5 hours and 20 minutes of HD recording on a 32GB memory stick. A nifty 360? lense can also be attached to it - placed in the centre of a table at a function, it allows you to record everything going on around (would've been very handy at Saturday's Geekzone Pizza!). Sample video here.
Thanks to Melanie Pohl, from Sony PR for inviting me to this event and providing the included photos (in my rush to get to the event I forgot my camera).
Another review of the carnival, specifically the HD 3D TV is available at the NBR - Chris Keall has an article available here (subscriber only) - disclaimer: I don't have access to view this, I've sourced it from Chris' Twitter account.
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