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CES Day 1: Sony’s 7 Imperatives: Openness is Good, but Not Entirely

January 8, 2009 , , ,

After an 18 hour sojourn to get to Las Vegas yesterday (thank you, US Airways), I settled down this morning to hear Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro's “State of the Industry” address as well as Sony Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer's Keynote. Gary's address was particularly notable for its video opening, which included Gary embedded in a series of old movies – as Groucho Marx in “Duck Soup”, as Dr. Frankenstein, as George Bailey in “It's a Wonderful Life,” among others, thanks to a technology called Yoostar., which allows people to play characters in their favorite movies. Watch the video here. Among other things, Gary emphasized CEA dedication to the principles set out in the famous Sony Betamax Supreme Court case, which legalized recording of TV shows, and called on Congress to lower statutory damages for copyright violations, the threat of which is responsible for many innovative technologies seeing the light of day.

Sir Howard's Keynote was opened by the very wry and witty Tom Hanks, who in addition to shamelessly promoting Sony (he is starring in the Sony picture “Angels and Demons”), demonstrated eyeglasses that allow one to watch a video and walk at the same time. Here he is:

Tom Hanks

Then Sir Howard took the stage alone, and laid out what he called his “Seven Imperatives” for the consumer electronics sector:

  1. Embrace the fusion of industries (CE/Tech/Content)

  2. Adopt a service-enhanced philosophy

  3. Products must be Multi-Functional (and easy to use)

  4. Support Open Technologies (citing Linux as an example)

  5. Advance the Shared Experience (through technologies that can talk to one another)

  6. Create new value chains (HDTV begets Blue Ray, and HD Video cameras, etc.)

  7. Go Green

These all sound terrific, and I was particularly surprised by his support for open technologies, since Sony has been infamous in the past for driving consumers to proprietary peripherals like batteries, memory cards and the like.

But my hopes were dashed seconds later, when Sir Howard praised the “Bravia Video Network,” were movies like “Hancock” are streamed, prior to DVD release, but only to those viewers who have a Bravia TV. We've written about that previously. Nothing open about that.