Sony hypes upcoming 3D products

Studio holds media event to showcase TVs, Blu-ray players

The 3D rollout may or may not prove to be a boon for home entertainment, but a media event Wednesday left no doubt that Sony pegs it as the Next Big Thing for the studio parent.

Top execs from each of its entertainment and consumer-product divisions assembled on a soundstage on the Sony lot to unveil hardware and content offerings set to hit the market soon in what the company dubbed a "3D world created by Sony." Remarks preceding the product demos may have flirted with hyperbole but never lacked for enthusiasm.

"Sony is blazing the trail on every path of the 3D universe, and no other company can make that claim," said Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corp.

Sony will introduce 3D televisions and Blu-ray Disc players in July. That's a tad later than offerings by others, but "3D TVs on the market simply cannot stand up to Sony," Stringer boasted.

Sony Pictures Entertainment's triumvirate of Michael Lynton, Amy Pascal and Jeff Blake also were on hand, along with home entertainment topper David Bishop and a team from Sony Electronics.

"We were demonstrating the pervasive approach of our attack on 3D," Stringer told The Hollywood Reporter afterward.

But if Sony's hardware-software synergies were apparent, so too was the company's intent to mine the 3D market for corporate riches.

Already, execs assembled for movie greenlight meetings regularly are asked about pics' 3D potential through all distribution platforms. Such calculations have been impressive enough to turn the next "Spider-Man" and "Men in Black" installments into 3D projects.

"Increasingly, when film executives are planning a new film, they ask '3D or not 3D, that is the question,' " Lynton quipped. "And more often than not, the answer is 'yes.' "

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release its first 3D Blu-ray title June 22, when animated adventure "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" hits store shelves.

Sony -- which is partnering with Discovery Networks and Imax on a planned 3D TV channel -- invited an ESPN 3D rep to cheerlead for extra-dimensional TV. Disney-owned ESPN 3D launches Friday with a telecast of the first World Cup match.

Stringer also showed basketball and golf clips, enthusing over "the undulation of the grass" in the latter.

Sony plans a $100 million marketing campaign to support its 3D product line, with a spot featuring Justin Timberlake and pro quarterback Peyton Manning scheduled to air during the World Cup.

Sony Computer Entertainment also hyped its PlayStation offerings, promising 20 gaming titles for the platform by Christmas.
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