CES: Sony Touts Netflix Partnership

DOWN: Reed Hastings

Less than a year ago, the Netflix chief's stock was at $285 a share. On July 30, it closed at just $57.75 thanks to slowing domestic growth and the high cost of expanding overseas.

LAS VEGAS -- With a 4K Video Unlimited library launched in 2013, and since populated by 140 titles such as Sony Pictures' Elysium, Sony Electronics announced at CES that it had been working with Netflix to help create and deliver new 4K content

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took the stage to report that “Netflix is working with Sony to create a fabulous entertainment experience. When 4K started to be talked about, we saw the Internet as the natural medium to deliver it because most 4K content was going to be available online. We know that content creators are very excited about 4K because of the additional picture range they get to play with. All new original content from Netflix, including season two of House of Cards, will be shot, edited and produced in 4K…and we've been working with Sony to show Breaking Bad in 4K."

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He added that Netflix' 4K service will require 15Mb/s of in-home bandwidth compressed using HEVC. "This is very practical," said Hastings. "You can stream 4K over WiFi if you want to. It's testament to the work we've been doing on encoding and what Sony has been doing on decoding."

“4K is not a science project for 10 years into the future -- this is happening now,” asserted Mike Fasulo, president and CEO of Sony Electronics, at a strangely low-key press conference.

He rattled off a string of upcoming 4K-lensed features such as Spike Lee’s The Sweet Blood of Jesus, About Last Night and Think Like A Man 2; TV series such as Trophy Wife and The Blacklist; and sports including the upcoming FIFA World Cup final match.

Other items of note: Sony's booth features two 4K projectors blended together to throw a huge video of a soccer pitch; it trumpeted a new 4K Handycam for the prosumer market costing $2,000; confirmed that YouTube's video decoder VP9 will be incorporated into future products; and teased that its 4K F55 cameras were being used by Hulu to produce an original 4K TV series.

The company also is launching new 4K Bravia TV models with built-in HEVC codec and is working on a player enabling users, for example, to store video from their 4K Handycam and play it back on a 4K TV.

Sony also jumped on the wearable tech bandwagon with the introduction of “core,” a tiny waterproof device that can be worn in products such as the company’s SmartBand wrist band.