Sony’s strategy has been from an early point to encourage uptake of 3D not just by creating great 3D TVs but also great 3D content. Partnerships with the likes of Discovery and ESPN to create 3D content to be screened have tried to give the initial uptake of 3D a boost which otherwise would have been held back by a lack of much content beyond animated movies; with ESPN this included filming a variety of sports in 3D and broadcasting them. Sony of course create their own programming and used it to showcase 3D in the US early on, though they have recently launched a Sony channel in the UK which may be used for 3D programming in future.
Sony are one of the top makers of 3D cameras and became aware that the cost of these cameras would hold back the making of 3D content, part of the reason why 3D animation was initially much more popular than filmed content. Sony’s answer was to lend and rent out cameras to content makers as well as working to bring down the cost of cameras. Columbia though is part of the Sony family and Sony quickly ramped up the number of 3D movies made by Columbia using Sony 3D cameras:this includes films such as Men in Black 3 and Resident Evil Afterlife, which are live action movies that hit cinemas in 3D but shortly after come out on 3D Blu-Ray. It may well be that initially most 3D content will be films bought out in 3D on Blu Ray and Sony bundle films with 3D TVs so people have something to watch in 3D straight away.
Sony unlike other TV manufacturers is also able to leverage the advantage of having a games console as welland their Playstation 3 can be upgraded with firmware to allow it to run games in 3D with several titles available already.The Playstation 4 will have most if not all games in 3D though and turning a 3D rendered game into a 3D game is an easy enough process. Of course playstation users could buy other TV makes but many will have a loyalty to Sony already and there is the potential for bundling again.
Sony’s 3D TVs are known for having some of the best glasses which are comfortable, easy to adjust and which block out ambient light making it easier to watch 3D TV without having to turn all of the lights out.
Sony are pushing forward with LCD TVs for the time being and trying to improve the quality of them but it is generally accepted that currently Plasma 3D TVs are better: primarily due to a higher refresh rate meaning they can handle more data and present full 1080 lines HD to each eye. Sony’s Bravias do now offer this but with some motion blurring people report, due to a compromise on frame-rate. Sony do use an LED boost to their pictures to make them brighter though, this again improves the viewing experience when there is a lot of ambient light around.
Many people believe that the ability to upscale 2D TV to 3D is going to be key to uptake, so that you can plug any content through a 3D TV and get the 3D experience. It isn’t as good as original 3D content but Sony’s system does work well giving a limited 3D impression but managing a clear picture, that was an initial problem with 3D upscaling techniques.
In early 2011 Sony showcased a glassesless 3D TV, (auto 3D), that unlike previous efforts still appears in 3D when you change the angle you are viewing the TV from: when these launch there is of course the risk that all glasses based 3D technology will become useless.