Category Archives: sony

2013: A la carte TV issues bubble over

Will an Apple television finally become reality in 2013?

Will an Apple television finally become reality in 2013?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could subscribe to only the television channels we want, rather than having to pay for a whole bunch of crap that we don’t?

Yes indeed, and people have been saying so for ages. This year, it’s either finally going to happen - or there’s going to be a big fight over why it isn’t happening.

Apple watchers (myself included) spent a good portion of 2012 sitting on their hands and waiting for the company’s promised foray into the television market. With the late Steve Jobs telling his biographer that he had finally “cracked” how to do a TV and current chief executive Tim Cook repeatedly saying it’s an area of “intense interest,” it’s been more of a question of when and how rather than if. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 10, 2013 in apple, intel, rogers, sony, television


10 best (or most important) gadgets of the year

With technology advancing exponentially, so too are the number of new gadgets flooding the market. There are indeed so many gizmos coming out on a daily basis that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them.

That’s why, love them or hate them, top-10 lists are especially useful when it comes to this particular theme. All such lists are purely subjective, as is the one I’ve put together below, but they are handy in identifying some of the standouts amid the sea of stuff out there.

Here are the 10 gadgets I liked best - or that I thought were important - in 2012:

10. Sony 4K TV


With everyone already owning an HDTV, it was inevitable that manufacturers would eventually start pushing the next big thing. Sony is one of the first with its 4K TV, with the 4K standing for the more than 4,000 pixels along its width, making it twice as sharp as a regular 1080p model. This 84-inch beast costs $25,000 so it’s clearly not something I’ll be getting any time soon, but it did look sweet in the demo I saw earlier this year. The only question is: how would Santa get it down the chimney? Read the rest of this entry »


Does anybody really want Sony’s 4K TV?

Sony’s 84-inch 4K television: no stand needed.

For the world of television sets, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. For the consumer - you and me - the first of those applies. Competition between manufacturers has brought prices on LCD and plasma TVs down so low that some of us are contemplating putting one in our bathroom. I am, at least.

That same fact is what makes it the worst of times for the manufacturers themselves. Sure, a few years ago they were swimming in sales, but those days are over. Flat panel sales are flattening and expected to drop precariously over the next few years. For the Asian companies that make them, it’s becoming a bloodbath.

Not surprisingly, they keep trying to think of something new to get those sales moving upward again. A few years ago, they hoped it would be 3D. After that, they pushed internet connectivity. Neither caught on with the buying public, mainly because most of that public had already just bought an expensive, new flat panel, and TVs aren’t like phones - you expect them to last a long time.

Sony is now leading the charge on something called 4K television. The 4K refers to the 4,000-odd pixels that the TV displays along its width, which gives it twice the resolution of a typical high-definition TV. It’s ultra-HD.

The company showed off the new technology to media here in Toronto the other day and of course, it was flabbergasting. For several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 20, 2012 in sony


OnLive problems mean cloud gaming still far off

Streaming games to your TV without a console? Not for some time.

The world of cloud gaming took a big hit over the weekend as word broke that OnLive, the California company that is trying to position itself as the Netflix of video games, was pretty much going out of business. The story evolved over the weekend and it now looks like the company was performing some maneuvers to avoid exactly that fate.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, all the employees were fired and all previous stakeholders including founder Steve Perlman lost their stakes in the company. A newly formed company then acquired all of OnLive’s assets and will continue to operate under its name and run its services. Half of the employees will be rehired.

This restructuring - an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, or ABC - is a complex set of gymnastics to basically avoid going under completely. OnLive now has a new sole investor, venture capital company Lauder Partners, and says it will announce additional investors soon.

As the dust settles, one thing is clear. If OnLive’s new investors are interested in anything beyond its patents - such as seeing the company indeed become the Netflix of video games - they’re nuts. That’s because cloud gaming is still a long ways off, at least in North America. If it wasn’t, OnLive wouldn’t have found itself in such dire straits. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 20, 2012 in internet, netflix, sony, video games


Game consoles are regressing technologically

The Atari 2600: the pinnacle of game console technology?

If there’s one fact that crystallized a little more this week, it’s that the video game industry is set for some major disruption. Ouya, an Android-running set-top box that is looking for investment via crowd-sourced funding site Kickstarter, made a big splash on Tuesday. The attention came partly because Kickstarter projects are all the rage these days, but also because there is a definite appetite for just the sort of disruption Ouya is promising. The fact that the effort hit its $1-million funding goal in no time at all indicates just how badly the gaming public wants something new.

The frustration was most effectively articulated by Destructoid reviews editor Jim Sterling in his latest video rant, which he posted a day before Ouya hit Kickstarter. To summarize, Sterling thinks video game consoles - primarily the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - have become “crap PCs” that ultimately defeat their entire purpose. Virtually every console game now requires multiple log-ins, upfront installation, frequent downloadable updates and complicated - and annoying - digital rights management that limits how the game and its assorted content can be used. Whereas once upon a time a person could pop a disc (or cartridge) into the machine and be off to the races in seconds, now there’s a whole slew of hoops to jump through before the action starts.

Lengthy installs and downloads were always the downside of playing games on a PC, but the upside was usually much better graphics. PC games are also often cheaper, if not free, to play online and have more robust player communities, he argues. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 11, 2012 in apple, microsoft, sony, video games


Is the end near for Asian tech companies?

nexus7Believe it or not, we’re in the midst of another massive paradigm shift in technology - and once again, it’s because of Apple.

Relax haters, this isn’t some fanboy rant about the latest cool features that Apple is adding to its devices which competitors have already had for years. This has more to do with the change in business models that the iPhone maker is ushering in.

Historically, technology has gone through rotating periods of proprietary-ness versus openness. What has usually happened is that one company has come to dominate a particular field with its products, then had its monopoly smashed either by authorities or by co-operating competitors that stressed openness and interoperable standards. It happened with IBM and computers and with Microsoft and software.

With the ascension of Apple, the king of proprietary-ness, into the world’s biggest and most influential technology operation, other companies are now starting to emulate how it does things, especially in the realm of vertical integration.

In the space of a week, both of Apple’s biggest competitors - Microsoft and Google - announced their own custom-built branded tablets. Microsoft last week unveiled the Surface while Google on Wednesday announced the Nexus 7, a seven-inch tablet that is manufactured by Taiwan’s Asus but which is otherwise a Google device through and through.

In both cases, there is a touch of desperation. Apple continues to dominate tablets with more than 65% of the market, with only Amazon’s Kindle Fire managing to breach double digits. It’s no coincidence that Amazon is an American company - but more on that in a second. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on June 28, 2012 in amazon, apple, Google, ipad, iphone, microsoft, sony


A look at Sony’s upcoming exclusive games

Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss several upcoming PlayStation 3 games with their respective developers, as well as try them out.

PlayStation All Stars Battle Royal, scheduled for a holiday release, is a fighting game mash-up that will pit many of Sony’s popular characters - such as Sly Cooper and God of War’s Kratos - against each other. To me, the game is a bit like a reality show, where old stars hope to get rediscovered.

Speaking of God of War, the next installment in that Greek mythology-inspired action series - God of War: Ascension, a prequel - will feature online multiplayer modes for the first time. Sony hasn’t announced a release date for the game, but I found the addition of multiplayer an interesting commentary on the used-game issue facing the industry.

Lastly, kart racing is coming to the LittleBigPlanet franchise this holiday season with LittleBigPlanet Karting. The game is being designed by Vancouver’s United Front Games, which cut its teeth on the similar ModNation Racers. It looks like United Front is giving up on that franchise in favour of the much more successful LBP. Check out my interview with William Ho, one of the company’s designers (if you like reading instead of watching, here’s the transcript):

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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in sony, video games


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