Sony Seeking to Beat Apple in Revolutionizing Television

adbe

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2008
616
140
Thus quoth RIM.
Sony's problem has been and always will be implementation. They just don't know how to streamline the functionality and delivery a high-value product. They try way too hard to be all things to all people rather than sticking to a single design motif.

I agree with everything you say, except this para. I'm not sure it's far to say that lack of focus has always been Sony's problem. The Walkman was a damn near perfect design. It did everything it needed to, and nothing it didn't. Accordingly it defined the market (though one could argue that the rot set in with the Megabass control).

I'm also leery of favouring Sony with the "all things to all people" label. There are plenty of CE companies for whom that is a suitable epithet. Sony started to get into trouble when they tried to limit stuff. Proprietary formats and lock-in killed Sony. Apple are guilty of the same of course, but Apple bring value. You accept the lock-in and lack of broader compatibility because life is pretty decent in the world of integrated Apple devices. Sony has long been at war with itself, so the lock-in didn't even help people who stuck with Sony products.

Unless a closed/proprietary system brings a lot of value add, being open in always better. Sony still haven't internalized that message.

Apple have, but the lesson they've drawn is "get it right".

(Edit: typos)
 
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SockRolid

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2010
1,560
114
Almost Rock Solid
Yeah, Sony, a company producing TV's for over 30 years will surely lose to Apple Television sales that are just starting out.
Yeah, Sony, a company that used to make money selling TVs, is now losing money on every TV they sell. Times change.

"We can't continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money."
Oh, and Apple isn't actually selling any television sets yet. But all the Sony apologists are up in arms already.
Kind of funny, no?
 

kasei

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2003
559
9
Los Angeles, CA
Really Sony? Have you guys not been looking at why you having been losing money for the past 10 years.

Let's see... they got killed by the iPod. iTunes stripped their music empire. Then the iPhone comes a long and oh wow they get slapped again. And let's not forget Sony's dying laptop line. You throw in some faulty battery manufacturing and you get more losses. Add a bailout by the Japanese government and the red flags are on fire!

This is what happens when you rest on the success of very popular product, the Walkman, but you don't inovate and get left behind. Sony needs to worry about Samsung and LG, who right now are kicking the pants off of them when it comes to making TV's.

Don't get me wrong I use to buy a lot of Sony products and when I lived in Japan that'd all I had. But after a while the glutton of features added to old and outdated hardware began to show Sony had nothing new up their sleeves. I really hope they have something new rather old tech wrapped in a new package. Time to innovate Sony or shut up!
 

Thunder82

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2008
439
0
Chicago, IL
I have one of the newer model Sony LED TVs and it is truly awesome, imo. (KDL-55HX820) The internet functionality is well implemented and being able to stream any movie from my NAS drive without the need of a 3rd device is pretty incredible.
 

thirdwaver

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2003
61
4
Northwest USA
Here's my fear about an Apple TV... (first, uh... what are they going to call it?) Seriously though, it's not an unwarranted concern that Apple would distribute something with limited connectivity options priced way higher than existing options. Whenever Steve got inspired to revolutionize an industry, he usually did so by chopping it down to its essence. In the case of the TV, he'd want to control what you could connect to it. I think this would be a mistake in the case of TV's as it would render existing gear useless and I don't think many people would embrace that like they do in other markets.

Secondly, while as a consumer, I applaud the centralizing of music and video in the iTunes ecosystem (still DETEST the $1.29 price), the record and movie industries are apparently much less thrilled. They see Apple as a huge threat to their ability to freely gouge customers by limiting their distribution. Look at how they're pushing back against Netflix. One could argue that they're single-handedly destroying that company (with a little help from their CEO). Apple's really good at making hardware and software and I think the rumored Siri interface would be an amazingly fresh way to get through so much content. But the challenge Apple will have is getting Cable companies and content providers to cooperate.

Lastly, I fear an ecosystem for my TV that mirrors iOS devices. Apple has a way of getting you hooked into their ecosystem then leaving you behind unless you continue to buy more hardware. That might work with a subsidized phone, but it's not going to work with a $2,000 television so their revenue stream better be more dependent on content than hardware.
 

bretm

macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2002
1,951
27
Finally someone needs to destroy the standard TV industry and the archaic way we get content. Just like Napster did for music. Then, and only then can someone like Apple come in and do it right.

I can see Sony sneaking in and having the trust of the big networks. Hey we're Sony, we're all about TV and a good TV experience, etc. Then of course the Sony experience is much like their crappy interfaced BluRay players, Crackle, who knows what and once the walls have been broken down it's fair game for Apple to make a better "experience." After all, most of the devices that people want to experience it on are Apple devices, not Sony. iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, AppleTV box, and maybe AppleTV itself.
 

SockRolid

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2010
1,560
114
Almost Rock Solid
Sony's problem is software

I agree with everything you say, except this para. I'm not sure it's far to say that lack of focus has always been Sony's problem. The Walkman was a damn near perfect design. It did everything it needed to, and nothing it didn't. Accordingly it defined the market, though one could argue that the rot set in with the Megabass control. ...
Sony was the leader in consumer electronics industrial design until Apple released iPod. But extra-shiny hardware isn't what put Apple over the top in the consumer electronics world. It's the software that powers Apple devices that enabled Apple's dominance.

Sony simply coasted for too long. I remember when the phrase "Japan Inc." was used often, especially in provocative pieces on how Japanese companies would soon take over the world. And one of "Japan Inc.'s" strengths was the quality of the firmware in, for example, Sony's consumer electronics products.

But that was then and this is now. Sony failed to evolve its software much beyond the button-push event-handling firmware in TV remotes and the once-famous Walkman. They relied on their reputation for slick hardware and underestimated the importance of the OS and the GUI in consumer electronics. And they lost the "user experience war."

Of course, Sony has other problems too. But software is the real killer. They're also heavily dependent on Microsoft, of course, for their Vaio PC line. They're trying to coast on their reputation in the low-margin zero-brand-loyalty PC market. I'd like to see how Mr. Stringer will turn that business around. How does it fit into his "4 screen" strategy?
 

carmenodie

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2008
773
0
To hell with this corporate talking head.
It took Sony's sorry a** 3 years double the ram in the psp. WTF!And still after like 6 years the psp still has one of the crappiest browser experiences I have ever seen.
The Vita won't drop until feb 2012? Give me a break!! They will miss the vital holiday season. No one and I mean no one is going to go crazy over the Vita for holiday 2012! No body!
If it were me at Sony the Vita would have been in your hands today(11-11-11). Call of Duty, Monster Hunters, Madden and about another dozen high end titles would have been lock, loaded and ready to rock, today!!!!
 

jettredmont

macrumors 68030
Jul 25, 2002
2,703
298
Yeah, Sony, a company producing TV's for over 30 years will surely lose to Apple Television sales that are just starting out.
Well, like the guy said: they are losing money on television sets, and where they make money on a per-set basis it isn't enough to offset R&D needed just to keep up.

So, yeah, I think it's fairly easy to assume that IF Apple produces a TV, Sony will lose, in terms of profit.

Market share? Probably not, at least in the short term. It took a long time for a reinvented phone to displace Nokia and Motorola schlock in peoples' pockets. Longer term, though? If Apple redefines what a TV set is, then Sony will be at a severe disadvantage.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,394
1,943
Samsung TV's> Sony
Apple iPod> Sony
Canon & Nikon DSLR's> Sony
Apple MacBook Air's/Pro's/iMac> Sony
Nintendo> Sony
VHS> Sony Beta

Son'y new banner should be "Following the leaders"
Sony makes the sensors for many of Nikon's cameras. And i'm sure they make a lot of other components used by other companies, even Apple.

They may be inferior in some cases but they aren't going anywhere.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,640
1,802
Love how this guy brags about spending the last 5 years doing what Apple has done for the last 10.
 

miknos

Suspended
Mar 14, 2008
939
778
Instead of wasting resources, they should simply wait for Apple to launch the service so they can COPY after.

They're going to do it anyway.
 

jettredmont

macrumors 68030
Jul 25, 2002
2,703
298
Sony, I remember as a pretty cool company. But, their time has passed. Compare the UI on the PS3 to the Xbox360 for instance. It's like they simply don't get it. Their new tv effort will probably be defined by proprietary memory sticks and ugly clunky UI.
I agree. In the '80s Sony was the standard. I haven't wanted anything from Sony in over 15 years, though. The last things I bought from Sony I bought on price/features (a DVD player and a camcorder and a CD player before that), and I wasn't impressed with the quality in general.

Sony's still a "big name" in television sets, but today's TVs are quite different from what Sony actually has expertise in. There are no Trinitron tubes to wow consumers over here, just commodity display panels (there are differences in quality, obviously, but not much compared to Trinitron, and not controlled by one brand either), commodity arrays of inputs, and commodity switching hardware. To that the brand adds its plastic body styling, menuing structure/OS, and any proprietary googahs they are pushing (memory stick) at the moment. The story's a little different in 3D, but 3D isn't taking off as a draw for consumers (again, as the article stated).

What that leaves for the brand to distinguish itself is the OS or menuing structure. Sony's idea of a "good" UI is comical to say the least. They simply can not compete with the likes of Apple there. Perhaps pulling in Google's UI crack team will help them, but then Sony's back in the "commodity" realm on their OS relative to every other TV on the Best Buy display. And Apple still wins.

I still see it silly for Apple to get into the TV business, and would much rather take that array of inputs and menuing structure/OS out of the "TV" box altogether (that commodity display panel and plastic housing should far outlast the hardware running the OS!) Still, if they get in, I expect Sony to feel the pain significantly.
 

apolloa

macrumors G5
Oct 21, 2008
12,223
7,673
Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
I am very excited for Sony to do this, take em on, Apple will loose sales to the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, in the US anyway. And Sony has more then enough experience and innovation to take them on.
Hell Sony will probably make the panel in an Apple TV, on Apple will stick a price tag triple what Sony would charge of course..... :roll eyes:

But they better be kick s if Apple launch a TV they will soon start suing everybody stating they invented and patented the TV shape, round corners, they invented TV, then pay off the judge and jury to ensure they win, or doctor evidence presented by themselves....
 

SockRolid

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2010
1,560
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Sony owns movie and TV studios. They're not neutral.

[...] I can see Sony sneaking in and having the trust of the big networks. Hey we're Sony, we're all about TV and a good TV experience, etc. [...]
Not so fast. Sony bought Columbia Pictures Entertainment from Coca-Cola in 1989. The movie division is now called Sony Pictures Entertainment, the TV division is now called Sony Pictures Television. They've also spun off Sony Pictures Classics among other content creation studios, and a consortium including Sony bought MGM in 2005.

So Sony competes in terms of content production against the "big networks." They're not going to "sneak in" and gain their trust. It's fine for Sony to make the TVs and DVD/BD players. But to expect Sony to not favor their own content in the next-generation internet-based TV infrastructure is ridiculous.

And anyway, it's not clear that the "big networks" as we know them today can even continue to exist in the 21st-century internet TV era.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
2,896
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Milwaukee Area
The biggest three brands in my industry make a lot of money. They started when there was very little competition, and now have huge dealer networks, far-reaching, scattered product lines, and focus all over the place. They make most of their money on the high quantity cheap products, but figure the high end is worth stringing along, because dropping it would devalue the brand. But as long as they have a million models of mid-range doodads that look increasingly like low end doodads, they're trapped being a mid/low-end doodad company that appeals to people who want mid/low-end doodads.

Because, people who want to pay a premium for a premium device generally don't want it from a mid-range brand.

I appreciate that Sony at least tried to do what they thought was a better job with personal computers in their ambitious Vaio line, though I never owned one, and thought any time I used one they were pretty screwey.

If Apple is going to go after the high-end of the consumer level, chances are they'll get it. Google is probably waiting patiently to plan their second volley, so perhaps there's room for Sony to fit in underneath those two.


I have a feeling the crappy old networks are going to take a real beating in all this.
 

entatlrg

macrumors 68040
Mar 2, 2009
3,375
3
Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
Yeah, Sony, a company producing TV's for over 30 years will surely lose to Apple Television sales that are just starting out.
Sony's innovations and especially quality in their TV's and computers has nose dived in recent years, they're heading the wrong way fast.

I heard once there was another industry or two or three that had been producing products for years as well ... I think maybe those industry's lost large sitting their hands while Apple just started out ...

What was that? music, phones, tablets, MacBooks Airs ... can't seem to recall.

:D :apple::apple::apple:
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,905
58
Wisconsin
Different strokes for different folks

Yeah, Sony, a company producing TV's for over 30 years will surely lose to Apple Television sales that are just starting out.
Apple is far ahead of Sony as far as infrastructure to incorporate TV with a Cloud and all the stuff IOS 5 brings with it. Building a TV with an internet connection to hook-up with an assortment of services is one thing, but bringing out a complete integrated system that simply just works is another.

Some will want it neat and simple, and some will prefer to hack their system to get it to work. There's a great fealing of accomplishment when you have to work really hard to achieve what you want instead of paying a bit more to get it ready-made. Both will likely succeed.
 

PlipPlop

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2010
565
0
The main thing for a tv is the picture quality, I cant see Apple competing with the years of experience from other manufacturers. They would be better making the Apple TV better and including siri etc in it
 

jettredmont

macrumors 68030
Jul 25, 2002
2,703
298
Yeah, Sony, a company producing Walkman's for over 20 years will surely lose to Apple iPod sales that are just starting out.

I can see your logic. :p
To be fair, and I think this is key: Apple didn't come out with a "Walkman, better". It came out with a whole new thing which took the place of the "Walkman".

The iPod was not a better Walkman. It is a better portable music player.

The iPhone was not a better phone. It is a better communications device.

The iPad was not a better Tablet PC. It is a better portable computer.

The 'iTV' will not be a better TV.