Sony have announced that they will release two new plasma TVs in Japan later this year.
The exciting thing about the uninspiringly named KDE-P50HZ1 and KDE-P42HZ1 is that they come with a remote-control-on-steroids, better described as a web pad.
The multi-function 6-by-3.5-inch display, which gives an 800-by-480-pixel resolution, communicates with the main TV unit using 802.11a giving the ability to use it to view a different TV channel; browse the Web; and be used as a ‘soft’ remote control – the function and display on the remote will change depending on the which operation is being carried out.
Sony are saying the remote will understand gesture-based fingertip strokes – think PalmOS Grafitti for entertainment (They already licience PalmOS for their Clie PDA range). Sony has dubbed this as an “air baton”.
Although not mentioned, there is a possibility that the Web pad coudl be used The opens up the a long held belief – interactivity on the remote.
These products fit within Sony’s project, code-named Altair, designed to make the TV the centre of consumers digital lifestyles.