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Originally published January 7, 2010 at 6:35 AM | Page modified January 7, 2010 at 10:28 AM

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Stars of CES: anything in 3-D

Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer reiterated plans Wednesday to upgrade PlayStation 3 game consoles with downloads to play 3-D movies and games.

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LAS VEGAS — Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer reiterated plans Wednesday to upgrade PlayStation 3 game consoles with downloads to play 3-D movies and games.

All you'll need is a 3-D television, such as the company's new 3-D Bravias going on sale in the summer, bundled with two pairs of 3-D glasses.

Preview demonstrations will start soon at Sony stores, such as the one in Seattle's University Village.

Stringer started his International Consumer Electronics Show news conference Wednesday by announcing Sony had reached an agreement with the Hendrix Experience estate to license the catalog of the late Seattle guitarist Jimi Hendrix and will rerelease the material, including some never published.

Then he introduced Sony's current star, Taylor Swift, who gave a performance recorded in 3-D.

The company introduced a new "monolithic design" series of Bravia TVs going on sale in March and new Blu-ray players and home-theater systems.

Then it rolled out the Dash Web appliance — a "personal Internet viewer" designed "to view your favorite parts of the Internet at a glance," Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow said.

Holiday sales

Kaz Hirai, president of Sony networked products and services, said the company sold more than 3.8 million PlayStation 3 units during the holiday season, and he talked up new games coming to the system.

But Hirai's big announcement was that Sony is broadening the 3-year-old PlayStation network developed for the PlayStation and PlayStation Portable, using its infrastructure to bring new services to other Web-connected gadgets.

"We're also extending our premium video service to even more Sony devices," he said.

The network will support a new premium video service debuting next month, delivering movies to PlayStations, Blu-ray players, Web-connected Sony TVs and Windows PCs.

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Hirai said the network now has 38 million registered users around the world.

Supporting SD

Glasgow introduced 17 new camcorders and announced that new models will finally support the SD memory-card format, in addition to Sony's Memory Stick cards.

Sony had held back on supporting SD, a format backed by rivals Panasonic and Toshiba.

"It's all about providing consumers with choice," he said.

Among the cameras is a new pocket HD camcorder called "Bloggie" that's designed to easily upload videos to social Web services.

Also new is a Cybershot camera with a "party mode" that automatically takes candid photos during a party when it's set on dock.

Glasgow also introduced the obligatory green product, a new Vaio W series "Eco Edition" with a case made of recycled CDs and DVDs. It ships in a package made from recycled plastic bottles.

— Brier Dudley

Samsung's big plans

Samsung Electronics introduced a line of snazzy new 3-D televisions at CES, including a pencil-thin model with a polished metal bezel, but the most amazing tidbit in its news conference may be its sales projections.

The company — whose slogan is now "Inspire the World, Create the Future" — expects to increase sales from last year's $110 billion to $400 billion in 2020.

"We believe that the recovery of our industry will be strong," said David Steel, head of its North American marketing group.

The company expects sales of its LED TVs to increase from 2.6 million last year to more than 10 million this year.

To keep up momentum in the company's Web-connected TV business, Samsung announced a software-developer kit to encourage new applications for its products.

"If you thought it was fun building apps for a 3-inch phone screen, I have a 55-inch LED I'd like to show you," cracked Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics Americas.

Gadget highlights of the session included the LED 9000 TV, with a touch-screen remote that displays a stream of video sent from the TV.

"Yes, the remote is now a TV," Baxter said.

The company also introduced two electronic-book readers with touch screens, a special Vancouver Winter Olympics edition of its Mythic phone sold by AT&T and a phone that receives over-the-air digital-TV broadcasts.

The DTV phone will enter testing this year in Washington, D.C.

Also shown was the Omnia2, a Windows Mobile phone that works as a remote control with Samsung TVs and can wirelessly load video content from the TV for watching on the go.

Further showing off the connected TV's tricks, Baxter said PCs on a home network can work as remote controls with the sets and be used to watch a second channel tuned by the TVs and wirelessly streamed to the computer.

And, like Toshiba (next item), Samsung announced that upcoming TVs will be able to upconvert 2-D content to 3-D.

Toshiba breaks open Cell

Toshiba announced Wednesday it will start selling Cell TV, a television capable of turning 2-D video into 3-D video. That means you could turn your Flipcam videos of baby's first step (or in Seattle's case, puppy's first bark) into a three-dimensional viewing experience.

Toshiba, which made the announcement at the CES, did not demonstrate the technology, which it has dubbed TriVector 2D to 3D.

"You've heard about the 'it' girl; this is the next 'it' TV," said Scott Ramirez, vice president of TV marketing for Toshiba North America.

The television also is able to pump up low-resolution Internet video into video that looks high definition; it also cancels out background noise.

With a wireless Internet connection, owners can record and display video directly from the Web.

The television, the Cell XV900, will be available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes.

While this will be sold as a premium line from Toshiba this year, Ramirez said to look for these features to start trickling down into the rest of its product line in 2011.

Toshiba did not provide prices.

— Sharon Pian Chan

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