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My Sony Picks for the Holidays

by Team Sony 11/30/2007

For the 12 days of Christmas (which is also more than enough to cover the eight days of Hanukkah or the seven days of Kwanzaa), I thought I would take this opportunity to serve up my Sony choices for giving or receiving this year. Of course, my 14-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son might have other ideas, especially about the order, but for this older guy here’s my Top 12, working my way up to No. 1.

No. 12 — The sleek, silver Cyber-shot 8.1 Megapixel Digital Camera with its 3.5-inch LCD. It features a Carl Zeiss 5X optical zoom lens. It recognizes up to eight faces in a photo with its face detection technology. It also features the nifty Smile Shutter Mode to capture everyone’s pearly whites.  And it has an HD output for viewing photos on you HDTV set. I’d also get it engraved if I was giving rather than receiving.

No. 11 – The latest PlayStation 3 Computer Entertainment System.  Whether for videogames or movies, it offers the latest in full HD 1080p playback capability since it is the only console available based on Blu-ray Disc technology. It also has 7.1 audio channels, built-in 802.11 wireless Internet capability and a Memory Stick slot.

No. 10The Platinum DVD Dream System.  It begins with a glass-surrounded, wall-mounted, top-loading DVD/CD/SA-CD player/AV receiver (very cool!), which features HDMI output with 720p/1080i DVD upscaling. The three front speakers and the two wireless rear speakers can also be mounted on the wall.

No. 9 – Sony’s newest Noise Canceling Headphones (model MDR-NC60) are very sweet with up to 85% ambient noise reduction capability.  Great to have on a plane. They have a built-in monitor switch to mute the music so you can listen to the flight crew announcements.  Of course, you can also just turn them on and listen to nothing at all (snooze time).

No. 8 – A “Champagne Gold” VAIO TZ Notebook. This ultra-portable premium notebook really rocks.  (Other color options include dark blue, black and “Bordeaux Red.” You can even get a mouse to match the color (sold separately). This TZ series feature a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, integrated wireless WAN and Microsoft’s Vista operating system. The 11.1-inch razor-thin panel has great LED backlighting. A leather carrying case is also available, which I’d definitely include as well.

No. 7 – The 100GM hard disk drive-based Handycam Camcorder, which allows you to choose between high-definition and SD recording. It features a 3.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and 6.1 megapixel still image capture. A new technology called x.v.Color helps capture and display color reproduction that’s as close to real life as anything I’ve seen. And, of course, it offers Sony’s famous Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization for my shaky hands.

No. 6 – The BRAVIA Internet Video Link is a must for those who want to “be the first on their block” with the latest and greatest. You can enjoy streaming Internet video content, movie trailers, news, music videos, RSS feeds and more. No PC required. Just use your existing Internet connection to the device and attach to the back of a BRAVIA television – sight unseen.

No. 5 – The latest Reader Digital Book in silver with its stylish brown leather case. It’s slimmer and sleeker than our initial version of the product. The controls are now on the right side as well as the left, which is a big plus. The contrast of the 6-inch, monochrome e-ink display is better than ever on the eyes. I love it for those long plane rides. It can store about 160 books and hundreds more using a removable Memory Stick or SD card. In addition to more than 25,000  new releases, classics and popular book titles available (usually at lower prices than paper versions) through the Sony store, you can also download, as well as a variety of other documents through Adobe PDF10, RTF, TXT, BBeB and Microsoft Word. Its incredibly long battery life lasts for up to 7,500 page turns. Wow! 

No. 4The HD Radio. (Sounds kind of like “The Ohio State.”)  I definitely want this one. Clear and static-free, I am looking forward to hearing FM stations that sound like CDs and AM stations that sound like FM.  Plus HD radio offers hundreds of additional stations (depending on where you live of course), 
including FM multicasting and data services (sans any subscription fees). And at a suggested price under $200, I gotta have it.

No. 3 – The current top-of-the-line Sony Blu-ray Disc Player.  Its superb construction and design encompasses a player that offers full HD 1080/60p & 24p “true cinema video” quality cinema resolution output. For you video buffs, it has Dolby True HD and dts-HD bit stream out over HDMI. It offers DVD upscaling to 1080p via HDMI and is with Sony’s BRAVIA Theater Sync (HDMI-CEC). It provides BD, DVD and CD playback, and features the latest AVC-HD technology and x.v.Color output.

No. 2 – The VAIO LT HD PC/TV.  This “all in one” computer and high-definition television is as elegant as it gets. To begin, the silver unit surrounded by its 22-inch floating glass screen is wall-mountable using a standard VESA-100 bracket. It comes with a wireless keyboard that can be hidden away when not in use.  It is powered by a Intel Core 2 Duo processor and features the Microsoft Windows Vista “Ultimate OS.” In addition to its cable television capability, it features Blu-ray Disc playback and recording, as well as XBRITE-HiColor LCD technology. Check it out.  (I just gave this gift to myself.)

At No. 1, numero uno – The 52-inch BRAVIA XBR5 LCD Flat-Panel HDTV.  It’s simply the best of the best in both high-definition quality and product design. Its full HD 1080/24p input capable. It has HDMI V1.3 (Deep Color) and x.v.Color technology for the best possible picture, in addition to Motionflow 120Hz for smooth motion when viewing action packed movies or sports. Its BRAVIA Engine Pro with Digital Reality Creation upconverts all interlaced and progressive video signals, including HD, directly to 1080p for amazing picture sharpness. And 10-bit processing and a 10-bit display allows 64 times the levels of color expression than an 8-bit panel, translating to smooth color transitions from image to image that are faithfully reproduced. This all comes in a piano black finish with Sony’s unique floating glass frame.  Yes, this is my favorite. I just hope Santa is a blogger too and he’s got a really big bag with him this year.

So there you have it…my top 12 for the holidays. Now it’s your turn. I’d like to hear what’s on your gift giving (or getting) list.

 

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  1. guest_user wrote: December 2, 2007 5:44pm

    Hey Rick,
    Not a bad Wish list! My Christmas has been happening throughout this year, so my list here will be an integrated one: a. already acquired this year Sony goodies and b. remaining wish list that has not been fulfilled yet….
    So far I have been blessed with:
    1. VAIO WA1 Music/Webradio Streamer – amazing sound quality and thanks to the recent Japanese firmware update (Sony US sometimes neglects to follow up), this product has proved to be a real gem. Paired with Sony Platinum Dream System DAV-LF1, VAIO VGF-WA1 brings the joy to our living room.
    2. Sony CPF-IX001 also serves me well for streaming music to our bedroom, since I have a lot of Connect copyright protected files, I am able to stream those tunes as well. The small integrated speakers also serve its purpose to house Sony Walkman NW-S706F (imported from Japan)! How cool is that!
    3. VAIO Digital Living System VGX-XL2 is a home server sitting under my Qualia 005 TV brings in some goodness by streaming video and audio content from my family of VAIO PCs spread out in the house: VGC-V520G, VGC-VA10G, PCV-W20 and the Sony Dynamo PCV-MXS20. Now that PS3 is also DLNA compliant it also partakes in HD streaming and wireless picture sharing function with my Cybershot DSC-G1. My VAIO Roomlinks VGP-MR200 and PCNA-MR10 are also tied up in the whole networking system.
    4. My Locationfree family VAIO LF-V30, LF-B20 do some fun “place shifting” magic and stream content from DHG-HDD500 HD recorder to my trusty VAIO TR5AP and X505 notebooks when I am at work or out of the country; while LF-X11 Locationfree monitor has been placed in the kitchen to catch the latest news while we cook.
    5. The glorious slider TV with its interchangeable speaker grilles TAV-L1 provides some entertainment in the bedroom. I just wish Sony US brought some more speaker grilles like the ones designed in Europe by Ligne Roset…those were just amazing. OK, I will stop here and switch to my wishlist:

    1. I would love to get my hands on VAIO TZ Limited edition offered in Japan to mark the 10th anniversary of its VAIO Note 505; they made it really special from packaging to bringing back violet color.
    2. Sony Rolly would be a nice fun gift too! If rumors prove to be true that it is coming to the US, than I will be a happy camper! I guess I miss my Aibo….
    3. Rick congrats on getting VAIO LT series, I would like one of those too, it would look even cooler if it was bundled here with the same keyboard and a mouse like in Japan. The whole design of LT reminds me of my Sony XBR Floating Glass TV KLV-30XBR900 which attracted a lot of attention back in 2003 at CES. I am glad the engineers are sticking with this design even in newer XBRs.
    4. VAIO VGX-TP1 is also on my wishlist, though it has been discontinued I hope there will be another generation of its series. I really like the form factor of that ingenious PC.
    5. Sony XEL-1 OLED TV is another simple wish….lol……and that’s it! I am not really asking for too much =)

    Yours,
    Stan

    Reply
  2. guest_user wrote: December 2, 2007 5:49pm

    Rick or Marcy,
    No. 10 in your post mentions a link to the Platinum DVD Dream System I assume DAV-LF1H however the
    link brings readers to DAV-X1. I believe they discontinued LF1H and removed it from SonyStyle.com
    Just wanted to point that out; as the description of yours will not match the actual product on the
    site.
    >>>>.
    Stan

    Reply
  3. guest_user wrote: December 3, 2007 4:02pm

    You’ve got a pretty good list too Stan,

    By the way, stay tuned for some of our announcements at CES in early January. Looking at your list, you might want to get some IOUs for post-
    Holiday shopping.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  4. guest_user wrote: December 4, 2007 6:18pm

    Stan-
    Thank you for your comment noting the incorrect link to the No. 10 pick–the DVD Dream System. It is in fact the DAV-LF1H and we’ve updated the link but as you state, the item is no longer available on sonystyle.com. However, consumers may still be able to find this model at higher end A/V specialty shops at a pretty attractive price.

    Marcy

    Reply
  5. guest_user wrote: December 5, 2007 3:26am

    It’s a good thing you didn’t include Sony Pictures DVD release of Superbad. This ran on the local news regarding the promotional gimmick included with the
    DVD:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22105969/

    Reply
  6. guest_user wrote: December 5, 2007 2:55pm

    Has anyone seen the new S2 Sports Boombox?

    Reply
  7. guest_user wrote: December 5, 2007 7:05pm

    Well, I cant agree more.

    Reply
  8. guest_user wrote: December 6, 2007 12:33am

    Thanks Rick for the heads up. I am sure there will be some new tempting Sony endeavors presented at CES 2008. It is hard sometimes to keep up with the new tech being released every quarter, as your house will turn into some sort of warehouse or as some mention about me, that I have a Sony museum… I guess I am a collector at heart of unique, released once and limited edition products like VAIO X505, Qualia, Esprit aka TAV-L1, MZ-E10, PCV-MXS20, etc – those you will not see at every house or brick and mortar electronics store… so owning those gems makes it really special! I enjoy reading the manuals and know every little detail that this or that product can do, as a lot of times people know only about Play and Stop buttons and are not aware of other functions that can
    be so helpful or effective in our every day life. I guess my dream job would be a product trainer/presenter as I love to know all ins and outs of the product design, history and performance.
    But I digress… Happy Holidays!
    Enthusiastically Yours,
    Stan Medvedenko

    Reply
  9. guest_user wrote: December 6, 2007 2:01pm

    A SonyStyle ordering HORROR STORY

    On 12/03/2007, I’ve ordered the A700 vertical grip VGC70AM, which had shipped out the following day. I was looking forward to getting it today – instead I got a phone call from a very kind woman in Arkanzas (I am in New Jersey), who had just gotten my grip from SONY – she got my name and phone from the sonystyle packing slip that came with the grip, in a package addressed to her !!

    I could not thank her enough for being such an honest and helpful person, and right away got on the phone with SONY. I had to have the grip ASAP for the weekend photo shoot whose demands called for the twin-battery operation which the grip afforded.

    The SONY representative, Monie, was apologetic but unable to even confirm the specific shipping carrier and package status, let alone have the grip re-delivered on-time. At my request, Monie had transferred me to her supervisor, Jennifer (ID# withheld), who has confirmed that my item was “lost in transit”, but flat out REFUSED to do anything to help me in the difficult predicament SONY has put me in, other than to email the mail dept at which point it would take 24-48 hours to “process”, after which an email would go out to me which I would have to reply to, after which my reply would be processed and the replacement grip sent out VIA GROUND SHIPPING.

    I begged and pleaded that I HAD to have the grip for this weekend and had placed the original order enough in advance to ensure I got it on time had it not been for SONY’s own mistake sending my item to somebody else. But Jennifer was indifferent and kept repeating in a drone voice that it was all she would do for me. Jennifer REFUSED to entertain options I thought of to help me get the grip sooner, such as: escalate this to her own supervisor, or contact my local SONYSTYLE center so I can pick it up in person, or even call somebody in the shipping department to have this matter handled on the phone, or have the replacement grip overnighted rather than shipped ground.

    I am OUTRAGED by this situation where SONY sends an expensive item I’ve ordered to somebody else, and then having confirmed it had made the mistake, to REFUSE to expedite issuing a replacement! Had it not been for the Arkanzas woman’s kindness who got my grip, who knows how much longer this matter would take to come to light.

    While shipping mistakes are possible, once they occur, is this company attitude to rectifying them even remotely acceptable? I’ll wait a couple of hours after posting this for somebody at SONY to get back to me, after which I’ll proceed posting this on ALL relevant online forums, and then fax the big brass at SONY making them aware of what had happened and what resulted. Just makes you wonder, how risky it may be ordering a holiday present for somebody on sonystyle…

    Very disappointed
    Alex K.

    Reply
  10. guest_user wrote: December 6, 2007 5:18pm

    Hey Stan,
    I’m a current lover/owner of my A700 camera, and I’m hearing from a LOT of owners that DRO+ seems to be a little nebulous. We would all like Sony to publish specifics about it’s uses, because the manual doesn’t say much. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. guest_user wrote: December 7, 2007 8:19pm

    Hello Alex K.,

    Thank you very much for bringing your unfortunate experience to our attention. We apologize for the problem which is now resolved through your cooperation and communication. We will do our best to improve going forward.

    ~Blog Moderator

    Reply
  12. guest_user wrote: December 7, 2007 10:41pm

    Douglas, I agree. DRO+ seems really powerful if used properly. Unfortunately it is not documented anywhere properly. What we need is a thorough technical description of what it does, kind of like matrix/evaluative metering was first described on the Nikon system. They basically disclosed the complete algorithm so that the photographer knows exactly what is going on. I would not expect Sony to do the same with DRO, but right now it is a complete black box, with absolutely no useful information available anywhere.

    Reply
  13. guest_user wrote: December 11, 2007 12:39pm

    I’m satisfied indeed! The support supervisor’s faux pas was mitigated very quickly by senior SONY folks – clearly they do keep an eye on this blog as well as the other related online forums. I appreciate SONY taking this issue seriously and your intent to improve.

    While any change will take time, I’m confident you’ll be able to support your pro SLR camera clients as well as you support your pro video camera ones, because you already have the know-how for the latter, and your commanding market share in higher end video gear to prove that better support for the higher end gear pays off.

    My warmest regards, and best wishes for this holiday season and the next, key, year for your SLR market entry – may your A900 and the new lenses be very enthusiastically received.

    Alex Karasev

    Reply
  14. guest_user wrote: December 19, 2007 2:03am

    Got the Bravia. Got the PS3. Just need the Vaio now!

    Reply

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