Logitech Harmony takes control of your Sony PlayStation 4

Logitech LogoThe Harmony line of universal remotes, now owned by Logitech, has been seeing a lot of activity lately in terms of updates and improvements. The remote can control more and more devices all the time, including Amazon Fire TV and even home automation products like Philips Hue light bulbs.

One thing lacking was your Sony game console, a feature cutomers were apparently asking for. That lacks no longer as today Logitech announces that Harmony can now be used with the PS4.

This will allow customers to navigate the menus, as well as control blu-ray discs and apps like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant and more.

There is one thing missing, as Logitech points out — “One thing we do need to mention is, unfortunately, this update does not allow you to power your PlayStation on directly—Sony does not permit any remote other than their game controller to power on the game console”. It’s a minor drawback, but the company promises that once your system is on then it’s in Harmony’s control.

This will all work over Bluetooth, so there are no worries if your console is behind a cabinet door or something like that. No official word is being given about the roll out of this update, but it would seem it’s immediate or at least imminent.

Octopus Learns to Use a Sony Camera in Three Tries

SONY logoSony New Zealand teamed up with trainers at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium for a unique project called “The Octographer”. They taught an octopus named Rambo to how to use a Sony Cyber Shot TX30 camera. The camera was placed in a special rig that would hold it in place and allow Rambo to push down on a red shutter to take a photo. It only took her three tries to learn how to do it!

Rambo is now the world’s first octopus photographer. Some of the photos she took of people who stood in front of a backdrop can be viewed on the Sony New Zealand Facebook page. The Sony Cyber Shot TX30 is resistant to water, dust, shock, and low temperatures.

Sony’s Camera Won “Best of Innovation” at CES

SONY logoSony brought a line of new innovative products to CES. This includes an award winning camera, a wireless Bluetooth headset, two additional new video cameras, and the newest incarnation of the Sony Walkman. It’s been a long time since there was news about the Sony walkman!
Sony a7s camera
The α7s Camera won the 2015 “Best of Innovation” in the Digital Imaging category at CES 2015. It is the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens camera. This new model puts extraordinary sensitivity, low noise and spectacular 4K video quality into the hands of professional photographers and videographers.

Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Cam
The FDR-X1000V 4K Action Cam lets you grab pro-level footage in gorgeous 4K resolution, with advanced image stabilization and super-slow-motion recording. It has SteadyShot image stabilization that works from bikes to aerial shots and more. You can control up to 5 Action Cams via phone or LiveView remote. The body of this camera is splash proof.

Sony FDR-AX33 4K HandyCam Camcorder
Sony’s FDR-AX33 4K Handycam Camcorder gives you smooth footage thanks to Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. It has built-in Wi-Fi, which makes it easier for you to share video with others. It also has a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T lens with 12x optical zoom.

Sony MDR-1ABT Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
The MDR-1ABT Bluetooth Wireless Headphones gives you unmistakable Sony sound and superior comfort. It is capable of Bluetooth audio streaming, so there is no need of a cord on these headphones. It also has intuitive touch controls.

Sony MWZ-ZX2 Walkman
When was the last time you thought about buying a Sony Walkman? The new NWZ-ZX2 Walkman has a slim, sleek, design. It has high-quality components and comes with high-quality sound. This enables Sony’s new Walkman to deliver great Hi-Res Audio anytime and anywhere. Enjoy up to 60 hours MP3 and 33 hours Hi-Res playback on a single charge. It is compatible with DSD, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, MP3, WMA and more.

Sony has a New Lineup of Innovative Products

SONY logoSony gave everyone a “first look” at their new lineup of innovative products during CES. The new products include their thinnest TV, a streaming Blu-Ray Disc player, and many options for audio.

Sony X900C Ultra-thin 4K Ultra HD TV
The X900C Ultra-Thin 4K Ultra HD TV combines the beauty of 4K clarity and brilliant color with an ultra-thin floating style that shows all picture with no bezel. It has brilliant expanded color with TRILUMINOS display. The HD is upscaled to an impressive 4K Ultra HD. This TV lets you skip the menu and access the top video services very quickly. Other features include Android TV with Google Cast, voice search, and Play store apps. You can stream PS3 games directly to your TV.

BDPS5500 3D Sony Streaming Blu-Ray Disc Player

The BDP5500 3D Streaming Blu-Ray Disc Player lets you enjoy over 300 streaming entertainment services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and PlayStation Now (which lets you stream PlayStation 3 games). It has full HD 1080p Blu-ray disc playback with 2D to 3D conversion. Enjoy high picture quality with TRILUMINOS technology.

Sony ST9 Premium HD Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer

Sony is redefining the bar with their ST9 Premium HD Sound Bar with wireless remote. It has 9 individual speakers and 7 discrete amplifies that work in concert to create a powerful 7.1 surround sound experience. It is easy to set up with 3 HDMI in/1 out and ARC support. Expand your listening with powerful multi-room capability.

Sony NT3 Slim hi-res audio sound bar with wireless subwoofer

Sony’s NT3 Slim Hi-Res audio sound bar with wireless subwoofer is a multitalented performer. With this one, Sony has introduced a sound bar that delivers stunning performances for both concerts and films. With 450W of power, flexible connectivity, and a beautiful design, you’ve got to hear it to believe it.

Sony X99 Premium Bluetoogh Wireless speaker

Harmonize your home with Sony’s Sony’s X99 premium Bluetooth wireless speaker It has 154 watts, 8 digital amps, and 7 speakers. It has been engineered to deliver pure high-resolution audio bliss. Plus, the speaker can stream your favorite music with Google Cast.

Sony Xperia Z2 at The Gadget Show

Xperia Z2The Android smartphone market leaders have all been refreshing their top-end ‘phones, with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and HTC’s One (M8) already available. Sony’s previously announced Xperia Z2 will be available in the UK very shortly and I chat to Laura about what we can expect in the latest offering from Sony.

At The Gadget Show, I had a chance to play with the Z2 and its 5.2″ full HD (1920×1080) “Live Colour LED” screen looked really good. The handset was responsive, animations were smooth – everything that you’d expected from a top-of-the-line phone. There’s a 20 megapixel rear camera which ought to produce the some excellent photos too given that the Z2’s predecessor had one of the best Android cameras. The Xperia Z2 also has a big battery at 3200 mAh, which is larger than both the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. But the “pièce de résistance” is that the Xperia Z2 is waterproof to 1.5 m for 30 minutes (IP55/58). If you don’t believe me, here’s a scuba diver with a Z2 in a tank.

Xperia Z2 Underwater

Hopefully, I’ll be getting a review smartphone to give the Z2 a more thorough examination.

The Gadget Show Live

Gadget Show LiveThe Gadget Show Live is the UK’s closest thing to CES, but that’s like comparing a boxing match to invading Iraq. Where CES takes over most of Las Vegas, the Gadget Show occupies a couple of halls at the NEC outside Birmingham. Nevertheless I popped over for a day to see the latest and greatest tech on show to us Brits and it was fun. I was there for GNC two years ago and this year the show was definitely bigger with a bit more variety. 3D TV was the thing in 2012, but 2014 is electric vehicles, 4K / UHD TVs and multi-rotor aerial vehicles. That’s not to say there weren’t other niche products and I’ve captured a few in audio interviews that I’ll post over the next few days.

Samsung were demonstrating their curved Ultra HD TVs and all I can say is, “Wow!” The screens were totally amazing – almost more real than real – and the detail was incredible. Even the flat, non-curved, versions were pretty stunning. Although the curved versions still have crazy prices, I can’t help but wonder if flat 4K resolution TVs will only be on-sale for a few short years before curved ones become mainstream.

Curved Samsung Screen

Volkswagen brought along the XL 1, a diesel plug-in hybrid, which surprisingly is not a concept car: it’s for sale if you have a fat enough wallet at somewhere in the region of £100,000. At a more realistic level, VW had a bunch of demonstrator e-up! electric cars, which at a little under £20,000 are much more affordable, though the equivalent petrol version costs closer to £8,000. I took a test drive in one and can report that it’s exactly like driving an automatic car, only quieter and with plenty of low speed torque. Top speed of 80 miles per hour and a range of 100 miles make it a perfect second car for the well off.

XL1 Front

 

XL1 Side

 

XL1 Rear

Sony’s been touting the waterproof features of the Xperia Z2 devices and they put their money where their mouth is at Gadget Show Live with a water-filled tank. Not content to simply leave the smartphone in the bottom, a team of scuba and free divers showed that the Z2 was usable under water to take photos. Outstanding.

Xperia Z2 Underwater

Finally, when I was at the show in 2012, Parrot were showing off the AR.Drone and pretty much had the airspace to themselves. Quadricopters were everywhere this year with DJI‘s mulitrotor devices (below) down to Hubsan’s tiny copters that fit in your hand. The future is three-dimensional but not quite in the way the TV manufacturers were hoping.

Multirotor Aerial Vehicle

There was plenty more and I’ll be putting the interviews out over the next few days – expect content from Sony, Canon, Optoma, Toca Boca, TP-Link, DJI and others.

The Gadget Show Live is on until 13th April 2014.

Sony introduces 9.1 surround wireless headset

sony-headphonesThese days many of us have a 5.1 system set up in our homes, consisting of a center channel, two front and two rear speakers, along with a sub-woofer. Some folks go the extra mile to implement 7.1, which most modern A/V receivers are capable of handling. But what about 9.1 built into a wireless headphone set?

That’s what Sony promises. “Get a cinematic sound experience all to yourself in the comfort of your home with the new MDR-HW700DS digital surround wireless headphones system”, the company claims.

The dual band connection, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, allows for smooth wireless transmission without any disruptions, with a goal of giving users the freedom to move around without having to compromise the sound quality. There is also a selection of audio types to choose from, including cinema, game and voice.

“Both good for the eyes and the ears MDR-HW700DS is crafted for a comfortable fit over long periods of use with the pressure-relieving luxury ear cushions. The 50mm driver units provide deep bass and impressive sound power. Continuous use is no problem with a battery-life of up to 12h and fast recharge. All this is packed in luxurious and executive design. The headphones are outstanding in their compatibility with the 4K technology. The MDR-HW700DS allows native 4K video content to be passed through in its original quality to a 4K TV or projector, allowing you to experience the full 4K quality while listening via the digital surround wireless headphones system”, Sony explains.

The new headphones will be available later this month. Retail pricing was not included in the announcement.

Sony’s Smart Wig – Could it Replace Rogaine?

One of the smart wig patent drawingsWearable technology is everywhere. From the wrist, to the glasses, to the… hair?

Sony applied for patent US 20130311132 A1 in 2012 and was published on November 21st of this year. It’s a wig with wearable technology inside. The wig covers the head and sensors provide input data and communicate (via wireless).

The patent doesn’t state why Sony wants to put sensors in wigs, but it does provide Sony an overall patent for the idea. Application of the wig can be figured out later.

The wig could be fashioned with different types of hairs from fake hair, to human hair and even horse hair.

Maybe it monitors your head? The head is a major point for body heat. It also is closest to the brain – so a EEG device could be a great idea for the wig. Great for anyone who is a cancer patient.

Of course, there is always a telepathic option for smartphones. Sony might even have an idea with their tablets, PS4 or another device. Nonetheless, Sony seemed to have cornered the smart wig market…

 

Redbox Instant coming to PS4

redbox instant playlists

We are only a week away from the next big gaming console launch — Sony is set to debut its PlayStation 4 on November 15, inching ahead of Xbox One by a week. Both consoles have their pros and cons, and fans residing in opposite camps may cite a particular game or feature as the defining difference, but one thing both boxes will have is Redbox Instant.

Last week the video streaming service landed on the PS3, and it was expected to also come to the next-generation console. Today the speculation becomes official reality.

Like last week’s PS3 launch, this version also comes with an only-on-Sony feature — “exclusive to Playstation, the PS3 and PS4 contain the Playlist feature containing a specially-curated, rotating collection of Redbox Instant by Verizon movies that highlight the most exciting titles and serve as a great destination for fast, simple and fun movie discovery”.

“We’re pleased to continue our partnership with PlayStation by bringing Redbox Instant by Verizon to PS4″, said Shawn Strickland, CEO of Redbox Instant by Verizon.

As with any other Redbox Instant subscription, you will pay $8 per month in exchange for unlimited streaming and four physical disc rentals per month from any of the many kiosks. If you wish to take it for a test run, the company offers the first month free as a trial.

Sony Will Fix Your Brick

bigstock-single-red-brick-isolated-on-w-42513223Sony recently released an update to the PlayStation 3 that didn’t work as intended. The software update was version 4.45. Some gamers quickly discovered that it bricked their console.

They reported the problem on the PlayStation Community Forums. Several people said that after they updated to 4.45, their PlayStation 3 wouldn’t go to the screen that would let them play. It was stuck.

They also found that they could not shut down the PlayStation 3 by pressing the power button. Unplugging the console didn’t solve the problem either. It was still stuck after being plugged back in.

If this happened to your PlayStation 3, fear not. Sony is aware of the problem. They are working on fixing your brick. They posted the following information about it on the PlayStation Community Forums:

We have identified the issue related to the PlayStation 3 software update (version 4.45) that impacted a small number of PS3 systems earlier this week. A new PS3 system software update is planned to be released on June 27 that resolves the issue. Thank you for your patience and understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Image: stock photo single red brick isolated on white background by BigStock.