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Sony Secret Weapon TV Plans

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Sony Bravia NX 810 3DTV

“There’s a tremendous amount of R&D going into [it]” he said, which could be the make-or-break set for troubled Japanese TV giant.

“We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money,” he admitted yesterday. 

Sony announced major losses last week – to the tune of  $1.2 billion with revenues down 9%.

The Bravia maker also slashed its TV sales forecast by 9 percent to 20 million sets, the second cut this financial year.

And this marks the eight year of straight TV losses for the giant, who has never turned a profit from televisions, despite its traditional position as one of the market leaders.

Its TV business lost ¥41 billion in the last quarter, nearly three times the loss in the prior quarter.

Of Apple’s foray into the TV business, he said he has “no doubt” Steve Jobs was looking to revolutionise the television from its traditional form.

“That’s what we’re all looking for,” he said.

Jobs was said to be working on the project prior to his death, his biography by Walter Isaacson revealed, declaring the set would be “completely easy to use” and sync with iCloud, giving it a real PC type feel.

Cupertino already sells a box plugs into a TV and grants access to iTunes.

“I finally cracked it,” Jobs admitted. “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

The number of TVs hooked up to a network is predicted to rise by 54% by 2015, DisplaySearch statistics indicate.

But despite Apple’s ingenuity on the design technology front, Stringer declares he is “up for the fight” in the TV battle ahead and has devised a “four screen” strategy offering content on mobile phones, tablet computers, personal computers and TV sets.

“I spent the last five years building a platform so I can compete against Steve Jobs,” Mr. Stringer said.

“It’s finished, and it’s launching now.” Earlier this year, Sony launched Android tablets, which went on sale here last month.

Sony blamed the recent floods in Thailand for cutting 25 billion yen in expected earnings, and reduced its TV sales forecast by 9 percent to 20 million sets, the second cut this financial year, in its latest earnings report.

But despite financial woes, the Japanese maker who are losing out to Korean rivals like LG and Samsung in 3D sets, insists it is holding on to one of its core industries.

“The TV business is an essential part of Sony’s growth strategy. We, as management, feel a great sense of crisis after seven straight years of losses,” Sony Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai told a briefing recently.

However, Sony isn’t the only company feeling the heat as TV sales slide. Samsung, the biggest flat panel maker in the world, also reported sluggish TV sales in its latest quarter, although expects business to pick up for Christmas and Chinese New Year.

However, analysts believe there are plenty dreary times ahead for flat panel sales:

“There is a risk of oversupply as loading rates are based on panel makers’ sales targets and on optimistic expectations rather than on a realistic demand forecast,” says Deborah Yang, Research Director of DisplaySearch.

“A decline in large-area panel shipments is forecast for December 2011 and January 2012, as the holiday demand will already have been met.”