Sony on Tuesday showed a digital media hub that uses Wi-Fi to connect its PCs, tablets, smartphones and PlayStation game consoles, a product that it hopes will be part of its comeback.
The "nasne," which expands on a previous tuner for the PlayStation, is equipped with a 500GB hard drive and inputs for terrestrial and satellite TV. Sony devices can be used interchangeably to remotely access the device and set recording times or stream stored content.
The device is the latest in a line of products and services meant to unify Sony's disparate product lines, a major goal of new CEO Kazuo Hirai. Most of its features work only with Sony products, a bold decision given its gadgets' recent poor sales performance versus rivals like Apple and Samsung.
Demo models of the device showed it was very responsive when streaming video over a wireless network, with little lag when changing channels or skipping through stored shows. The user interface, while not yet finalized, is easy to learn and also ran smoothly over the company's wireless network.
Sony Computer Entertainment, the company's game division, is developing the nasne, a successor to an external TV tuner Sony sells for PlayStation game consoles in Japan, branded "torne." At its Tokyo headquarters, Sony showed working demos on Vaio laptops, Sony tablets, and Xperia smartphones, with a version for the new Vita handheld game console due out later this year.
The device will go on sale in Japan from July 19 for ¥16,980 (US$215). The company currently has no set plans to sell the device abroad. It sells a tuner for the PlayStation in Europe, "PlayTV," which is similar to the torne.