January 17, 2022

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Your TV's webcam tells you when you're sitting too close

Your TV’s webcam tells you when you’re sitting too close

In terms of unique gadgets from CES 2022, Sony could get its first round of applause with its Bravia camera. And while this TV accessory might sound like a webcam on steroids, its feature set contains some unique functions aimed at improving picture quality and making parenting easier.

Let’s talk about this one-of-a-kind TV addon and share some ideas from Tyler Ishida, Vice President of Consumer Business Group at Sony electronics.

The Bravia Cam is basically a camera with microphones that attach to the top of a Sony TV. From now on, it works with all Bravia 2022 models, with OLED, Mini LED and LED’s, and using it will be as easy as connecting it to your TV. Once installed and turned on, it can be used to control the TV with gestures, adjust picture or sound quality depending on where you are sitting, and turn off the TV to save energy, among other features.

If you’re concerned about privacy, there’s a physical switch on top of the Bravia’s camera that will block your view of the lens. Sony has also confirmed that the data is processed locally and that you can delete all tracks at any time.

Gesture controls take us back to the days of the Xbox’s Kinect, Nintendo’s Wii Remote, and even the LG smartphone. But here it is meant to be an additional option that you can use or ignore. It will be limited to basic controls like turning off the TV, changing the inputs, or adjusting the volume as well.

If you have children at home, you may be happy to know that Bravia Cam delivers a message if it detects someone sitting near the TV. It won’t yell at your kids, but it will display a message asking them to back off.

You can also use Bravia Cam as a webcam with Google Duo. Although other services will not initially be supported, they can be used with other USB webcams such as the Logitech Brio (πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ 4.199 Mexican Peso s πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ USD 159). Bravia Cam will also dim the TV when you walk away and can be set to turn off the TV after a certain amount of time. It’s a small detail, but it can help reduce energy consumption.

β€œI think Ambient Optimization Pro is getting the most out of it,” Ishida was quick to point out as the main reason to get the Bravia Cam. Essentially, depending on where you are in the space, the Bravia Cam will use the Ambient Optimization Pro function to adjust picture and sound settings. This way, if you’re on the right side of the TV, you can change the sound mix and adjust some picture parameters to get the best viewing angle. It takes built-in light and environmental sensors to the next level as it will adapt based on where you’re watching TV.

The Bravia Cam will come with the Bravia 2022 Z9K or A95K premium TV. Otherwise, you will need to purchase it separately at a price not yet announced. When asked, Ishida tells us, “It’s going to be priced competitively in the market,” which makes us think it’ll be similar to premium webcams, for probably a few hundred dollars.

The Bravia Cam is clearly a complement to Sony TV, but we’re particularly keen to see how this picture enhancement works in Sony’s historically accurate and immersive viewing experience. This seems to add a layer of customization down to the level you are in the space.

We will also name the Bravia Cam as one of the finalists for the most innovative home entertainment accessories at CES 2022. We will share the finalists in full later this week.

We can’t wait to get down to business and review the entire Bravia camera once it launches alongside this spring Sony Bravia 2022 TVs.

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