Sony uses Augmented Reality to guide TV buyers

Aug 29, 2011 by Nancy Owano weblog
Sony uses Augmented Reality to guide TV buyers

( -- Sony UK is using Augmented Reality technology in a new online tool to help consumers decide which Sony television size will be best for their walls or tables. For those in a palatial home where you don’t want the TV to look lost, or for those in a shoebox room where every bit of space counts, the tool is intended to be the accurate guide. It is designed to let you see exactly how the set would look in situ before you buy.

The website instructs you to download and print out a marker. You place this marker where you want your TV to go. You can choose a flat surface or on a wall. You photograph it. Then you upload the image to Sony’s and it will automatically pick up the marker, work out the scale and position for your TV. You can choose different size TVs to appear on top of the marker to find the one that satisfies you.

As justification for the tool’s usefulness, Tim Schwarz, Sony Europe online content manager, said all that one could rely on in the past to make the right TV buying decision was a tape measure and guesswork.

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For Sony, the AR tool might also induce customers toward buying bigger TVs than the customers had assumed practical. He said people don’t often realize that TVs take up a lot less space than they used to, so you can go larger.

Sony’s AR tool might not only please consumers but help its weak television sales. According to Bloomberg, Sony had to cut its profit forecast earlier this year due to a slump in TV sales as demand has waned in the US and Europe. The entire industry has been coping with poor sales, low prices, and tough competition amongst rivals.

Use of the tool requires a computer, printer, A4 paper and digital camera. Sony recommends a ruler to check the scale of the printout.

Viewer comments regarding the new tool have been mixed.

There have been strong signs of approval from viewers who like the fun of it all and welcome the ability to see what a new Sony TV would look like on their walls or tables, replacing guesswork with certitude. Other comments have not been as kind.

How about a tape measure and a brain.
Shilly pretend holograms.

Nonetheless, Sony joins many vendors who are showing interest in how might help their marketing efforts. Augmented Reality overlays computer graphics on the real world, like your open palm showing a phonepad, or that wall of yours showing a TV. In other words, the technology brings an augmented layer of information into your real-world environment. A report from Juniper Research earlier this year found that an increasing number of retailers and mobile vendors are investing in mobile Augmented Reality applications.

Explore further: Bringing history and the future to life with augmented reality

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