Sony’s Bravia Cam is a webcam for your TV — and it can tell you when you’re sitting too close | CNN Underscored

In terms of unique CES 2022 gadgets, Sony might take the cake with the Bravia Cam. And while this TV accessory might seem like a webcam on steroids, its feature set makes some unique promises aimed at improving picture quality and making parenting easier.

Let’s talk about this unique TV accessory and share some insights from Tyler Ishida, Deputy President, Consumer Business Group at Sony Electronics.

The Bravia Cam is essentially a camera with microphones that will attach to the top of your Sony TV. As of now, it works with all 2022 Bravia Models — across OLED, Mini LED and LED — and will be a plug-and-play solution. Once installed and powered on, it can be used to control your TV with gestures, adjust the picture quality or sound depending on where you are sitting and turn off the TV to conserve energy, among other features.

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

Gesture controls take us back to the time of Kinects, Wii Remotes and even an LG smartphone or two. But here, they’re simply meant to be an extra option that you can use or ignore. It will be limited to basic controls like turning the TV off, switching inputs or adjusting volume as well. We haven’t tried this yet, but we’ll be putting it to the test for a full evaluation.

If you’re a parent with kids or maybe an aunt or uncle who has children over, you may be happy to hear that the Bravia Cam delivers a prompt if it detects someone sitting too close to the TV. It won’t yell at your kids, but will display a prompt to ask them to move back.

You’ll also be able to use the Bravia Cam as a webcam with Google Duo. No other services will be supported at launch, but you will be able to use other USB webcams like the Logitech Brio with this service on Sony’s latest TVs. The Bravia Cam will also dim the TV when you walk away and can be set to turn the TV off after a certain amount of time. It’s a small touch, but could help to reduce energy consumption.

“I think that Ambient Optimization Pro is the one that you get the benefit out of the most,” Ishida quickly noted as the main reason for getting the Bravia Cam. Essentially, depending on where you are in the space, the Bravia Cam will utilize its Ambient Optimization Pro functionality to adjust the picture and sound settings. This way, if you’re off to the right side of the TV, it can compensate for the audio mix and adjust some picture parameters for the best viewing angle. It takes the built-in ambient and light sensors to the next level, as it will adapt based on where you are viewing the TV.

The Bravia Cam will come with your 2022 Bravia TV if you get the premium Z9K or A95K. Otherwise, you will need to purchase it separately for an unannounced price as of yet. When asked, Ishida told us, “It will be competitively priced in the market,” which has us thinking it will be similar to premium webcams, so likely a couple of hundred dollars.

It’s clear that Bravia Cam is an add-on for a Sony TV, but we’re especially eager to see how this picture optimization plays into Sony’s historically accurate and immersive viewing experience. This seems to add a layer of personalization down to the level of where you are in the space.

We’re also naming the Bravia Cam as a finalist for most innovative and best home entertainment accessory of CES 2022. We’ll be sharing our full finalists later this week, ahead of the top picks in each category.

We’re looking forward to going hands-on and fully reviewing the Bravia Cam once it launches this Spring alongside Sony’s 2022 Bravia TVs.

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