An unexpected Sony camera gadget has been unveiled at CES 2022, and to be honest we're not too invested just yet. The Bravia Cam, as its being referred to, will be included in bundles with new Sony TV purchases and available as a separate add-on for consumers to purchase for compatible devices.
The main functions and capabilities of the Bravia Cam will allow for video calling from your TV as well as the use of hand gestures to control settings like volume, pausing content on Netflix and turning off your set with the clench of a fist.
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With a slim-fitting design, the Bravia Cam is designed to sit discreetly on the top of your Sony TV and plug into a USB port via a single cable. Similar to an Amazon Fire TV stick, this handy device would make a great addition to a family sitting room setup or environments where your TV is the technology centerpiece.
Other Bravia Cam functions include a proximity warning if someone is sitting too close to the TV screen, with the screen blacking out completely until the individual moves back. While this would be handy for keeping children away from expensive screens, it doesn't offer much in terms of warning little ones to keep their hands off.
The Bravia Cam uses similar methods to calculate "viewing distance compensation", adjusting elements such as brightness, voice emphasis and sound balance based on how far away you're sitting from the device. The side of the sofa that you're perched on can adjust the left and right channel sound balance for a more even and surround-sound experience.
Watch video: Sony's new Bravia Cam
A power-saving functionality is also programmed in to detect when nobody is in the room, with users able to customize the timeframe and duration when this will occur.
It seems that many of these features rely on the camera being on and active at all times to detect movement, proximity and motion gestures. However, Sony has reassured the privacy conscious conspiracists out there that there will be hardware to physically turn off the camera with no private data stored on the device or Sony's servers. Users will also be able to wipe the camera data at any time.
The Bravia Cam's mic will supposedly be used strictly for video calls and will not be forever listening, in comparison to methods used by other devices such as Echo Dots and Google Nest AI speakers. Interestingly, the similarly designed Xbox Kinect devices (for Microsoft's PlayStation-rivaling games console) also included gesture and voice controls, but have since become rather obsolete except for use with now discontinued Kinect software.
Will the Bravia Cam succumb to the same fate as Kinect? Here's the catch. Sony has stated that upon release only the video chat functions of the Bravia Cam will be available, with other features made available via a firmware update. Sony is yet to confirm any pricing or availability information, but the Bravia Cam will be compatible with 2022 Sony TV models X90K, X95K, A80K, A90K, A95K, Z95K.