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Monday, January 7, 2013

For Sony at C.E.S., the More Pixels the Better

Sony, the struggling Japanese electronics company, is trying hard to get your attention. The company can't resist highlighting big numbers for the features inside its products.

On Monday, the company introduced its newest Android phone, the Xperia Z, which has a 13-megapixel camera, a quad-core processor and a 5-inch high-definition screen.

It also unveiled two new Ultra High-Definition 4K TVs, which have quadruple the pixels of standard HD televisions. The new TVs come in 55 or 65 inches and will be in a “more accessible price range” than Sony's current 84-inch Ultra HD TV, which costs $25,000, said Phil Molyneux, a president at Sony. He didn't say how much the TVs would cost.

But extra megapixels and extra-high resolution don't necessarily make a product better. As Raymond Soneira, a display analyst, pointed out in my Monday article, for TVs smaller than 80 inches, the human eye can't resolve the extra pixels of a 4K television when viewed from a standard distance of 7.2 feet. The difference would only be noticeable on screens larger than 80 inches, he said.

He made a similar point about megapixels. Sure, your Sony phone's camera could shoot 13 megapixels, but the screens you use to look at the pictures most likely have much lower resolutions, Mr. Soneira said.

“You don't really need that many pixels, unless you're a serious photographer doing lots of editing,” he added.

In November, Sony posted its seventh consecutive quarterly loss thanks to a slump in sales of its TVs. It has struggled in recent years as it has bled many customers to Apple and Samsung.