By Evan Ackerman
I don’t have a big screen TV, but I can pretend that I do by sitting just inches from the screen. Sony is having none of that, though, with their Distance Alert system, which uses a small camera to measure your distance from the TV screen. If you get closer than about a meter to the TV, a message pops up advising you to back away, and it won’t restore the picture until you do.
The same technology is used for a couple other things, too… Since the TV knows where you (and any other people in the room) are, it can optimize its sound and light output so that if you’re all sitting off to one side, everything still looks and sounds balanced. Also, if the TV doesn’t see anyone in the room, it shuts its backlight off and will turn itself off completely after 30 minutes to save power. Neat tricks, but since the little camera is hardware integrated, Sony is currently only planning to release one model with these features so far this year, and it’s going to be (to quote the Sony rep) “expensive.”