Feature Design Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV

Ever-evolving user interface

Kusanagi: The new software running on Sony Internet TV benefits from Sony UI design expertise. We prioritized the information for display and reorganized the layout, in line with the desired user experience.

A basic example of this is how information is displayed when you play a Blu-ray disc. It's all organized at the bottom of the screen, following the same approach as for movie players on computers or smartphones. We adopted the same tone and style for how information is presented on screens for watching TV, viewing photos, or listening to music. This consistency makes it easier to navigate the rich array of media and content available.

Meanwhile, the UI graphics are the latest graphics used in Sony product lines. Smooth borders on on-screen elements complement the smooth surface of the screen itself, making the software look like an integral part of the hardware. Prismatic effects make selected items appear to hover on the screen. These details contribute to the Sony look, feel, and usability.

Other touches, such as the screensaver, go well with interiors; we chose the same neutral colors as on the set itself, for example. In this way, designing the hardware and software together enhanced the overall quality of design.

Display when playing a Blu-ray disc

Prismatic selection indicator


For communication that resonates with target users

Yamaura: Key visuals that capture what products are all about usually take the form of still images, which can be used in a variety of media. This time, we created a video instead. Careful planning in this regard set the desired tone for all communication design, so that web pages, brochures, in-store demonstrations, packaging, and setup guides-all points of contact with people-maintain a unified perspective.

In this context, an important theme for us was chronognosis, or how we perceive the passage of time. Time flies when you're relaxed but slows to a crawl when you're tense. We expressed these moods through special filming techniques, such as slow motion and a particular depth of field. Also, we attempted to convey a focusing of awareness when users select content.

We applied the conceptual video in several ways, such as in the first "welcome" video you see after installation, or in the splash video that shows a different pattern at each startup. We hope it enhances emotional engagement and keeps the set feeling fresh and new.

Sumita: The conceptual video was instrumental in our communication design work, and that includes packaging design. This time, we used both sides of the box to tell a little story. One side shows the remote control and someone entering a phrase in the search box. You're tempted to look at the other side, where you find out it's actually for a television. Here, we took the approach of a teaser ad and used the unique remote control as our starting point to pique people's curiosity.

The video also helped us choose still images to represent the product. It led to the product photos you see today, which convey key qualities-light and nimble, unconstrained, and exciting.

Setup: faster, more reassuring, and easier

Ono: We also took the opportunity to try a new approach in documentation. We imagined that the target customers we envisioned would want to start using the set immediately after purchase and unboxing.

For faster, more reassuring, and easier installation, we summarized all the information needed to get started on a single-page Quick Setup Guide. In fact, that's all the printed documentation there is. Any other information you need after that is provided on-screen, in the Help Guide. This help system was created with input from designers specializing in visual communication and user interfaces, and meticulous refinements were made through user tests.

It's phrased a little unlike typical documentation to arouse your curiosity about the set. It tempts you to learn more by asking Did you know? Because the help information is provided online, we added video segments to explain things that would be difficult to convey in print alone. This information is also accessible by browsing from a computer.

Kanno: This project brought together designers with experience in two product categories-computers and televisions-who succeeded in creating an unprecedented product. We're confident that Sony Internet TV is a television that can keep evolving to help users explore new territory.

This product is currently available only in North America. (As of March 1, 2011.)

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