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We chatted with Sony President Mike Fasulo about TVs, headphones, and more

Each year at CES, the most exciting element is obviously the breadth of new technologies on display, many of which are capable of doing things we could previously only dream about. The second-most exciting element, though, is the opportunity for us to speak with representatives for companies, people who are often thought leaders in their respective industries.

Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics, is one of those people. Fasulo has been with Sony for nearly 20 years, so there are few humans more qualified to brief us on the Japan-based tech giant’s outlook and future plans. Digital Trends’ Senior Editor Caleb Denison caught up with Fasulo on the show floor at CES to get the 411.

On television

Digital Trends: We’re seeing a lot of innovation in the TV space, and a lot of different technologies being incorporated. At this show, [Sony] brought out an 85-inch 8K display capable of producing 10,000 nits; to put that in perspective, that’s five times brighter than any TV has ever been. What was behind the decision to produce this kind of display?

Mike Fasulo: Simply put, it’s our obsession with delivering the best picture quality possible.

HDR is certainly a big motivator [at CES], but we’re also talking about 8K resolution. Can you tell us about some of the benefits you get from the 8K side of things?

Well, we’re talking about the processor. Today, our 4K televisions are [equipped with] the X1 Extreme processor. What we’re showing as a technology announcement here at the booth is the X1 Ultimate. The X1 Ultimate can transform an already-great processing engine into one which supports 4K, 8K, OLED, LCD … Regardless of panel, it’s an evolution which gets better and better every year.

On headphones

The Sony MDR-1000X noise-canceling headphones earned a perfect 10-out-of-10 from us, as did the excellent WH-1000xM2 — for the second year in a row. You guys absolutely knocked it out of the park with those, and you’ve been making some moves in audio. Not just hi-res audio, but audio that is approachable for a wide range of different consumers. Can you tell me about some of your favorite audio gear that’s come out at CES?

Don’t ask me to pick my favorite child! (Laughs) I’m glad you brought up hi-res audio as well; if you go through the booth, you’ll see that the 1000xM2 is really form-fitting, [causing] no fatigue on the ears … We also announced the world’s first noise-canceling true wireless sports earbuds.

We’re hearing rumblings, though, both literally and figuratively — the Extra Bass speakers pumping out the extra bass.

The Extra Bass speakers were announced last year, and have since been a phenomenal success. It’s a really cool product, a fun, social product. The Bluetooth speakers have extra bass, giving them a meatier, more solid sound. Plus, they’ve got strobe lights which change to the music. Activate “Live Mode,” and you’ll actually hear the fans cheering behind you and around you. So it’s fun!

What you’re describing to us are experiences. And what you’ve been talking about for the past several years is exactly that: delivering experiences. That remains at the core of your philosophy?

That’s true. We call it Kando — if you listen to [Sony CEO] Kaz Hirai, he talks a lot about Kando. And Kando is emotion — it’s getting an emotion out of our customers; if we can get you to say “wow,” then we’ve done our job. The closer we get to our customers, the more we can care for each other. So thank you for bringing that up. Experience is everything.

Thanks for reading (and watching)! For more CES coverage, head to our official landing page.

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Nick Hastings
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick is a Portland native and a graduate of Saint Mary's College of California with a Bachelor's of Communication. Nick's…
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