Are you one of those people who like to have the TV on just for a bit of background noise? Or perhaps you'll leave it on while you're surfing the net or reading a book, in the hope that whatever comes on next will be a bit more interesting. If this sounds like you, then you might stand to save a few dollars on your power bills should you decide to get one of the new Sony Bravia TVs with Face Detection and Presence Sensor technology. These new features, which will dim or turn off the screen if you look away or leave the room, are included in the new Sony LX900 3D TVs due out any day now. Whilst Hitachi also appears to be researching facial recognition technologies for televisions, it looks like Sony is going to be the first to release a product with these capabilities.
The face detection and presence sensor features aren't the only energy saving measures built into the LX900. There's an ambient light sensor that changes the brightness and other properties of the image depending on the light in the room, as well as an Energy Saving Switch that allows you to minimize power usage in standby mode without having to turn it off at the wall. In addition, Sony says a significant amount of the packaging materials are recycled, as are the manuals.
The really interesting features here are the presence sensor and facial recognition function. The question is, how well will it work? Whilst it's all well and good if the TV turns itself off while you're in a different room, what if the room you're in is larger than the range of around 6m the sensor allows for? Will the image disappearing when you look away for a second just annoy most people? Happily, the settings can be varied to cater to the situation – from the picture turning off when you look away, to the picture remaining on for a specified length of time after the last detected movement.
The sensitivity of the facial recognition algorithm will be important if people are going to be impressed – and save energy – using this function.
Sony hopes to achieve a zero environmental footprint by 2050 with its "Road to Zero" plan.