Sony to launch high-vision movies, expand TV lineup

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January 8, 2013 2:35 PM EST

Sony Corp will kick off sales of high-vision 4K versions of existing movie titles in the United States this spring and expand its TV model offerings, CEO Kazuo Hirai said on Monday, as it struggles to revive its consumer electronics business.

The 4K ultra-high definition versions offer four times the resolution of conventional high-definition images. Sony will also expand its line-up of ultra-high definition TVs with 55-inch and 65-inch models in the spring, Hirai told a news conference at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas.

Under Hirai, the maker of Bravia televisions is doubling down on consumer electronics, with a focus on mobile phones, tablets and gaming.

Sony is selling off assets to help it pare costs and generate cash it can book as operating profit. The Japanese company in September sold its chemical business to a state-owned bank in Japan for $700 million. Sony is also mulling the sale of its New York headquarters.

With its credit rating eroding, including a downgrade along with Panasonic Corp to junk status by Fitch last year, Sony faces higher borrowing costs. Helped by asset sales, Sony expects to eke out a profit of $233 million in the year to March 31.

Sony and Japan's other big TV makers, Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp, have been hobbled by a strong yen that has squeezed margins and has been hammered by aggressive South Korean rivals led by Samsung Electronics Co.

Sony's shares fell 0.1 percent in Tuesday morning trade in Tokyo, against a 0.5 percent dip in the benchmark Nikkei 225 average.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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