We couldn’t escape the age of social distancing without a few of the best webcams designed specifically for TVs, letting you hold video calls without getting up from your couch. But Sony’s new Bravia Cam, revealed during CES 2022, isn’t just a webcam — it’s also a sensor that automatically adjusts TV settings based on your location and proximity. It supports gesture controls, too.
The Sony Bravia Cam can recognize where users are sitting to optimize picture and sound settings such as brightness levels, as well as alert a user when they’re sitting too close to the screen. When the Bravia Cam doesn’t sense anyone in the room, it can shut the TV off to save power. All of these settings are individually enabled, so users can pick and choose which features they want to introduce to their Bravia Cam experience.
Of these Bravia Cam features, I’m most intrigued by proximity alerts. Sitting too close to the TV for an extended period can be harmful to eye health. While adults should be more aware of how close to sit to a TV, children might need visual warnings. When the Bravia Cam senses someone approaching too close to the TV, a pop up message will appear at the bottom of the screen. If the person remains too close, a full-screen notice will block what’s on TV and sound an alert.
Now for the least-compelling feature. While the Bravia Cam promises gesture controls that let you navigate your TV, I feel like I’d be better off leaving this tool disabled, especially if the set has far-field mics. Gesture controls are often fickle, though I guess I should still give the Bravia Cam the benefit of the doubt.
I’ll say the same for privacy concerns. Though a device positioned on top of my TV that faces me while I’m watching sounds creepy, I can think of it more like one of the best cameras for photography The Bravia Cam is intelligent enough to know when someone’s in frame, but it doesn’t record actions or reels for playback. No data leaves the device, either. There’s even a physical lens shutter for added peace of mind.
The fact that the Bravia Cam is a webcam compatible with the best video chat apps for your TV is a total side note. Maybe I’m just tired of using video calls to stay in touch, but you certainly won’t catch me pausing The Book of Boba Fett to answer a video chat while I’m comfortable on my couch.
Sony’s Bravia Cam arrives alongside the Sony 2022 TV lineup and comes bundled with the new Z9K and A95K Series, both of which have magnetic terminals for mounting the camera directly on the TV. Optionally, customers can add a Bravia Cam to the 2022 A90K, A80K, X95K, X90K, X85K, X80K Series via USB, though there’s no information yet about how much the webcam will cost on its own.
Be sure to check out all the latest product news at our CES 2022 live blog.