Initially, the devices are to be used to pay for very TV-related items such as video-on-demand, ringtones from a music show and other multimedia features. But the next phase could include any purchases, whether it's a barbecue grill from the Home Shopping Network, a washing machine from Amazon (as seen through the TV's Web connection, courtesy of a built-in Ethernet port) or groceries from the local Wal-Mart (to be picked up later). Of course, that's in Japan. Here in New York metro, I'm happy if my Treo can actually connect two phonecalls in a row.
In a Japan-only (for now) rollout, Sony is including a TV remote control with its new line of HDTVs, but this is no ordinary remote control. With a built-in RFID tag reader, it's designed to talk with consumer's cellphones and authorize purchases.