With the tagline of “everything looks better on Bravia 4K,” Sony has launched the latest models of what it believes is the next generation of home entertainment technology. And even if you can’t yet justify the price 4K will demand, there are plenty of other options in Sony’s range, with Full HD pushed to its highest quality yet.
Thirteen models have been announced for Sony’s 2013 Australian range, and more than ever, Sony is pushing WiFi, Smart TVs, and amongst the best colour for any TV.
While the first two features have become more or less standard across new televisions in the past year, a better understanding of colour and its importance in a TV seems to be one of the messages Sony is trying to send with the launch of these new sets, and the addition of a new processing chip Sony called “X-Reality Pro.”
“It doesn’t matter what video content or panel you have, if you have a dodgy processor, you’ll get dodgy images,'” said Paul Colley, Group Manager for Network Services and Technology at Sony Australia. “It’s the most important part of a TV.”
That important piece of technology has been worked on by aspects of Sony’s film division, with the Colorworks group providing Sony with information about movies that go into creating Blu-ray content, and what bits and pieces of information work best for colour and compression.
Sony tells us that it is the only TV manufacturer with that sort of information, and that is what can help Sony get the best colour out of its panels.
There’s more to it than that, however, and many of Sony’s new displays in the range will take advantage of the X-Reality Pro technology, with some working alongside quantum dot Trilmunos LED technology to provide more colour gamut than competitors, while the sound will be enhanced using some neat technology called Magnetic Fluid.
Originally developed by NASA, this allows a small tube of metal-injected liquid to become a cushion for the speaker driver, while letting the temperature of the liquid to actively cool the speaker at the same time.
This technology allows the speakers to get smaller while making it possible for them to be driven harder, effectively reducing size and making them ideal for thinner screens.
Technology such as Near-Field Communication (NFC) will also be included, making it easy for an NFC capable device (like many Android phones) to pair with the remote and start throwing media straight to the TV, though we’re told Miracast may be required.
Apps will be made available, however, with Sideview making it possible to look around the TV and electronic program guide (EPG) on both Android and Apple iOS devices.
Much of this technology will be made available on several of Sony’s TVs, and with models available from 32 inches all the way up to 70 inches, there’s certainly an abundance of choice.
While they’re not all equal, the prices will range from $799 to $4999 recommended retail, though only the W900A which comes in 47 and 55 inch models will support the high-end Triluminos display technology.
But then there’s the 4K announcement, with Sony taking its 84 inch Ultra High Definition TV from last year and making it ever so slightly more affordable, as well as easier to place in the average living room.
“Ten years ago, we were launching high definition,” said Sony’s Nicolas Barendson. “With 4K, we’re bringing four times high definition quality. 4K is about delivering immersive quality for a big screen.”
“Big” is a loose term, though, and when 47 inches is the average size nowadays for TV purchases, Sony’s reference to big means that the 4K TVs will be arriving in 55 and 65 inch models, alongside last year’s 84 inch model.
These new models (X9004A) will feature all the high end specs thrown into Sony’s other TVs, as well as a panel capable of outputting both 3840×2160 and 4096×2160, depending on the signal sent their way. MotionFlow is included, but you can switch it off if you like, while 3D is also there and will support SimulView, which allows two gamers to see two separate screens, though will need special glasses for this.
Also of note is the content, which is one of 4K’s biggest hurdles. While there isn’t a proper 4K streaming solution coming for Australia yet, Sony has announced that eight 4K titles will be available on Blu-ray and packed in with every Sony 4K TV sold this year, with the list including “Angels & Demons,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Total Recall,” “Battle: Los Angeles,” and the classic “Ghostbusters.”
Hands on with the new screens and we have to say that we’re impressed. Compared alongside a competing display, the colour differences are very noticeable, and while both were vivid, the display test Sony presented revealed more natural colours rather than just intense colours.
We did think the Sony might have been over-sharpening, though that could be attributed to various settings used, and won’t know for sure until a GadgetGuy reviewer gets it and takes a good close look.
The speakers taking advantage of the magnetic fluid were impressive enough too, and while the Sony 4K TVs are thin, the sound quality coming out was anything but.
Bass could certainly do with more oomph, but overall sound was loud, distinct, and much better than the average speakers you see on a LCD TV, especially since they face you.
It’s also nice to see Sony has moved away from the monolithic design it had in earlier models, and this writer likes the simplicity of the stands more in these new models.
Pricing on the 4K UHDTV sets hasn’t been announced yet, but Sony is telling us to look for them in July, so look for them then, with prices likely above the $5K mark.