It’s not just enough to support the higher definition content coming from 4K Blu-rays, you have to have a higher range of colours, too, which is precisely what Sony intends to offer this year.
The whole idea of an Ultra High Definition TV isn’t anything new, but now that owners of these televisions will finally get content thanks to 4K Blu-rays, it’s pretty important that TV makers find a way to make their 4K TVs even better.
This year, Sony’s efforts in this area aren’t based on major improvements to the nanocrystal Triluminos technology on the panels, nor is it about a better smart TV experience, because Sony’s additions last year cemented that with Android on-board.
No, 2016 for Sony is about improvements to colour accuracy, contrast, and clarity, with the company delivering a higher dynamic range or “HDR” to its 2016 TVs, both the flagship and even some of the models beneath it.
This technology will rely on Sony’s “4K Processor X1”, a bit of silicon that processes the imagery and video being watched on the screen to stand out more, as well as take in HDR-compatible content, of which Sony expects to be available online and through select TV broadcasts, as well as those Ultra HD Blu-rays, which will also support HDR video.
Brightness and black levels will also improve thanks to research in Sony’s “X-tended Dynamic Range Pro” technology from a Slim Backlight Drive in at least one model which also works with the HDR technology being used for the rest of the set, while the flagship relies on a larger version of the technology called the “Slim Full Array Direct LED Backlighting” system which appears to be made to provide backlighting on a pixel level.
What does this mean?
Better brightness control and more detail, and that will be there in some very slim designs, because slim is in, not just on the backlighting technology.
Across Sony’s “X” series for 2016, the panels are super slim and can even hang close to the wall when wall-mounted. When not wall mounted, however, there’s a sleek slanted stand there to hide your cables, keeping that telly looking as minimalist as the room you’re watching it in.
And then there’s the TV, and while it’s not technically an edge-to-edge screen, Sony’s X series is pretty close to it, with the flagship 75 inch X9400 offering a super thin frame with an accent of gold in that little bit of thickness the display offers.
A little lower, the close-to-flagship 65 inch X9300 delivers that same gold accented edge and a pretty much identical design, though with a change in size offering either 55 or 65 inch displays and a slight reduction in features, ditching the Full Array of LED backlighting to the standard Slim Backlight Drive in case you don’t need the best of the best.
If you sit yourself in that category and then some but still want a decent set, Sony will also have the X8500 series in 2016, which again keeps the sleek design going, but replaces the gold trim for something silver, a telling sign that you’re getting the middle ground for the best in show.
The X8500 will include four sizes, with 55, 65, 75, and 85 inch options, and much of the same HDR technology and Triluminos colour, but without a slim backlight drive of any kind.
And if you don’t care about HDR at all and just want the clarity of 4K, expect a 49 and 55 inch variant of the X7000, as well as a 65 inch version called the X7500.
Finally, Sony will still have a few TVs offering Full HD, because if we’re honest, not everyone cares about 4K yet and probably won’t for another year or two.
If you’re in this category, expect TVs from 32 inches all the way up to 55 inches, but without Triluminos and without the specialty backlighting tech of the new models. Instead and in a first for Sony, the Full HD TVs will all feature Sony’s “X-Reality Pro” engine to work out how to improve detail on images and videos watched through the display.
As for pricing and availability, Sony isn’t saying anything about these for Australian buyers, but we’d say you can expect information being released on this sometime between April and June. You know, when all the other TVs are updated.