By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas — Sony Electronics used the NAB show here Sunday to formally issue pricing on its latest Bravia 4K Ultra HD sets, offering smaller screen sizes than its current 85-inch behemoth.
The sets, which were initially unveiled at International CES in January, include the 55-inch XBR-55X900A (carrying a $5,000 suggested retail) and 65-inch XBR-65X900A ($7,000).
Both will be available for order online and at select retail locations beginning April 21, Sony said.
Sony also revealed further plans for its 4K Media Player, the FMP-X1, and video distribution service, which are expected to be part of the first native 4K video distribution in the industry.
“These new models will be arriving in homes just before the summer and are sure to bring the enhanced viewing experience of 4K TV to a whole new audience,” said Mike Lucas, Sony Electronics home division senior VP.
“Our TVs deliver a vibrant and natural picture that is four-times clearer than high definition. As for content, these new sets enhance all of the video people are watching today, and this summer our 4K media player, followed in fall by the video distribution service will demonstrate how Sony continues to lead in bringing the 4K entertainment experience to viewers.”
Starting today, the first retail venues to showcase the new sets will be six Sony Store locations in Century City, Calif.; Costa Mesa, Calif.; Houston; Las Vegas; New York; and Palo Alto, Calif.
Sony will host the first in-store demos of the new XBR-55 and 65X900 4K models TVs using both native and up-scaled 4K content.
The FMP-X1 4K Media Player will go on sale this summer bundled with 10 feature films and video shorts in true 4K resolution for $699, Sony revealed.
“In the fall of 2013, users of the same 4K Media Player will be given access to a fee-based video-distribution service offering a library of 4K titles from Sony Pictures Entertainment and other notable production houses,” Sony said in a statement.
Video titles will be delivered via broadband to the FMP-X1 where it will be stored over a period of hours for later play back at the viewer’s convenience.
The included feature films are: “Bad Teacher,” “Battle: Los Angeles,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” “The Karate Kid (2010),” “Salt,” “Taxi Driver,” “That’s My Boy,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Other Guys” and “Total Recall (2012).”
Last November, Sony became the first to offer native 4K content when it made available a special hard-disk-based media server containing an assortment of 4K movies and video programming to purchasers of its 84-inch XBR-84X900.
At the time, Sony said it would periodically update and add content to the system. Sony said today that it recently began delivering new 4K content to owners of the 84-inch XBR set with the home server.
Sony provided an assortment of new 4K video shorts, and the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, which was recently remastered in 4K resolution by Sony Pictures Colorworks.
Owners of the first-generation video server will be able to exchange that device for the new FMP-X1 4K Media Player, once the distribution service launches in the fall, Sony said.
In another development, Sony said its Sony Pictures Home Entertainment company will also begin to market a lineup of new “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray Discs with 1080p high-definition pictures derived from “the highest quality 4K source materials.”
The special Blu-ray titles will feature expanded color that’s optimized for the 4K Ultra HD TVs and plays back on all existing Blu-ray players and HDTV, Sony said.
As an added bonus, consumers who purchase the XBR-55X900 or XBR-65X900 4K Ultra HD TV will also receive “Spider-Man (2002),” “Ghostbusters” and “Angels & Demons” Mastered in 4K Blu-ray discs (while supplies last).
Key features in the Bravia XBR TVs include 3,840 by 2,160 resolution; Sony’s proprietary three-chip 4K X-Reality PRO picture engine; Triluminos Display rendering of natural blues, greens and reds; enhanced black levels and contrast using dynamic edge-lit, LED backlighting; integrated 65-watt, front-facing, magnetic fluid speaker sound system; FullHD 3D using passive 3D glasses; built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, including access to the Sony Entertainment Network suite of services.
Beginning April 17, Sony will kick off a year-long partnership with The Tribeca Film Festival to promote 4K video production and distribution among amateur and professional film makers.
During the festival in New York, Sony will showcase 4K technologies for use from lens to living room.
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