By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Indianapolis — Sony stayed true to tradition by showcasing on CEDIA eve its just-announced 84-inch 4K flat-panel LCD TV, which will stand at the head of the 2013 XBR class, along with a pair of new top-of-the-line X950-series FullHD sets.
Sony said the flagship XBR-84X900 will be available for pre-orders this week and will hit stores in November at a $25,000 suggested retail. It will deliver 3,840 by 2,160 resolution (a.k.a. 4K) when fed native 4K material, or it will up-convert 2D material to fit the full pixel depth.
Sony has started stockpiling libraries of native 4K content for eventual use on this new class of advanced resolution equipment — the company also introduced a native 4K front projector at last year’s show — but thus far no announcements have been made for a 4K source component, like a new advanced Blu-ray Disc or 4K streaming codec. But Sony entertained the press on media day Wednesday by showing the world’s first 4K music video from recording artist Taylor Swift.
The company filled out the top of the XBR line by introducing 55- and 65-inch models in the XBR HX950 series. The new sets will carry suggested retails of $4,500 and $5,500, respectively, and are available immediately at Store.Sony.com, Sony Stores and select retailers nationwide.
Both models feature full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, called Intelligent Peak LED Backlight; Sony’s X-Reality Pro Engine; and a two-chip digital video processor that optimizes any type of HD, SD or low-resolution Internet video. Other attributes include a Sony OptiContrast panel and Corning Gorilla Glass, which is said to reduce glare.
Sony said the TVs’ picture engine employs multi-frame analysis to help create missing resolution, and Sony’s Super Bit Mapping technology incorporates 14-bit up-scaling, processing and pixel mapping to smooth gradation and improve the quality of low-tone pictures. Sony’s MotionFlow XR technology helps to reduce blur.
The sets include built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and an Ethernet port to access a wide selection of online streaming services through the Sony Entertainment Network, including Sony’s Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, as well as Netflix, Pandora, HuluPlus, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Slacker Internet Radio, Crackle and Blip.tv.
Like all XBR- and ES-series equipment, the HX950 models will have price restrictions under Sony Unilateral Pricing Policy and will be open only to qualified XBR dealers.
Also unveiled here Wednesday was a next-generation 2K SXRD front projector in the VPL-HW50ES, which Sony said delivers significantly brighter and sharper FullHD video, including active-shutter 3D. The ES-series projector includes a 240Hz panel drive system for reduced motion blurring, and will ship with two pairs of active-shutter 3D glasses and an extra lamp starting in October for a $4,000 suggested retail.
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