Sony Bows 'Full HD' Push, More BRAVIA, SXRD TVs

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Sony Electronics used the Home Entertainment Show, here, to unveil six new BRAVIA LCD TVs and five SXRD-based rear-projection sets featuring a pixel count and HDMI inputs capable of full 1,920 by 1,080p resolution.

Sony executives said they will underscore the 1,080p capabilities of the TVs in a “Full HD — 1,080” promotional campaign that uses the Blu-ray Disc format with 1,080p output capability as its foundation.

Jeff Goldstein, Sony A/V product marketing VP, said, “It's time to ask ourselves, 'What kind of HD experience is our industry really offering?' As always, when it comes to high definition, Sony believes that we need to set the right expectations for consumers by developing technology that provides the very best HD performance possible.”

New BRAVIA 1,080p LCD TVs include six models in 40W-inch and 46W-inch screen sizes. Also announced was a 32W-inch BRAVIA set featuring 1,366 by 768 (WXGA) screen resolution.

The new LCD TVs will be offered in three product series — the V Series, XBR 2 Series and XBR 3 Series. All XBR models offer a floating-glass design, and Sony's Live Color Creation technology featuring Wide Color Gamut Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (WCG-CCFL) backlight that improves color realism.

New models also feature the BRAVIA Engine Pro full digital high-definition video processing system with Sony's Digital Reality Creation Multi Function Version 2.5 (DRC-MFv2.5) processor designed to address all signals from standard NTSC up to 1,080i for display on the 1,080p screen.

The top-of-the-line XBR3 Series, which ships in September, includes the 46W-inch KDL-46XBR3 ($5,300 suggested retail) and 40-inch KDL-40XBR3 ($4,300). Both feature native 1,920 by 1,080 panel resolution and three HDMI inputs with 1,080p capability.

XBR3 models also offer floating-glass-encased, high-gloss, piano-black bezels with side speakers, built-in ATSC tuning, PC input, two high-definition component, one S-video and three composite inputs.

The new BRAVIA designs were tested with focus group studies, said Randy Waynick, Sony home products division senior VP.

New XBR2 BRAVIA models feature BRAVIA Engine Pro processing, and HDMI inputs with 1,080p capability. Shipping in September, the 46W-inch KDL-46XBR2 ($5,000) and 40W-inch KDL-40XBR2 ($4,000) feature silver bezels that can be replaced by one of five different colored bezels for custom integration into any décor. The optional bezels come in five colors, including red, white, blue, black and brown.

These models also feature the same audio package, built-in ATSC tuner, PC input, two high-definition component, one S-video and three composite inputs. Rounding out the XBR2 line is the 32W-inch KDL-V32XBR2 model featuring 1,366 by 768 screen resolution. It will ship in September at a $2,400 suggested retail price.

In the BRAVIA V2500 Series, the company will offer the 46W-inch KDL-46V2500 ($4,500) and 40W-inch KDL-40V2500 ($3,500). Both feature 1,080p resolution and two 1,080p-capable HDMI inputs, the BRAVIA Engine and Live Color Creation technologies.

Cosmetics include a black bezel and a space-saving bottom speaker design optimized for placement in existing A/V cabinets.

Other features include a digital amplifier with SRS-TruSurround XT and BBE Digital Audio Enhancement technologies for high-quality sound, a PC input, two high-definition component, two S-video and two composite inputs.

The company also launched five 1,080p SXRD rear-projection HDTV sets in screen sizes ranging from 50W inches to 70W inches. The assortment has been expanded from three last year.

In the XBR2 SXRD line, the company introduced the 70W-inch KDS-R70XBR2 ($7,800 suggested retail) and 60W-inch KDS-R60XBR2 ($5,300), which will both ship in early fall. This year the company opened the XBR Series up to national accounts as well as regional and A/V specialty accounts, but it will not be open to warehouse clubs or mass merchant discounters, said Phil Abram, Sony TV product marketing VP.

Features include Sony's Wega Engine HD video signal processing system and Digital Reality Creation Multi Function Version 2.5 (DRC-MFv2.5), high-resolution video processing technology. The sets' Cinema Black Pro mode delivers up to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio based on overall light levels of the original signal.

Also added are CableCARD slots and TV Guide On Screen programming guides. Other features include two HDMI inputs with 1,080p capability, front HDMI HDV camcorder connection and a PC input. XBR models also feature side speakers.

The KDS-R70XBR2 and KDS-R60XBR2 units will ship in early fall and be available for about $7,800 and $5,300, respectively.

In the SXRD A2000 line the company is offering three models shipping this summer in the 60W-inch ($4,500), 55W-inch ($4,000) and 50W-inch ($3,500) screen sizes. Abram said pricing in the series has been reduced to appeal to a broader audience.

All three include new compact, bottom speaker cabinet designs, the Wega Engine system and Cinema Black Pro with up to 10,000:1 contrast ratios. All offer two HDMI inputs with 1,080p capability and a front component input for HDV camcorder and PC input.


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