CES 2017: OLED, Dolby Vision Come To Sony TV Lineup

Adds Atmos soundbar
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Sony came to CES to add 4K OLED TVs to its LCD TV lineup, launch its first 4K TVs with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) technology, and unveil its first soundbar equipped with Dolby Atmos object-based surround decoding.

Sony unveiled three models in its flagship XBR-A1E Bravia OLED series and three LCD models in the XBR-X930E and X940E series. All six feature Dolby Vision and Android TV OS.

The OLED series dispenses with traditional speakers, instead using Sony’s Acoustic Surface sound technology to produce audio directly from the screen itself. The technology is said to improve sound quality in slim TVs regardless of seating position and enabling a stand-less form factor.

All of the new TVs are also the company’s first to integrate with the Google Home smart speaker, enabling consumers to issue voice commands to the TVs from the smart speaker.

Android TV also provides access to Sony’s Ultra 4K HDR streaming service and to Sony’s PlayStation Vue, a live TV-streaming service. The OS also features Chrome Cast, enabling the TVs to play audio and video content from Cast-enabled apps on smartphones and tablets.

The OLED series comes in 77-, 65- and 55-inch sizes. The new 4K LCD TVs consist of a 75-inch X940E series model and two X930E Series models in 65- and 55-inch sizes. Prices and ship dates were not announced.

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The two X930E models feature Sony’s upgraded Slim Backlight Drive+ technology, a grid-array edge lighting that is said to deliver more precise local-dimming control than the previous iteration of the technology.

The X940E doesn’t include Slim Backlight Drive+ but does feature a full-array direct LED backlighting, the company said.

The XBR-X930E/X940E series also incorporate Sony’s 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, which the company said offers 40 percent more real-time processing power than Sony’s 4K Processor X1.

Z series continues: The OLED models will join a top-end Z series of LCD TVs launched last year with proprietary Backlight Master Drive HDR technology said to combine OLED-like black levels with brightness levels exceeding that of then-current HDR-equipped LCD TVs. The three Z series models were also promoted as delivering greater color accuracy along with greater detail in bright and dark areas than other LCD technologies. The Z series consists of 65-, 75- and 100-inch models launched at suggested retails of $6,999, $9,999 and $60,000, respectively.

With the OLED launch, “Sony continues to make consumer choice a priority, especially for those seeking the very best viewing experience,” said Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics president/COO.

Here’s what else the company is showing:

Soundbars: Five new soundbars, due in the spring at unannounced prices, include Sony’s first model with Dolby Atmos and the company’s first three that network with the Google Home smart speaker.

Two also feature high-res audio playback, three feature HDMI inputs, and two work with select Sony wireless-multiroom speakers to create a discrete 5.1-channel surround.

Through a Google Home speaker, consumers use voice control to change soundbar volume, skip to the next track, or stop music playback. The Google Home speaker and the bars also integrate to deliver wireless multiroom audio.

The Atmos model is the HT-ST3500, which features Google Home compatibility, high-res playback, and three 4K HDMI inputs.

Ultra-short-throw 4K laser projector: The VPL-VZ1000ES ultra-short-throw 4K projector, due in April at a suggested $24,999, features native 4K resolution, HDR, and long-lasting laser light source in a package that’s 40 percent smaller than the currently available VPL-GTZ1 model. The new model measures 36 by 20 by 9 inches and delivers a 100-inch 16:9 image when positioned only 6 inches from a wall. It is also 25 percent brighter than the VPL-GTZ1, delivering 2,500 lumens of color light output.

The ultra-short-throw projectors are positioned as delivering a large image in small spaces and in locations with high ceilings.

4K Blu-ray: Unveiled at the CEDIA Expo, the UBP-X800 player will be available in the spring as previously announced at a price that still hasn’t been announced. It features SACD and DVD-Audio playback, 3D Blu-ray playback, BD-ROM playback, and USB A/V playback. The custom-install-focused device also plays high-res audio files up to 192kHz/24-bit and DSD 11.2MHz. The player also incorporates a variety of video codecs to provide 4K streaming from video streaming services such as Netflix.

Bluetooth speakers: Four new models due in the spring at unannounced prices are part of the Extra Bass series of Bluetooth speakers, headphones and high-power audio systems.

With three of the models, users can connect up to 10 speakers via Bluetooth to play the same songs simultaneously. Also with those models, two can be paired to operate as separate left-right speakers. And all three can be placed either vertically or horizontally,

Playback of the three SKUs can be controlled via a phone’s SongPal app, which starts music playback, turns on speaker lighting, lets users add a speaker, and the like.

Car audio: New head units priced from $119 to $279 were unveiled along with a $329 navigation module to add navigation to Sony in-dash A/V receivers.

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