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Sony 4K TVs Get Android TV, Expanded Color Gamut

NEW YORK – Sony will expand its selection of Ultra HD TVs with the shipment of new 43- to 85-inch 4K LED LCD TVs, all of which are the company’s first with Android TV OS.

Two of the 10 new 4K models are the company’s first, via a summertime firmware update, to support high dynamic range (HDR) video conforming to the UHD Alliance single-layer HD specification due out later this year. The TVs, Sony said, will display HDR video available through Netflix and Amazon, both of which plan to offer HDR this year.

Two new 4K TVs are positioned as the thinnest LED LCD TVS on the market at 0.2 inches at their thinnest points and about 1.13 inches at their thickest.

All 10 new 4K TVs feature X1 processor to significantly increase contrast, clarity and color from the previous year’s TVs. On the X850C series and up, the company’s latest Triluminos technology provides the company’s widest color range ever along with dynamic color correction to ensure consistent and accurate colors, Sony said. Triluminos delivers the color gamut of quantum-dot technology without sacrificing brightness and without adding depth to TVs through the addition of a layer of quantum-dot crystals, said Philip Jones, video product information manager.

Most 4K models ship in May, with three arriving in the summer. Six new 1080p models will also be available in May.

The two HDR-upgradable TVs, due in May, are the 65-inch XBR-65X930C at $4,499 and 75-inch XBR- 75X940C at $7,999.

When displaying HDR video sources, the HDR TVs will deliver deeper blacks and brighter whites while also showing details in the deep-black and bright-white areas, Sony said. To deliver HDR with maximum impact, the Sony HDR TVs will use local LED dimming and local LED boosting technology, said Jones.

With X-tended Dynamic Range Pro technology on the 75-inch model and X-tended Dynamic Range technology on the 65-inch model, the two models will deliver near- HDR quality from standard dynamic range HD content and improve the dynamic range of DVDs, said Jones.

All 4K TVs are the company’s first 4K TVs with Android TV OS, as are new 1080p TVs. Android TV is designed to deliver a simpler use interface, download Android apps from Google Play, and use Google’s voice search from a microphone-equipped remote. Android TV also delivers a user interface similar to that of Android tablets and smartphones to deliver a consistent UI experience among Android devices, Sony said.

All of the new 4K TVs feature PlayStation Now service, which streams PlayStation 3 games from the cloud. PlayStation Now debuted in the 2014 line of 4K and 1080p TVs

Other 4K TV attributes: Two 4K TVs feature a depth of 0.2 inches at their thinnest points. They are the 55-inch XBR-55X900C and 65-inch XBR-65X900C. They are 0.2 inches deep from the top to about threefourths of the way down, at which point chassis depth increases to about 1.13 inches. They will be available in the summer at pricing that wasn’t revealed.

Three models, consisting of the those two 0.2-inch models and the 75-inch XBR-75X910C, also feature bezel-less Vanishing Edge screens that run to the edges of the TV. The XBR-75X910C also ships in the summer at pricing that wasn’t revealed.

All 10 4K TVs also have Google Cast to stream content from Cast-enabled audio and video apps on mobile devices to the TV from the Cloud, preventing interruptions from incoming calls and letting consumers use other mobile-device apps while streaming.

All 10 also stream 2K and 4K DirecTV programming without a satellite-TV box if the home installs a Genie DVR/server.

The 4K sets also feature MHL 3/HDMI inputs and Wi- Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. Three of the 4K TVs feature direct LED backlights with local dimming; the rest use edge-lit LED lighting, some with frame dimming, and some with local dimming, Sony spec sheets show.

Changes: The 2015 TV launch also includes six 1080p TVs, and between the 1080p and 4K TVs, the Android TV OS will reach 70 to 80 percent of the flat-screen TV count, the company said. PlayStation Now also expands to more flat-screen TVs with the 2015 TV launch. Four of the six new 1080p TVs feature Android OS and Google Cast.

The 4K sets will enter an expanding 4K market. Consumer Electronics Association statistics show U.S. factory- level 4K TV volume rose to $1.9 billion in 2014 from 2013’s $310 million, with 2015 volume forecast to rise 163 percent to $5.02 billion. Sony estimated U.S. unit shipments of all brands of 4K TVs jumped to 1 million during the company’s 2014 fiscal year ending last March, from 95,000 during the previous year. Sony forecast the number to jump to 4 million during the 2015 fiscal year.