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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sony Unveils Ultra HD TVs from 49 to 85 Inches

There were a lot of Ultra HD TVs on display at this week's CES. While everyone was talking up the sets, Sony Electronics was really focused on the content.

Oh sure, Sony will absolutely have plenty of UHD TVs for the year. However, the company is actually giving its customers plenty of 4K content options as well -- and that's huge. The previously announced 4K Ultra HD Media Player is still alive, well, and constantly being updated. The player delivers access to Sony's Video Unlimited 4K download service, which the company will beef up with plenty of new titles. Currently, Video Unlimited 4K has 140 films and TV shows. Upcoming 4K titles will include Captain Phillips and American Hustle, with select purchases adding in an UltraViolent Digital Copy of the film for viewing in HD and standard definition almost anywhere.

Sony will also add codecs so that new Ultra HD TVs can support Netflix 4K streaming at 60 frames per second, as well as 4K photo services 500px and the cloud-based PlayMemories. Netflix is expected to start streaming 4K content sometime in the first half of the year.

"It may be cliché to say content is King, but when talking about 4K Ultra HD TV, it reigns over consumer decision-making," said Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Home Entertainment & Sound Division. "Sony is a company of firsts and we continue to lead the way with 4K from lens to living room. Couple our key industry partnerships with our group-wide collaboration and innovative technologies, and consumers will see Sony continues to lead, advance and enrich the 4K entertainment experience."

 The XBR X950B Series 4K Ultra HD TV will ship this spring in 65- and 85-inch screen sizes.

Now that you know what you could be watching, you may want to know what you can watch it on. Sony is planning three new UHD TV series for a total of nine models, in sizes ranging from 49 to 85 inches. All nine of them include Sony's own 4K X Reality PRO picture engine to help upscale the image, while the TRILUMINOS Display promises the best color and shading possible.

Some of the new features for the year include X-tended Dynamic Range technology for better brightness and detail, while some of the sets offer a Wedge shape to make room for larger speakers. Speaking of sound, Sony is also adding ClearAudio+ digital signal processing across the line for a more immersive sound experience -- yes, from your TV. If you're needing a bit more oomph, Sony is also making a wireless subwoofer (model SWF-BR100) an option.

At the top of the heap is the XBR X950B Series 4K Ultra HD TV, which will start selling sometime this spring. The 65-inch XBR-65X950B and the 85-inch XBR-85X950B both have 4K Ultra HD picture quality, Motionflow XR 960, and the TRILUMINOS Display. This series bumps up some of the standard UHD TV offerings, by adding in X-tended Dynamic Range PRO with direct LED arrays and the 4K X-Reality PRO picture engine. Other features include HDMI 2.0 and 4K 60p support with the newly developed HEVC codec for future 4K content, built-in Wi-Fi with access to the Sony Entertainment Network, screen mirroring with NFC OneTouch Mirroring, and MHL 3.0 for adding in compatible smartphones and tablets as a second screen.

Right in the middle of this year's pack is the XBR X900B Series. Also available this spring, the X900B line will have the 55-inch XBR-55X900B, the 65-inch XBR-65X900B, and the 79-inch XBR-79X900B. Besides 4K, the X-tended Dynamic Range with edge LED arrays, and the 4K X-Reality PRO picture engine, these three sets will include Motionflow XR 960 for smooth action and the aforementioned Wedge design. Other features include the HDMI 2.0 and 4K 60p, the built-in Wi-Fi and smart TV perks, NFC OneTouch Mirroring, and MHL 3.0.

The last of the lineup is the XBR-X850B Series, which Sony calls "an entry-level 4K Ultra HD TV." While there's no word on whether or not "entry-level" will mean "affordable," the 49-inch XBR-49X850B, the 55-inch XBR-55X850B, the 65-inch XBR-65X850B, and the 70-inch XBR-70X850B all have a 4K image, the 4K X-Reality PRO picture engine, and the TRILUMINOS Display. Other features include Motionflow XR 240, the HDMI 2.0 and 4K 60p, NFC OneTouch Mirroring, MHL 3.0, and Wi-Fi with the Sony Entertainment Network. As with the above models, all four of these will start selling in the spring.

It's also important to note that all of the new Ultra HD sets have 3D options aplenty, which can be enjoyed right out the box. Sony is throwing in two pairs of 3D glasses free with each purchase.

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