Sony's Just Announced LCD HDTVs (And Why You Care)

XBR4_in_row.jpgSony's finally upgrading my beloved Sony XBR3 LCD, so gorgeous, it was chosen as the display of choice by Playstation for the PS3 launch, and even Apple for their Apple TV demos. The new LCDs are 1080p, running a full 1920 by 1080 res, with 10-bit panels that can resolve color 64 times that of 8 bit panels. Important for the wider X.v.Color, or xvYCC color range.

The bottom line is that Wilson and Louis, at the Sony event, describe these new LCD TVs as the best looking TVs they've ever seen, inside and out.

The better XBR5 and XBR4 sets also have 120Hz tech, which Sony calls Motionflow, and 24 frame support at full high def.

The devil is in the details, and here's that for all three TV lines.KDL-40_46_52XBR4_front_lg.jpg

The XBR5 line is distinguished from the W series by its 120Hz support, which interpolate the original 60 frames with 60 tweened frames. The new TVs also all do 24 frame support, which all film content is recorded and mastered in, so hopefully its played back on these TVs without pulldown and jutter*. The TV does upscaling and deinterlacing by means of the "BRAVIA Engine Pro circuitry with Digital Reality Creation-MultiFunction v2.5". It comes in 52, 46, and 40-inch flavors.

The XBR4 line is basically identical to the XBR5. Except every equivalent size is $300 cheaper as an XBR4, and they have detachable color plates. (the XBR5 comes only in piano black.) Strange, but Sony did the same thing with the XBR3 and XBR2. Weird, I know.

Then there's the W line. There's the W line looks identical to the XBR5 line, but it lacks the 120Hz system. It also uses a lesser video processor, but Sony doesn't specify the difference: "Sony's BRAVIA Engine EX full digital video processing system with Digital Reality Creation-Multifunction v1.0 (DRC-MF v1.0)" Like the other two lines, it comes in 52, 46 and 40-inch sizes.

Is there a caveat? Yes. Sony's have been known to have blotchy backlighting on some sets. I don't know if these have those problems, but its worth waiting for a full review before buying.

(*I think. The press info isn't clear if it will actually divide the 120Hz by 24 or if it does a 60 frame conversion first before jumping to 120Hz)

XBR5 and XBR4 Pricing and Availability:

The KDL-52XBR4, KDL-46XBR4 and KDL40-XBR4 models will be available in August for about $4,800, $3,800 and $3,000, respectively. Also shipping in August, the KDL-46XBR5 and KDL-40XBR5 will be about $4,100 and $3,300. The KDL-52XBR5 model will come out in September for about $5,100. Sony's KDL-46W3000 and KDL-40W300 models will debut in July for about $3,500 and $2,700, respectively, while the KDL-52W3000 will be available in August for about $4,300.

W Series Pricing:

W3000 Series KDL-52W3000 - $5100 KDL-46W3000 - $3500 KDL-40W3000 - $2700