Sony's 2012 Bravia Strategy: Content, Pictures And Gorillas

Sony's slimmed down the number of televisions it'll launch into the Australian market in 2012, with a focus on picture quality and smart TV -- but not "games and gimmicks". According to Sony, it's all about the content. I just had a brief hands-on session with the top of the line 55" $3999 HX850, an impressive display screen -- but then it'd want to be at that price -- with a layer of gorilla glass that makes it very robust. Or, to put it another way, I've never seen a TV demo that concluded with the company representative laying into the TV with the remote control.

Not that this was a serving suggestion; more a demonstration of how the TV should be able to cope with, say, a flying Wiimote or errant family pet. I also had a brief try of Sony's new lighter 3D glasses; they're nicely built but at $179 a pair, not a good thing to throw at the TV.

Sony's claim is that, based on its own data, it leads the local Smart TV market -- it here defined a Smart TV as "any TV that's capable of connecting to the Web" -- with around a third of the market. The reason, according to Sony's Paul Colley?

"From a content perspective, no-one has as much local content as we do. We've concentrated on content; not on games and gimmicks and novelty things, which people don't engage with."

It's an interesting summation; with the recent announcement that Sony's locked in Channel 10's catchup services, it can boast of having a total of twelve local channels across its entire 2012 Bravia range. One other interesting differentiator for its Smart TVs is that there's no feature creep; all its Smart TV functions are available on every panel, from the cheapest to the most expensive.

Aside from picture quality -- and, let's face it, no TV manufacturer is going to talk down its picture quality -- content is something that Sony's really pitching hard this year. According to its own figures, around 70 per cent of the IPTV delivered to Bravia screens comes from the local channels, around 28 per cent from YouTube and the remaining two per cent from other international sources. I'd say that means we're watching an awful lot of ABC iView, in that case.

The Sony Bravia TV range is significantly cut down from 2011; there you could pick from 23 Sony Bravia models, where this year there's a choice of nine. The entry level EX550 is a 26 inch panel, the EX650 comes in 40 and 46 inch sizes. Then the premium models are the HX750 range in 32, 40, 46 and 55 inch sizes, and finally the HX850 in 46 and 55 inch only. Sony's only officially announced pricing for the HX750 models. The 32 inch is $1099, 40 inch $1799, 46 inch $2699 and 55 inch $3299, but Harvey Norman is taking pre-orders on the 55 inch HX850 at $3999.

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    "the EX650 comes in 40 and 40 inch sizes"
    Is that 40" and 42" or 40" and 46"?

    Darned typos. I blame a 3am start. Fixed now -- it's the choice of a 40 or 46 inch panel.

    You know what? I'd just be happy with a TV that doesn't take 30 seconds to become responsive due to the start up times for all the "Smart TV" features.

    Fix that Sony and I'll love you again.

    If Sony are going to focus on IPTV I hope they improve the Sony wireless USB adaptor. (Which costs $70-$100 after buying the TV) I have my Playstation3 and BraviaTV wireless receiver almost side by side yet the Playstation3 is much more reliable for wireless streaming content of iView & SBS.

    "55 inch $3299, but Harvey Norman is taking pre-orders on the 55 inch HX850 at $3999."

    FFS when is the Australian retail industry gonna learn? Its gonna bite them right in the ass when its too late and everyone will realise its cheaper and get a better customer service to grey import than buy from Harvey Norman.

      The $3299 price is for the HX750; Sony hasn't announced pricing on any of the HX850 models, but Harvey Norman appears to be selling it. As per the article, in fact.

    Native support for MKV would be helpful

      Yeah we would all love to have MKV, but just like FLAC its not a standardised video format. Would be great is more devices would support MKV because I hate to convert my files or stream via PS3 Media Server or TVersity

        yes,the new bravia tv's do support mkv format !! i own a HX750 40-inch bravia & it plays d mkv files...i'm so happy wit my updated d firmware in d latest bravias.......picture quality is so superior. luv u sony

    I work with these things every day, and Sony TVs are always pretty mediocre. The HX850 isn't bad, but they have yet to catch up to Samsung's offerings.
    @above: Samsung TVs offer mkv

    If they are boasting content how about getting the 3D channel supposedly available in 70 countries available in Australia! We only just got Crackle FFS. Sony top of the line back-lit beats Samsungs' crappy edge-lit displays regardless.

    “From a content perspective, no-one has as much local content as we do. We’ve concentrated on content; not on games and gimmicks and novelty things, which people don’t engage with.”

    If by local content you mean tonnes of poorly filmed Moshcam concerts, Billabong content that no-one cares about, and ABC iview/Yahoo 7/SBS programs that everybody else already has, then yes, you're leading the game.

    Otherwise, the FOXTEL and Telstra IPTV offerings through their partners absolutely leave the Sony content for dead. Come back to me when you can get local AFL/NRL/V8 content that people want to watch and that's actually new each week instead of hours of music that I already own and probably don't need to turn on my TV to listen to.

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