After offering a sneak peek as to what we could expect at CES in January, Sony finally unveiled it's 2013 Australian TV range last night, and the focus is moving away from smarter TVs in terms of content and into smarter panels in terms of picture and sound.
Sony has been producing great looking panels for decades now. From the introduction of HD TVs, right through to the first consumer 84-inch 4K TV last year. Now it's out to enhance those great panels with more colour.
The human eye can see millions of colours, but TVs and panels can't represent all of them. Sony is certainly trying to expand the colours that it can bring people with what it's calling "Triluminous Display". Triluminous Display tech basically increases the colour profile of a panel so that you can see more vibrant colours in the display. Use this graphic as an example:
The human eye can detect around 10 million colours in the spectrum, and Triluminous Display technology aims to add more green and red into the mix for more vibrant colour. We're not sure an exact percentage of the colour spectrum the new panels will be displaying, but we're checking.
Sony is also pretty pleased with the new engine it has to drive pictures to the panel. Unsuprisingly, it also has a unique marketing name: X-Reality Pro.
The X-Reality Pro processor technology produces better gradation, smoother upscaling, removes MPEG noise, decodes content, tracks faces in the content you're watching to get the colour balance right and it's specifically designed for Triluminous Display-enabled panels.
The processors are also being pre-programmed with information from ColorWorks — a Sony Pictures' image studio. Basically what they're doing is mastering Blu-ray content in 4K so that Sony TVs can upscale the content better. The new X-Reality Pro processor will know how to handle the information and upscale it accordingly.
Sound is more than half of the experience when it comes to a great content experience, and Sony is looking to specifically improve the bundled speakers that come with their high-end TVs.
Sony points out that traditional slim panels actually face their speakers (pictured above, left) towards the floor. With their new 4K panels, it's looking to face the speakers out for a change (makes sense, right?), so they needed to invent a new type of speaker to make it slim and loud enough to fit inside a new, thin panel. That's where magnetic fluid drivers come in (pictured above, right).
Magnetic fluid tech has been developed and pioneered by the boffins over at NASA so they could use liquids better in space. By putting it into a speaker, it means you can have louder sound while using a much smaller speaker, so you can stick in in a thinner panel. Sony promises 30 per cent less distortion from magnetic fluid speakers, and you can drive the speaker much harder in terms of volume because the fluid cools the speakers, rather than relying on air-cooling as it is in traditional speakers.
We all know Sony can do 4K panels. It has a new 55-inch and 65-inch panel for 2013 that produces freaking beautiful images, but what if you want high-resolution panels without the high price tag? Meet 2K.
Sony has a couple of 2K panels in its range this year, which bring you images twice the resolution of 1080p panels.
As far as content is concerned, Sony is about putting more catch-up than ever in its TVs. You'll now be able to get access to all the local network catch-up services like ABC iView, Plus 7, SBS On-Demand and Ten, as well as on-demand content services from Sony Video Unlimited, Quickflix, Crackle, Mubi, Garage and Yupp TV. There are also audio content services available on demand from Pandora, Sony Music Unlimited, Moshcam and Berliner Philharmoniker.
Sony's new TVs will also be compatible with the Miracast screen sharing standard to throw content from your NFC-compatible smartphone to the screen. Also, rather than having the NFC tag-on facility in the panel, you can just touch your phone or tablet against the remote to share the content.
And to celebrate Sony mastering its Blu-ray titles into 4K, it's bundling eight mastered movies in with the purchase of the TVs this year. The titles include Angels & Demons, Battle: Los Angeles, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid (2010), The Amazing Spider-Man, Spiderman, The Other Guys and Total Recall (2012).
Full Price List
• W900A KDL55W900A: $3,999 KDL47W900A: $2,999
• W800A KDL55W800A: $2,599 KDL47W800A: $1,999 KDL42W800A: $1,349
• R550A KDL70R550A: $4,999 KDL60R550A: $2,999 KDL50R550A: $1,999
• W670A KDL42W670A: $1,049 KDL32W670A: $749
Check out Sony's TV website for more info.