Live From CES: Sony 4K Lineup Is About More Than Resolution

Sony President/CEO Kazuo Hirai began Sony’s press event with a big thank you to the public and press for getting behind The Interview but quickly moved on to the big news, which included a number of details regarding new TV sets.

“4K is an important area of development and distinction for us, and there is a fantastic rate of 4K adoption among my Sony Pictures colleagues,” said Hirai. “All Sony TV shows are currently being shot in 4K or will be shot in 4K soon.”

The big news in 4K is the X900C series of sets, which measure just 0.2 in. thick.

“That makes it thinner than the Xperia smartphone,” explained Mike Fasulo, president/CEO, Sony Electronics. “And, with a surface that is flush with the bezel, the bezel virtually disappears.”

The X900C is one of four series (and 10 models that range from 43 to 76 in.) of 4K TV sets that the company rolled out last night. All of them make use of a new 4K X1 processor that Fasulo said enhances key areas of picture quality: contrast, clarity, and color for any source.

“It can analyze the bitrate and [enhance] the resolution, and it enriches all colors to optimal levels with high dynamic range,” he said. “And contrast allows peak brightness and deeper blacks for natural skin tones, enhanced details, and less noise. It offers no more blurry images when looking at lower bitrates and more true-to-life image quality and a theater-quality visual experience that was intended by the filmmaker or content creator.”

The other 4K set series are the mainstream XBR-X850C series (55, 77, and 76 in.), the XBR-X830C series (the least expensive but with sizes of only 43 and 49 in.), and the XBR-65X930C, which has local dimming backlight and more. Sony also introduced the KDL-W850C series comprising four 1080p sets in 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-in. sizes.

All 2015 sets will also run the new Android TV platform, which, coupled with a new user interface, will bring greater convenience and simplicity to set operations.

“With Googlecast, you can throw content from the mobile device to the TV and even have an app for your smartwatch so you can control the TV from your wrist,” added Fasulo.

Extreme-sports legend Tony Hawk was also on hand to show off some footage he shot with Sony’s new 4K ActionCam. He mentioned that he has been using video since the days of Sony Hi8 and the NewTek Video Toaster and that the challenge has always been that tricks sometimes were limited by the technology. With the new ActionCam, he said, that is no longer the case.

“You turn it on, and you know the exposure is right and everything will work out,” he said. “It changed the way I view how we video everything. I always dreamed it would be like this … and, with 4K, the clarity is unbelievable.”

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