As ever, Sony’s IFA press conference was a veritable storm of products, but CEO Kaz Hirai was clearly the most excited about the company’s new 84-inch 4K TV, the Bravia KD-84X9005, and after beholding the thing for a bit alongside a scrum of fellow tech journalists in Sony’s booth at IFA, it’s pretty clear why. The thing is beautiful — and yeah, we can confirm, as Kaz suggested, that you really do want to stick out your hand and touch the picture when you’re standing in front of it, particularly, when the video cycles through images of the ocean, with water droplets hitting the screen.
At 84 inches, this thing is a beast, with at least a dozen or so folks standing comfortably around it to catch a glimpse of the display. The Bravia is surprisingly thin for such a beast. There are speaker bars attached to either side of the display, with a control panel along the bottom. The stand consists of two metal bars holding up what’s surely a weighty set. Check out our eyes-on video after the break.
While Sony’s current lineup of HDTVs has so far topped out with the HX929/920 series that’s been kicking around since 2011, in Japan it has just unveiled a new top of the line model: the HX950. Often rumored in the last few months, it’s available in 65- or 55-inch varieties and features Sony’s now-trademark monolithic style as well as “Intelligent Peak LED” backlighting. Although Sony’s brand name for the tech doesn’t exactly reveal how it works, information leaks have suggested it is full array LED backlighting and not edge based, although we don’t know how many zones (individually controlled light sources) are in play. What we do know, however is that it claims to outperform the LED backlighting in the old 929 quite handily, although we’ll let our eyes be the judge of that.
It also includes MotionFlow XR960 (800 in the US) motion processing tech that can create 240fps from 60 frames and a glass panel mounted to the LCD itself with a special type of resin designed specifically to reduce glare. Finally, there’s also the usual add-ins like 3D and Sony Entertainment Network streaming video. We haven’t seen any European or US information for this model yet, although with IFA 2012 under way and CEDIA coming up that may change quickly. Currently pricing in Japan for the 65-inch is expected to be around 650,000 yen or $8,269 when it ships November 10th, but we should mention actual US prices are typically much lower than a direct conversion. Unofficially, one retailer is already listing the 55- and 65-inch models for sale in the US for $3,499 and $5,499, respectively, although we’d take that with a grain of salt until we know for sure.
We’ve officially entered the silly season of pre-CES rumors, so take this with a grain of salt, but the Wall Street Journal reports Sony has approached “several big media companies” about distributing their channels over the internet. This comes on the heels of its report on comments by CEO Howard Stringer about significant R&D efforts going into a “different kind of TV”, and the four screen strategy Sony would like to implement. According to the report, Sony’s idea is to offer small bundles of channels over the internet to its TVs, Blu-ray players, and the PS3. Still, cutting deals with companies like CBS, that doesn’t want to jeopardize its cable and satellite TV-based revenue, could be difficult. As for the competition, similar rumors about Microsoft turned into an effort that mostly works with partners like Comcast, U-verse, and FiOS, while Google is also pursuing a route of adding to, but not necessarily replacing, cable TV. Sony has positioned itself well, adding IPTV services including sports to the PS3 and live TV tuning capability, and its tested the waters of going over the top before, but so far whether it will actually pursue this new plan is unknown.
We’re still waiting on LG’s ginormous 72-inch LZ7900 to make its debut on store shelves, but the rest of CES’s primo 3DTV crop is rearing to ride out, with Sony’s HX929, HX820 and HX720 series of LED-backlit LCD screens and LG’s Infinia PZ750 plasmas now priced at Amazon. 3D-Display-info.com found Sony’s locally-dimmed Bravia sets starting at $2,099 for a 46-inch HX720 with Gorilla Glass protection, all the way up to $3,799 for the premium 55-inch XBR-55HX929 with a full-array LED backlight. Meanwhile, the 50-inch LG PZ750 (with Smart TV, naturally) starts out at $1,599, while a 60-inch version of the same thing will run $2,199. Which one fits best in your den? That depends on a number of things, but we will add that the Sony sets are merely up for pre-order, while the LG units are listed as shipping within a matter of weeks.