Sony has announced its 2013 range of BRAVIA LED TVs, with 17 models ranging from a $749 32-inch to the company's existing $24,999, 84-inch Ultra HD behemoth. Almost all the new screens have built-in Wi-Fi, and several of the new TVs integrate NFC chips in their remote controls, for easy connection with mobile devices.
Also of note is Sony's leadership in the '4K' Ultra HD arena, with two new screen sizes — 55- and 65-inch— being added to its existing 84-inch display. The new, smaller Ultra HD BRAVIA TVs will become available in July, bundled with eight Sony Pictures Blu-ray movies that are optimised for viewing with an Ultra HD TV.
All Sony's 'Smart' BRAVIAs have Wi-Fi built-in —this is everything but the cheapest range. Sony makes claim to the widest range of catch-up TV services in every one of its Smart TVs, with ABC iView, SBS On Demand, PLUS7 and Ten streaming directly to every screen. New this year is the Pandora Internet radio on demand service, as is the Yupp.TV Indian movie service— it joins Quickflix and Sony Video Unlimited for on-demand movies.
X9000A: Ultra HD
The top range is, as you'd expect, the BRAVIA X9000A and X9004A — these are the company's best-of-the-best '4K' Ultra HD TVs. The existing 84-inch X900 has been renamed the X9000A, with the 55- and 65-inch screens getting the X9004A moniker. All three screens are Ultra HD, with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels — that's four times the resolution of the 1080p Full HD screens that we're used to at the top of the market.
Where the X9000A retains its locally-dimming, edge LED backlighting, the X9004A screens get Sony's revitalised TRILUMINOS RGB LED backlighting system. Where Sony's top LED TVs from 2009 had red-green-blue LED backlighting, able to cover a far larger colour gamut than standard white LED backlighting, it was discontinued due to high production costs. That tech is now back in the X9004A, with a few tweaks —all the backlighting LEDs are blue, with 'quantum dots' that alter the lighting to red or green when needed. What all this means is better contrast, a higher degree of colour accuracy, and power and brightness that should rival OLED.
Another draw-card for the X9000 series is Sony's bundled extras. Buy a new Ultra HD TV, the 55- and 65-inch models of which will be available in-store in July, and you'll be treated to eight of Sony's 'Mastered in 4K' Blu-ray discs. Although they're still technically only 1080p, the discs are optimised for playback on a 4K TV, with expanded colour gamut and a higher video bit-rate that should mean slightly more detail visible (albeit on any high-end TV, be it Ultra HD or Full HD, LED, plasma or OLED).
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