The biggest announcement from Sony’s IFA press conference, if you’re going purely by the size of the device, was the unveiling of its KD-84X9005 BRAVIA LCD TV. Packing an 84-inch LCD panel with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (that’s a total of 8.29 megapixels), the KD-84X9005 is Sony’s first 4K television and outdoes Sharp’s AQUOS LC-90LE745U in resolution, although not in size. In another first, the edge-lit LED unit also features passive 3D instead of the active 3D seen in the company’s previous 3D models.
With four times the resolution of Full HD (1080 x 1920), the KD-84X9005 boasts a pixel density of 52 ppi (pixels per inch), as well as a 60-degree viewing angle. The unit also incorporates an optimized version of Sony’s “X-Reality PRO” picture engine that sees the addition of a database for 4K LCD TVs and a 4K upscaling feature to up the resolution from sources ranging from low-resolution internet videos to HD digital broadcasts and Blu-ray footage – a necessary inclusion with native 4K content virtually nonexistent.
The “4K X-Reality PRO” engine also upscales Full HD resolution Blu-ray 3D images to separate 3,840 x 1,080 resolution images for both the left and right eye using a polarizing sheet on the TV’s screen. The switch to passive 3D means the glasses are lighter, cheaper and require no batteries.
On the audio front, Sony has developed a “10 Unit Live Speaker” side speaker system that is installed along the sides of the unit. This removable speaker system offers a total output of 50 W and its side positioning allows the sound to be directed straight at the viewer.
There’s also sound signal-processing technology employing Sony’s “Clear Phase technology” and “S-Force Front Surround 3D” that the company claims creates a virtual 5.1 channel surround sound field using just the front speakers that “envelops the viewer in position-orienting tones.”
As well as moving images, 4K resolution still images can be organized, edited and viewed on the set using new PS3 software called PlayMemories Studio, while network services on the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) can be accessed with a single button press on the remote control. The SEN includes access to streaming HD movies, music, catch-up TV, a web browser and apps such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Skype.
Sony plans to roll out the KD-84X9005 globally from the end of 2012. While there’s no official word on pricing, it is expected to be in the US$30,000 ballpark.
New HX95 flagship
While the KD-84X9005 hogged the lion’s share of attention, IFA also saw the European unveiling of its flagship HX95 line. To be available in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes, the HX95 boasts a “Full LED screen” with localized dimming for improved contrast. It is also a 3D TV, but of the active variety, with two pairs of glasses included. It features the X-Reality PRO picture engine and there’s also built-in Wi-Fi for accessing the SEN and a voice control camera and microphone included for making Skype calls. There’s no word on pricing or release date for the HX95 line as yet.