CES 2010 News and Analysis-Part 1 Sony
The 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show was the most exciting one in years for HDTV enthusiasts. In addition to a flood of upcoming 3D models, set makers revealed picture quality improvements in both LED backlit LCD and plasma technology.
In Part 1 today we cover SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2010 HDTV with new information and exclusive photos. In the next installment we report on Panasonic, followed soon by Toshiba, LG, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Vizio and more.
The Japanese electronics giant revealed its big push into 3D by introducing a total of 11 3D capable models with screen sizes from 40Ã¢â‚¬Â³ to 60Ã¢â‚¬Â³. All are 240 Hz 1080p LCDs with LED edge lighting. The three series are the XBR LX900, XBR HX900 and the HX800. An HX 900 derived series called the HX 909 has the same features, but adds RS-232 control.
All Sony 3D HDTVs are the frame sequential type 3D that utilize shutter-type glasses, meaning these sets alternately present left and right eye views at 120 Hz for each eye.
Sony calls the LX900 series Ã¢â‚¬Å“Full HD 3DÃ¢â‚¬Â TVs with a built-in infrared emitter and sets in the series include two pairs of 3D glasses. The HX 900 and HX 800 models are Ã¢â‚¬Å“3D ReadyÃ¢â‚¬Â requiring the additional purchase of an accessory emitter and 3D glasses ($TBA).
The smooth face ofÃ‚Â SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new all black Ã¢â‚¬Å“MonolithicÃ¢â‚¬Â design HX900 does not appear to have any provision for mounting an emitter module, (used to send a sync signal to the 3D shutter glasses). The Sony representative at CES did not know how or where the emitter fit on the TV. The HX800 and HX900 series models have an emitter jack on the rear panel that electrically connect the emitter to the display.
Feeling like the child crying out Ã¢â‚¬Å“But he isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wearing anything at all!Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â from the Ã¢â‚¬Å“EmperorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s New Clothes,Ã¢â‚¬Â fable, we are sad to report that all of the 3D Sony HDTVs (they say theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re pre-production) at CES (around fifteen to twenty units) were plagued by a number of 3D artifacts, including crosstalk that appears when viewing 3D content as a ghost image of an object on the screen.
Thinking that perhaps the problems were limited to all their 3D sets on the show floor, we accepted SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s invitation to visit a Sony Style store where upcoming 2010 HDTVs are already being demoed.
The visit, to a local Sony Style store in Garden City, NY, revealed the demo unit there has the same poor 3D image quality as the CES demo unit. The store salesman announced the demo model as the 52Ã¢â‚¬Â³ version of SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s upcoming top-of-the-line LX900 series.
The in-store 3D demo material consisted of many of the video clips we observed at the Sony CES booth as well as a number of clips from PS3 games.
Along with the image artifacts, we noted that none of the game sequence content produced in-front-of-the-screen-images (known as the negative or Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Z axis).
Instead, the 3D effect appeared behind a window located at the screen plane, rather than appearing in front of the screen and in the viewing space. Ditto for the video clips included in the video portion of the demo.
To SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s credit, it keeps a Vaio laptop located near the 3D demo for customers to leave demo comments, whether positive or negative that the company posts at Sony Style.
WhileÃ‚Â the majority of the comments are overwhelmingly positive, Sony lists some negative ones too, including #4349 by Rich who summed up the experience in one word: Ã¢â‚¬Å“crapÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Aside from questioning SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s judgment Ã‚Â in choosing to demo a pre-production Ã¢â‚¬Å“work in progressÃ¢â‚¬Â model, we believe the company will not release the 2010 3D line until itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s readyÃ‚Â and debugged.
While Sony plans to release all 3D series sets this summer, that target may be overly optimistic based on what we saw
SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s New HDTV Performance Tech and Features
Sony added new HD performance and convenience features to its 2010 line. In an unusual move, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve decided to divvy up its top XBR models into two series. According to the rep at CES, the LX900 series models are for consumers who desire all the convenience features Sony offers, while the HX900 models produce the best HDTV picture quality. It breaks down as follows:
XBR LX900 models (Summer, $TBA) offered in the 40, 46, 52 and 60-inch screen sizes.Ã‚Â Key features include:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“MonolithicÃ¢â‚¬Â design with a single sheet of glass over the entire front of the TV, resulting in the best cosmetics of any Sony HDTV to date.
An Ã¢â‚¬Å“Intelligent Presence SensorÃ¢â‚¬Â that A) saves electricity by shutting off the picture if everyone leaves the room, that B) protects childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes by replacing the on-screen program with a black screen when it senses anyone within 1 meter of the screen (it also issues a warning to move back for the program to resume, but that assumes the child can read) and C) optimizes the video and stereo audio images should the viewer move off axis by automatically adjusting the gamma and stereo balance. C) represents the first active correction for LCDÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inherent off-axis deficiencies.
Other key features include Ã¢â‚¬Å“OptiContrast PanelÃ¢â‚¬Â that improves contrast by filling in the air gap between the front glass and the LCD panel with a clear resin, Dynamic Edge LED lighting for Ã¢â‚¬Å“large segmentÃ¢â‚¬Â local dimming (Sony does not divulge the number of segments), 4 HDMI inputs and Bravia Internet Video and Internet Widgets with integrated WiFi.
XBR HX900 Series
Available in the 46 and 52-inch screen sizes ($TBA, July) these 1080p models are 3D Ready (glasses and emitter not included) and also incorporate the Monolithic all black frameless styling. Sony keeps the same top performing OptiContrast LCD panel used in the LX 900 models along with 240 HZ refresh but leaves out the Intelligent Presence Sensor, the built-in WiFi (adapter sold separately) and Internet Widgets found in the LX900 series and adds: Intelligent Dynamic LED with small segment local dimming (again number of segments not divulged) using edge-lit tiles behind the LCD panel and an Intelligent Image Enhancer (a sophisticated detail circuit).
Sources indicate the 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 52Ã¢â‚¬Â³ HX900 models will be priced the same as the LX900 models (in the same screen sizes).
Available in the 40Ã¢â‚¬Â³, 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 55Ã¢â‚¬Â³ sizes (Summer, $TBA), these models are also 240 Hz LED edge lit 1080p LCDs and are 3D ready. In an interview appearing at sonyinsidner.com, Sony U.S. COO/President Stan Glasgow saidÃ¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re also selling a line of 3D capable TVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, with basically no increase in price.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Sources confirm this with the MSRP of the 40Ã¢â‚¬Â³ model coming in at $1599. Sony calls the LCD panels used in its HX800 models Ã¢â‚¬Å“Deep Black PanelÃ¢â‚¬Â. Its employs a special low reflection non-glare coated panel for Ã¢â‚¬Å“improved contrast with minimum glare.Ã¢â‚¬Â Other features include: 4 HDMI inputs, Bravia Internet Video and optional WiFi adapter
Available in the 46Ã¢â‚¬Â³, 52Ã¢â‚¬Â³ and 60Ã¢â‚¬Â³ sizes (March, $2299, $2799, $3499 respectively). Ã‚Â Like the HDTVs above, these are 240 Hz LCD 1080p panels, but lack the ability to play 3D content. Features include SonyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all black Monolithic Design as well as edge lit LEDs, Deep Black Panel, built-in WiFi, Internet Video and Widgets.
Available in the 40 and 46-inch screen sizes (March, $1699, $2099 respectively) the series has the same Monolithic styling as the NX800. Main features include edge lit 120 Hz Deep Black 1080p panel, 4 HDMI, Bravia Internet Video and Widgets and built-in Wi-Fi.
Available in 32, 40, 46, 52 and 60-inch screen sizes (March $1199, $1399, $1699, $2199, $2899 respectively). Ã‚Â Sony calls this their Eco series. Main features include 120 Hz LED edge lit 1080p panel, Presence sensor, Bravia Internet Video, and 4 HDMI inputs.
Available in 32, 40 and 46-inch screen sizes (May, $999, $1199, $1499 respectively). Ã‚Â Main features are 60 Hz LED edge lit 1080p LCD panel and 4 HDMI inputs.
Available in 32, 40, 46, 55 and 60-inch screen sizes (March, $799, $999, $1299, $1999 and $2399 respectively). Main features are 120 Hz 1080p LCD panel with CCFL backlight, USB input for music, photo and video playback and 4 HDMI inputs.
Available in the 32 and 40-inch screen sizes (May, $799 and $999 respectively) Main features are 1080p LCD panel with CCFL backlit, built-in Blu-ray player, 3 HDMI inputs and Bravia Internet video.
Available in the 32, 40 and 46-inch screen sizes (March, $599, $750 and $999 respectively). Main features are 1080p LCD panel with CCFL backlight, 3 HDMI inputs and USB input for photos, music and video playback.
EX 308 Series
Available in the 22 and 32-inch screen sizes (Spring, $380 and $530 respectively). Main features are 720p (1365 x 768 resolution) LCD panel with CCFL backlight, USB input for photos, music and video playback.
Available in the 22 and 32 inch screen sizes (April, $380 and $500 respectively). Main features are 720p (1365 x 768 resolution) LCD panel with CCFL backlight.
Edited by Michael Fremer
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