International electronics and media conglomerate Sony Corp. said Thursday that it has launched a $100 million fund to help support some of the hardest hit victims of COVID-19 around the world.

The Tokyo-based company has targeted the fund at addressing three key areas of need in the crisis including: front-line medical professionals and first responders; children and educators forced to work remotely; and supporting members of the creative community involved in motion pictures, television, music, games and animation (all areas important to Sony that have been especially impacted by the virus).

The effort will include matching contributions for the COVID-19 effort made by Sony’s approximately 110,000 employees worldwide, the program announcement said.

Sony is among a handful of large multi-national corporations in the tech and entertainment fields chipping in to help those struggling during the global pandemic. Similar efforts recently have been launched by Netflix, which is contributing $100 million to out-of-work production professionals; Facebook, which is ponying up $100 million to support the news industry and Live Nation, which is providing $10 million to support concert crews.

“Together with its group companies engaged in the entertainment industry, Sony will seek ways to support up-and-coming creators, artists and all those in professions supporting the industry, who have been impacted by the cancellation or postponement of concerts and live events, or the shutting down of film and television productions,” Sony’s statement announcing the campaign said.

Specifically related to the medical professionals portion of the program, Sony said the fund will contribute $10 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO, which is backed by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

For the education component, the fund will seek to help children losing education opportunities as a result of school closures by exploring ways to leverage its technologies “in support of education activities, and cooperate with educators to implement these measures.”

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“Sony extends its condolences to the families of those who have passed away as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and extends its sympathies to all those who have been impacted,” stated Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s president and CEO. “In order to overcome the unprecedented challenges that as a society we now face around the world, we will do all we can as a global company to support the individuals on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, the children who are our future, and those who have been impacted in the creative community.”

The company added that it will also seek to “work together with its partners and stakeholders to explore ways to further extend these initiatives.”

Sony 2020 Mid-range X800H Series 4K UHD LED-LCD TVs Available Now On Amazon

A Sony X800H Series 4K LED-LCD TV.

Meanwhile, on the home tech front, Sony Electronis recently rolled out on Amazon and other E-commerce platforms its 2020 X800H upper-mid-range 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV lineup.

The model series covers six screen sizes ranging from 43- to 85-inches. The sets incorporate Sony’s X1 4K HDR processor providing enhanced picture performance with more visible texture and detail from native 4K and upconverted video sources, alike. Sony also includes its Triluminos Display processing package for true-to-life picture and color performance. Supported high dynamic range (HDR) profiles include: (static metadata) HDR10, (dynamic metadata) Dolby Vision and (live broadcast) HLG.

For internal sound, the series includes Dolby Atmos advanced surround sound decoding, and X-Balanced Speaker technology for high quality sound from a thin-design form factor, in the 65-inch and larger models.

All models feature the Android TV OS smart TV platform, including built-in support for Chromecast content streaming through Android mobile devices, and are divided between models based on edge-lit LEDs (in the 43- and 49-inch models) and direct backlit LEDs (in the 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch models).

Other features include: support for Apple AirPlay 2 (similar to Chromecast but for Apple devices) and HomeKit (Apple’s connected smart home device interoperability platform that allows controlling some TV commands using an iPhone and Siri voice commands via a forthcoming app.

• 85” Class (84.6” diagonal): $2,298 street price
• 75” Class (74.5” diagonal): $1,498 street price
• 65” Class (64.5” diagonal): $998 street price

55” Class (54.5” diagonal): $798 street price
• 49” Class (48.5” diagonal): $648 street price
• 43” Class (42.5” diagonal): $598 street price

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By Greg Tarr

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