Sony’s XBR-65A1E 4K Ultra OLED TV

Sony Electronics used CES 2017 to unveil a wide range of displays, sound bars and A/V components, including a look at the company’s first OLED-based 4K Ultra HDTVs and a close-up look at its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player with universal disc support.

In flat-panel TVs, Sony introduced three series of 4K Ultra HD with HDR televisions in two different display technology classes featuring a wider range in brightness, and higher contrast performance.

The new A1E Bravia series OLED and XBR-X930E/X940E 4K LED LCD series TVs are equipped with Sony’s proprietary image processing technologies to make 4K HDR content standout on screen, the company said. All three TV series will also add Dolby Vision HDR support for the first time under the Sony TV brand.

Read more on Sony’s 2017 A/V product lines after the jump:

The Bravia OLED A1E series will include models in the 55-, 65- and 77-inch screen sizes (pricing to be announced later). Its introduction marks Sony’s second attempt at marketing a consumer-level OLED TV in the United States, following an aborted effort behind a small screen panel almost a decade earlier.

These will be Sony’s first consumer 4K OLED models, making it the second brand currently marketing OLED TVs in the United States. LG has been the lone marketer of the technology in the United States for the past couple of years, and remains the world’s primary source of OLED panels.

The Sony OLED series offers a combination of picture quality enhancements inherent in OLED displays, and Sony’s advanced 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, the “world’s first Acoustic Surface sound system,” and a new “cutting-edge” stand design, Sony said.

OLED technology delivers rich colors and dynamic contrast driven by some of the lowest black levels possible. It also offers a wide viewing angle, and what Sony is calling a “blur-less image.”

The 4K HDR processor X1 Extreme controls the 8 million self-illuminating pixels and extends the capability of OLED, Sony said.

The A1E series has an on-board sound system that produces what Sony calls “great sound from the screen itself.”

Taking advantage of the OLED’s back light-less structure, Sony developed a new Acoustic Surface sound technology that makes the entire screen resonate, according to the company. Sound is said to be wide and offers image synchronization from all angles.

By doing away with conventional speakers usually located around the TV, the edge design of the A1E series enables the use of an unusual stand “form-factorless” stand design that presents no distraction from the picture.

XBR X930E/X940E 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs

Sony’s 2017 XBR X930E/X940E series 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs support HDR and employ a new LED back light driving technology in addition to the X1 Extreme processor. The Slim Backlight Drive+ system that is billed as an evolutionary technology using a an improved grid-array back lighting system in a slim form factor. The system was designed t delivers even more precise local dimming control than early models.

The sets use a quad-edge LED structure and X-tended Dynamic Range PRO local dimming and boosting technology to produce what Sony calls “exceptional contrast that is 10 times the XDR contrast of conventional LED TV.”

The X940E series will include one 77-inch model (pricing and availability to be announced) featuring full-array boosting and dimming back light for precision contrast and “incredible brightness,” according to the company.

Both the XBR-X930E/X940E series also feature the 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme producing 40 percent more real-time processing power than Sony’s 4K Processor X1.

The processor takes all content and improves it to near 4K HDR quality. With “object-based HDR remaster,” the TV can detect, analyze and optimize each object in the picture individually to adjust the overall contrast for a more natural and realistic picture.

Sony said both the LED LCD TV series and the new OLED models will support Dolby Vision, the HDR format further enriches the visual experience with the addition of frame-by-frame dynamic color grading and other enhancements.

Each of the OLED and X930E/X940E series also incorporate the Android TV platform, with support for thousands of apps including PlaystationVue live TV streaming and Google Home compatibility.

The XBR X930E series line will include models in the 55- and 65-inch screen sizes. Pricing and availability will be announced later.

New Laser 4K Ultra Short-Throw Projector

Sony Electronics also introduced a new 4K Ultra HD ultra-short-throw projector with HDR support and a compact design. Model VPL-VZ1000ES was designed to integrate a home lifestyle, regardless of the room layout.

The projector uses a Phosphor-based laser light source and produces 500-lumens of color light output. Coupled with Sony’s native 4K Ultra HD SXRD microdisplay panels, the light engine is said to present a high dynamic contrast, enhancing “the highlights and low-lights of HDR content.”

The VPL-VZ1000ES can be positioned as close as 6 inches from a wall or projection screen. It will produce up to a 100 inch image. The VPL-VZ1000ES measures 36x20x9 inches and weighs about 77 pounds.

The Sony VPL-VZ1000ES projector will be available in April at a $24,999 suggested retial price.

Sony’s First 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Sony unveiled its first Ultra HD Blu-player for the U.S. market in the UBP-X800, which was first announced at CEDIA Expo last September.

The UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player is Sony’s first offering in the new player category. It is compatible with a wide range of disc and audio/video formats. It will offer video streaming in 4K resolution and HDR for greater detail, brightness and contrast. The UBP-X800 provides Ultra HD Blu-ray playback with a wide color space (up to BT-2020 for supporting displays when they arrive) with twice the color range of existing Blu-ray discs and players.

The UBP-X800 will also support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-audio when connected to compatible receivers.

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The UBP-X800 features a Precision HD drive for consistent performance with virtually every optical disc format, including DVD Video and DVD Audio; CD and Super Audio CD and Blu-ray 3D, and BD-ROM media in addition to digital files stored on USB devices.

Other features include a solid frame and beam (FB) chassis that increases structural rigidity and its honeycomb top plate.

Hi-Res Audio support extends to playback of up to 192kHz/24 files and DSD 11.2MHz (via a forthcoming firmware update).

For standard resolution music DSEE HX upscales the original signal’s sampling frequency and bit-depth.

Integrated Bluetooth enables using wireless headphones while the sound can continue to play from the TV for the rest of the family in the room.

The player will support a wide range of video codecs for 4K streaming services, and includes video processing that upscales SD and HD content to near 4K resolution. The player will even enhance 4K HDR content when played on a 4K SDR television, Sony said. Sony said the UBD-X800 will be availabe in the spring at a price to be announced later.

Audio Products

In audio products, Sony is kicking of 2017 with a new AV receiver in the DN1080, which will support object-based audio formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

Sony includes its “Phantom Surround Back” technology, to produce a 7.1.2-channel speaker configuration from 5.1.2-channel set-ups.

The receiver also supports a long list of legacy surround formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Other features include: the latest sound field compensation technology, D.C.A.C. EX, which combines Advanced D.C.A.C. with Speaker Relocation to balance output to closely simulate sound as would be produced by optimally positioned and angled speakers, Sony said. For video support the DN1080 includes six HDMI inputs and two outputs that provide full HDCP 2.2 compliance and supports the latest 4K 60P (4:4:4) Ultra HD content. It can also distribute both 4K video and multichannel audio simultaneously to two different zones.

The DN1080 also supports High-Resolution Audio capability including DSD native playback and is equipped with USB, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect and Wireless Multi-Room capabilities. The STR-DN1080 will be available in the spring at pricing to be announced.

Sound Bar Assortment

In Sound Bars for 2017 Sony will offer five models in the: ST5000, HT-CT800, HT-MT500, HT-MT300 and HT-CT290 models, all of which will be available this spring at prices to be announced.

The HT-ST5000 is Sony’s new flagship 7.1.2-channel 800-watt sound bar featuring Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio support and 12-advanced speakers. It is equipped with three HDMI inputs including support for HDMI 2.0a (for HDR) and HDCP 2.2, one HDMI ARC output, a USB input, Bluetooth, NFC, and digital optical and analog connections.

The receiver offers multi-room music support and will work with Google Home, and voice control.

The HT-CT800 is also compatible with 4K Ultra HD and HDR and features a slim design, wireless external subwoofer, Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD Master Audio format support.

It carries three HDMI inputs, one HDMI ARC output, a USB input, as well as digital optical and analog connections.

The CT800 is designed for a wireless surround sound experience by accepting the addition of compatible Sony wireless speakers as discrete rear surround sound speakers. The CT800 has multi-room music capability to stream music and sound to different rooms. It also supports Google Home voice control and has a Music Service button to carry on listening to the last song played from Spotify.

The HT-MT300 is a compact sound bar with soft angles and a choice of neutral colors. A slim wireless subwoofer is included and can be placed in Sofa Mode, so the sub can be located discreetly under the sofa without compromising sound quality, Sony said.

Other features include: Force PRO Front Surround technology that puts the listener in the heart of movies, and Bluetooth with NFC connectivity. A rear USB port is also added for playback from storage devices.

The HT-MT500 features a similar package but adds Chromcast support built-in and Spotify Connect. It also supports multi-room capability, High-Resolution Audio file playback and works with Google Home.

In other news, Sony introduced three Extra Bass Wireless Series speakers including four new portable models featuring easy connectivity and music streaming with NFC and Bluetooth compatibility.

The SRS-XB40/XB30/XB20 models feature a special lighting effect and long-life batteries enabling them to be moved to any location. The speakers are rated IPX5 water resistant to safe guard against splashing, and the SRS-XB40/XB30/XB20 include a flexible two-way design to provide great sound from almost any placement configuration.

The SRS-XB40, SRS-XB30 and SRS-XB20 wireless speakers are compact portable party models.

The XB40 features club-like lighting effects with an LED perimeter line: a strobe flash and speaker light. The line light creates multicolor patterns, ranging from pure white to rainbow. Synchronizing with the rhythm of the beat, the power and speed of the light display matches the music’s mood and atmosphere.

The SRS-XB30 has a similar multicolor line-light and strobe flash and the SRS-XB20 features a single color line-light which compliments the speaker color.

Using the wireless party chain, speakers can be connected to each other to enable users to enjoy a performance featuring synchronized lights and great sound.

Up to 10 units can be interconnected via Bluetooth, mix and match the XB40/XB30/XB20 models and use them interactively. It is also possible to pair two speakers of the same model together for stereo sound.

By Greg Tarr


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