Sony has unveiled its 2014 line-up of TVs, and FlatpanelsHD has the full overview for you. In 2014, Sony is moving to higher-end TVs, leaving the low-end for others to pursue. They have integrated better speaker system in its thicker Wedge-designed TVs and have three new 4K TV ranges with HEVC support – the codec of the future. Sony also has a range of new Full HD TVs and is introducing new picture technologies.
Sony will focus on the high-end and to do so they have introduced three new 4K TV ranges called X95, X9 and X85. Sony also has a range of new Full HD models, and they are trying new things in 2014. One key focus area for Sony in 2014 is better sound so they have made three wedge-designed TV ranges with powerful speaker systems integrated. All of Sony’s 2014 TVs are also compatible with an optional wireless subwoofer that connects to the TV via WiFi.
Wedge-designed Sony TVs with powerful speaker systems integrated
Over 8 million pixels - that is how many it takes to produce a 4K TV. Sony has three new 4K models ready, and they look impressive. Two of the most significant additions are HDMI 2.0, required for 4K at 60 frames per second, and HEVC decoding, the successor to mpeg4 (H.264), which ensures that you can actually enjoy real 4K content on the TV without an extra media box – unlike most 2013 4K TVs.
But what about 4K content, we hear you ask? Well, Sony has started selling their 4K media player in the US and has launched a 4K download service to match. We are still waiting for a 4K Blu-ray standard, which will not be ready before 2015, but in the meantime Sony has partnered with Netflix to bring 4K streaming into your living room. Sony says that the Netflix app in its 2014 4K TVs supports 4K and HEVC; required to stream Netflix in 4K.
Sony has partnered with 500px to show your private photos hosted on the 500px service in gorgeous 4K resolution. You can also access to Sony’s own “PlayMemories Online” cloud service that lets you store photos in 4K resolution and playback them as a slideshow. The content side of 4K is still not mature, but at least Sony’s 2014 TVs are better prepared than most 2013 4K TVs.
Netflix, 500px, Video Unlimited & PlayMemories as 4K content partners
Sony’s 2014 4K TVs start at $2200 US dollars for a 49-inch model, which is also the smallest 4K television Sony has produced to date. The largest is an 85-inch mammoth, and Sony naturally has sizes in-between to fit your needs. All three come with the Triluminos color system and a new X-tended Dynamic Range system, which is basically a dynamic contrast system like we have seen in TVs before. The Triluminos color system can expand the color gamut, but requires “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray discs (or video camera content) to take full advantage.
Jumping to the Full HD TVs, Sony has quite a few. It is clear that 4K is still considered a premium feature by TV makers, so if you are looking for a mid-range TV from Sony in 2014 you are offered a Full HD TV.
The flagship W95 offers many of the same imaging systems as the 4K TVs, including X-tended Dynamic Range, better speakers and Triluminos, but those picture systems are excluded when you wander into midrange territory. The W95 and W85 are part of the wedge-designed ranges with the expanded TV cabinet that includes powerful speakers. The rest of the Full HD TVs are pretty basic TVs in sizes from 32 to 60 inches.
Sony will continue pushing TV apps, but it is not their main focus in 2014. The Netflix app will be updated to support 4K streaming via HEVC, and the all of the TVs also come with the usual apps such as YouTube, Facebook, and more depending on your region. Every TV has built-in WiFi and most of the TVs offer Miracast screen mirroring that lets you mirror the screen from your Android smartphone or tablet.
Last year, enabling Miracast meant that the WiFi connection was closed down; a big problem if you wanted to stream for example YouTube. Sony has not mentioned if improvements have been made, so we will have to confirm that during testing. The TVs also support NFC OneTouch, which lets you pair a NFC-compatible Sony device with the TV to stream content.
X-tended Dynamic Range, better speakers & Triluminos in the high-end TVs. Apps in all of them
A new noticeable feature is the “quick start” function. Sony says that enables the TVs to turn on in less than 2 seconds, and apps launch faster than before, too. A new touchpad remote also makes it easier than ever to navigate, says Sony. It is not relying on infrared, so you do not have to point it directly at the TV either.
Sony highlights a new one-flick user interface that quickly takes you into new apps. Everything that can make TV navigation simpler and faster is a giant leap forward, so we are hoping that the 2014 TVs can live up to Sony’s promise.
When you glance over Sony’s 2014 TV line-up, you will notice that Sony is putting very, very little emphasis on 3D. Not because it is left out, simple because it is not a selling point any longer. As far as the TV industry is concerned 3D is as good as dead. It did not catch on with consumers so TV makers have moved on to 4K and “Smart TV”. Still, all of Sony’s 2014 TVs from the 8 series and up are 3D capable – some active, some passive.
Sony’s 2014 Full HD TVs will be available this spring. The 4K models will be available this summer.
Sony X950B (4K)
Sony’s X95 is the top-of-the-line model with 4K resolution and a new X-tended Dynamic Range Pro system. It is a high-end TV that will be available in only 65 and 85” models.