Sony Introduces Nine New BRAVIA Flat Panels
All of the new LCD are compatible with Sony's Digital Media Extender (DMeX), which offers a digital connection to the BRAVIA Internet Video Link module. Broadband Internet users can mount the module on the back of compatible TVs and connect to the Internet and download various forms of video content, including HD, from AOL, Yahoo!, Grouper, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony BMG Music.
To access the user and set up menus and manage your downloaded videos, "most" of these new Sony TVs employ Sony's Xcross Media Bar (XMB) interface, which will be familiar to PlayStation3 users.
Sony's new TVs are also compatible with Sony's BRAVIA Theatre Sync to simplify overall system operation. Essentially, this allows users to control any and all Theatre Sync components connected via HDMI.
The W series is comprised of the 40" KDL-40W3000, the 46" KDL-46W3000, and the 52" KDL-52W3000. x.v.Color is included, which is a benefit with compatible sources like Sony camcorders. Both the HDMI and the component inputs are spec'd as comaptible with both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and we're assuming that the HDMI inputs are HDMI 1.3 spec. Video processing is via the BRAVIA Engine with Digital Reality Creation-Multifunction (DRC) v1.0.
The KDL-40W3000 and KDL-46W3000 will be available in July for $2,700 and $3,500, respectively. The KDL-52W3000 will be avaialble in August for $4,300.
XBR4 and XBR5 Series
The difference between the XBR4 and XBR5 series sets appears to be in the finish alone. Both series include sets in screen sizes of 40", 46"' and 52", and both series include Sony's "floating glass" frame design, which enhances the illusion that the image is floating in space. The XBR5 series comes only in classic piano black, while the XBR4 series features the ability to swap put the standard black bezel for any one of eight optional colors to match your decor: Scarlet Red, Pacific Blue, Arctic White, Sienna Brown, Titanium Silver, Midnight Black, Rose Metallic, and Champagne Gold.
Technically, both XBR series sets include all the features listed for the W Series but stand apart from the non-XBR series sets with Sony's Motionflow 120Hz high frame rate technology and more advanced video processing based on BRAVIA Engine Pro circuitry and DRC v2.5.
120Hz refresh rates are becoming common with premium LCD displays, and is touted as greatly eliminating motion blur. What's fascinating is that 120Hz allows essentially a double frame rate for 1080p/60 signals. But 120hz is also a direct multiple of film's 24fps frame rate- movies on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD are encoded at 1080p/24 and more and more players are allowing output at that native rate. It appears that Sony's adjustable Motionflow modes will display a 1080p/24 signal at a direct 5x frame rate of 120Hz, which would remove judder and any hint of flicker in the image. The other 120Hz displays we're aware of either don't accept 1080p/24 signals, or convert them to 1080p/60 before converting to 120Hz.
The KDL-40XBR4, KDL-46XBR4, and KDL-52XBR4 will ship in August at $3,000, $3,800, and $4,800 respectively. Also shipping in August are the KDL-40XBR5 at $3,300 and the KDL-46XBR5 at $4,100. The KDL-52XBR5 will ship in September at $5,100.