Blame Sony's Chief Boss Howard Stringer for commenting that OLED sounds like a Norse god. But it's not. It's an ultra flat display technology with an inherently outstanding black level. Last year, Sony showed a number of small 11-inch models, together with a slightly larger prototype. The display was essentially the same this year, except that the design has been refined and the 11-incher is actually on sale now for $2500. OLED is currently expensive to manufacturer in larger screen sizes, and reportedly has a shorter life than LCD and plasma displays. But the pictures on these small screens sure looked fantastic.
Sony demonstrated its new VPL-VW70 projector (about $8000) in a dedicated theater booth featuring Watt Puppy loudspeakers from Wilson Audio--driven by one of its own AV receivers. The demo featured a 2.35:1 screen, with the projector supplemented by an anamorphic lens.
Sony's new XBR8 series uses LED backlighting with local dimming. Shown here was a demo setup in which you can see a single cluster (of the many--number not specified which will be positioned behind the panel) of red, green, and blue backlights. The interesting feature here is the presence of two green LEDs. That's not so puzzling when you realize that in our HD color TV system the luminance signal is encoded with more green information than red and blue put together.
In addition to its usual tsunami of new sets, Sony is offering an optional angled stand for many of its models up to 55". The stand tilts the set upwards slightly, so when the set is positioned on low, European-style furniture (think IKEA) it aims upward at the viewer. If you like the stand but not the angle it will also accommodate the usual vertical stance.
We've discussed Sony's new 4K home theater projector earlier in this running blog, but based on the crowds lining up to see it, it's clearly the hit of the show. But the demo, while striking and definitely worth the time to see, could have used less talk and longer, or more, actual demonstrating. I really wanted to see it a second time, but knowing that the two actual demo selections lasted, at best, 10 minutes, I decided against it.
According to the CEA (the Consumer Electronics Association, the CES show-runners) the CES exhibit space covers the equivalent of 34 football fields likely enough to hold all of the NFL playoff games with room left over for the Super Bowl, both this year and next. Sony's booth must be occupying at least two of those fields, with the same dizzying array of new products as in all the big booths, from the sublime to the gadgety. More than a few of those products are mentioned in these pages; for more on several of them, including Sony's Crystal LED technology demonstration, see our video blogs.