updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu June 7, 2007
Sony Bravia XBR4 and XBR5
Sony today aggressively reworked its larger Bravia LCD sets with three new model lines. The W3000, XBR4, and XBR5 all ship in sizes of 40, 46, and 52 inches and claim a native 1080p resolution ideal for Blu-Ray, HDTV, and the latest console gaming; each also has a connector for the Bravia Internet Link for reading RSS news feeds and streaming video from AOL, Grouper, Yahoo, or in-house content from Sony's movie and music labels. The XMB cross media bar interface borrowed from the PS3/PSP and introduced early this year also makes its appearance for a simple, full HD interface for managing settings and choosing sources. New to the line, however, are Theater and Photo modes: each automatically adjusts the picture quality for movie or still image viewing in typical viewing environments.
Starting the line is the previously unseen W3000 series. Although positioned as the budget entry, all three sizes feature an LCD panel with 10-bit color and HDMI 1.3 inputs for displaying the deeper color from some Blu-Ray players as well as HD camcorders and the PlayStation 3. Every model shares the same standard Sony digital image processor and upscaler that helps fit DVDs and other lower-resolution sources to the actual display resolution while maintaining quality. Component and VGA inputs also provide HD resolution for supporting hardware. Sony hopes to ship the 40- and 46-inch sets in July at prices of $2,700 and $3,500 respectively, but notes that the 52-inch model arrives separately in August at a price of $4,300.
The solid black XBR4 and glossy piano black XBR5 each add to image quality with both an enhanced Bravia Engine Pro processor for better rendering and upscaling. A 120Hz panel also provides doubled refresh rates that eliminate chances for motion artifacts during particularly fast scenes. As with the earlier XBR2, the XBR4 also has an interchangeable bezel that can be swapped for colors as exotic as Champagne Gold or Pacific Blue. Most models ship in August with the XBR4 line priced at $3,000, $3,800, and $4,800 for its respective sizes. The two smaller XBR5 sets will also ship at the same time for $3,300 and $4,100, while the 52-inch XBR5 appears last in September at a cost of $5,100.