updated 10:50 am EDT, Thu June 7, 2007
Sony SXRD XBR5
In addition to its new Bravia sets, Sony is also launching major enhancements to its SXRD LCD rear projection TVs. Five new models being released today are at least 20 percent thinner than 2006 models, reducing the size and helping the large screens fit into areas previously reserved for direct-view LCDs. The two new XBR variants are 40 percent thinner than what came before, Sony boasts. Like the Bravia updates, the SXRD models have a faster 120Hz panel for improved motion response, HDMI 1.3 input for deeper x.v.Color images, an optional Bravia Internet Link adapter, and special Photo TV and Theater modes that calibrate the image for optimal viewing in certain conditions.
Contrasting with the Bravia sets is Sony's splitting of the line by size as well as by features. The smallest sets are the new A3000 series at 50-, 55-, and 60-inch sizes. All three depend on Sony's mainstream Bravia image processing engine, but gain a feature previously limited to Bravia XBR LCDs: the standard speaker grille can be replaced with a colored face ($50) to match home decor. Colors range from a safer black to Burgundy Red and Cacao. Component and VGA input are again standard for handling some unencrypted HD video sources. The three A3000-series sets will ship in August at prices of $3,000, $3,300, and $3,500 depending on size.
At the large end of the SXRD line will be two XBR5 models. The 60-inch Z60XBR5 and 70-inch Z70XBR5 enhance the picture with the Bravia Engine Pro processor, which improves HD as well as upconversion for lower-resolution images. Sony is less definite about their release dates, expecting eiher XBR model to ship sometime during the fall at prices of $5,000 and $6,000.