updated 05:30 pm EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
Sony BRAVIA XBR 6 7 and 8
Sony in an afternoon announcement updated its high-end BRAVIA XBR line with three new set ranges that it hopes step up the quality of its TVs across the board. In keeping with a leaked roadmap, the XBR8 series starts with 46- and 55-inch sets that are Sony's first to include LED backlights: the lighting not only provides a more even and color-accurate image but builds in local dimming that shuts off unneeded lights in darker areas, giving a major boost to the contrast ratio. The two sets also sport Sony's updated BRAVIA Engine 2 PRO for rendering the image, 120Hz panels to improve the picture in fast movement, a hooks for the BRAVIA Internet Link adapter, and a media port for connecting iPods and other media players.
Each of the XBR8 models has four HDMI 1.3 connectors with deep color support, dual component jacks, a PC input, and Ethernet for pulling Internet data and updates. Sony has yet to supply a final price for these or the other sets in the lineup but expects a launch for the entire line in the fall.
Two additional and more mainstream XBR lines will accompany the launch. The XBR7 holds to a more conventional fluorescent backlight but still includes the 120Hz panel, deep color HDMI 1.3, Ethernet, and USB support. The flagship 70-inch model uses the BRAVIA Engine 2 PRO while a much smaller, 40-inch XBR7 uses the simpler BRAVIA ENGINE 2 EX to render its image.
At the base of the new updates, the XBR6 line has also been expanded beyond the sizes available in the initial January lineup to include 40-, 46-, and 52-inch models. These use Sony's more familiar "floating glass" look and have a hidden chin-mounted speaker; all the new sets still use a more typical 60Hz panel but have Sony's characteristic swappable front bezel that allows use of more exotic colors such as brown or red.