updated 06:40 pm EST, Thu January 8, 2009
Sony BRAVIAs at CES 2009
Sony has based its BRAVIA introductions at CES around three core series that each promise a different focus. The company's attention centers on the VE5, a new line that pushes low power consumption above all. A new hot cathode fluorescent lamp, or HCFL, lets Sony illuminate the screen but consume 40 percent less power on average than a cold cathode lamp TV. The screen also has a true power-off switch to avoid draining energy on standby and has both motion and light sensors to automatically dim the screen when no one is watching or night allows a darker picture.
The sets are still considered as strong as Sony's typical mid-range sets and have 120Hz panels to reduce motion blur, support for the BRAVIA Internet Link, and USB connections for reading media from portable storage. Three models make up the line at 40, 46 and 52 inches and should all be available by the summer, with prices to be set later.
XBR sets also get an upgrade early this year with the XBR9 and now have built-in Ethernet that lets them pull Internet content without the previously required add-on. They also get the same Yahoo TV widgets as competing sets from Samsung and others, supplying them with news as well as Yahoo videos and Flickr photo feeds. Most of the new XBRs get the company's third-generation image engine, faster-responding 240Hz panels and a special color enhancement technique through the cold-cathode backlight. The representative models ship in 40-, 46- and 52-inch versions with a 32-inch model using a 120Hz panel due to size.
The Z5100 series is only a slight step down and still targets the high end with 240Hz, the new engine, and Internet access with widget features; the color enhancer is the only immediate sacrifice, Sony notes. It also shifts attention solely to larger sets and comes in 40-, 46- and 52-inch models.
The company's mainstream line, the V5100 series, gets a general upgrade with 120Hz on each model but keeps the older second-generation engine and drops the built-in Internet access. It comes in the same sizes as the Z5100 line and gains the VE5's automatic sensors to save on energy.
Two budget TV lines fill out the range. S5100 models range from 32 to 52 inches and use standard 60Hz panels; the L5000 models are the smallest in the new catalog and involves 26-inch and 32-inch sets that output at 720p.
All the sets should be in stores during the spring and at prices to be set closer to actual ship dates.