updated 03:40 pm EST, Thu January 6, 2011
Skype video calls, Track ID new for 2011
Sony has launched a new line of TVs for 2011. The Bravia LCD HDTV line sports 16 new 3D models and 22 Internet-connected models, with 27 sets sized from 22 inches to 65 inches. 3D technology will be available on more affordable entry-level models, continuing the use of active shutter technology.
New for 2011 are 5:5 pulldown, built-in 3D emitters on all 3D models and panel drive enhancements that improve response time and reduce crosstalk. The new sets will also work with 3D images taken by Sony's new Cyber-shot 3D-capable cameras.
The Internet capable sets will have options to connect over Ethernet or Wi-Fi and have access to over 40 Internet services like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Sony's own VOD service. Skype is new for a number of the Internet-capable models, allowing free widescreen Skype-to-Skype video calls. The Skype feature requires an additional camera and microphone, which Sony has available as a package. Voice calls and concurrent TV watching are supported as well. Lastly, Gracenote-based Track ID allows users to analyze and identify songs playing on TV in commercials, movies or TV shows.
Other new features on some models include an X-Reality Pro video dual-chip processor that focuses on improving lower resolution sources and optimizing high resolution sources or an X-Reality Engine single-chip model that splits the signal into components and adjusts each separately, then applies noise reduction as needed. Full array local-dimming LED backlighting is available on some models and improved frame-rate scanning is also onboard to increase clarity of fast moving objects onscreen. The user interface and remotes have also seen improvements in the 2011 line.
The line is lead by the XBR-HX929 series, in 65-, 55- and 45-inch sizes that feature Skype, the X-Reality Pro Engine, LED backlighting and easy custom installation features. It ships in August 2011.
The BRAVIA HX820 series adds 3D LED capability, includes Skype, 480Hz frame-rate scanning and the Pro Engine -- it ships in May in 55- and 46-inch sizes. Similarly equipped but adding customization capabilities are the HX729 screens, with 65-, 55- and 46-inch screens also shipping in May.
The NX720 line provides 3D LED screens with a drop to 240Hz scanning and the non-Pro engine, shipping in May on 60-, 55- and 46-inch screens. The EX720 series drops to a basic edge-lit LED backlight but comes in more sizes -- 60-, 55-, 46-, 40- and 32-inch models -- all of which ship in February aside from the 60-inch screen, due in April.
The EX520 series ships with edge-based LED backlighting in February with 46-, 40- and 32-inch options, the BX420 series drops to a CCFL backlight and drops Skype and Internet capabilities, shipping 46-, 40- and 32-inch screens in February. The line is rounded out by the BX320 series, with 720P CCFL-backlit screens at 32- and 22-inches, shipping in February.
Prices have not been announced and Sony's website is not yet updated with the new models.