At CES this week, some companies are showing both OLED and Ultra HD TVs. Sony, though, upped the ante at its CES press conference by combining both technologies in a prototype 56-inch 4K OLED TV.
Sony, which shipped an 84-inch 4K TV late last year, also expanded its 4K Ultra HD TV lineup with smaller 55- (XBR-65X900A) and 65-inch (XBR-55X900A) models, and said it would leverage its Sony Picture Entertainment Hollywood Studio to get native content into home later this year.
While the company promised to launch what it called the first 4K content distribution service this summer, it wasn't clear about the form it would take. However, I did see a prototype of a sharp-looking new media player that could replace the server—which comes loaded with 4K movies and other content—that Sony is providing as a loaner to those buying the 84-inch Ultra HD TV. The new circular server has an optical disc slot, and I was told that Sony could regularly update its content by providing new 4K movies via Blu-ray data discs, which can store 4K content. (Blu-ray hasn't yet announced a 4K update for home player.) However, I couldn't confirm this at the event.
During the event, Sony said that the smaller-sized TVs, which will be available this spring, will carry more "accessible" prices than the $25,000 84-inch model, but it didn't say what the TVs will sell for.
Sony also unveiled a feature called One-Touch that uses NFC technology to pair and share content across devices including Blu-ray disc home theater systems, soundbars, wireless speakers, and headphones. During the press conference, the company demonstrated that you could make a video from a Sony smart phone appear on a Sony TV by tapping the back of the phone against the rear of the TV remote.
For its regular line of TVs, Sony is adding TV SideView, an app that provides second-screen capability with a new graphical interface for interacting with the TV, to view TV listings, and for managing apps on the set. It can also be used as a universal remote control for a TV or to control other devices via IR. TV SideView also allows you to search across multiple avenue of content using voice recognition.
Also new is an improved color technology Sony calls Triluminos, which expands the color gamut to provide truer, more vibrant colors, according to the company. The technology will be available on step-up 1080p and 4K TVs.
We hope to be able to check out some of these new TV technologies, as well as new features, as we get some of these sets into our labs for testing later this year.
Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.
—James K. Willcox