Sony aims for top of the boxes
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Sunday Business Post
By Cian Ginty
Sony likes being at the cutting edge. With this in mind, the electronics giant showcased a number of new technologies at last week’s IFA consumer electronics convention in Berlin.
To Luddites, the company’s series of ‘firsts’ may not mean much. To techies and hi-fi enthusiasts, its kit launch will cause a whole new Christmas wish list to be drafted.
Top of the pile is the company’s new TV range, featuring the first 200Hz speed, the first 9.9mm-thick LCD screen, the first OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) telly and the first LCD Picture Frame TV. Here’s what to expect over the coming months.
‘Motion blurring’ while watching football games and action movies is a problem for modern LCD TVs. While 100Hz products have gone some way to solving the issue, Sony has gone a lot further with the Bravia Z4500. It is set to be the fastest TV on the market with a frame rate of 200Hz.
Is the leap from 100Hz to 200Hz that big an improvement? Sony – like other manufacturers – says that bumping up the frame rate alone does not automatically reduce blurring, so other blurring-reduction technology is also used.
Thought your LCD wasn’t thin enough? Try Sony’s new ZX1, less than a single centimetre along its slimmest sect ion. Sony’s Edge side mounted LEDs are used to light up the screen in place of a backlight array, saving space.
Sony calls it ‘‘an instant technology must-have for the design conscious consumer’’. Wireless HD video connectivity removes the prospect of dangling cables.
The media receiver can sit at the back of the room along with your Sky or NTL box, media centre and consoles. It then transmits at up to 1080i.
The trouble with conventional LCDTVs is that black is rarely black: it’s a washed-out grey. Sony aims to fix this with its Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) telly.
OLEDs do not require backlights or sidelights, which allows for incredibly thin screens with greater energy efficiency and a contrast ratio of about 1,000,000:1 (compared to a ratio of 20,000:1 for an ordinary LCDTV).
The 11-inch model was released in Japan last year and is likely to see a release in Ireland by the end of the year. Sony is looking to release larger sizes in 2009.
Sony says that 200 new films are to be available on Blu-ray disc by the end of the year.
One of the features offered on its new Blu-ray players is BD Live: internet-enabled special features offering extra content, such as clips, interviews, competitions and even gaming features – depending on the film title.