Kaz Hirai has promised a "One Sony" that aligns its various capabilities in entertainment and electronics to work better together, and it seems we'll have one of the first examples in its launch of the 84-inch XBR-84X900 LED TV. We spoke to Sony Electronics COO Phil Molyneux about the 4K Ultra HD Video Player that's coming with each purchase of its (MSRP: $24,999.99) beast and why, as he says, it's something "only Sony can do." First, we finally have the confirmed details of this first ever 4K player for the home: it's a hard-disc server, available exclusively on no-additional cost lease to purchasers that's preloaded with 10 full-length feature films (including The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall (2012), Taxi Driver, Bridge Over the River Kwai -- see the press release for a full list), a number of short concert / action sports clips from Red Bull, and an Xperia Tablet S packing a special remote control app that's similar to its Movies Unlimited service.
This is the first time home viewers will be able to experience 4K video of this caliber at home, and from the cameras, to its Colorworks digital facility opened in 2009, to the special white glove service charged with periodically updating the hard-disc's content for well-heeled buyers, Sony plans on pushing more soon. Check after the break for more details on how that will happen.
Sony 84-inch 4K Bravia KD-84X9005 hands-on
With an entry level price nearly on par with an average new vehicle purchase stepping past HD resolution right now is out of reach for most buyers, however as prices fall in the future we wonder if customers will see the upgrade as worth it. We've seen demos at IFA and CEDIA in the last year of Blu-ray content upscaled for playback and even native 4K footage on Sony's own projector (the VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector introduced in 2011 also has a $25k MSRP -- we're told it's compatible with the 4K player and Sony will be "talking to" owners to see if they'd also like access) and it has impressed us so far. Still, although viewers have warmed to new tech like LED backlighting and thin frames/bezels, recently the addition of 3D as a display feature has had trouble breaking though and pushing the masses to buy. According to Molyneux, even (or perhaps especially) at this high end, convincing people of the quality difference isn't difficult -- we recommend laying your own eyes on it to see if it's worth a midsize sedan.
Thanks to the Sony Pictures vault, it's obvious what he means when he says this is an experience only his company can provide. While there are other 4K Ultra HDTVs arriving this year -- and we expect to see many more at CES in January -- at the moment, this is the only one with a content delivery system in place, to go along with its upscaling chops, and the only studio pushing content at this res so far. Additional movies will need to be loaded either by the aforementioned service, or via BD-R sent by mail, but if you have the resources and need a peek at the future right now, this should more than do the trick. We'll be interested in seeing how (if) Sony can continue to press its advantages in more mass market areas going forward and return some of the high-end cachet to its brand that rivals like Samsung, Apple and LG have eagerly dug into in recent years.
SONY'S FIRST COLLECTION OF 4K ULTRA HD CONTENT FOR THE HOME NOW AVAILABLE FOR CONSUMERS
Ultra High Definition Video Player - Bundled with Sony's XBR 4K LED TV- to be Demonstrated at Star-Studded Event at the House of Rock
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29, 2012 – Sony Electronics is unveiling the first step in delivering 4K Ultra HD video content in the home. The new 4K Ultra HD Video Player is a hard-disc server that connects easily to Sony's 84-inch 4K LED TV (XBR-84X900) allowing consumers to view 4K resolution movies and short form 4K videos. Available as a bonus loaned exclusively to U.S. customers purchasing the Sony 4K LED TV, the video player comes loaded with content, including both full length Hollywood features and a gallery of videos, creating the first true home 4K experience.
As a standalone unit, the Sony XBR-84X900 TV already upscales all video inputs, including the more than 7,000 Blu-ray Disc titles currently in distribution, to a near-4K resolution through the use of Sony's proprietary 4K X-Reality PRO three-chip picture engine. Now, with the new video player, consumers can for the first time enjoy true 4K Ultra HD video in the home.
"Sony is a company of firsts, and this introduction of the first 4K technology platform continues that pioneering, innovative spirit," said Phil Molyneux, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics. "We were the first to introduce 4K projectors to cinemas in 2005, the first to introduce a 4K projector designed for the home in 2011, and the first to offer a 4K upscaling Blu-ray Disc player earlier this year. Now, we're the first to begin closing the content loop, offering native 4K content for the home and delivering the most immersive, awe-inspiring entertainment experience yet."
Delivering Exclusive 4K Ultra HD Content for the Home
Sony, as a total entertainment company encompassing movies and TV production, music, games and electronics, is uniquely positioned to be first to market in delivering 4K Ultra HD solutions. The 4K Ultra HD Home Experience includes the 84" 4K LED TV, the Video Player, and an Xperia™ Tablet S that serves as a remote control through an easy-to-use app. Pre-loaded onto the Video Player will be the following first ever collection of 10 full-length feature films presented in native 4K for the home:
- The Amazing Spiderman
- Total Recall (2012)
- The Karate Kid (2010)
- Battle Los Angeles
- The Other Guys
- Bad Teacher
- That's My Boy
- Taxi Driver
- The Bridge on the River Kwai
"Sony Pictures leads the industry in building a library of new releases and restored classics mastered in 4K, so it is both exciting and appropriate that we can provide the first 4K movies that consumers will be able to experience in their homes," said Chris Cookson, president, Sony Pictures Technologies.
In addition to the full length features, the Video Player will come pre-loaded with a gallery of 4K video shorts, including Red Bull Media House's exclusive 4K videos The Athlete Machine: Red Bull Kluge and four acoustic performances of songs from Red Bull Records' Heaven's Basement's new record, "Filthy Empire." Additionally, Sony's 4K Ultra HD delivery solution is designed to be updated with additional 4K titles and video clips. More delivery solutions will continue to evolve rapidly, with further product and content announcements coming shortly.
"Sony is committed to delivering the finest 4K Ultra HD entertainment experiences to customers," added Mike Lucas, senior vice president for Sony Electronics' Home Division. "The launch of the 4K Ultra HD Home Experience is another world first for Sony, and will wow consumers with 4K Ultra HD content. It's a proof point of our leadership in all things 4K, and the first step in creating a full, complete 4K Ultra HD solution for the home."
Red Bull Media House is a global media company that creates compelling sports, culture and lifestyle programming and distributes it across multiple platforms. From film to television, print to digital and games, Red Bull Media House content is optimized for any device or platform. For more information, go to www.redbullmediahouse.com.
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