Sony Refreshes Bravia HDTV Line

Sony's new HDTV models show improved color reproduction, fast 240Hz refresh rates, and Internet connectivity.

Sony Electronics showed off its latest high-definition televisions Wednesday. The new HDTV models reflect the company's emphasis on improved color reproduction, fast 240Hz refresh rates, and Internet connectivity. Sony announced 18 televisions in total, across six product lines.

Fast Refresh Rate Six new models introduced today at CES 2009 feature Sony's 240Hz technology. Designed to compensate for motion by inserting extra frames to smooth out fast-moving sequences, 240Hz is currently the fastest technology commercially available (LG Display has shown a prototype of its forthcoming 480Hz panel).

Sony has a two-prong approach to its 240Hz technology. The company inserts nine interpolated frames between each actual frame of video when playing back film content; and it inserts up to three additional inerpreted frames between each actual video frames. In addition, Sony has an image blur reduction circuit to help reduce motion issues along the horizontal and vertical axis.

The Sony Bravia XBR9 series gets 240Hz Motionflow technology in all models greater than 40 inches. These three models — the Bravia KDL-52XBR9, the Bravia KDL-46XBR9, and the Bravia KDL-40XBR9All — also feature an ethernet connection, Bravia Link HDMI CEC for accesing additional entertainment components, integrated Bravia Internet Video (first introduced two years ago), DLNA and USB host support (for playing mulitmedia files), and Sony's newly announced Bravia Widgets for additional Internet content (financial news, Yahoo Video, Flickr, weather reports) via the Yahoo Widgets Engine.

All also feature Sony's Wide Color Gamut Cold Cathode Fluorescent Light (WCG-CCFL) backlight technology, which enables the panel to access a broader color palette.

The 32-inch Bravia KDL-32XBR9 boasts both full 1920 by 1080p resolution and Motionflow 120Hz refresh technology, impressive specs to find in a relatively small-screen television. But, this model lacks integrated Bravia Internet Video and WCG-CCFL backlighting.

New Bravia Z Series

Also new is the Bravia Z- series. Three models — the KDL-52Z5100, the KDL-46Z5100, and the KDL-40Z5100 — all pack Motionflow 240Hz and all of the features of the XBR9 series but the WCG-CCFL technology; and adds in Energy Star 3.0 compliance.

All of the Bravia XBR9 and Z-series models are due out this spring.

Energy Efficient

In keeping with this year's energy friendly trends, Sony introduced its Bravia VE5-series. Due out in the summer, this line — Bravia KDL-52VE5, the Bravia KDL-46VE5, and the Bravia KDL-40VE5 — features high-efficiency HCFL backlighting, which uses reduced-size cathode tubes in order to improve power efficiency by 40 percent compared with other Sony LCDs. These models also feature a zero-watt standby power switch, a light sensor with dynamic backlight control to adjust the screen's brightness down for use in dim environments, and a presence sensor that turns off the TV if it doesn't detect motion for a specified period of time. These models all feature Motionflow 120Hz technology, are Bravia Link-compatible, have a USB port, and have Bravia Sync HDMI CEC.

Notably, only one line in Sony's Bravia HDTVs lacks 120Hz technology — the Bravia S5100-series. Also, with this year's lineup, Sony has just two 720p models left in its arsenal: The 32-inch Bravia KDL-32L5000, and the 26-inch KDL-26L5000.

Conspicuously absent from Sony's announcements today: Any mention of LED backlit displays. The company will continue to ship its XBR8 series with LED backlighting, though, and LED remains on its radar.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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