Sony unveiled its new ultra HD televisions at Xperia Z smartphone at the CES convention in Las Vegas on Monday. (Jan. 8)
SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS / AP CLIENTS ONLY
Las Vegas / January 7, 2013
1) "Discover Sony 4K" on-stage graphic
2) new Sony 4K Ultra-HD televisions unveiled
3. SOUNDBITE: PHIL MOLYNEUX / SONY CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
"A 55 inch and a 65 inch model will deliver a stunning 4K viewing experience, at a more accessable price range. They are just incredible.
4. SOUNDBITE: PHIL MOLYNEUX / SONY CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
"and for the first time will incorporate our magnetic fluid speakers to reproduce detailed and highly accurate sound. And these Tvs are not built just for native 4K content. All of your content benefits from our 4K, E-Reality Pro upscaling technology.
5. Kazou Hirai / SONY CEO
'right here at CES we are unveiling our newflagship model, the X-peria Z. Precision engineered, premium smart phone that delivers a true superphone experiences.
6. SOUNDBITE: PHIL MOLYNEUX / SONY CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
(holding up phone)
"The Xperia Zed. Xperia Zed features a 30 megapixel camera with X more RS for mobile, it's first image sensor with HDR videos for smartphones.
With nearly 8.3 million pixels, an ultrahigh definition or "4K" screen contains four times more pixels than an HD TV. Because of the higher resolution, viewers can sit close - according to some estimates, as close as the diagonal length of the screen, which is about a third closer than before - without losing clarity. That could be appealing to big-screen fanatics who live in small spaces.
Ultra-HD sets come as small as new models from LG and Sony, which stretch 55 inches diagonally. And estimated prices are dropping from the tens of thousands to below $10,000, bringing these multi-megapixel TVs well within the spending range of early adopters.
"I hope can see that 4K is not the future, it's now, and Sony is leading the way," said Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai.
It could be a few years before prices come down enough for the masses to justify buying ultra-HD TVs, especially considering that the U.S. TV buyers spent a record-low average of $364 on flat-screen TVs during the recent holiday shopping season, according to research firm NPD Group.
Hampering sales even further, ultra-HD faces another problem: There's very little content. Since 2004, only about 50 movies have been shot with an ultra-HD camera. They include the James Bond hit "Skyfall" and the Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight Rises." Only a handful of movies shot on film, including "Taxi Driver," have been converted to ultra-HD.
There's also no standard way of getting content to the TV, although Sony took the lead in making movies shot in native ultra-HD make it to market.
Sony Corp.'s 84-inch ultra-HD model, which it unveiled in November, comes with a computer server capable of storing and playing back giant movie files. It's definitely not affordable for most people, however, and the TV unit with the server thrown in has a price tag of $25,000.
It also announced Monday that it would launch the world's first ultra-HD movie download service for owners all of its compatible sets this summer.
Currently, there's no standard way for upgrading Blu-ray players and discs to handle the ultra-HD format, although plans are in the works. Broadcasters are also a few years away from an upgrade. LG and Sony said their ultra-HD sets come with upscaling technology to make regular HD images look better - the way some motion is smoothed out on some TVs using complex computer algorithms - but a demo wasn't immediately available.