Sony’s TV is Slimmer Than a Smartphone

Unlike previous years, Sony’s whole stand was open before its press conference began – nothing was covered up, including the new products. However, there was little time to walk around and we chose to get a seat, instead!

After a short stop-motion video (very Python-esque), Kazuo Hirai arrived to look back at the year that was – but not before mentioning the controversy surrounding the 2014 release of The Interview. The cyberattacks that led Sony Pictures to pull the film were lambasted as “vicious and malicious”. Sony Pictures has always valued freedom of speech, expression and association, he said.

Hirai looked back at some of last year’s achievements. Playstation Vue (Hirai came from the Playstation division before being promoted to president and CEO), Sony’s cloud-based TV service (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 45) entered beta in 2014, and will be launched commercially in Q1’15. The Alpha 7S camera was also launched last year, with a new CMOS sensor that is now being used in automotive applications; Sony expects the use of image sensors in the automotive area to rise 400% over the next five years, to 120 million units. Hirai also mentioned the Lifespace UX short-throw projector (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 36), which will be joined by a new LED bulb/speaker and portable projector in 2015.

Categories that show promise at Sony include:

  • Playstation. More than 4.5 million Playstation 4 consoles were sold over the Christmas period, and 18.5 million have now been sold since launch.
  • Consumer cameras. Sony plans to have introduced 64 lenses for these devices by spring.
  • Films and TV. A new Playstation-exclusive series, Powers, will be launched on the 10th February. Many series, including The Blacklist, The Goldbergs and Night Shift, are now being shot in UltraHD.
  • Music.

Mike Fasulo, Sony COO, took the stage to show the company’s new hardware. First was the X900C, one of Sony’s new TV ranges for 2015 and the world’s thinnest, at just under 5mm thick. This got a half-hearted round of applause, until Fasulo put the measurement into perspective – it’s thinner than Sony’s Xperia Z3 smartphone. Cue excited journalists!

There will be four UltraHD new TV ranges this year: the X900C, X930C, X850C and X830C. Each will use Sony’s new X1 processor, which analyses a source’s resolution and bit-rate to scale it up to UltraHD. Sony promises no more blurry or noisy images when watching low bit-rate or compressed content, as well as a more accurate picture.

All of the 2015 TVs will feature Android TV (a big win for the OS), and voice search with a translate feature for 42 different languages. Because they run Android TV, Sony’s new models feature Google Cast (to throw content from a mobile phone to the larger display) and can be controlled from a smartwatch.

Netflix’s Greg Peters came on-stage briefly to talk about high dynamic range content, which is a big push for Netflix this year. As with LG, Sony’s TVs that support HDR will be able to show Netflix’s HDR content in 2015. Meanwhile, UltraHD content will be available from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Sony’s own Video Unlimited 4k services.

Sony Tony Hawk and Mike Fasulo

On the subject of UltraHD, Fasulo showed off a new 4k Handycam: 30% smaller and 20% lighter than last year’s model – and 50% cheaper! “4k for 1k”, he quipped, harking back to his introduction of the 2014 Handycam (“Or as I like to say, 4k for 2k”). Sony is also introduced a 4k Actioncam this year, and trotted out pro skateboarder Tony Hawk to talk about it.

Sony is introducing a new intitiative this year called Hi-Res Audio (HRA), which – the company hopes – will combat the quality trade-off people made when they moved from packaged media to MP3s. A new walkman, with amplifiers, was introduced to take advantage of the feature, although other Sony Devices will also be able to play HRA content – it just won’t sound as good!

A few final announcements were made: Android 5.0 will be rolled out to Sony’s Zperia Z series starting in February; the Smartwatch 3 will be available in stainless steel at the same time; and there will be a new pair of smart headphones called the Smart B-Trainer later this year.

Stand Tour

Sony TVs

The front of Sony’s stand (in-as-much as a circular stand can be said to have a front) hosted the new X900C TV, which really is incredibly thin: 4.9mm in the 55″ and 65″ models. As well as the X1 processor and Android TV, the X900C will feature Sony’s X-Reality Pro processing engine, and edge-LED backlight and Triluminos (quantum dot) technology.

A TV set on a sheet of glass showed how the X900C can be mounted flush to the wall. Rather than blowing hot air out of the back or sides to regulate the internal temperature, the TV draws cool air in from below it and vents hot air from the top. It will be released in May, along with a 75″ version that is identical but slightly thicker (X910C).

More traditional sets are the X930C (55″ and 65″) and X940C (75″). These use last year’s wedge design, with edge-LED (X930C) or direct-LED (X940C) backlights and a focus on audio. To promote this, these TVs use Sony’s Hi-Res Audio feature and have front-facing speakers.

Sony’s X850C models (flat, but also available in a curved configuration for the 55″ and 65″ models: S850C) are 55″, 65″ and 75″. They have the same features as the other UltraHD TVs, such as a Triluminos display and Android TV, but no HRA. Finally, the UltraHD units are rounded out by the 43″ and 49″ X830C, which do not feature NFC.

Sony Walkman

Although not shown on the stand, we were sent details of Sony’s HD TV lineup for the year. These are the W85C (65″ and 75″), W80C (43″, 50″ and 55″), W75C (43″, 50″ and 55″), W70C (32″, 40″ and 48″), R5C (32″, 40″ and 48″) and R4C (32″ and 40″).

All of the ‘W’ models feature the X-Reality Pro engine and Motionflow XR, as well as screen mirroring and Android TV (excluding W70C, which is smart, as is the R5C. The R4C is not a connected TV).

Moving on from TVs, Sony was showing the VPL-VW350ES; a new DCI-4k home cinema projector. It is an SXRD-based model with Triluminos technology, 1,500 lumens of brightness and two HDMI ports supporting UltraHD content at 60fps (4:2:0). The projector certainly packs a punch for its comparatively small size (495.6 x 463.6 x 195.3mm, 14kg), but a lot of that punch is in the price: $10,000). The R5C is a smart model without Android, while the R4C is not a connected TV at all.

Finally was the new walkman (NW-ZX2) and HRA format. The device has a 4″ display and is very thick. Most of the body is taken up by the battery (which can play 60 hours of MP3 files or 33 hours of HRA files), amps and a digital-to-analogue converter. However, be warned that this device is only for serious audiophiles – when it’s released in the summer, it will cost $1,200!











KD-75X8505C KD-65X8505C


KD-49X8305C KD-43X8305C
Picture Quality 4K Processor X1
4K X-Reality PRO
X-tended Dynamic Range PRO X-tended Dynamic Range
Motionflow XR 1200Hz 1200Hz 800Hz 800Hz 800Hz 800Hz
Design Wedge Ultra-Slim Slim curved Slim
Smart TV Android TV (Google Cast, Voice Control, Apps & Games)
NFC One-touch Mirroring Screen mirroring
One-Flick Entertainment One-Flick Entertainment (without remote)
Photo Share Plus
Audio / Speaker system Hi-Res Audio     Long Duct Speaker (exc. 55”)  


KDL-75W855C KDL-65W855C
KDL-55W805C KDL-50W805C


KDL-55W755C KDL-50W755C


KDL-48W705C KDL-40W705C


KDL-48R553C KDL-40R553C


KDL-40R453C KDL-32R403C
Picture Quality X-Reality PRO Clear Resolution Enhancer
Motionflow XR 800Hz 800Hz 800Hz 200Hz 100Hz 100Hz
Design Slim
Smart TV Android TV (Google Cast, Voice Control, Apps & Games) Smart TV Smart TV  
Screen Mirroring  
One-Flick Entertainment    
Photo Share Plus    
Audio / Speaker system Long Duct Speaker