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Sony, Philips Announce TV Lineups for 3Q and 4Q

Jun 18, 2007 12:00 PM


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With the second quarter of 2007 about to wrap, TV suppliers are shoring up the lineups they’ll ship to dealers during the second half of the year. Sony and Philips held product unveilings in New York earlier this month to show off new 1080p displays with beefed up specs.

Philips is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Ambilight series of LCD TVs with upgrades to 1080p resolution for the 42in., 47in., and 52in. models, higher refresh rates and a reduction in response time to 4 milliseconds for reduced lag time. The company is touting its Perfect Pixel HD engine that upconverts video from all content sources for ideal presentation in 1080p resolution. According to Philips, each pixel of the incoming picture is enhanced to better match surrounding pixels to create a more natural picture. Perfect Pixel is also said to reduce artifacts and noise from all sources—including highly compressed images.

The higher-end 47PFL9732D and 52PFL9732D incorporate 120Hz ClearLCD, which is said to deliver more detail and smoother motion. The 42in. and higher Ambilight models also automatically detect the incoming signal and display images at the appropriate frame rate, whether it’s 24Hz for Blu-ray Discs, 30 Hz for PC inputs (and possibly the future broadcast standard) and 60Hz for HD gaming.

For the 2007 line, Philips has also moved from a fluorescent backlight to LED, which provides more color scale and lower energy consumption. In addition, according to Stewart Muller, president of Philips Consumer Electronics, North America, the LED ensemble is more compact than the fluorescent type, which allows engineers to shave the overall depth of the cabinet.

The sets also include a new setup feature for consumers, which allows them to look at two images from the same picture onscreen and then select the appearance and sound that appeals to them. Software then collects user choices and picks the settings that fit consumers’ tastes. The approach is designed to be more user friendly than standard setup controls for tint, due, contrast, and other parameters.

Five new 2-channel Ambilight TVs join the 2007 lineup, which includes the $1,050 32in. 32PFL7332D, 42in. 42PFL7432D ($1,899), 47in. 47PFL7432D ($2,399), 47in. 47PFL9732D ($2,799), and the 52in. 52PFL9732D ($3,799). The first three models are available now, and the latter two ship in August and September, respectively.

Meanwhile, Sony took the wraps off nine new Bravia LCD models boasting advanced features. A week later the company said it was offering a scaled-down line of three Bravia TVs that would hit Wal-Mart, Target, and other discount retailers later this summer.

In the higher end lines, all nine Bravias boast 1920x1080p resolution and 10-bit video panels that are said to deliver 64 times the color level of 8-bit panels for a more accurate representation of subtle color changes. Higher-end models add 120Hz frame rates and x.v.Color capability. Also called "xvYCC," x.v.Color technology expands the potential color data range of video by 1.8 times. The result is more natural color similar to what the eye can actually see when the display is coupled with supporting video sources.

To boost the image quality of standard video sources, Sony includes its Digital Reality Creation technology and Bravia engine video processing which upconvert the output from DVDs and non-HD broadcasts to a quality level better matched with the TV’s capability.

All of the new models pack Sony’s Digital Media Extender, a rear-panel digital connection slot for an optional Bravia Internet Video Link module. The module enables users to access video directly from the Internet via www.aol.com AOL, www.yahoo.com Yahoo, http://grouper.com/ Grouper, and Sony entertainment sites. Consumers will see Internet video, music videos, movie trailers, user-generated video, and RSS feeds without a subscription fee.

The new Bravia models boast compatibility with the HDMI-CEC standard, which enables compatible products from multiple manufacturers to communicate via HDMI. Users can watch a Blu-ray movie and surround sound settings will be automatically selected by the A/V receiver while the TV switches to the correct input. In addition, Photo TV HD mode is said to fine tune parameters including sharpness, gradation, and color for viewing digital images on TV.

All the TVs continue the floating glass design Sony introduced last year. The KDL-52XBR4 and KDL-52XBR5 series TVs come with interchangeable black bezels that can be can be swapped out for any of eight colors including red, blue, white, brown, silver, midnight black, rose metallic and champagne gold.

The models are divided among three series: W3000, XBR4, and XBR5. Framed in a brushed metal bezel, the W series of TVs includes the KDL-52W3000 (August, $4,300), KDL-46W3000 (July, $3,500), and KDL-40W3000 (July, $2,700).

The 52in. KDL-52XBR4 and its 46in. and 40in. counterparts will ship to dealers in August at list prices of $4,800, $3,800, and $3,000, respectively. The 46in. KDL-46XBR5 ($4,100) and 40in. KDL-40XBR5 ($3,300) will ship in August, and the 52in. KDL-52XBR5 ($5,100) will hit stores in September.



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