#2013CES: Sony focuses on 4K resolution, colour-rich displays and NFC compatibility

9 Jan 2013

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Sony's 56-inch 4K OLED TV prototype

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The products unveiled by Sony at CES 2013 (of which I reckon there are more than 50, at least) showcase the technologies that will form the cornerstone of Sony’s consumer products for 2013.

High-resolution home entertainment

Among the new Bravia TVs launched at CES, Sony brings us two new 4K LED TVs with the X900A series. These 65-inch and 55-inch television sets come with a 4K X-Reality Pro processing engine capable of upscaling picture quality so that all viewable content – be it Blu-ray disc, TV broadcast or web video – can be viewed in rich 4K resolution, which is four times the resolution of full HD at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.

The processing engine does this by analysing and refining images, carefully matching pixel patterns against its huge database.

Previously, Sony unveiled a massive 84-inch 4K LED TV at IFA 2012, but this new series sees these high-resolution television sets reaching more accessible proportions, and they will be available in Europe in July 2013.

The latest range of Bravia TVs also feature Triluminos Display, which offers a wider colour palette, and some come with an NFC-compatible One-Touch Remote, which establishes a wireless connection between a mobile device and the TV set with a simple tap, allowing the user to mirror his or her phone’s display on the television screen (so long as his or her device is compatible with screen mirroring) or use their mobile device to control and interact with the TV.

As well as 4K technology, Sony continues to pioneer OLED TVs, and at CES it is showcasing its prototype 4K OLED TV. This 56-inch set comes with all the features expected of an OLED TV – high contrast, brightness, rapid video image response time and rich images produced even at wide viewing angles – but at 4K resolution.

Sony says it will continue to research OLED technology and aims to commercialise its new 4K OLED TVs in the future.

New cameras and camcorders

Sony is also exhibiting a prototype of its first-ever 4K consumer camcorder at CES, as well as other 4K digital imaging solutions, such as the industry’s first line-up of 4K-mastered Blu-ray films due for release this spring.

The company also has decided not to limit Triluminos Display to TV sets, and the colour palette of select 2013 Cyber-shot and Handycam devices has also been expanded with this technology, with plans to bring it to the Vaio PC family later.

Otherwise, the 2013 camera and camcorder ranges from Sony have seen some fairly standard upgrades. Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation (available on Exmor R CMOS models) is said to be up to four times more effective than on last year’s models, and the Superior Auto function has been further refined.

Sony Cyber-shot WX200

Sony Cyber-shot WX200

A new feature called Beauty Effect is also appearing on the new range of cameras. This in-camera retouching feature can apparently remove skin blemishes and wrinkles, widen the appearance of half-closed eyes, whiten teeth and deal with shiny foreheads.

The new Cyber-shot range reaches Europe in February 2013, and includes the Wi-Fi-enabled WX200 and WX80, the rugged TF1 and the H200 with 26x optical zoom range.

For the Handycam range of full-HD camcorders, Exmor R CMOS sensors are now found in every model, Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation (now available in more models) is said to be up to 13 times better and effective through the entire zoom range, and all new models, even at entry-level, now come with a wide-angle lens.

Sony Handycam PJ650

Sony Handycam PJ650

Projector brightness and resolution have also been boosted on many models and a new HDMI projector input means users can connect other devices to their Handycams and make use of this functionality.

Finally, all new Sony camcorders now offer the option of recording HD video in either low-quality MP4 or high-quality AVCHD formats – a first for the Handycam range.

One-touch functionality across the board

Sony claims it has the largest range of NFC-enabled devices with built-in one-touch functions, and plenty of new devices with this technology are on show at CES. As well as the Bravia TVs discussed above, Sony has put NFC chips in home-theatre systems, speakers, headphones and, of course, its mobile devices, including the new Xperia Z.

The new 1TB Personal Content Station uses NFC to receive files from smartphones and tablets and it can then connect wirelessly to a home network to store, view and share photos and videos, while the latest range of audio products from Sony can start wirelessly streaming media with a simple tap.

Sony SRS-BTX300 speaker

Sony SRS-BTX300 speaker

The smartphone-friendly X-series speakers (the 40W SRS-BTX500 and the 20W SRS-BTX300) feature Bluetooth connectivity as well as NFC, so older devices aren’t left out. Available from April this year, these speakers come with DSEE processing to boost the quality of compressed music files and Magnetic Fluid Speaker technology, which was originally developed by NASA to provide sound with reduced distortion while also improving efficiency by providing greater volumes at no additional expense of power.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com