Sony 4K HDR TVs come with a streaming video service to match

While nearly every TV maker at CES is touting high dynamic range as the next big video breakthrough, Sony is going a step further with a built-in video service for HDR content.

Dubbed “Ultra,” the service will launch later this year on three new lines of Sony 4K HDR televisions. Users will able to purchase movies for streaming, comprised entirely of Sony Pictures films such as Elysium, Salt, Pineapple Express, and Men in Black.

With HDR, videos can include a much broader range of color and contrast information, allowing for deeper blacks and brighter highlights. But like other new video formats, it requires support both on the hardware and in the content itself. So far, only Amazon is offering HDR videos on a handful of TVs (including some 2015 Sony models), though Netflix and Vudu will be offering HDR content in the future. Sony’s service could help fill the content gap.

As for the TVs themselves, Sony’s XBR-930D and 940D appear to be the flagships, coming in 75-inch, 65- and 55-inch versions. They include Sony’s Triluminos color mapping display tech, and uses a backlighting algorithm called X-tended Dynamic Range Pro to make shadowy scenes darker and boost the LEDs in brighter scenes. Another featured called Slim Backlight Drive adds greater precision when distributing the backlighting, though this is only available in the 930D (55- and 65-inch) models.

Another series, dubbed X850D, also supports HDR and uses Sony’s Triluminos display tech, but lacks the fancy backlighting features and X-tended Dynamic Range Pro. It’ll be available in 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, and 85-inch screen sizes. All the new TVs will run Google’s Android TV platform.

Sony also showed off a more advanced backlighting technology, called Backlight Master Drive, which seems like an answer to the OLED sets that some of the company’s rivals are introducing. Sony is touting a peak brightness of 4000 nits, compared to 400 nits on conventional sets. However, the company didn’t announce any actual TVs that will ship with the tech on board.

There’s no word on pricing for the TVs that Sony did announce, but we’ll find out for sure when they launch in early 2016.


Jared Newman

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