So 2016 looks like it's going to be the year of HDR. We've done 3D, done curved and done 4K. At this year's CES, Sony like most TV manufacturers want to shout about HDR.
Yes sorry folks it's another acronym you're going to have to get used to and this will be the buzz word for 2016. We'll be posting a more in-depth “what is HDR” article soon but for now though it stands for High Dynamic Range. Basically this means better picture quality by displaying a greater range of colours and brightness levels.
If picture quality is high on your list and Sony can match their claim of best-ever 4K picture quality, then these could be ones to watch in 2016.
Interestingly Sony appear to have fewer models this year - 9x 4K models (vs. 12 last year) and only 8x HD models (vs. 16 last year).
Also if you want a 55” screen or higher, then your only option is a 4K screen as the biggest size for HD this year is 49”.
Ultra HD Premium
If you're interested in HDR then you'll need to opt for one of the new 4K TVs as this technology won't be coming to their HD range.
Just look out for the Ultra HD Premium logo attached to any new TV you buy in 2016 if you want the new HDR standard.
New Slim Backlight Drive
Sony's new Slim Backlight Drive is a new grid-array backlighting system that promises to boost and dim the backlight creating brighter highlights and deeper blacks.
Coupled with their new X-tended Dynamic Range PRO engine it is claimed to provide up to three times the brightness range of conventional TVs.
The beauty of this new backlight system is that it's supposed to deliver the benefits of a full-array LED backlight system whilst still maintaining a slim design. Best of both worlds then.
The Slim Backlight Drive debuts with the BRAVIA XD93 series.
Google's smart TV operating system, Android TV makes a return to Sony's 2016 line-up and although it was met with some disappointment last year, I think this is a good thing.
Unfortunately in today's world sometimes new platforms, especially software, take time to find their feet and bed in. The hope is performance will be improved across the range and they'll have listened to the criticisms to make Android TV less of a chore to use and worthy of the title "Smart TV".
The two powerhouses that are Sony and Google shouldn't be written off just yet and if between them they can get Android TV working smoothly and effortlessly then this should really be the smart TV operating system to beat.
Android TV brings features such as:
- The latest apps including iPlayer, Netflix, & Amazon Prime Instant Video
- Sony's exclusive Content Bar
- Voice control via the main remote control
- Send content from your smartphone or tablet to your TV with Google Cast
- Remote control app for your smartphone or Android Wear watch
So what else is new?
Not much else really. The new 4K range comes with TRILUMINOS Displays and the 4K Processor X1 from last year's models. These technologies combined do a host of clever things such as:
- Producing a wider colour range
- More accurate colour details at any brightness
- Colour enhancement
- Contrast enhancement
- Clarity enhancement
So apart from a different stand design there isn't a huge amount to distinguish them from last year.
But to be fair there's only so much you can do with a black rectangle! Sony say they've produced their thinnest curved 4K BRAVIA yet, but who cares about curved TVs right? Flat is where it's at!
It's the picture quality that should really do the talking when it comes to high-end TVs and Sony are touting this as their "best-ever" so that's good news in our book.
Prices and launch date
Sony have announced prices for some of this year's models and you'll be able to pre-order online or from Sony Centres from March 2016. (No word on the curved models yet).
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BRAVIA 4K TV range
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BRAVIA HD TV range
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There are still no official launch dates but with pre-orders available in March we'd expect these models to start making an appearance around April 2016.
Are you excited about this year's Sony TVs and are you thinking about buying one? Let us know in the comments section below.