Sony, Panasonic launch new TVs

Chris Oaten
30 April, 2009
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Sony has announced new product for 2009 and has taken much trouble to talk about the company’s vision for the future of TV.

New televisions from Sony comprise the WE5 series, which Sony is touting as its greenest model, consuming less power than two 75w light bulbs; the Z5500 series, with Sony’s second generation of Motionflow 200Hz for better display of action and motion; the W5500 series, with Motionflow 100Hz and Full High Definition capability; and the entry-level V5500 series.
Sony Australia managing director Carl Rose announced that all models in the Sony television range will have full high definition, meaning 1080p.
The release of new models was not unexpected but Sony’s efforts in framing its vision of the near future for television was surprising.
The main trends that Sony sees is an increasing prevalance of connectivity between TVs and other devices, with wireless capability an increasingly common feature; and, more interestingly, an increasing perception among consumers of the TV as a source-agnostic medium for content delivery.
Consumers will increasingly use their TVs as the medium through which they access all manner of content, from the best quality high-def broadcast content to low-resolution content from IPTV (Internet TV) and other network sources.
The perception of the TV as a device upon which only high-def content is worth viewing will change. The TV will become a more versatile device.
But possibly the most exciting taste of Sony’s vision of the future came with a snippet of video shot in Sony’s R&D labs in which a technician manipulated between two hands a flexible, paper-thin OLED (Organic LED) display while a video signal continued to play on it.
That’s the future vision that truly captures your imagination, especially when you realise the possibilities of such a development.
Rose pointed out that the advantage of a flexible video display was that it freed designers from having to create products within the constraints imposed by a conventional display, which to date has strongly dictated product development.
If you can’t wait for the future of flexy OLED displays, you could jump into the razor-sharp, colourific world of OLED now with one of Sony’s 11in OLED TVs.
Having seen one up close and screening high-def content, I can tell you the picture is to die for. Absolutely stunning. But it’ll cost you. $6999, to be exact.
I’m guessing most of us (and there’s market research confirming it) will be quite happy with something along the lines of Sony’s KDL40WE5, one of the WE5 series, which offers a lot more display with its 40in screen along with some neat power-saving tricks, among them the ability to detect whether there is anyone actually watching the TV. If not, it keeps the audio playing but turns the picture off. Clever. And it’s only $3199.
Or… there’s new Panasonic gear on offer. On the day preceding the Sony launch, Pannie released its new range for 2009, with its Viera line of plasmas comprising 11 new models, from the TH-P42X10A 42in 720p model at $1849 through to the mid-range TH-P42G10A 1080p unit at $2749 and the top-of-the-line TH-P54Z1A 54in 1080p with a 1in-thin display. It will be available September with pricing to be advised.
Evidence of Sony’s vision of wireless TV systems was on display at their own launch but confirmation came with Panasonic announcing what it claims to be the first fully wireless home theatre system.
The SC-ZT1 system comprises wireless speakers and the wireless goodness can be taken a step further with the addition of components that send their signals to one another over the air.
The SC-ZT1 will be available in August. Pricing to be confirmed.
Panasonic also announced the arrival in Australia of its DMC-GH1 hybrid camera, which joins Pannie’s G1 as a Micro Four Thirds System camera. It can shoot high-quality stills as well as AVCHD high-def video footage.
Follow the Hotlinks to visit the manufacturers’ websites.

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