Sony Announces Details/Pricing For 2015 TV Line (Updated)

Sony XBR-X900C Series 4K Ultra HD TV
Sony XBR-X900C Series 4K Ultra HD TV. Image provided by Sony Electronics

In a recent post, I reported on some initial details on Sony's forthcoming 4K Ultra HD TV line-up for 2015, as obtained by HD Guru. However, as a follow-up, Sony has now come forth and formally announced more details on models and pricing for both its 4K Ultra HD and 1080p LED/LCD TV lines, with most to start becoming available at both authorized retail and online dealers beginning in May 2015.

Sony has also indicated that in addition to newly announced models, the current the 85 and 65-inch X950B and 55 and 50-inch X800B series sets will continue for awhile longer.

Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs - Common Features

All of the 2015 Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs feature flat screens, Triluminos Color enhancement technology (except for the 830C series), are HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 compliant, are MHL-enabled, and are equipped with Google's Android TV internet streaming platform, as well as Google Cast and Miracast capability.

For ease of connection to your home network and the internet, all Sony Smart TVs (4K Ultra HD and 1080p sets) provide both Ethernet/LAN and built-in Wifi connectivity for added network connection convenience. Also, all of Sony's 4K Ultra HD TVs are compatible with PlayStation Now (game controller required).

Sony's 4K Ultra HD TVs for 2015 that have now been officially announced are:

The key features in the 940C include full array backlighting with local dimming, X-tended Dynamic Range capability and HDR). However, unlike Vizio, which is incorporating Dolby Vision, Sony has decided to take a path into HDR territory using standards established by the UHD Alliance, so it will be interesting to see the results. According to Sony, their Extended Dynamic Range system is going to be compatible with forthcoming HDR-encoded content from Netflix and Amazon. More specifics will be provided, along with a firmware update, later in 2015.

Also, another key feature of the 940C is is the built-in 2.2 channel audio system featuring two tweeters, two midrange/woofers, and two subwoofers mounted in housing that extends outward from the left and right side of the screen.

The X930C is similar to the its larger 940C cousin, but there are some key differences. Instead of full array backlighting the 930C is Edge Lit, and although Sony is also incorporating X-tended Dynamic Range capability, it is toned down from the system used in the 940C. On the other hand, the 930C features the same built-in audio system and speaker complement as the 940C.

The X910C takes us back to the 75-inch screen size, but takes performance down a notch with the elimination of Sony's X-tended Dynamic Range system, and a more modest built-in audio system. However, the X910C features an attractive bezel-less design which gives the TV the appearance that it is just a floating screen. Note: Price Shown for the X910C is unofficial - final price TBD).

UPDATE: 6/21/15: The Price for the X910C has been officially confirmed by Sony as $5,499 with pre-orders available beginning in late Summer 2015.

XBR-X900C Series: XBR-65X900C (65-inches - $3,999), XBR-55X900C (55-inches - $2,499). Note: Prices Shown for the X900C series are unofficial - final prices TBD).

The standout feature of the X900C series sets is the their thinness. At a depth of only .2mm, Sony has been able to make an LED/LCD TV thinner than LG's 55EC9300 OLED TV, which has been the thinnest TV so far. So, if you want thin, Sony's X900C series sets might the right choice for you.

UPDATE: 6/21/15: The Price for the X900C series has been officially confirmed by Sony as $3,999 for the 65-inch screen size and $2,499 for the 55-inch screen size with pre-orders available beginning June, 21, 2015. Delivery/Pick-up availability expected for both models starting July, 2015.

XBR-X850C Series: XBR-75X850C (75-inches - $4,999), XBR-65X850C (65-inches - $3,499.99), XBR-55X850C - (55-inches - $2,199.99).

Continuing to move down the line, the Sony 850C series gets a little more mainstream with a choice of three screen sizes, but doesn't include the really high-end features such as enhanced brightness contrast, ultra-thin frame and no bezel look, and there isn't beefed up audio system. On other hand, this series is still designed to deliver with decent picture quality, streaming capability, and more.

In addition to Sony's X930C and X940C series 4K Ultra HD TVs, a forthcoming firmware update will allow owners of all the sets in their X850C, X900C, and X910C TVs to view HDR-Encoded video content. Amazon Instant Video will provide content on the streaming end, and the forthcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format will provide content on the physical disc end.

HDR is a video encoding format that extends the dynamic range (brightness and contrast) to levels not available non-HDR capable TVs. As a result, the increased brightness/contrast capability increase number of bright and levels, which also serves to improve color and detail - especially in bright and hard scenes. For more details, read the article: HDR Explained from TV/Video.

As a further incentive for consumers, beginning Fall 2015, for a limited promotional time, customers who purchase an HDR-enabled Sony 4K Ultra HD TV will be offered up to $100 worth of films from Sony Pictures (The Amazing Spider Man 2, Men in Black 3, After Earth, and Fury) that will be available via the Amazon Video app.

However, even without HDR-encoded content all of Sony's HDR-capable sets also include Sony's own X-tended Dynamic Range feature which can display brighter whites and blacker blacks from non-HDR encoded content (although not as precise as true HDR), including streaming and Blu-ray discs that are available now.

XBR-X830C Series: XBR-49X830C (49-inches - $1,599), XBR-43X830C (43-inches - $1,299).

Finally we arrive at the "bottom" of Sony's 4K Ultra HD TV line-up, with its main distinguishing features of providing a choice of smaller screen sizes, and are also the only sets in Sony's 4K Ultra HD TV line that doesn't provide a 3D viewing option.

Sony's 2015 1080p LED/LCD TVs

For those aren't interested, or can't afford to make the jump to 4K, Sony is offering up some 1080p models, which are a perfectly viable alternative for many consumers. Sony's 2015 1080p line-up is divided into three series:

KDL-W850C Series: KDL-75W850C (75-inches - $2,999.99), KDL-65W850C (65-inches - $1,899.99)

These are Sony's top of the line 1080p LED/LCD TVs for 2015. The W850C series comes in two large screen sizes and has some high-end features, Full Array Backlight, albeit with frame dimming (entire screen can be brightened or dimmed depending on the content of the overall image), rather than local dimming (where specific zones within the screen area can be brightened or dimmed depending on the content within that specific area of the screen), and also includes 3D viewing capability. In addition, the network and streaming features included in Sony's 4K Ultra HD TV line-up are included in this series.

KDL-W800C Series: KDL-55W800C (55-inches - $1,299.99), KDL-50W800C (50-inches - $999.99)

The W800C series is very similar to the W850C series except that the two models in the group come in smaller screen sizes. However, while 3D viewing is included, instead of full array backlighting, the W800C series sets provide Edge Lighting instead. On the other hand, just as with all of the sets summarized so far, all the smart TV and streaming features are included.

KDL-R510C Series: KDL-48R510C (48-inches - $529.99), KDL-40R510C (40-inches - $479.99)

Finally to wrap up this official intro to Sony's TV line for 2015, we get to their entry-level smaller screen sets in the R510C series.

In addition to their smaller screen sizes, while still offering quite a bit but does not offer 3D viewing or the Android TV operating system. However, the set does have built-in Wifi and offers internet streaming from a variety of content providers including Netflix, YouTube, and nore, as well as Screen Mirroring via Miracast and Wifi Direct connectivity.

As you can probably tell, Sony is definitely going for the consumer that has a little extra cash as none of their 4K Ultra HD TVs announced so far would be considered budget priced, especially in light of Vizio's recent announcement regarding their Full-Array Local Dimming-equipped 4K Ultra HD M-Series TVs, but looking at what these sets offer, you get more for that extra cash. With questions regarding Sony's long term future in the TV market, it will be interesting to see how well their 2015 4K Ultra HD and 1080p TV lines fare in the marketplace.

Stay Tuned...