Sony Provides Details and Pricing For 2016 TV Line-Up

Sony XBR-100Z9D 4K Ultra HD TV with HDR and Backlight Master Drive
Sony XBR-100Z9D 4K Ultra HD TV with HDR and Backlight Master Drive. Image courtesy of

At the 2016 CES, Samsung and LG were the big stars of the show floor with regards to TV tech, but another bright spot were the new TVs being shown by Sony.

As a follow-up, Sony appears to be beating both LG and Samsung to market and announcing that what they showed a CES will be arriving soon on store shelves and local home theater installer/dealers.

If you haven't been following the TV scene, the big emphasis is on 4K, and Sony definitely is following that trend.

Also, for a wider consumer base, especially those that prefer a smaller screen, there are also some new 1080p TVs arriving as well. However, be warned, if the 2016 CES was any indication, within the next year or so, you probably won't be seeing any new 1080p TVs - except on very small screen sizes. It will be 4K or nothing.

To bolster that trend, Sony has come forth and formally announced more details on models and pricing for its 4K Ultra HD TVs and has also their 1080p LED/LCD TV line.

Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs - Common Features

After a brief tip-toe in 2014, Sony has since steered away from the curved screen trend, and all of the 2016 Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs feature flat screens with ultra thin bezel frames.

To support those screens, all off Sony's Ultra HD TVS incorporate Triluminos Color enhancement, X1 Advanced image processing for HD and 4K sources, X-Reality Pro for more precise video upscaling (when needed), HDR (enhanced brightness contrast for compatible content, provided by Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs and select streaming sources), HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 compliant, are MHL-enabled, and are equipped with Google's Android TV internet streaming platform, as well as Google Cast and both Wifi Direct/Miracast capability which allow content sharing from compatible portable devices.

For analog sources, all of Sony's TVs provide a Shared Component/Composite/Analog Audio Input connections

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).

XBR-X940D and XBR-X930D Series

The 75-inch XBR-75X940D ($7,999.99 - Buy From Amazon) is Sony's 2016 flagship TV. In addition to all of the features listed above, the 940D incorporates full array backlighting with local dimming, which provides precise brightness both for the entire screen surface, but pinpoint brightness control for dark and bright objects scattered across the screen.

For a more detailed look at the 940D, check out our "hands-on" report.

Moving through Sony's 2016 4K Ultra HD TV line, while the X940 incorporates highly-desired full array backlighting, the X930D series provides an enhanced version of LED Edge lighting referred to as Slim Backlight Drive, which Sony claims is more precise than competing edge-lit systems by provides more controllable brightness zones.

For audio, both the 940D and 930D feature 2.2 Channel down-firing speaker systems with several onboard settings (Auto Surround, Clear Audio+, Clear Phase, S-Force Front Surround,  Standard, Cinema, Live Football, and Music) to maximize built-in audio quality. However, both series provide Dolby Digital, DTS, and PCM output when used in conjunction with a home theater audio system.

The 940D and 930D Series Sets are also 3d-enabled, using the Active Shutter system.

There are two models in the 930D series, the 55-inch XBR-55X930D ($3,299.99) and 65-inch XBR-65X930D ($4,999.99) - Buy From Amazon.

For more on the 930D Series, check out our "hands on" report, which includes some interesting comments about Sony's Slim Backlight Drive feature.

XBR-850D Series

Sony wraps their 2016 Ultra HD TV line with the 850D series, which consists of four models, the 55-inch XBR-55X850D ($2,499.99), 65-inch XBR-65X850D ($3,499.99), 75-inch XBR-75X850D ($4,999.99), and 85-inch XBR-85X850D ($9,999.99) - Buy From Amazon.

The 850D series offers up a wider selection of screen sizes and incorporates much the high-end features of the 930D and 940D series sets (including HDR and Triluminos display), but does not incorporate Full Array or Slim Backlight Drive, opting for a standard LED Edge Lit system that is not as precise, but is comparable to other competitive brands.

For audio, the 850D series has a more modest 2-channel down firing speaker system but does provide the same audio setting options as the 930D/940D series sets.

Sony's 2016 1080p LED/LCD TVs

Also available later this spring will be offer up a limited line of 1080p TVs, all of which are less than 50-inches in size, and include the following:

48W650D (48-inches - $699), 40W650D (40-inches - $599) - Buy From Amazon, and 32W600D (32-inches - $349) - Buy From Amazon.

The 48 and 40-inch W650D sets are 1080p, while the 32-inch W600D set actually has a native display resolution that is lower than 1080p, but slightly higher than 720p (1366x768).

All three sets incorporate Direct LED backlighting (no local dimming), for even black levels across that entire screen, as well as a 60Hz screen refresh rate supplemented by XR240 Motion Flow processing. Additional image quality support is provided by Sony's XReality Pro video processing

In addition, the set provides network and internet connectivity via both Ethernet/LAN and Wifi, providing access to content stored on network-connected PCs and laptops, as well as access to online streaming services, such as Netflix, Crackle, and more.

You can also share audio, video, and still image content direct from a compatible smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast.

My Take

Sony is definitely offering up some interesting TV for 2016. However, based on what has been announced, Sony appears to offer less than a dozen models in limited price ranges.

Unless the legendary TV maker is planning to add to their currently announced offerings later in the year, Sony's TV line is a lot smaller, and more narrowly focused in terms of feature variations, than some of its competitors, such as Samsung, LG, and Vizio.

UPDATE: 06/28/2016 - Sony Adds XBR-X700D, X750D, and X800D and Series To 2016 4K TV Line-up

Following up the introduction of their high-end 4K Ultra HD TV line discussed above, Sony has announced additional entries, the XBR-X800D, 750D, and 700D series.

Common Features

The XBR-X800D, 750D, and 700D series TVs all incorporate a stylish, thin bezel design that fits in with just about any room decor.

Also, in addition to their native 4K display resolution, 4K X-Reality™ PRO video upscaling, HDMI connectivity, and Ethernet/LAN and built-in Wifi, they all incorporate Google's Android TV Operating system. This provides easy access to abundant streaming content offerings via Google Play, Sony's Ultra Streaming service, and a host of other apps, including PlayStation Now (game controller required).

GoogleCast functionality is also included, which allows direct streaming from compatible devices, such as iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, and PCs, along with both Wifi Direct and In addition, the Android TV platform also provides access to home automation control functions, via the Logitech Harmony Hub.

Taking advantage of this option, users can control other compatible household devices, such as lamps, window shades, and thermostats right from the TV remote.

XBR-X700D Series

The XBR-X700D is the "entry level" series in the product line but offers all of the above features mentioned in "common features" section above. In terms of video support, in addition to its 4K display resolution and X-Reality Pro upscaling, it features Direct LED Backlighting, and a 60Hz screen refresh rate, augmented by Sony's MotionFlow XR240 processing

The XBR-X700D Series comes in two sizes.

XBR-49X700D (49-inches $999.99), XBR-55X700D (55-inches - $1,499.99) - Buy From Amazon

XBR-X750D Series

The XBR-750D Series incorporates everything provided in the 700D series but takes things up in the video department a notch by incorporating a faster screen refresh rate (120Hz) and additional MotionFlow Enhancement (XR960).

The XBR-X750D Series comes in one screen size so far.

XBR-65X750D (65-inches - $2,299.99) - Buy From Amazon

XBR-X800D Series

Placed at the top of this group of TV is the XBR-X800D series.

This series differs from the 700D and 750D series in the following ways.

First off, the XBR-X800D incorporates LED Edge Lighting rather than direct lighting, Sony's Triluminos Color enhancement, and, unlike the X750D, includes a 60Hz screen refresh rate and XR240 MotionFlow processing.

However, X800D series does take video performance up further, with the inclusion of HDR (High Dynamic Range decoding. This means that the sets in this series can display both higher brightness and wider contrast encoded on compatible content from UltraHD Blu-ray players and discs, as well as select streaming sources (Amazon, Netflix, and Vudu).

The XBR-X800D Series comes in two sizes.

XBR-43X800D (43-inches - $1,299.99), XBR-X49800D - (49-inches 1,499.99) - Buy From Amazon

Note: The XBR-X700D, 750D, and 800D are not 3D-enabled.

Note: Users will be able to add an HDR capability to the XBR-X700D and 750D Series TVs via forthcoming Firmware Update.

Sony Z-Series

To round out their 2016 TV line-up, Sony added their Z-Series flagship line in late July of 2016. The Z-Series incorporates the same Android TV operating system, GoogleCast, internet streaming, connectivity, HDMI connectivity, and 3D capability (one pair of glasses included) as the 940D and 930D series TVs discussed at the top of this article, but what pushes this series out front is the incorporation of Sony's X1 Extreme HDR processor and Blacklight Master Drive. The combination of these two technologies provides TV viewers with the most precise video processing/upscaling, local dimming, brightness levels and color/contrast range possible in a LED/LCD-based TV.

The Z-series comes in three screen sizes.

XBR-65Z9D (65-inches - $6,999.99), XBR-75Z9D (75-inches - $9.999.99), XBR-100Z9D (100 Inches - No Official Price) - Buy From Amazon

It must also be pointed out that due to the size of the XBR100Z9D, it cannot be wall or table mounted. However, it comes with a heavy duty floor stand.

Original Article Publish Date: 02/17/2016 - Robert Silva



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