Sony will release a range of new TVs in 2015. The big themes are Ultra HD and Android TV that will replace Sony’s current Smart TV platform. Sony’s high-end TV will also support HDR (high dynamic range), which will make movies brighter and more spectacular. Here is a full overview of Sony’s 2015 TV line-up.
Updated 10.10.2015: Sony X80C and S80C added to the overview
There are still no OLED TVs from Sony in the 2015 line-up, but Ultra HD will be available in more TVs than ever. Sony will continue to offer high-end TVs with powerful sound systems integrated but besides that the overall design theme is minimalism; slim bezels and thin frames.
The most impressive-looking of the new TVs is arguably the X90C, which is one of the thinnest TVs ever made. The higher-end models will have a refined version of the Wedge design that Sony introduced last year. Called X93C and X94C, the TVd are thinner than last year, but the Wedge design still makes room for powerful speakers in the bottom of the cabinet.
The other big theme for Sony in 2015 is Android TV, which is a new TV platform built – and operated - by Google. Sony has acknowledged that it needs help so it has abandoned its old platform in favor of one controlled solely by Google. Philips and Sharp will also integrated Android TV in its TVs, and Asus, Nvidia, and Razer have announced media streamer boxes built on the platform. This could be big; potentially the first universal TV platform.
X90 is one of the thinnest TVs ever made
Android TV will offer apps such as Netflix, HBO, and YouTube, as well as games such The Walking Dead and Badland. All apps are presented in a simple and visual user interface, consisting of logical rows. You can obviously control everything with the standard remote control, but you can also opt to use your phone as a remote. For search you can use your voice and the goal is to make the search function able to pull results from all streaming services. The top row will recommend new content based on your viewing patterns.
For gaming, you can connect a bluetooth game controller that is bought separately, or even the Dualshock 4 controller from a PlayStation 4, if you own one.
That is not all. Sony’s Android TVs will also support PlayStation Now, a subscription service that lets you stream PlayStation 3 games without the actual game console. A sort of Netflix for games. Several companies are trying to make game streaming work and Sony is at the forefront of this trend.
Android TV comes with Google Cast built in
But the best part of Android TV is probably that is comes with Google Cast built in. This is the protocol that Chromecast is using, meaning that you can push video, photos, and music from our Android or Apple iOS device wirelessly onto the big living room screen for everyone to enjoy.
It is a great system and now you can use it without the dongle.
Ultra HD is the next step after HD and as you might have heard it is about more than just resolution. It is about “better pixels”, too, and later in 2015 Sony will start offering high dynamic range (HDR) for brighter whites and deeper blacks – in essence more spectacular pictures.
The top-of-the-line X94C will fully support HDR with its “X-tended Dynamic Range Pro” system, and both the X94C and X93C will support Hi-Res (24-bit / 96 kHz) audio with the powerful side-mounted speaker - a first for TVs, claims Sony. In addition to HDR, some of Sony’s 2015 TVs will also be able to reproduce a wider color gamut with the Triluminos system for more vibrant and accurate colors. Soon you living room TV will match the picture quality of cinemas – just a bit smaller.
Sony will have a total of six Ultra HD TV ranges in 2015, including one curved TV called S85C that will be released only in Europe. The Japanese company still sees a future for regular HD, too, and will offer six Full HD TV ranges, most with built-in Android TV.
Sony will include twin tuners in all of its 4K models (only in select European countries). A twin tuner lets you record one TV channel while watching another, and even enables you to pause live broadcasts and schedule future recordings while the TV is off.
3D is forgotten but not gone. Many of the TVs will still be able to reproduce pictures in three dimensions, but not in 4K. HD is the highest resolution for 3D right now. Most of Sony’s TVs use the active 3D technology, but X90C offers passive 3D that relies on the inexpensive polarized glasses that movie theatres use. Passive 3D combined with a 4K panel gives you the full 3D experience without the flickering and headaches.
Sony will continue to offer 4K streaming from Netflix and Amazon - just like last year - but there is also a new major addition to the content portfolio. 4K streaming from YouTube is now supported on Sony’s 2015 TVs for the first time ever on a TV. This is possible because Sony’s Ultra HD TVs with Android TV incorporate VP9 decoding, which is used by YouTube to stream 4K. Netflix and Amazon both use HEVC, also supported by Sony’s TVs. There is already a lot of 4K content on YouTube; obviously not Hollywood movies and TV series, but some pretty amazing time-lapse and nature documentaries, amongst other things.
Sony’s new TVs will be available in sizes up to 75 inches in the US and Europe, starting in April. We are still awaiting pricing details. The article will be updated as soon as we hear back.
Sony X94C (4K)
Sony’s flagship for 2015 is the X94C, which moves beyond 4K resolution and incorporates HDR and better colors. It also comes complete with powerful sound and Android TV. It will only be available in 75”.
X90C is one of the thinnest TV ever made - just 4.9 mm at its thinnest point - and is Sony’s design statement for 2015. It comes fully equipped with Ultra HD and Android TV, but cannot reproduce HDR. A X91C will also be available in the US in 75”.