Two brand new additions to the Bravia line-up were announced at the event. The first is the D3000 which is aimed squarely at the movie enthusiast and will become the new flagship model of the range. The second, the S3000, is a less feature rich but still highly accomplished TV which will supersede the current S2000 series.
Both TVs will feature a hybrid analogue/digital (DVB-T) tuner, three HDMI 1.3 ports and two Scart sockets â€“ a good selection but all pretty standard stuff. The big gun for both TVs, however, is Sonyâ€™s new Theatre Sync connection. By connecting all your compatible home cinema devices via HDMI and enabling Theatre Sync, you can have one-touch control over your entire entertainment setup. What this means is that from the whole system being in standby mode you can simply press the play button on your DVD player and the TV and audio receiver will automatically turn on and switch to the correct input. Then, to turn the system off, you just press the power button on your TV remote and all your other equipment will turn off automatically. I donâ€™t need to tell you how useful this will be, it really speaks for itself. Of course it's worth mentioning that Theatre Sync is just Sony's name for CEC (Consumer Electronic Control), which is an open control standard that functions over HDMI 1.3. To be fair to Sony though, other companies are also coming up with their own names, like Panasonic with Viera Link.
Aside from these features the S3000 is, well, just a decent TV. For an in depth look weâ€™ll be getting hold of a review sample shortly. It will be available initially in 32inch and 40inch versions with 20inch and 46inch versions coming in autumn.
The D3000 takes over from where the S3000 leaves off and adds in a whole host of extras. First up is 24p True Cinema which displays films at the intended 24fps rather than the TV standard of 25fps. This means that there's no need to either speed the film up by four per cent or go to the trouble of repeating each 12th frame to get to 25fps. To complement this there is a preset colour setting called Theatre Mode that adjusts colour/contrast/brightness settings to makes movies look as they were supposed to. The demonstration we were shown of this was quite convincing. When Theatre Mode was turned off, a scene of a dimly lit pub, in which a character is wearing an old leather jacket, was overly saturated and cold looking, making his jacket look shiny and black. With Theatre Mode on, the scene had the intended warm cosy feel of a country pub and the leather jacket was actually brown, battered and dull looking just as it should have been.
Not only do you get all this cinema oriented goodness, the D3000 series also has a feature called Motionflow +100Hz. By interpolating an extra frame in between each source frame Motionflow effectively doubles the frame rate of the source video, greatly reducing the stuttering effect you see with smooth paning motion and giving you a more realistic viewing experience. This works with any source so movies, TV, and sports should all benefit.
On the audio side, the D3000 also gets S-Force Front Surround which is Sony's latest virtual surround sound technology.
Finally the D3000 uses 10-bit colour processing which gives you 1024 shades of gradation per colour rather than the standard 256 you get with 8-bit panels. This ensures that artefacts due to rounding of colour calculations are kept to a minimum and you get the most accurate representation of the intended colour. There is no release date scheduled for the D3000 yet but it will initially be available in 32inch, 40inch, and 46inch versions.