IFA 2008: Sony Shows Thinnest, Lightest LCD TV

Four world firsts, but one stands out from all the rest...

Sony time!

CEO Howard Stringer is first on stage and he’s predictably talking up HD and we’re given a clip of Quantum of Solace to show off their technology. To be honest it’s about 20 seconds, slow motion and not really helping a lot so let’s hope for product chat now which we’re expecting will have a heavy HD/HDTV focus.

Looks like we’re right, ‘’four world firsts’’ are promised to us. The first of which is about OLED but is only to remind us the XEL-1 will be Europe’s first OLED to go on sale when it launches in the UK in December, despite being on sale in the US for eons. We know this already and there’s no update on larger OLED panels, but it feels like things are just warming up.

Coming more up to date is the Bravia EX1 which isn’t talked about in any great detail but it’s key selling point (and World First number two) will be the integration of a wireless controller for wireless HD streaming.

World First number three: the World’s First 200Hz television – the ‘Z4500’ which will theoretically double frame rates thanks to Sony’s proprietary (naturally) ‘Motion Flow’ technology. Again details are scant but it will be a Full HD LCD panel and, far from being a concept product, will hit stores in time for Christmas.

Last of the World Firsts and it’s a biggie: the ‘Bravia ZX1’ the first television which dispenses with a traditional backlight and instead mounts white LEDs in the frame. The result: a 1080p model measuring an incredible 9.9mm thick (described as “thinner than a Blu-ray case!”) and weighing only 12.2Kg despite offering a sizeable 40in panel.

On the downside this means only one HDMI port can be fitted but can communicate with a wireless box that offers additional connectivity including another three HDMIs capble of streaming 1080i along with an Ethernet port and USB port. Remarkably the ZX1 will hit Japan in November.

New Blu-ray players are here too with the high end ‘BD500ES’ mentioned ever so briefly, only revealing it will offer integrated BD Live.

As for Blu-ray itself (we’ll have more of this from the BD conference later) Sony expects by Christmas 10 per cent of all movie sales will be on Blu-ray and Sony Pictures alone will have over 200 Blu-ray titles available.

As for the aforementioned BD-Live, a demo is shown for the upcoming Starship Troopers 3 (there was a Starship Troopers 2?) which enables viewers to insert themselves into the action. Sadly this isn’t as cool as it sounds and involves uploading a picture positioning it behind a still (think your face behind a strongman board on Blackpool pier) and watching extra footage where actors react to your presence. Early days, certainly…

Next: new Sony Walkman lines.

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