Sony's taking a new approach to TVs this year. While its competitors have been busy making their sets slimmer or giving their displays a gentle curve, Sony decided to focus on another shape. At CES today, it's unveiling a series of TV sets featuring what it's calling a wedge design — sets with deep, triangular sides that taper in thickness as they rise. It's a striking and stylish look, and more importantly, it allows Sony to take advantage of the extra space. Rather than building in a set of basic stereo speakers, Sony uses the added room to include three more-capable speakers on either side of some of the sets.
The wedge creates room for better speakers
Sony says that the speakers will deliver better bass, a wider sonic range, and clearer vocals than a common pair of TV speakers. Though they take up a bit more room, the speakers are a natural addition: if you're going to get a gorgeous new TV, you may as well get good speakers to compliment its good looks. An HDTV featuring the wedge design, the Bravia W850B, will be available this winter, while Sony's first 4K wedge TV, the XBR X900B, will be available this spring in 55-, 65-, and 79-inch models. The XBR X900B includes a host of smart features as well, including built-in Wi-Fi and a camera to let you video chat from the couch.
As striking as the wedge design is, it wasn't the best-looking set on display. Looming beside nearly every counter inside Sony's home at CES was one of its giant new reference-standard televisions, 85-inch 4K sets that feature some of the brightest colors and darkest blacks you'll find on a TV. The impressive color range is the result of Sony's new Xtended Dynamic Range Pro, a lesser version of which is also included on the 4K wedge TV. On the reference set, the effect came off strong, with incredibly bright reds shining off of a singer's dress. A 65-inch model will be available as well, and both should be available in the spring.
This year, Sony is finally talking about how 4K TV owners will actually find content to watch easily, as well. It's partnering with Netflix, ESPN, YouTube, and 500px to bring 4K content to its 2014 lineup of TVs. Cinephiles won't have to wait long, as Netflix support is supposed to arrive in the first half of this year, but sports fans shouldn't expect to watch the next big game in 4K just yet — Sony says that it's working with ESPN to provide 4K content, and it isn't clear exactly what form that content will take. YouTube and 500px are in the same situation, but the good news is that content is coming.