Sony Drops New LCD TVs, AV Receivers

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

At this week’s CEDIA expo in Denver, electronics maker Sony unveiled two new high-definition 52-inch Bravia LCD televisions and new 1080p-capable AV receivers designed to serve as centerpieces of both audiophile and home theater fans’ dreams.

First, Sony’s two new 52-inch Braivia LCD televisions—the KDL-52XBR2 and KDL-52XBR3—sport the Bravia “floating glass” design (which, really, fails to ispire thoughts of safety during earthquakes, but who are we to argue with style?) and offer full 1080p (1,920 by 1,080 pixel) resolution for the best in high-definition. Both units feature three HDMI inputs, native contrast ratios of 1,300:1 (cranked to 7,000:1 by Sony’s Advanced Contrast Enhancer technology), plus Sony’s Bravia Engine Pro digital image processing system, Sony’s Live Color Creation technology, and a built-in ATSC tuner, a PC input, two high-definition component inputs, one S-video input, and three composite inputs. The main differences between the units? The 52XBR3 is black, and the 52XBR2 is silver…oh, and the silver one is $300 cheaper at $6,500. (We’ll let you do the math to figure out the price of the black model. Expect then to be available in November 2006.

In addition, Sony rolled out two new “ES” AV receivers—where “ES” stands for “Elevated Standard”—offering support for 1080p video sources. The new STR-DA5200ES features te debut of Sony’s Cross Media Bar-inspired icon-based menu system for configuration and setup, while the more-affordable STR-DA3200ES enables pass-through for 1080p sources and caters to the market who’s more likely to hook everything up once and live with the results rather than move through menus just to look at pretty icons.

The STR-DA5200ES incorporates the Faroudja DCDi Cinema upscaler, which lets the unit upscale connected video sources to 1080p for display, as well as downscale video for monitoring multiple sources, including multi-zone functions and even surveillance; Sony characterizes the unit as the “most powerful video performing A/V receiver on the market.” The unit also offers picture-in-picture source monitoring and automatic, 30-second speaker calibration, 7.1 channel audio with 120 watts for each channel, upscaling for S-video, component, and composite sources, and features built-in support for XM Satellite Radio Connect and Play and XM Neural 5.1 surround stations. “This receiver was designed with what we call the Full HD 1080 experience in mind, upscaling any source to 1080p, along with the addition of a clever new interface,” said Jeff Goldstein, Sony Electronics’ Home Products Division VP of marketing.

And they’re really pushing the interface: the Cross Media Bar-inspired system ca be displayed onscreen in HD either through the HDMI or component connections, or in standard definition via S-video or composite hookups. Each connected source can be identified by icon, and inputs can be assigned and named using an onscreen keyboard and built-in icons. The interface also provides descriptions and definitions of functions and terms as users scroll over the icons, and hides advanced operations away for safer navigation when toggling between settings. Expect it in October for about $1,500.

Don’t need the pretty icons? The STR-DA3200ES offers the same 120-watt 7.1 audio support and two assignable HDMI, component, and optical connections with active intelligence witching and support for up to eight channels of uncompressed audio. The unit offers multi-channel surround-source setup, text-based onscreen configuration display, multi-room function for two-channel setups, and XM Satellite Radio Connect and Play support. What’s missing? No upscaling. The STR-DA3200ES will happily pass along and display 1080p content, but it’s not going to convert, say, terrestrial HD broadcasts to 1080p just so you can say you’re doing that. However, the price tag is just $900, and it should be available this month.

Curious what else Sony showed at CEDIA? (Hint: more LCD displays, some affordable to mere mortals.) Check out their showcase pages.

Product Review

Acer Predator Triton 500 review

Nvidia’s new RTX 2080 Max-Q is the fastest GPU you’ll find in any laptop, but it usually comes at a steep price. Acer’s Predator Triton 500, starting at $2,500, makes it a little more affordable. But what must you sacrifice in the…

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Product Review

Simple and reliable, Apple's AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds

Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones have dominated the market essentially since they hit stores in December 2016. Though not without some faults, they cracked the connectivity code to rank among the best fully wireless earbuds you can…
Home Theater

ESPN Plus scores the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events

If MMA is your game, then ESPN Plus is now a very important player. The Disney-owned service locked up the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, a deal that will last through 2025 in the United States.
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Home Theater

Cheer for your favorite NCAA team and Xfinity will respond with matching lights

Screaming at your favorite team just became a lot more rewarding thanks to Comcast's Xfinity voice remote and some special NCAA commands that set your smart lightbulbs to your favorite team's colors.

Amazon slashes prices on UE Boom and MegaBoom 3 Bluetooth speakers

With just the right combination of great sound, a rugged design, and an overall sleek aesthetic, the UE MegaBoom 3 is our favorite Bluetooth speaker. And Amazon is offering a rare discount on it right now.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Home Theater

TCL drops the price of its 75-inch 6-Series 4K Roku TV to $1,500

March is a great time for TV deals, and we've got a whopper: TCL has taken $300 off the price of its superb 75-inch 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV, making it $1,500. That's the lowest price ever on this affordable TV.