Sony Launches Flurry of 3D-Ready HDTVs, Home Theater Components

Consumer electronics makers have been getting ready to dive headlong into the world of 3D for a while, and Sony has just made it’s first major splash: the company’s 3D-capable Bravia high-definition LCD flatscreen televisions are now available for pre-sale at Sony stores, and the company has announced it’s bringing 3D-capable Blu-ray players and home theater audio systems to stores in July. Plus, folks who bought recent Sony Blu-ray player and home theater systems with the advertised ability to handle 3D in the future will be happy to know the future has arrived: Sony has released a free firmware update to enable 3D capability in those products.

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“3D is revolutionizing the entertainment industry and only Sony is involved in every stage of the ecosystem,” said Sony’s television business VP Chris Fawcett, in a statement. “Leveraging deep 3D expertise from the company’s theatrical and professional groups, Sony products are optimized to offer the best possible 3D home entertainment experience.”

The 3D-capable Bravia HDTV lineup consists of three models: the Bravia XBR-LX900, the Bravia XBR-HX909, and the KDL-HZ800 series. Screen sizes range from 40 to 60 inches, with prices at the low end starting at about $2,100 for the 40-inch KDL-40HX800 to about $5,000 for the 60-inch XBR-60LX900.

The XB-LX900 features Sony’s “Monolithic” design, edge LEC backlighting, and integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi for streaming content from the Internet; the unit features an integrated sync transmitter and two pairs of Sony’s active shutter glasses for fooling the eye into thinking it’s perceiving a 3D image. The XBr-HX909 and KDL-HX800 series are “3D-ready:” to tap into 3D content, users will need to purchase a $50 sync transmitter add-on and Sony’s proprietary 3D active shutter glasses…which run about $150 per pair. The HX909’s sport 42-inch and 46-inch sizes; the KDL-HX800s run from 55 inches down to 40 inches.

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For getting 3D content into those TVs, Sony is rolling out 3D-capable Blu-ray players: the BDP-S770 model will sport built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Sony’s BDV-HZ970Z home theater system will support 5.1-audio and includes a USB 802.11n wireless Lan adapter for tapping into Sony’s Bravia Internet Video service: it’ll also pack two HDMI inputs with 3D passthrough and an HDMI repeater. Sony’s existing BDP-S470 and BDP-S570 Blu-ray players can be upgraded to 3D via a firmware update, along with the BDV-E570 and BDV-E770W Blu-ray home theater systems.

To smooth all this out, Sony plans to launch a major marketing campaign to promote its 3D technology, and also run dedicated training vents at retailers so sales reps are up to speed on the technology. Look to see NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Sony Music artist Justin Timberlake working to “eliminate 3D confusion.”

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