Sony is Not Aiming Its 4K TVs at the Mass Market

– Least Expensive Model Goes for $2,199

Sony intends to stay at the high end of the UHD TV market as shown by the prices and features of its new UHD TVs. All are smart TVs based on the same Android OS that’s found in Android based smartphones. That’ll make it easy to operate for users of Android smartphones but not the many iOS smartphone users. Its two main rivals, Samsung (Tizen) and LG (WebOS) own their operating systems.

Sony’s new UHD prices are:

UHD Models
55-inch $2,199
65-inch $3,499
75-inch $4,999

They’re not mass market prices, are they? Mass market being defined these days as well under $2,000 with some models $1,000 or less. By comparison, Walmart is selling Samsung’s new 55-inch UHD TV for $999, $1,200 less than the comparable Sony 55-inch model.

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Sony TVs will use Android OS

 

Sony is using the Android OS because of its familiarity, according to Philip Jones, manager of sound & home entertainment product technology and training for Sony Electronics. Jones said, “We are striving to simplify the user experience, and that is why we are using Android TV in our 2015 TVs. It is already the world’s most popular mobile platform, so it is familiar, easy to use and easily integrates with other devices in the home for a seamless experience.”

The built-in Google Chromecast lets users “cast” videos and pictures from device, including iOS devices, to the TV set.

Sony is going after the high-end market with two new UHD sets that support high dynamic range (HDR).

UHD Models with HDR
65-inch $4,499.99
75-inch $7,999.99

Sony said HDR supports improved brightness – “letting viewers see things in bright and dark areas of the screen that they have never seen before,” according to Jones. The HDR capability will be available with a download sometimes this summer.

Neil King, head of home entertainment for Sony UK and Ireland, said, “Sony has always been the leader in 4K and our exclusive Sony technologies have been at the core of providing TV lovers with the best picture quality, no matter what content they are watching. Our decades of experience allow us to introduce merging industry standard HDR to our 4K Ultra HD TV series and to reinforce contrast thanks to Sony’s unique technology X-tended Dynamic Range PRO.”

Like 4K content, HDR content must be filmed, mastered and transmitted in HDR. Unlike 4K, there is very little HDR content now. Sony said Netflix and Amazon Instant Video will offer HDR streams by year-end and the upcoming UHD Blu-ray format will also support HDR – assuming the studios film in HDR and provide HDR masters to the producers of the UHD Blu-ray discs. Until then, as with 4K, HDR content will only be available from OTT services.

And…
Sony is eliminating itself from the mass market by focusing on high-priced, high quality UHD TVs. The question is whether Samsung, LG and, in the States, Vizio will cede the high-profit, high-quality market to Sony – or whether they will offer UHD TVs with lots of quality features services that want to begin…

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