Sony updated the rollout plans for its new Ultra HD/4K TV lineup Tuesday, and will look to bridge the 4K content gap with a new media player, a bigger content library, and access to Netflix’s budding lineup 4K streaming titles.
As a follow-on to its original $700 4K media player, Sony’s new model, dubbed the FMP-X10, will provide access to hundreds of titles from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library, including movies such as American Hustle and episodes of NBC’s The Blacklist, and be able to stream 4K content from Netflix, including season two of House of Cards. Netflix confirmed earlier this month that it had begun to offer those titles as well as some nature documentaries in the Ultra HD format.
The new Sony 4K Media Player, compatible with Sony-made Ultra HD sets, will come with 1 terabyte of storage. Sony hasn’t announced a price, but said the new player will be available for purchase this summer.
Sony said its Video Unlimited 4K library is currently stocked with more than 200 titles, with about 50 available at no charge. Sony confirmed last year that the size of its 4K movie files are in the range of 45 gigabytes to 60 GB.
On the TV side, Sony said three new series and a total of nine models from its 4K lineup are now available for pre-sale ahead of a market launch in June. Its XBR-X950B series will retail for a suggested price of $7,999 for the 65-inch class and $24,999 for the 85-inch class. The XBR-X900B will retail for a suggested price of $3,999, $4,999 and $8,999 for the 55” class, 65” class and 79-inch class models. Its XBR-X850B series will sell for $2,099 (49” class), $2,999 (55” class), $3,999 (65” class) and $5,499 (70” class).
Sony noted that it will launch an “entry-level” 4K Ultra HD TV, the XBR-X850B series, later this year.
Sony said all new models support HDMI 2.0, giving them the ability to display 4K/60p content, the frame rates that will be necessary for fast-action video such as live sports. On that end, Sony said it is working with FIFA on a range of 4K initiatives around the 2014 World Cup, including producing three matches in the format.
The new TVs will also feature a decoder for HEVC/H.265, a video compression scheme that is 50% more efficient than MPEG-4/H.264. The new lineup is also compatible with MHL 3.0 which supports 4K output from smartphones and tablets, Sony said.