Sony USA has dropped a pre-CES hint to its plans for what it calls the ‘4K Ultra HD’ format — it will include “the world’s first 4K Ultra HD delivery solution” free with any purchase of its KD-84X9000 BRAVIA TV.
Sony continually refers to the new post-Full HD format as 4K or 4K Ultra HD, despite a CEA announcement that the format’s official name is Ultra HD, saying it will “ensure clarity for customers”.
In a blog post on Sony.com yesterday, Sony public relations manager Ray Hartjen let slip a teaser of the company’s future prospects for Ultra HD.
After giving a quick intro to the technology, Hartjen went on to write “Okay, I know what you’re thinking – What about 4K content, right?” Sony has significant experience in Ultra HD content, with cinema-grade Ultra HD projectors since 2005 (and consumer-grade since 2011), professional Ultra HD broadcast cameras, and an Ultra HD up-scaling Blu-ray player in the BDP-S790.
Sony also owns Columbia Pictures, one of the Big Six major film studios. Columbia parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment “turns out 4K production every day” according to Hartjen — and it’s this in-house partnership that Sony is using to give itself a leg up in the still-brewing Ultra HD war with LG, Samsung and Toshiba.
“Do you really think we’d leave our 4K Ultra HD TV customers hanging?”
According to the blog post, Sony will be including “the world’s first 4K Ultra HD delivery system” with every KD-84X9000 Ultra HD BRAVIA TV that it ships out to customers who have pre-ordered since September.
It is not yet clear what format the content will take — whether it is a Blu-ray-esque high density compact disc format, or whether it is based on the same hard drive platform that is used to distribute Ultra High Definition video for cinema projection.
Whatever device that Sony USA is shipping to customers along with its 84-inch BRAVIA, it will come pre-loaded with “pre-loaded, native 4K entertainment”, namely full feature-length Hollywood film productions. Some films that Sony has been attached to in 2012 include Skyfall, Looper, The Amazing Spider-Man and Total Recall.
Ending the blog post, Hartjen promises a further, more official announcement after ‘turkey day’ — Thanksgiving, which is on the 22nd of November in the USA. Realistically, this means we should see more information about Sony’s plans from as early as next week locally.
Sony has a history of pioneering consumer audio-visual media formats. Its technically-superior Betamax video tapes were supplanted by the more consumer-friendly VHS, while the company had a success when current market leader Blu-ray won the HD format war against Toshiba's HD DVD. Sony's MiniDisc digital audio disc format was rendered obsolete in 2011 after the final Sony minidisc player was discontinued, although the discs themselves still have a cult following.
The KD-84X9000 is expected to ship to Australian customers from December onwards. Sony Australia has been contacted for comment.