Early adopters who spend $25,000 on Sony's 84-inch Ultra High-Definition BRAVIA TV will have a handful of movies to watch on it as soon as it's plugged in — in the US, at least.
Sony has announced that the TV bundle it's selling in the United States will include a proprietary hard-disc-based media player, for viewing movies in the next-generation video format. The player will come pre-loaded with 10 cinematic releases , including The Amazing Spider-Man, the 2012 remake of Total Recall, Taxi Driver and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Sony Australia has made no similar announcement, and has previously responded that the deal is not applicable for Australian buyers: "At this stage, this is a local US initiative with Sony Pictures Entertainment."
Some Ultra HD demo videos will also be included with the US bundle, and Sony says "further product and content announcements" are coming shortly — possibly more free movies for download, or an online store for permanent purchases. Red Bull Media House — producers of the brilliantly-shot Art of Flight and Where the Trail Ends — are on board for short Ultra HD clips. US buyers are further spoiled with a bundled Xperia Tablet S, which will function as a Wi-Fi remote control for the TV and Ultra HD media player system.
LG and Sony are the only companies in Australia with Ultra HD TVs announced and beginning to become available to general customers. CES 2013 will almost certainly introduce more Ultra HD televisions from other TV market competitors like Samsung.
Ultra HD content is extremely light on the ground at the moment, with the only easily-available movie release being the Ultra HD H.264 download or hard-disc-based version of TimeScapes. Both Sony and LG are touting their Ultra HD TVs' ability to up-scale Full HD content from a connected Blu-ray player, but native Ultra HD content is unquestionably scarce. Sony has the advantage of its Sony Pictures cinema production wing to produce blockbuster movies, but this deal shows that it's currently limited to early-adopter buyers of Sony's $25K BRAVIAs — which will begin to be shipped to customers in Australia on or around the 15th of December.
It is possible that a more permanent solution will come in the form of hard-disc players and downloadable Ultra HD video, but with restrictive data quotas and comparatively slow Internet connections, a removable Blu-ray-style disc solution is more likely to find widespread acceptance in Australia.