Sony has gone Yahoo "widget"-happy with its TV lineup for 2009, incorporating the Internet-enabled doodads into two of the series announced at CES.
Described as "Internet applications...that deliver real-time information" in the press release, widgets "expand and personalize the TV experience by adding on-screen applications that provide such real-time information as weather reports, stock ticker updates, financial news, Yahoo! Video, Flickr images, and additional content."
The three-model "Z-series," which consists of the 40-inch KDL-40Z5100, the 46-inch KDL-46Z5100, and the 52-inch KDL-46Z5100, will be available in the spring for yet-to-be-determined prices. It boasts nearly identical features to the company's higher-end XBR9 series, although styling and price will differ. According to Sony, the XBR models also feature a wider color gamut backlight, but we doubt the improvement will be obvious to most viewers.
All Z-series models include a fluorescent backlight (as opposed to the LED-backlit XBR8 series from 2008) and 240Hz refresh rates, so we expect video-processing performance to be similar to that of the 240Hz Sony KDL-52XBR7 we reviewed last year.
One notable addition to Sony TVs this year is an Internet-powered TV Guide Onscreen. It should be an improvement over standard TV Guide, and we're looking forward to testing it. Interactive features aside from widgets include compatibility with the company's Bravia Internet Video Link and improved DLNA capability over the 2008 models--now the Sonys can stream video and music from networked PCs, just like Samsungs and Pioneers. Other features common to the line include four HDMI inputs, a PC input, and an improved XMB-style interface.
Sony KDL-Z5100 models
- Sony KDL-40Z5100 ($TBD)
- Sony KDL-46Z5100 ($TBD)
- Sony KDL-52Z5100 ($TBD)