Sony TVs 2012: Ten is enough

CNET compares the 2012 lineups of major TV makers based on their CES announcements.

The HX850 is one of only three series of LED TV that Sony announced at CES 2012. Sony

This year at CES 2012 Sony announced just ten total televisions--a pittance compared with last year or any of its Korean of Japanese competitors.

Maybe the company is holding out and will announce more models, perhaps including an XBR, later this year, but for now the chart below, with its seven lonely models, is it.

Moreover the TVs detailed below are largely similar to last year's models. While Samsung and LG announced shipping OLEDs --a technology Sony ditched in 2009 --the only next-gen display technology in Sony's booth was a prototype "crystal" LED that may never see the light of day. While Sharp added local dimming to more of its huge-screen line, Sony subtracted that coveted feature and didn't announce a TV larger than 55 inches. While Panasonic touted a complete redesign of its plasma panels, Sony trotted out more tired mentions of "X-reality" processing and Gorilla Glass in its LCDs.

In Sony's favor its 2011 TVs were very good in general, especially at the high end: I gave the KDL-NX720 my Editors' Choice and the superb XBR-HX929 reigned for most of the year as the best LED TV, at least until the Elite came along.

You won't find these new 2012 TVs described on Sony's Web site yet. The company, like its competitors, holds back its Web site updates until the 2012 models start shipping.

Anyway, here's the table. Scroll lower in the post for more detail and click through to the series links for even more, including in-depth blog posts.

Notes:

  1. "MAP Price" stands for Minimum Advertised Price, meaning the price most merchants will advertise when the product launches. It's usually a couple hundred less than Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

  2. An entry of "X" or a brief description (e.g., "frame dimming") means the TV has the feature. A blank entry means it does not. An entry of "TBD" means I don't know yet.

  3. I'm not sure how the frame dimming on the HX750 differs from the standard Dynamic Edge LED found on the HX850, but I suspect it's somehow worse than the scheme I liked so much on the NX720. Check out my LED backlight explainer for more on edge lighting and local dimming.

  4. On the other hand I don't think the two varieties of X-reality engine will amount to much of a picture quality difference between the 850 and the 750; ditto the 850's Motionflow XR 960 over the 750's Motionflow XR 480.

  5. Here's a refresher on passive vs. active 3D. No word yet on whether Sony will include 3D glasses with any of these sets, or whether they'll suffer the same intolerance for head tilt I griped about on the 2011 models.

  6. The 2011 version of Sony's Smart TV suite was one of the most content-rich, although its interface lagged behind the competition. It appears largely unchanged this year.

  7. By "frameless" Monolithic design the HX850's press release specifies a thin bezel, although I don't know how thin. I'm also unclear how the 750 qualifies as Monolithic in its own right, since it appears to have a visible frame instead of the one-sheet face of past so-badged Sonys.

  8. I don't list refresh rate on the chart because frankly, I don't think it matters. The same goes for numerous other specs you won't find on these tables.

  9. Please don't ask for other information, including dimensions, contrast ratios, whether these will be better or worse than last year, or when Sony will announce "the rest" of its 2012 TVs. This table, and the blog posts and videos behind it (feel free to click through!) represent pretty much the extent of my/CNET's current knowledge about Sony's 2012 TVs.

Want to check out the 2012 lineups of other TV makers?

Changelog:

  • Feb 2nd: Added the three CCFL-based LCD models, modified headline and post accordingly ("Seven is enough" became "Ten is enough," etc).
  • Feb 13th: Added leaked MAP pricing for most models per HDGuru.com, edited first note accordingly.
 

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