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Sony breeds bevies of Bravias

Sony's 2007 line show includes announcements on new Bravia flat-panel LCD TVs.

Sony KDL-46S3000
Sony's KDL-46S3000 is one of seven new LCDs.
Sony KDL-40V3000
Sony's V3000 series includes 1080p resolution. Sony
Sony KDL-34XBR4
Sony's KDL-34XBR4: Best features of the bunch. Sony

Just when you thought Sony's 2006 lineup of flat-panel LCD HDTVs was getting a little long in the tooth, out come the 2007 models. Today the company announced seven new Bravias, an acronym for--I kid you not--"Best Resolution Audio Visual Integrated Architecture." In fact, a whole press release was dedicated to how Sony intends to extend the brand to nontelevision products, like home-theater systems, but I doubt anyone outside Sony's marketing department cares. And if you happen to care about how much you'll be asked to spend on the new TVs, you're out of luck: Sony didn't announce pricing.

The most basic series, the KDL-S3000 line that succeeds the current KDL-S2000 line, consists of four models sized at 26, 32, 40, and 46 inches. Each has a native resolution of 1,366x768. All but the 26-inch model have an improved backlight, which is said to help color reproduction, and the 40- and 46-inch models add 10-bit color, which should cut down on false contouring. Their styling is mostly black with a silver frame and rounded corners. Sony did deign to specify that it would ship the 26-inch model in summer and the others sometime this spring.

The step-up KDL-V3000 series includes a 40- and a 46-inch model, both shipping this summer. They up the ante with 1,920x1,080 (aka 1080p) native resolution and also include the improved backlight, 10-bit color, and an entirely black cabinet with sharp corners. Their HDMI inputs can handle 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 sources. The company didn't specify whether the sets could change refresh rates to a multiple of 24, which could help improve picture quality.

Finally Sony announced its only HDTV that deserves the "XBR" label, the KDL-32XBR4 (available sometime this spring). This 32-inch, 1,366x768 LCD TV has all of the features of the V3000 series but adds a 120Hz scan rate, which has the effect of "eliminating image blurring and motion artifacts like 'judder,'" according to the press release. It also offers a third HDMI input along with the ability to input PC signals via one of the HDMI ports. We expect this feature set to be indicative of larger XBR4 models sure to be announced later this year.

Sony also announced new rear-projection LCD TVs and more details on its Bravia Internet Link product, with which all seven of the above LCDs are compatible.