You have to hand it to Sony. The company danced around LCD for years, giving token gestures to the flat-screen fraternity and refusing to take it seriously. But all it took was a load of bouncing balls (and a, of course) to make the Bravia range one of the most recognisible LCD ranges in existence, and a powerful statement of intent to the likes of Panasonic and Sharp. But the TV world moves fast, and it only takes mere months before a new range replaces the old one. Come April and May, there'll be brand new Sony Bravia ranges in stores, and Crave has been casting its eye over some of the specifications.
The new ranges come in 'S', 'V' and 'X' flavours, with prices and specifications rising with each letter. The specs for the 'S' range are actually a mite disappointing -- the 32-, 40- and 46-inch screens only feature one HDMI input and a 720p LCD panel, putting them in line with current-generation technology and behind the latestand LCDs.
At least they feature an integrated digital Freeview tuner, a 1,300:1 contrast ratio and an 8ms response time. The 'S' series will be available in April, with the 32-inch model at £1,300, the 40-inch at £2,000 and the 46-inch at a ball-shaking £3,000. There will also be a 26-inch model at £1,000, but with a slightly lower contrast ratio. The 'V' range is very similar, with a better picture quality promised thanks to Sony's Live Colour Creation Technology. They'll launch in May with a slight premium over the 'S' range, and will hopefully make those bouncing balls even more rich and vivid.
If you're looking for a noticeable advancement in Sony's feature set, you'll have to look to the Bravia 'X' range. This high-end set of LCDs come in the same 32-, 40- and 46-inch sizes, but feature 1080p panels for the very best high definition picture quality. The company has been making plenty of noise about 1080p from both its Blu-ray and PlayStation 3 camps, but the 'X' series is the only range from the company to support the new format.
We couldn't get pricing from Sony at the time of publication, but with such new technology expect to pay a high premium. The 'X' range has the brand new Bravia Engine Ex to cope with such high-end demands though, as well as dual-HDMI inputs and an integrated Freeview tuner. We can't wait to get our hands on the first 1080p TVs and experience the pinnacle of HDTV picture quality, so keep an eye on CNET to find out whether it really is the future of television. -GC
Update: We now have full reviews of the, the and the in our reviews channel.