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Sony's bonkers 4K TV tested in hands-on pictures

The Sony KD-84X9005 is a 4K TV on show at IFA and it's a lovely piece of kit. Just very expensive, big and heavy.

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Jason Jenkins
Jason Jenkins is the director of content for CNET in EMEA. Based in London, he has been writing about technology since 1999 and was once thrown out of Regent's Park for testing the UK's first Segway.
Jason Jenkins
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In TV manufacturer land, 3D is yesterday's news. HD is laughably old. The next big thing is something called 4K and Sony has announced it will take the bold step of selling a 4K TV across the world, starting this year.

I say bold because, at the moment, no sources can properly take advantage of the screen's resolution, the TV is way larger than most people have room for and it's likely to cost upwards of £20,000. But I can't help loving it all the same.

The 4K here refers to the resolution of the TV. It's much higher than the HD screen in your front room, with a resolution of 3,840x2,160 pixels and the screen measures a ludicrous 84 inches. The higher resolution theoretically means even better picture quality than you're used to, but it also means two people could potentially see different pictures when looking at the same screen.

Sony showed how you could play a driving game against someone else, but instead of needing to use a split-screen, passive 3D glasses let two people see different images. Testing it out, it worked, but you had to be sat in exactly the right place -- when I moved around, I could see hints of the other image.

If you were to have this in your home today, you'd probably be feeding the TV a lower-quality image than it could cope with -- an HD image from a Blu-ray player, for example. That means the TV has to upscale the image to the higher resolution, which Sony says will look a lot better than a normal HD picture. The demonstration I saw seemed to bear this out.

Sony stuck a normal HD TV next to its 4K model and fed it the same HD image, which looked a lot better on the new set. It's a very controlled demonstration that might not translate as well into the real world, but it looked good. Nonetheless, the lack of proper 4K material is a huge problem for this TV, though rumours are circulating that the new PlayStation 4 could support 4K.

The whole thing weighs an incredible 100kg. About 70kg of that is the TV itself and 20kg is the stand with the rest made up by the speakers. Those speakers may be heavy and large, hanging on both sides of the set, but they sound light-years better than any TV's built-in audio I've heard recently.

The price is uncertain because less than a day after Sony showed off this model and said it would cost around 25,000 euros, LG announced something very similar for a full eight grand less. So now the company has gone back to the drawing board on the price front and isn't giving out any pricing information until it's had a rethink.

Are you going to buy this? Should anyone buy this? Of course not. But I want one anyway. Plus a bigger house to put it in.

Have a click through the photos above to see more of Sony's 4K TV.

Editor's note: Sony paid for travel and accommodation for Jason during IFA but had no input into the views expressed in this article.

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The front of Sony's 4K beast.
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Passive 3D glasses let people see different images.
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Sony showed off its 4K TV next to a normal HDTV.
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Sony has a new home cinema amp to go with the set.
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It's a chunky beast compared to a normal LCD TV.
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The speakers at the side sound great.

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