This will be the year of Freeview HD -- it's a low-cost way for people to access excellent free hi-def services from the BBC, ITV and soon, Channel 4. Sony has announced it will be the first to sell TVs with the necessary hardware to receive these broadcasts built-in, with sets going on sale this week.
Sony is pumping out three different ranges that'll support HD terrestrial broadcasts. We had a look at these at CES, but we have more specific UK deets now. The 'Cinematic' HX703 range has 200Hz picture processing and is 3D-ready. It will come in 40- and 46-inch screen sizes and has an OptiCast panel, which Sony says produces a "cinematic viewing experience". We assume this doesn't mean it restricts your leg room and phones its mates.
The NX803 'Network' range has two screen sizes of 40 and 52 inches and features built-in Wi-Fi to access video streaming services such as Internet widgets, movies from LoveFilm and DLNA access to media on your home network. The TV uses LED edge lighting to provide impressive blacks and an ultra-slim style. Sony also describes these TVs as having a "Monolithic appearance" which we assume means they will change watching apes into a space-faring species that will ultimately discover that the TV is "full of stars".
Finally, the more basic 'Essential' EX703 models are LED edge-lit, feature Wi-Fi for online content and widgets, and include the energy-saving 'presence sensor' that makes sure you're still watching TV, and switches itself off if you aren't. These TVs are available in 40- and 46-inch screen sizes and have Bravia Engine 3 and 100Hz MotionFlow.
Sony's Web site is offering RRPs on the range, with the 46-inch HX703 going for £1,500, the 40-inch NX803 setting you back £1,600 and the 40-inch EX703 ready for pre-order for a mere £1,100.
Although the TVs should be in shops this week, Sony says we can't have one until next week. When it arrives you can expect hands-on photos and a full review in due course.