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Sony finally confirms 2006 SXRD details

Sony finally confirms 2006 SXRD details

The cat may have been out of the bag for months, but Sony has finally made it official. At a press event at the Home Entertainment Show in Los Angeles today, the company unveiled official details on its 2006 lineup of SXRD-equipped rear-projection televisions, successors to our 2006 Editors' Choice Award winner, the KDS-RXBR1 series.

This year's SXRDs will come in two flavors: the entry-level KDS-A2000 line and the step-up KDS-RXBR2 line, which Sony is calling SXRD XBR (forgive me, but that's an Rx for confusion if I ever saw one). The main difference between the two TVs is in their speaker arrangements: the entry-level models will have speakers on the bottom, while the step-up XBRs will sport side-mounted speakers, similar to last year's models. In the 70-inch version only, you can also remove the side speakers if you want a slimmer look (unlike I indicated previously, the 60-inch model's side speakers are fixed). Although Sony showed a slim SXRD at CES in January, the new models' depths aren't any shallower than usual; the 55-incher, for example, measures 19 inches deep, hardly wall-hangable.

The XBR sets also feature an extra front-mounted HDMI port for a total of three (unlike last year, all HDMI inputs on the 2006 SXRDs can handle 1080p); a CableCard slot with a TV Guide EPG; and a supposedly superior version of Sony's video processing, known as DRC-MFV2.5. The non-XBR sets have an extra component-video input on the front panel, for a total of three. We expect the two lines to offer nearly identical performance, which, if last year's models are any indication, should be pretty darn good.

July 7th, 2006 update: I'd originally complained about the relatively high prices of the A2000 series, but Sony has since lowered the expected street prices on those models by about $700, and instituted earlier shipping dates (see below). At its new price of $2,800 the 50-inch SXRD, for example, compares favorably with Samsung's entry-level 50-inch 1080p DLP, the HL-S5087W. Pricing on the step-up XBR2 series has not changed as far as we know. Of course we'll reserve final judgment on all of these TVs until we've had a chance to test them in person. There's no substitute for a real review, but in the meantime, we can give you a real chart.

KDS-50A2000 KDS-55A2000 KDS-60A2000 KDS-R60XBR2 KDS-R70XBR2
Screen size 50 inches 55 inches 60 inches 60 inches 70 inches
Street price $2,800 $3,300 $3,700 $5,300 $7,800
Available August August August Early fall Early fall
Native resolution 1,920x1,080 (1080p) 1,920x1,080 (1080p) 1,920x1,080 (1080p) 1,920x1,080 (1080p) 1,920x1,080 (1080p)
Display technology SXRD (LCoS) SXRD (LCoS) SXRD (LCoS) SXRD (LCoS) SXRD (LCoS)
HDMI inputs 2 2 2 3 3
1080p via HDMI? Y Y Y Y Y
Component-video inputs 3 3 3 2 2
CableCard w/TVG EPG N N N Y Y
DRC 2.5 N N N Y Y
Detachable speakers N N N N Y

More resources:

  • LCoS and SXRD explained
  • Rear-projection HDTV explained
  • 2005 1080p HDTV shoot-out
  • Editors' top rear-projection HDTVs
  • Sony's 2006 TV product page
  • Sony's 2006 step-up flat-panel LCDs