Sony releases first 4K TV: the 84-inch XBR-84X900

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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

Sony has announced its first 4K television, the 84-inch XBR-84X900, which features a separate stereo speaker system and passive 3D viewing.

Sony has unveiled two of its biggest TV innovations of the year, and they're both inside the new XBR-84X900: it's the company's largest screen, to date, and it's one of the first to feature 4K resolution.

The XBR-84X900 is the company's first 4K screen and comes in the single 84-inch size. It's an edge-lit LED-based LCD TV that features passive 3D (another first for Sony) and comes with a 10-driver stereo speaker system.

What is 4K? It's a format that's been used extensively in cinema, but is making its way into lounge rooms in a consumer-friendly 3840x2160-pixel resolution, which is four times as many pixels found in a standard 1080p TV. Sony, among others, makes a 4K home theatre projector, but the only other 4K television announced so far is LG's 84LM9600, another 84-incher that possesses more than a passing resemblance to this XBR.

Sony's representatives at the XBR-84X900's US product launch refused to comment on whether its panel was sourced from LG, but added that: "Anyone can make a 4k panel right? But it's what happens behind the scenes."

When they ship, these monster 84-inch LCDs will actually be the only second-largest flat-panel size widely available to the public. Sharp's 90-inch LC-90LE745U is the biggest, although it "only" has 1080p resolution.

That difference begs the question: is 4K worthwhile in and of itself, or are the benefits of all those extra pixels even visible from normal seating distances? We won't know for sure until we can test it out in person, but let's just say we're quite sceptical. Geoff Morrison's lays out the reasons why 4K TVs are stupid.

One such reason is a lack of 4K content. Apart from one movie, native 4K content is basically nonexistent. To help address this issue, Sony touts the 4K X-Reality PRO picture engine, which is designed to upscale all of your content to the 4K resolution.

The XBR-84X900 will be Sony's first TV with passive 3D. The company claims that the "high-resolution processing powers a 3D-viewing experience that exceeds full HD resolution". As we mentioned during our CES write-up of LG's 84-inch 4K TV, one of the main benefits of that higher resolution could be sharper 3D images.

Other features of the XBR-84X900 include Smart TV with wireless connectivity. The company makes sure to note that you can display digital photos (one of the only 4K sources available today) on the big screen in full 4K resolution.

The 84-inch Sony XBR-84X900 features a 4K resolution and passive 3D
(Credit: Sony)

Sony has not announced pricing yet, but the European version of the TV is said to cost €25,000 (about AUD$30,200). The company promises that the XBR-84X900 will ship before the end of the year to the US market, with no call on Australia at this stage.

Stay tuned for more details, which may come as soon as the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) expo, to kick off on 5 September. In the meantime, here's Sony's official video.

See our hands-on gallery of the XBR-84X900 here.


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