The New In 2016 : Sony VS Panasonic
Thinking of picking up a new HD TV? Here are all the pricing, release dates, specs and features for each big brand’s 2016 TV lineup. This years TVs are brighter (and darker, but only in the places you need it most) and just that little bit smarter.
With Netflix and other TV and film producers starting to bring out content in HDR, or High Dynamic Range format, it’s no surprise that this year’s TV range from each producer is putting a focus on screens that can display this content to its best. Screens are also getting thinner, with some only a few credit cards thick, while companies like Samsung are trying (almost successfully) to get rid of the screen’s outer bezel entirely.
While many features have been retained from last year, let’s take a quick look at what’s new for TV screens this year.
What’s New This Year?
HDR Is The New 4K:
Like the other manufacturers, Sony is making a big push for HDR across their range this year, coinciding with Netflix’s plans to add 100 hours of HDR-ready content by August this year.
It makes use of Sony’s new backlighting technologies to dynamically lighten and darken certain sections of the screen. As with the others TVs, however, it is dependent on the content being displayed on the screen as much as the screen itself, but Sony expects to be seeing more HDR compatible content cropping up on TV, Blu-ray titles and internet streaming services.
Slim Backlight Drive: Dynamic Lighting And Dimming:
Sony’s Slim Backlight Drive is the driving force behind its claims to HDR greatness, boasting as much about the TVs’ slim profile as it does about the picture quality. The technology uses a grid-array backlighting structure, designed to be able to boost peak brightness and black levels with precision, and enhance contrast for ideal HDR viewing.
The package has been slimmed down considerably from previous TVs with similar technology, as Sony opines that “a television should be great to look at in any environment,” and that a TV featuring the Slim Backlight Drive “sits close to the wall and virtually disappears into it, leaving behind little but the picture itself.” While Sony is employing a little bit of hyperbole here, its TVs nevertheless have been designed with a slim and clean profile.
Ultra HD Premium: Better Than 4K.
Panasonic’s flagship DX902 4K TV has been certified ‘Ultra HD Premium’ — in case you were wondering what the next step up from 4K was, without going all the way to the ultimately useless extravagance of 8K. Ultra HD Premium is a badge bestowed by the UHD Alliance for certain TVs that meet the specifications of being a ‘premium’ 4K TV.
The resolution isn’t any different from your standard UHD TVs, but the ‘premium’ badge requires high quality colour, various audio standards and (surprise, surprise) HDR.
Firefox OS 2.0: Web Apps And More:
All Panasonic’s smart TVs run Firefox OS, along with Panasonic’s ‘Beyond Smart’ interface. The OS is due for an update later this year, however, which promises a heap of new features such as Web Apps with curated TV or web content with everything from games and weather to news and VOD optimised for Panasonic’s smart TV range.
The update also promises connectivity across multiple platforms running Firefox, such as a “send to TV” feature that sounds like it will operate similarly to Google’s Chromecast, sharing Web content from iOS or Android.
Colour And Contrast: Films As Hollywood Intended.
Panasonic cites a close working relationship with the film industry as the impetus for a number of new, quality-enhancing technologies included in the flagship DX900 TVs. One of these is a new colour compensation algorithm, which allows the TV to reproduce hues and tones within the Rec. 709 standard space at any level of brightness — for enhanced colour accuracy. The DX900 also features a new honeycomb-structure local dimming technology to enhance brightness and bring out details in high-contrast scenes.
•X9400D Series 75 inches 4K HDR TV — price and availability TBC
•X9300D KD65X9300D 65 inch 4K HDR TV, available late April — RRP $5,999
•X9300D KD55X9300D 55 inch 4K HDR TV, available late April — RRP $3,999
•X8500D KD85X8500D 85 inch 4K HDR TV, availability TBC — RRP $14,999
•X8500D KD75X8500D 75 inch 4K HDR TV, available early May — RRP $7,499
•X8500D KD65X8500D 65 inch 4K HDR TV, available late April — RRP $4,499
•X8500D KD55X8500D 55 inch 4K HDR TV, available late April — RRP $2,999
•W750D Series 43 inch Full HD LCD TV — price and availability TBC
•W750D Series 49 inch Full HD LCD TV — price and availability TBC
•W650D Series 55 inch Full HD LCD TV — price and availability TBC
•W600D Series 32 inch HD LCD TV — price and availability TBC
•TH-65DX900U 65 inches, available late May — RRP $7149
•TH-58DX900U 58 inches, available late May — RRP $5799
•TH-65DX740U 65 inches, available now — RRP $4599
•TH-58DX740U 58 inches, available now — RRP $3299
•TH-50DX740U 50 inches, available now — RRP $2649
•TH-65DX700A 65 inches, available now — RRP $4599
•TH-58DX700A 58 inches, available now — RRP $3299
•TH-50DX700A 50 inches, available now — RRP $2649
•TH-65DX640A 65 inches, available now — RRP $4199
•TH-55DX640A 55 inches, available now — RRP $2999
•TH-55DX600U 55 inches, available late May — RRP $2649
•TH-49DX600U 49 inches, available late July — RRP $2199
•TH-40DX600U 40 inches, available late May — RRP $1749
•TH-65DS610U 65 inches, available now — RRP $3649
•TH-55DS610U 55 inches, available late May — RRP $2299
•TH-50DS610U 50 inches, available now — RRP $1899
•TH-40DS610 40 inches, available now — RRP $1449
•TH-49D400A 49 inches, available now — RRP $1449
•TH-40D400A 40 inches, available late May — RRP $1099
•TH-32D400A 32 inches, available now — RRP $549