Sony's new "Z Series" flagship aims to claim HDR supremacy.
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Today Sony announced a new "Z Series" line of 4K, HDR-ready flagship TVs. The Z Series (or Z9D) line takes the top spot amongst Sony's 2016 TV lineup, supplanting the previous flagship X940D/X930D series of HDR 4K televisions.
The Z Series will be available in three sizes: 65-inch, 75-inch, and 100-inch models, with the 65- and 75-inch sizes available now for pre-order. Sony has already announced pricing, and as you can imagine for a flagship series contending for HDR supremacy, these TVs aren't cheap:
• 65-inch (XBR-65Z9D), $6,999 (available for pre-order)
• 75-inch (XBR-75Z9D), $9,999 (available for pre-order)
• 100-inch (XBR-100Z9D), pricing and availability TBD
According to Sony, the new Z Series wields the "Backlight Master Drive," a newly engineered full-array LED backlight system that Sony first demonstrated as a prototype during CES in January. The Z Series would appear to be the fruit of that labor, and may be Sony's most technologically advanced TV ever.
During CES, Sony claimed the new backlight system would deliver up to 4,000 nits of brightness. That would make it four times as bright as the next brightest HDR TV, to put it into perspective. The backlight features "a dense LED structure with a super-accurate lighting algorithm," and something Sony is calling a calibrated beam LED for enhanced control over local-dimming zones.
Sony has also enhanced the chromatic bit-mapping (up to 14 bits), which should allow for smoother gradations for standard dynamic range (8-bit) and high dynamic range (10-bit) content. Naturally, the Z9D HDR TVs will feature wide color support, high contrast, 4K resolution, and 120 Hz refresh rates to put them in line with 2016's other premium HDR TVs. Sony did not announce Dolby Vision support.
Last but not least, the Z Series TVs will feature Sony's Android TV smart platform, and a "black slate" design schema.
We can't wait to get one of the new Z Series TVs in for a full review; if you can't wait either, you can pre-order from Sony's website or Amazon.com today.
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