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Sony’s New 4K Player is Built into the TV

Sony's new XBR-84X900 is a gorgeous TV. (With a nod to the Consumer Electronics Association's recent adoption of the "Ultra HD" monicker to describe the 3840×2160 that is not quite what most filmmakers mean when they refer to "4K," Sony seems to be calling the picture format "4K Ultra HD." Only slightly confusing.) But what puzzles a lot of people is the status of actual 4K content delivery to the home.

Sure, the TV will upscale HD content to "4K Ultra HD," just like a quality DVD player will upscale SD content to a pretty-good-looking 1080p. But as long as there is no such thing as a 4K media format, or widespread 4K media streaming, the actual 4K TV seems a little premature.

Well, Sony is looking to change that.

In a blog post yesterday, Sony's Ray Hartjen dropped some not-too-subtle hints about Sony's plans.

In the next couple of weeks, the XBR-84X900 television will ship to customers who placed pre-orders since the product introduction in September. As an extra bonus,included free with the purchase will be the world’s first 4K Ultra HD delivery solution, complete with pre-loaded, native 4K entertainment. Not some goofy 4K content shot as a demo. I’m talking full length feature Hollywood productions, and available exclusively to purchasers of Sony’s 84” 4K Ultra HD TV.

Details were short — OK, there were no details — but Hartjen said Sony will be making an announcement after the Thanksgiving holiday. Whatever Sony announces, it will coexist with whatever makes up Red's still-secret, soon-to-be-announced 4K content distribution network, which will be part of its new Redray system. (It seems unlikely that Sony and Red, clear rivals in the professional space, are teasing the same 4K delivery system. Weirder things happen in this business, and new media formats can make for strange bedfellows, but we're assuming for now that these are rival systems.)

Might Sony's announcement happen on Black Friday, the traditional kick-off of the seasonal shopping frenzy in the U.S.? They do have some TVs to sell, after all — not to mention some professional 4K cameras. Stay tuned.

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