Sony is ready to redefine what a “high-definition” TV really is, just as the current HDTVs on the market offer quadruple the resolution of what came before, the Japanese electronics manufacturer is about to quadruple it again. Sony’s new flagship television set measures an incredible 84 inches on the diagonal, and has four times the resolution of HDTVs on the market right now. And it’s scheduled to hit shelves in the U.S. this December.
Executive at Sony say they will reveal how much this gigantic TV will cost next week (hint: a LOT), but emphasize that it will be key to ushering in the new generation of “ultra-HD 4K” resolution. Upon this TV’s launch, there will be little content available to take advantage of the 3,840 by 2,160 pixel resolution, meaning all users will really be able to do is up-scale their current DVD and Blu-ray movies. But Phil Molyneux, Sony Electronics’ COO, says it’s the same situation when any new format is released, just like the cassette tape, CD, and DVD, people ask where the content is. Molyneux explains that the demand for content doesn’t begin until the format is launched, creating a kind of cutting-edge tech catch-22.
The real question is, can Sony score a success with yet another attempt in the TV market? We’ve been hearing since April, when new CEO Kazuo Hirai took over, that the company is in drastic need of restructuring after over a decade of losses from their TV division alone. TV manufacturers are itchy to find the next technology upgrade that will get them to upgrade from their current HDTVs. The wave of upgrades from standard-definition sets to current HD models has well passed, and the boom of 3D TVs has fizzled as very few customers are interested. Sony’s seems to be taking a fairly large gamble with such a huge TV set, but then if there’s one thing that customers always seem interested in, it’s technology that makes things “look better.”