As expected, the Sony press conference emphasized UHD/4K, citing the company's involvement in every aspect of 4K content capture, production, distribution, and display. Sony's Video Unlimited service now offers over 140 UHD titles for download to its video server, and it is working with YouTube on a new 4K codec dubbed VP9 to allow more efficient streaming.
Sony also announced a partnership with Netflix, bringing Netflix president Reed Hastings on stage to claim, "The Internet is a natural medium to deliver 4K." Not sure I agree with that, but Hastings did say that with HEVC (aka H.265), streaming 4K would requires a bandwidth to the home of less than 15 Mbps. We also learned that season 2 of House of Cards, which is shot on Red digital cameras, will be streamed in UHD.
Of course, you need a UHDTV to watch the growing body of content, and Sony's got you covered there, too. New for 2014 is the flagship XBR-X950B series in 65" and 85" screen sizes; XBR-X900B series in 55", 65", and 79" sizes; and XBR-X850B series in 49", 55", 65", and 70" sizes. All three series incorporate the Triluminous quantum-dot illumination technology, HDMI 2.0 with 2160p/60 capabilities, and HEVC decoding. The X950B features full-array backlighting, while the other two lines use edgelighting. Also, the X950B and X900B provide extended dynamic range, which is said to produce higher peak white and deeper blacks, though I don't yet know if the panels use more than 8 bits to avoid banding.
Seen here are the XBR-55X900B (top) and XBR-65X950B (bottom). The X900B features Sony's Magnetic Fluid speakers. (Photo by Mark Henninger)