Sony will introduce the first in its high-end X-series BRAVIA LCD TVs into the UK this Summer. The screens, which represent the pinnacle of Sony’s flatscreen driver technology, are built on Full HD (1920 x 1080) 7th generation glass and feature Live Colour Creation, an umbrella term Sony is using to cover its wide spectrum backlight (WCG-CCFL) and the BRAVIA ENGINE EX picture processing embellishments. All the X-Series TVs will sport twin HDMI inputs, able to take a native 1080p from Blu-ray and PS3, along with three Scarts, two Component interfaces and a PC input.
The BRAVIA ENGINE EX technology claims to increase image resolution by a factor of up to four; contrast is rated by the brand at 1300:1.”The X-Series embodies exactly what the new wave of Sony TVs are all about,” says Andreas Ditter, Director, TV Operations Europe. “Technology-driven, certainly, but completely focused on only one thing: the best possible experience for the viewer. That’s all that really matters here.”
Like other screens in this year’s BRAVIA range, the X series all feature digital Freeview tuners, and have Dolby Virtual Surround audio systems.
Sony has issued the following technical notes about its BRAVIA screen technology:
Wide Colour Gamut
The colour gamut of a device is the portion of the visible spectrum that it can detect or reproduce. The X-Series is capable of exceptionally lifelike and natural colour thanks to its extended colour gamut, particularly in the red and green areas of the spectrum. Overall, Sony calls the process Live Colour Creation. This is achieved by a combination of digital processing in the BRAVIA ENGINE EX, a specially modified backlight, and RGB filters in the screen exactly matched to the spectrum produced by the light. The backlight itself is referred to as the WCG-CCFL, for Wide Colour Gamut Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp.
True wide angle viewing with Super PVA
Super Patterned Vertical Alignment (S-PVA) LCD panel technology is the key to the remarkably wide viewing angle of BRAVIA X-Series TVs. S-PVA provides a wider than usual viewable range of 178o, but even more importantly, it also maintains colour saturation and contrast when the screen is viewed obliquely.
A basic LCD panel (the smallest component of the display) contains a matrix of liquid crystal molecules. Rotating these molecules as a group under the influence of a local electric field allows backlight illumination to pass through or not. The cell is either open (lit) or closed (dark).
This on-off technique is applied to groups of three cells or ‘sub-pixels’, each capped by a red, blue and green filter in order to produce a single pixel which apparently changes colour depending on the relative intensities of the R, G and B sub-pixels. By varying the voltage passing through each sub-pixel to control its brightness, the range of apparent pixel colours is greatly increased. However, since light transmission is via a single chain of molecules within each sub-pixel, aligned perpendicular to the screen surface, it is highly directional. Move away from right in front of the screen, and the colour weakens and fades out.
With Patterned Vertical Alignment, the matrix of liquid crystal molecules within each sub-pixel is itself divided into discrete areas. By refining the control over the liquid crystal matrix still further, S-PVA LCD panels can split each sub-pixel into two segments. The overall viewing angle can be increased considerably by varying the orientation of each segment. Better still, instead of relying on half-open states to create a wider range of half-tone colours or greys, segments can offset each other. In this way, a grey can be created by a patterning of black and white within the sub-pixel, rather than having the whole thing set to half-open.
Black (dark) and white (lit) segments are relatively unaffected when viewed obliquely, whereas grey (half-lit) is prone to colour shift. A combination of black and white segments creates a grey minimally affected by colour shift as the viewpoint changes, increasing the stability of the image over a much wider viewing angle.
7th Generation LCDs
The BRAVIA X-Series showcases the very latest 7th generation LCD panels. The largest single ‘mother glass’ previously manufactured measured 1.5m x 1.8m, but 7th generation mother glass measures 1.87m x 2.2m, technically large enough to produce two 82-inch or eight 40-inch screens.