Sony launches two new ranges of Crystal LED Display
Sony has used the current ‘virtual’ CES to take the wraps off not one, but two distinct new ranges of its mindblowing Crystal LED display. They’re not really for the likes of thee and me, though.
The C Series and B Series ‘C-LED’ models both offer very different advantages to cater for different target markets, are both set to be cheaper than any previous Crystal LED models, and both designed to be much easier to install and maintain.
The C Series boasts a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and a maximum brightness of 800 nits, making them the option of choice for situations (industrial design companies, corporate boardrooms and dark showrooms, for instance) where contrast and detail are the most important image attributes a customer needs. You can also choose whether you want your C Series C-LED with either a 1.2mm pixel pitch or a cheaper but less precise 1.5mm pitch.
The B series screens support a much lower (Sony won’t put a number on it) contrast ratio, but pump out a substantial 1,800 nits of brightness. This makes them the option of choice for customers looking for a very bright, intense display for, say, placing in a really bright office lobby, or using as a virtual backdrop under the bright lights of a film or TV production. It’s no surprise to find that the B Series C-LEDs have been designed in collaboration with Sony Picture Entertainment.
The B series is also available in 1.2mm and 1.5mm pixel pitch variations. As with almost every other screen we’ve seen to date that’s based around Micro LED technology, both of the new Sony C-LED ranges are based on modular designs. In other words, they are constructed on-site rather than shipping as single panels. Which is just as well, really, given that if you want a 4K version using a 1.2mm pixel pitch you’ll need to buy a 220-inch screen, while if you want a 4K model using a 1.5mm pixel pitch you’ll need to buy a 275-inch screen.
There is some good news here too, though, in that unlike their C-LED predecessors, both of the new series have been designed so that they can be assembled from their constituent modules using standard rather than specialist tools, and without any great specialist knowledge on the behalf of the installers.
What’s more, Sony claims the new C-LEDs take only a third as long to build as previous models. So, for instance, Sony anticipates that two people could put a 220-inch screen together in under a day.
Previous Crystal LED display generations have only been accessible from the rear for maintenance purposes. A situation that has meant Crystal LED screens have had to be installed with enough space behind them to allow access for engineers. The new and B and C Series models, though, can be accessed from the front, reducing their ‘footprint’ and generally making long-term maintenance a much more practical proposition.
One further key advance Sony has made with its latest Crystal LED screens sees them partnered with new X1 For Crystal LED video processors and advanced new panel drivers. This should see both of the new Crystal LED ranges capable of delivering more detail, better colour and enhanced motion playback than previous C-LED models.
So does all this mean we might finally be able to look forward to the amazing brightness, sharpness, colour and contrast potential of Crystal LED’s Micro-LED-based technology finally turning up in our living rooms? Um, probably not.
The improvements and variety Sony has been able to introduce for its latest C-LED offering do marginally nudge the dial towards a potential consumer C-LED display one day. And Sony’s Head of Large Display Solutions Business Group, Kazuo Kii, has confirmed to me in person that living room C-LED is definitely a long-term target for the technology.
For now though, the sheer scale and likely still stratospheric cost (pricing won’t be confirmed until closer to the screens’ later launch date) of the new C- and B-series screens mean that for now Sony is still marketing them pretty much exclusively as display marvels to be bought on a corporate rather than personal credit cards.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.