Complete Coverage: CES 2014
Sony capped off a day of press conferences by the major consumer electronics manufacturers by showing a wide array of new Ultra HD (UHD) sets and promising that it would play a key role in expanding 4K content for these and other devices.
Besides announcing nine new UHD sets, Sony executives also touted a variety of content alliances, ranging from new 4K movies and TV shows to upcoming live 4K production at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Sony has been particularly aggressive in providing 4K content on its sets and last summer launched what it is billing as the world's first 4K download service. At CES it announced that the content on this service, which now totals about 140 titles, would continue to expand.
Sony UHD sets would also allow consumers to access 4K content via apps from a number of providers.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings appeared at the Sony announcements to discuss their expanding 4K production and their work with Sony to make a 4K version of Breaking Bad available.
Hastings, who also appeared at the LG press conference, noted that they had been working on encoding and decoding technology to provide a good 4K streaming service. As a result of those efforts, he claimed that users only needed a 15 Mbps connection. "If you have a service from a cable or telco provider that is rated at 20 Mbps you will have enough headroom," he said.
Hastings said that the new season of House of Cards would be available in 4K for streaming and that all the new originals from Netflix would be in 4K.
With Amazon and Hulu also ramping up their 4K production, online streaming services are working to position themselves as the major outlet for UHD content.
"There will be a lot of content," Hastings said. "It is a chance for the internet to shine."
A key component of those online 4K streaming efforts will be better compression. All of the new Sony UHD sets will have HEVC built into them. But Sony also announced that it was working with YouTube on 4K content and would add capabilities to handle the V9 compression standard for 4K that Google has been heavily backing.
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