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January 9, 2013

Sony Takes on 4K Content Problem, Launching Distribution System this Summer

Sony is tackling the 4K problem.

One of the main drawbacks to owning a 4K television is a lack of compatible content.

To complement its full line of 4K TVs set to hit the market later this year, Sony will provide a video distribution service to distribute 4K content to the home beginning this summer in the U.S. The service will include a hardware 4K Video Player that will transmit content directly to the TVs.

Sony is also offering “mastered in 4K” Blu-ray titles.

“Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray releases will feature titles — such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall, The Karate Kid, Battle: Los Angeles and The Other Guys — sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution, with expanded color showcasing more of the wide range of rich color contained in the original source,” the company said in a press release. “When up-scaled via the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, these discs serve as an ideal way for consumers to experience near-4K picture quality.”

The mastered in 4K Blu-rays can be played in all existing Blu-ray disc players.

Sony will release 10 initial titles in the U.S. this spring, with rollout to “select international territories soon thereafter.”

“The electronics industry’s groundbreaking launch of 4K Ultra HD TV has given us reason to even further elevate our Blu-ray offering,” said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president David Bishop in a statement.

“This spring, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is excited to deliver a complementing lineup of ‘Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray titles, offering consumers the best possible picture and sound quality to be experienced on the latest HDTVs.”

Sony also announced Jan. 8 it has developed the first 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED television and will display a 56-inch prototype at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The world’s first and largest 56-inch OLED TV achieves 4K resolution by using the latest oxide semiconductor TFTs and Sony’s own ‘Super Top Emission’ technologies,” the company said in a press release.

“Sony will continue to research OLED technology with the goal of commercializing its new 4K OLED televisions, as well as launch 4K LCD TVs like the BRAVIAs exhibited at CES 2013. From filming to editing, content creation, delivery, distribution and display devices, Sony is making its unique new 4K imaging experience available to users in a wide variety of ways.”

There is no word on when Sony’s OLED TV would be ready to hit the market.

LG, which displayed its 55-inch OLED TV at the show Jan. 7, will release its set in March. It will retail for $12,000.