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Sony trumps rivals Samsung and LG with 'world's first' affordable curved LED HDTV

After Samsung and LG announced their curved OLED HDTV offerings, Sony has finally decided to dip its toe in the curved HDTV pool. The company just announced the KDL-65S990A, a 65in curved HDTV that isn't OLED and doesn't have a five-digit pricetag.

Sony claims the KDL-65S990A is the world's first curved LED HDTV, which according to Sony adds depth and immersion to the viewing experience. We've yet to test any curved HDTVs in the lab yet, but it's certainly the newest high-profile feature for HDTVs next to 4K resolution. The curved screen on the KDL-65S990A is just 1080p resolution, like Samsung and LG's curved OLED screens, but features Sony's Triluminos display technology and X-Reality Pro picture engine. Sony claims Triluminos reproduces extremely accurate colour, while X-Reality Pro improves the picture quality of lower resolution video.

For a much more apparent benefit, the KDL-65S990A features a four-channel speaker system with two arrays of four speakers on either side of the screen. All eight speakers are angled differently, with six presenting the forward audio channels and two presenting the surround audio channels.

The new HDTV will also support screen mirroring from Android, iOS, and Sony Vaio Windows 8 devices with Sony's TV SideView app. For mobile devices with NFC, users can tap their smartphone or tablet directly to the HDTV's remote to connect wirelessly through TV SideView. The KDL-65S990A will retail for $3,999.99 (£2,560) when it ships later this autumn, about a quarter of the price of Samsung and LG's curved OLED screens.

For 4K video, Sony has unveiled two screens in its new X850 series and has cut $500 off the price of its X900 line of 4K HDTVs. The XBR-55X850A and XBR-65X850A are 55- and 65in HDTVs capable of displaying video at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. They're nearly identical to the XBR-55X900A and XBR-65X900A 4K HDTVs Sony announced earlier this year, but without attached speakers. The speaker-less X850 HDTVs will be less expensive than the X900 models, with the 55- and 65in screens retailing for $3,499 (£2,240) and $4,999 (£3,200) respectively. The X900 screens are getting price cuts to the tune of half a grand — the 55in XBR-55X900A will now retail for $3,999 (£2,560) and the 65in XBR-65X900A will now retail for $5,499 (£3,500).

While 4K video still doesn't have a universal format yet, Sony is moving forward with its plans for a 4K video store. Sony has launched the Video Unlimited 4K service, a 4K video-specific extension of its Video Unlimited media service that offers owners of the Sony FMP-X1 4K media player a selection of more than 70 native 4K films. Sony plans to offer more than 100 4K films and shows on the service by the end of the year, including (when the show finishes) the complete Breaking Bad series in 4K.

Television episodes can be downloaded from the service for $3.99 (£2.56) each and films can be rented for $7.99 (£5.12) and purchased for $24.99 (£16), and certain 4K shows and movies will come with a code for an UltraViolet digital copy to watch on other devices.

Sony this week also introduced three new products for audiophiles as part of a push to promote high-resolution audio. The HAP-Z1ES and HAP-S1 are media servers that can play nearly any audio format (including PCM from 44.1 to 192kHz at 24 bits, DSD, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC, AIFF, and others), and feature a DSD re-mastering engine Sony claims can enhance nearly any music file to up to 5.6M DSD quality. The HAP-Z1ES includes a 1TB hard drive and can be connected to any amplifier as part of a stereo system, and the HAP-S1 has a 500GB hard drive and a built-in two-channel Class AB amplifier for direct connection to speakers.

Both servers will be joined by the UDA-1, a digital-to-audio convertor that can play all of the media formats the HAP models can, through a dedicated USB connection to a computer.

The UDA-1, HAP-S1, and HAP-Z1ES will retail for $799 (£510), $999 (£640), and $1,999 (£1,280) respectively when they ship later this autumn. They'll be optionally accompanied by Sony's SS-HA1 and SS-HA3 speakers, which the company has designed for use with UDA-1 and HAPS1, and which will also ship soon.