Details leaked over the weekend on a number of new Sony 4K products; chief among them the FMP-X1 4K player/server as well as pricing and release dates for two UltraHD/4K displays. The FMP-X1, which some may recall from CES 2013, is Sony’s attempt to satiate its critics -present company included – with regards to their cries for 4K content.

Sony FMP-X1 on static display during CES 2013 in Las Vegas.

The FMP-X1 is more or less a 4K streaming/storage device, in that it will come pre-loaded with 10, 4K films that include; Bad Teacher, Battle: Los Angeles, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Salt, The Karate Kid (2010), Taxi Driver, That’s My Boy, The Amazing Spider Man, The Other Guys and Total Recall (2012). If these titles sound familiar they should, for they are the same titles that early adopters of Sony’s LG sourced, 84-inch, UltraHD display received pre-loaded on their home servers. In fact, Sony will be giving those early adopter customers the ability to exchange their home servers for a FMP-X1 when they become available. What’s more impressive is that the FMP-X1 is said to cost $699 when it goes on sale this spring/summer.

Future 4K titles will be able to be downloaded to the FMP-X1 via an unnamed or unconfirmed Sony service, though its roll out (Sony’s 4K download service) is said to be delayed until fall. Still, the last time Sony sought to be the first to market with a new AV format -Blu-ray -it cost consumers over $1,000, where as the FMP-X1 will retail for a more reasonable sum of $699 according to leaked reports. $699 preloaded with 10, 4K films isn’t a steal, but it’s far from outrageous in my humble opinion given what early adopters have paid in the past for being first. It’s a far cry from either of Sony’s true UltraHD/4K displays -the VPL-VW1000ES projector or their 84-inch UltraHD LED display at $25,000 each. The FMP-X1 also showcases how 4K’s future will most likely not rely upon a physical disc but rather on streaming/downloads.

Sony also leaked prices and availability on two of their new UltraHD/4K displays. Their 55-inch LED UltraHD display will reportedly list for $4,999 and the 65-inch model will list for $6,999. Both will supposedly hit retail store shelves by the end of April if reports are to be believed. This means the barrier to 4K entertainment, complete with 4K content, can be had for well under $10,000 -realistically for less than $6,000 if you can live with a 55-inch 4K display.

Of course there are still some things and potential pitfalls to be aware of. At present, there is no 4K standard that has been ratified or accepted by all the manufacturers making 4K displays. I have to assume that the 4K content pre-loaded onto the FMP-X1 is probably of Blu-ray quality but with UltraHD/4K’s higher resolution. What I mean by this is that compression is probably similar, if not the same as Blu-ray. Bit rate and bit depth is also probably comparable as is color space. These are just my assumptions based on leaked data and what I know of Sony’s process so far -of course, Sony could prove me wrong when they officially announce their plans for our 4K future at NAB this week. Stay tuned…

UPDATE 04/08/13: Sony confirms or announces that FMP-X1 WILL ONLY work with Sony UltraHD/4K displays. Also, the FMP-X1 WILL ONLY work with one Sony display at a time. Frustrating?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.shaheen1 Mark Shaheen

    Another standard I will pass on. OK… bored, where is the next one? Seriously, they seem to be flinging all this stuff on the wall hoping one till take off. Ref. 3d.

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    It is definitely frustrating to say the least. No doubt. In the wake of no “standard” everyone gets to make their own it seems. I get what Sony is doing and don’t fault them (okay, maybe I do a little) but if the manufacturers can’t come to some agreement going forward, UltraHD/4K as it relates to the HT market is going to remain in limbo while the pro and prosumer 4K world flourishes.

  • ericmatthew86

    There is no consumer 4k market! Or rather, there shouldn’t be. Basic science has proven time and again that you would need to sit 5.5 away from an 85-inch 4k display to notice any difference from a 1080p display. There is zero consumer value here, and it seems an obvious grab at consumer dollars following the proliferation of low-cost high-quality HDTVs from the like of Vizio. I work in the consumer electronics industry and the vast sea of unnecessary products really bothers me. I hope that companies like Sony and Panasonic fail, opening the doors for innovative companies developing new technologies completely removed from television. For most intents and purposes, consumer TVs have reached their plateau. I’m no expert, so I refer to David Pogue’s recent thoughts on 4K (although I’ve shared the sentiment since the very first 4K announcement probably 2 years ago). I think more consumer technology publications need to start telling consumers the truth about the bricks companies are selling and whether these products really have any value.

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    Eric,

    I haven’t seen any comments from you elsewhere on my site so I’m going to assume you’re a new reader, to which I say welcome. I’ve been very outspoken about 4K’s roll out to consumers since I shot my first film in 4K some four or five years ago. I agree with many of your points, however I’m not for the failure of any company. 4K does have its place in the world and you’re right, how that translates to the consumer space is still very much up for debate, a debate I plan on being a BIG part of going forward. But for the time being I just want to say welcome and I hope to see you around for I’d love to get your input on a lot of different topics facing consumers today. Thanks for reading!

  • Michael TLV

    more pixels that we can’t see hasn’t always stopped consumers. Just look at the smart phones and the race to fit 1080p into a 4-5 inch space. And people are buying it …

  • Steve Colburn

    What audio formats does the FMP-X1 support? Will it provide uncompressed multichannel Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master?

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    Great point.

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    These are all questions I hope to either have answered or will answer soon.

  • A Customer of Sony

    SONY…I’m listening and watching how you treat your customers.

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    Care to elaborate? Are you pro or anti-Sony at this juncture. Thoughts?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Skooterfd Ron Dunn

    I’m old enough to remember BetaMax, And though I wasn’t burned in that fiasco I surely won’t be be jumping into 4K with out a sold agreement in place as to what the industry standard will be! Besides for $10,000.00 I would want full surround picture to go with my surround sound!!! I can wish can’t I!

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    I hear ya. A lot of consumers are weary about taking yet another plunge on a new format. I know the pro and prosumer side of the equation is coming along somewhat smoothly and more rapidly than maybe even anticipated, but I fear the end user 4K experience is in for a somewhat bumpy road over the next 18 to 24 months. I have to get involved, but I wish I could sit it out too. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts.