By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Sony Australia today announced new pricing for its Bravia LCD TV range in the lead up to the Christmas sales period. The entry price for a 1080p full HD Bravia LCD TV is now RRP $3,199 for the 40-inch W Series and the 46-inch X Series is RRP $4,499.

Sony claims it leads the 40- to 49-inch display category, which it says is 47 per cent of the total Australian TV market in value for September 2007, according to GfK data for September 2007.

Sony also announced that the latest Sony HD Benchmark, independently compiled by GfK, revealed that three times as many HD LCD TVs were sold (204,968) in Australia than HD plasma TVs (71,555) for the period April to June 2007.

The Sony HD Benchmark reveals that of the total HD spend during the quarter, LCD HD TV revenues reached $355.1 million, representing 57 per cent of the total spending.

“It’s definitely going to be an HD Christmas,” said Sony Australia’s senior product manager, visual display, Graham Keogh.

“Sales of full HD Bravia LCD TV models are leading the market and with the new Bravia LCD TV pricing and advanced LCD technologies, including Motionflow 100Hz and x.v.Colour processing, we expect Australians to embrace full HD LCD TV technology at an even faster rate.”

Sony pointed to a number of factors likely to increase the uptake of HD technology. The company indicated that the number of HD movies sold in Australia between April and June 2007 increased by almost four times on the previous quarter. Sony also pointed out that there are 234 Blu-ray movies set to be on shelf by the end of the year.

The HD DVD and Blu-ray ‘format war’ is seeing prices of Blu-ray and HD DVD players falling as well as the number of free movies increasing. In addition, the television networks Network Ten and Channel Seven have launched HD channels and Foxtel is planning to launch its HD service in 2008.

Most Sony Bravia LCD panels are manufactured in the S-LCD factory, which is Sony Corporation’s 50:50 joint venture with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

Sony revealed that the S-LCD factory produces the LCD panels for the vast majority of the Bravia LCD TV range sold in Australia, including the XBR, X, W, D and V Series. Once produced, the panels are sent to Sony factories in Japan and Malaysia where they are combined with Sony’s technologies such as the Bravia Engine, Motionflow and x.v.Colour.