Sony’s launching a 4K HDR streaming service — but only for its Bravia TVs

Sony is launching a streaming service with 4K Blu-ray picture quality — but it will only be available on Bravia TVs for now.

The Bravia Core service will come pre-loaded on all new Bravia XR models, with a catalog of new releases and classic blockbusters from the Sony Pictures archive.

The platform uses Sony’s “Pure Stream” tech to reach “near-lossless UHD BD equivalent quality” with streaming up to 80 Mbps, according to Sony. That’s three-to-four times more than Netflix and around double that of Apple TV.  But bear in mind that the bitrates often dip way below the maximum in practice — and you’ll need seriously fast internet to reach the highest quality.

Bravia Core is also a way for Sony to differentiate its devices from its market rivals. Picture-quality purists of the past who splashed out on high-spec Blu-ray players (or Betamax boxes for anyone who remembers the videotape format war), may now want an equivalent indulgence from their streaming services. As the first TV giant to launch an exclusive platform, Sony could get an edge over its competitors.

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Sony says at least 300 flicks will be available on the service, including an IMAX Enhanced collection optimized for Bravia XR.

The company hasn’t revealed the full catalog yet, but has highlighted a range of derivative superhero of flicks and sequels, such as Spider-Man: Far From Home and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. There’ll also be some behind-the-scenes documentaries available to watch.

Owners of new Bravia XRs who create a Bravia Core account will get access to either five or 10 movie credits, depending on their model. Each credit will provide access to one movie. TV

The credits will only be valid for a year, but you can watch any movies you’ve redeemed until February 23, 2026. Sony will reveal pricing for the new Bravia XRs in spring 2021.

The quality certainly sounds impressive, but Sony‘s limited catalog will struggle to compete with the likes of Netflix. Still, the enhanced quality could convince some prospective TV buyers to shell out on the new Bravia boxes. It might even push the established streaming services to up their bitrates.


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Published January 12, 2021 — 13:48 UTC

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