Sony is supersizing the Master Series lineup of TVs it first launched last year in New York. Here at CES tonight, the company introduced new Z9G 8K (LCD) and A9G 4K OLED TVs that feature big displays. Actually, “enormous” is a better word for the Z9G, which comes in 85-inch and 98-inch models, while the A9G will be available in more standard 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes.
Both new lines include the same Picture Processor X1 Ultimate as the first wave of Master Series TV, and Sony says it “has a unique algorithm specially developed for 8K that can intelligently detect and analyze each object in the picture, resulting in exceptional detail and contrast for a more realistic picture that represents the creators’ intent.” The monstrous Z9G is Sony’s first consumer-bound 8K TV, and the company has created a lot of new technology to get optimal picture from its 33 million pixels.
Completely new dedicated 8K technologies have been developed for the Z9G series, including a Backlight Master Drive feature with full-array local dimming and 8K X-tended Dynamic Range PRO. The Backlight Master Drive on the Z9G has ultra-dense LED modules that are independently controlled, delivering unprecedented contrast with punchy brightness and pitch blacks. To optimize this backlight system, 8K X-tended Dynamic Range PRO uses the saved energy to intelligently boost the brightness in the areas where it needs to be boosted.
Sony claims that it has come up with a proprietary algorithm for upscaling 4K content to near-8K quality. Its system uses an “8K database to refer to for even more precise, detailed upscaling.”
Since it’s an LCD TV, the Z9G can’t replicate the exact same, impressive sound system as Sony’s OLEDs, which have drivers behind the display panel to make it seem like audio is emanating from the screen itself. To try and mimic that, Sony has built in four front-facing speakers (two on the bottom and two on top), and says they’re calibrated to produce the same effect as the OLED’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology. There’s a center audio mode in case you’ve already got a sound system, where the TV just takes on duties as the center audio channel.
Move over to the A9G OLED and Sony’s story changes a bit. This one isn’t about sheer pixel count or resolution: it’s all image quality. OLED’s perfect blacks, great contrast, and super-wide viewing angles are something LCDs still can’t match. It’s also about design. Sony says that if you mount it, the A9G “is designed so that it appears to be floating on the wall, leaving only the brilliance of its picture.”
Both lines that Sony is announcing this evening offer Netflix Calibrated Mode, IMAX Enhanced, and Dolby Vision / Atmos. And of course, they continue to run Android TV. One of our leading complaints about Sony’s recent OLEDs has been very sluggish software performance; Android TV on these sets just tends to stutter along more than it should. But Sony tells me that this year’s models will ship with Android Oreo and show significant performance improvements when navigating apps and menus. I’m gonna have to wait and see that for myself before being convinced, but at least that’s the expectation.
Sony hasn’t yet announced final pricing or release details for the latest additions to the Master Series.
More Info: theverge.com