Sony Releases Pricing On 2018 Premium 4K UHD TV Lines
Sony Electronics offically released pricing and availability Thursday on its 2018 A8F 4K OLED TVs and 85-inch X900F and X850F 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TVs.
Originally unveiled at CES 2018 in January, the new4K Ultra HD OLED and LED-LCD models will hit stores in coming weeks and are available for pre-sale today from authorized Sony dealers across the country.
In offering lines based on two different display technologies, Sony said it is catering to a wide range of consumer preferences for 4K telelvision types ranging from OLED with deep black levels and wide viewing angles to full-array LED-LCDs that produce brighter highlights that keep details visible without clipping.
Taking a neutral stance, Sony executives said 4K OLED TVs are offered for those customers who prefer the look of a darker richer image, while LED-LCD TVs are provided for those who want a brighter picture.
Sony XBR-A8F 4K HDR Ultra HD OLED TVs
- Sony XBR-55A8F 55-inch class (54.6 inches diagonal) 4K HDR TV, $2,799.99 suggested retail
- Sony XBR-65A8F 9 (pictured at top) 65-inch class (64.5 inches) 4K HDR TV, $3,799.99 suggested retail
The new A8F Bravia OLED TVs are pretty much the same in picture and sound performance as the A1E 4K OLEDs that launched last year, and continue in the line. The primary difference is in styling and design that removes most of the angle in last year’s tilting easle-frame look, while reducing the spacing betweent the panel and the wall bracket, which was made necessary last year in by the subwoofer configuration in the Sony OLEDs’ unique Acoustic Surface sound system that uses the TV’s full, thin screen as a stereo speaker array.
In addition to producing dynamic sound, the A8F models this year reduce the gap between the wall bracket and the TV by half for a more aethetically pleasing look in some room designs.
Sony calls the look its slate design, which includes a redesigned vertical stand that disappears when placed on a table or credenza top.
Like all of Sony’s top-performing TV series last year, the A8Fs incorporate Sony’s X1 Extreme processor which delivers strong results in picture contrast by controling the more than 8 million self-emitting OLED pixels to produce deep blacks with fine detail while at the same time producing bright whites without detail clipping in other parts of the screen.
All of Sony’s A1E 4K OLED TVs now include support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR). The new A8F models will be ready to support Dolby Vision with a firmware update coming later in the year. Sony is implementing the latest updated version of the Dolby Vision firmware which might be incompatibile with some older implementations in supporting source devices. But the TVs will synch with these devices once the manufacturers of the source components have sent out the latest firmware updates, Sony assures.
Dolby Vision is a flavor of HDR with metadata information that flags the television to present boosted levels of brightness, black level and color (tone mapping) in accordance with the color grading instructions of the content creator. This is similar to the static metadata HDR10 flavor, except Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata that can apply these changes scene-by-scene instead of at one constant level throughout a program. The end result is a more natural-looking image.
Sony XBR-X900F 4K HDR Ultra HD TV Series Line Models
- Sony XBR-49X900F 49-inch class (49.6 inches diagonal) 4K HDR TV, $1,099.99 suggested retail
- Sony XBR-55X900F 55-inch class (54.6 inches) 4K HDR TV, $1,499.99 suggested retail (previously announced)
- Sony XBR-65X900F 65-inch class (64.5 inches) 4K HDR TV, $2,199.99 suggested retail (previously announced)
- Sony XBR-75X900F 75-inch class (74.5 inches) 4K HDR TV, $3,799.99 suggested retail (previously announced)
- Sony XBR-85X900F 85-inch class (84.5” diag) 4K HDR TV, $5,299.99 suggested retail.
In the X900F and X850F 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV lines, Sony said it is introducing 4K images with authentic color reproduction, bright HDR and SDR highlights and industry leading upconversion and image processing.
In addition, each line offers a model with a screen size up to 85 inches, for those looking for a truly big-screen experience in the home.
The X900F series features Sony’s X1 Extreme processor, with high quality 4K HDR reproduction using object-based HDR remaster, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR and Dual database processing.
In addition, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO 6x technology maintains high quality dark scenes with fine visible detail using up to six times the brightness range of conventional LED TVs. This is good for night shots full of dazzling lights and deeper blacks. For sports and high speed scenes, particularly in larger screen sizes, Sony adds its new X-Motion Clarity that uses a variety of techniques to keep fast action smooth, clear and, importantly, bright, while minimizing noticeable soap opera effect in 24p film originated content.
Like the Sony A8F OLEDs, the X900F 4K HDR TVs will support Dolby Vision via a firmware update to be delivered later this year.
Sony X850F 4K HDR Ultra HD LED-LCD TV Series
- Sony XBR-65X850F 65-inch class (64.5 inches) 4K HDR TV, $1,798 suggested retail (previously announced)
- Sony XBR-75X850F 75-inch class (74.5 inches) 4K HDR TV, $2,998 suggested retail (previously announced)
- Sony XBR-85X850F 85 inches (84.5 inches) 4K HDR TV, $4,499.99 suggested retail.
The X850F series models include Sony’s 4K HDR Processor X1, which works with 4K X-Reality Pro circuitry to provide smooth up-conversion of standard and high definition images to near 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160 pixels) quality. The sets will also present demonstrable bright and dark high dynamic range, and include Sony’s object-based HDR Remaster technology to detect, analyze and optimize each object in the picture individually to adjust the overall contrast for a more natural and realistic picture on screen.
Furthermore, Sony includes its Triluminos Display engine to enhance colors for a more natural appearance, while Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR presents thousands of shades and gradations of light, for sunsets as bright and clear as real life, Sony said.
All of Sony’s premium class 4K televisions include the Android TV operating system offering a huge library of the most popular apps and services including: 4K YouTube, 4K Google Play Movies, 4K Amazon Prime Video, 4K Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Pandora and more.
The TVs also build in smart AI support by building in Google Assistant. To activate the Google Assistant users push the microphone button on the remote and as a question or speak a command in a natural way. The system will then seamlessly playback a program selection or search for content, play music or stream photos, access thousands of apps or control many smart home devices through their Sony TV.
Viewers who already use Amazon’s Alexa system through a smart speaker or similar device, will find the TVs also link to that platform through the speakers equipped with far-field microphones. These include Sony’s own LF-S50G smart speaker, as well as Google Home or Amazon Alexa models.
For high level calibration, Sony said it has made the process easier by performing detailed calibration in the factory to optimize performance for a range of ambient light levels in the home. The televisions are equipped with a variety of picture settings including the default “standard” mode, that is optimized for both bright and dark room viewing.
Set owners can drill down in the picture modes for more exacting adjustments like Cinema Pro mode (optimized for dark rooms) of Cinema Home (optimized for naturally lit rooms) to get the most natural looking pictures that perserve the director’s artistic intent.
By Greg Tarr
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