Sony Unveils 2020 TVs With 8K, OLED Offerings At CES
Sony Electronics introduced at its CES 2020-eve press conference its “premium” TV series lineup including the new flagship Z8H 8K LED-LCD TVs, A8H and Master Series A9S 4K OLED TVs, and X950H and X900H 4K LED-LCD series televisions.
Among the a bunch of new offerings for the company will be a new 48-inch 4K OLED TV screen size and the company’s first model with NextGenTV (ATSC 3.0) broadcast support (via a later-arriving firmware update).
Sony said certain proprietary features previously only available in Master Series models will now appear in some of the lower range series models this year. Sony said as always, its engineering team sought to produce models offering the most immersive viewing experience possible in each class, with the intention of presenting images and sound that fit the intent of the content creators.
Select models will begin shipping this Spring, and model pricing will be announced closer to the shipping dates.
“Delivering a personalized, immersive and true-to-life viewing experience is a core focus when developing our next generation TVs,” stated Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics North America. “This lineup offers incredible new features to optimize the consumer experience and continue to deliver the creator’s intent in both 4K and 8K resolution.”
Sony includes its best-in-class Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, to drive the picture and sound engines of of the televions for clear and precise picture quality. The company also continues to offer its “Triluminos Display” package to reproduces the subtle nuances of color, light and gradation from in keeping the company’s “lens to living room” high-quality image directive. The sets all feature a wide color gamut offering many more shades of red, green and blue than ever before, Sony said.
Improving on-board sound quality was also a focus in the premium-class model tiers, Sony said, with all models this year featuring what the company calls “Sound-from-Picture Reality.” This is said to align the position of the sound with the images on the screen “to offer a uniquely lifelike experience.”
Sony’s 2020 TV models now include the Android TV 9 “Pie” operating system, which brings easier access to content, services and devices. Sony said it has also enhanced its original user interface menus and voice controls “for better daily use” with expanded voice control functions.
Many of the new models also continue to ensure optimized delivery of the creator’s intent via Netflix Calibrated Mode, offering studio-quality Netflix content. Many models also include IMAX Enhanced Certification assuring the ability to deliver The IMAX Experience via optimized delivery of images and sound for “sight, sound and scale” that enables home theaters to conform to many of the criteria expectations for IMAX Cinemas.
Among the new features this year is Sony’s “Ambient Optimization,” which was developed to optimize picture and sound quality to the home viewing environment. The technology uses Acoustic Auto Calibration that detects where the customer views their TV from during initial setup and calibrates sound quality based on the environment. Sony said “this new feature brings the television’s full sound potential to any environment.”
In addition to Ambient Optimization, select 2020 Sony premium TVs will incorporate a new “Immersive Edge” design concept, and to maximize the immersive experience, a “noiseless stand” is now located at the edge of the screen. Sony describes the stand as having a “minimalist” design that is less noticeable, “offering customers an improved and unobstructed viewing experience.”
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Sony, which is also a king in the video gaming universe behind its PlayStation consoles, said select 2020 Sony TV models have been adapted for use with upcoming next-generation gaming consoles [i.e. – PlayStation 5] by supporting 8K HDR (7,680 x 4,320) resolution, 4K (3,840 x 2,160) 120fps high frame rate and fast response time via HDMI inputs to deliver maximum gaming performance from next-gen gaming titles.
2020 Sony Premium TV Features By Series
The following is a glance at some of the key feature offerings of various 2020 Sony model series:
Sony Z8H Series 8K LED-LCD TVs include models with 85- and 75-inch screen sizes. These both offer the Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, advanced Full Array LED backlighting, new Frame Tweeter technology that uses Sound-from-Picture Reality and a slim design that allows using a tweeter to vibrate the frame of the TV to emit sound, “giving customers the feeling that sound is coming directly from the screen,” Sony said. This is similar to the effect of Sony’s “Acoustic Surface” technology that vibrates the thin screen of its OLED TVs to emit sound that seems to follow objects around the screen. Models in the series also get a new Back-lit Remote suite to use in darker viewing environments.
Other features include: a two-position stand with a narrower placement option for smaller TV cabinets; new ambient optimization of picture and sound quality to the environment; Triluminos Display; Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos object-based audio surround sound support; hands-free capabilities; easy connectivity devices including Apple AirPlay 2, HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa smart speakers; quick access via Android TV 9 Pie to a wide range of streaming content services; and up to 4K 120fps compatibility.
Further, both the Z8H and X950 series LED-LCD TV models include hands-free voice-activated control capabilities “that work alongside Google Assistant to provide a smarter viewing experience.” This will enable voice-activated operation to perform simplified content searches, fetch answers to general questions from the internet, and control various TV functions.
2020 Sony OLED TVs will feature a version of the X-Motion Clarity system for OLED that refines motion on the screen in real time with a high refresh rate to deliver clear images that appear even brighter than in previous years.
The Sony A9S 4K OLED series adds a new 48-inch size offering a smaller screen option for gamers and others with limited space. Features include: a small, centrally-located aluminum stand offering a smaller footprint, best-in-class Master series picture quality; Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, Pixel Contrast Booster and Acoustic Surface Audio; X-Motion Clarity technology; Ambient Optimization; Triluminos Display; Dolby Vision HDR Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound support; easy connectivity with Apple AirPlay® 2, HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa enabled devices and smart speakers; and Android TV 9 Pie.
The Sony A8H 4K OLED TV series includes models with 65- and 55-inch screen sizes. Both models include the Picture Processor X1 Ultimate; Pixel Contrast Booster, which enriches colors at high brightness; X-Motion Clarity technology; two subwoofers to improve and enhance the built-in Acoustic Surface Audio sound; Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound support; Ambient Optimization of picture and sound; Triluminos Display; Apple AirPlay 2, HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa device connectivity support and Android TV 9 “Pie” OS.
The Sony X950H 4K LED-LCD TV series this year includes the 85-, 75-, 65-, 55- and 49-inch screen sizes. The X-Wide Angle technology, providing what Sony calls “vivid real-world colors from any angle while retaining more brightness than other conventional LED-LCD TVs,” has now been expanded into the 55- and 65-inch screen sizes. This is intended to ramp up the contrast range visible on the set’s LCD screen from “anywhere in the room.” Other features include: the Picture Processor X1 Ultimate; Full-Array LED back lighting; improved Acoustic Multi-Audio, Sound-from-Picture Reality concept with biamp system, which controls main speaker and invisible tweeter separately, and XBalanced Speaker, a newly shaped speaker unit that Sony said pairs slim design with sound clarity; Flush Surface design with a “bezel-less look;” Ambient Optimization of picture and sound; Triluminos Display; Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support; hands-free capabilities; connectivity with Apple AirPlay 2, HomeKit, Amazon Alexa enabled devices and Android TV 9 Pie support.
The Sony X900H 4K LED-LCD TV series includes the 85-, 75-, 65-, 55-, and 49-inch screen sizes. Key features include: mid-range Full Array LED back lighting; Acoustic Multi-Audio with X-Balanced Speaker; Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos support; diamond cut slim-bezel design; Bi-amp, X-Balanced Speaker (in the 55- and 75-inch models only); Acoustic Multi-Audio for 55-inch and larger models; Triluminos Display; support for Apple AirPlay 2, HomeKit, Amazon Alexa enabled devices; Android TV 9 Pie; 4K/120fps compatible after a forthcoming firmware update and compatible with new “NextGenTV” (ATSC 3.0) over-the-air broadcasts after a firmware update.
By Greg Tarr
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