Sony revealed the next phase of its advanced television business at CES 2019 Monday, including the announcement that it is officially jumping into the 8K TV game, and adding a new flagship 4K OLED TV series in the Master Series lineup.

The company said it will begin its 8K effort with two large LED-LCD TV screen sizes — 98 and 85 inches — which will appear under the new Z9G Master Series banner.

Sony said 8K resolution offers four times the resolution of 4K Ultra HDTVs to present a more immersive viewing experience from larger-sized TVs, helping them look as great close up as from traditional seating distances.

The Master Series that the new 8K models will be part of was started late last year for top-of-the-line Sony televisions offering the company’s very best in picture and sound performance. All Master Series TVs also feature Netflix Calibrated Mode and IMAX Enhanced certification to further ensure that content is delivered as its creators intended.

The new 8K Master Series models will continue to feature Sony’s latest-generation “X1 Ultimate” picture processor for exceptional upconversion with accurate detail and contrast. Further, Sony said it has developed a proprietary algorithm that optimizes the X1 Ultimate to handle the 33 million pixels of 8K.

The same processor also drives the newly developed 8K X-Reality PRO upscaling engine that transform lower-resolution content into near-8K picture quality. The system uses a dedicated 8K server database to refer to help adjust SD, HD and Full HD images to even more precise levels of detail and clarity, Sony said.

Other new systems developed for 8K include Backlight Master Drive with full-array local dimming. The Backlight Master Drive on the Z9G has ultra-dense LED modules that are independently controlled, delivering high contrast levels with punchy brightness and deep blacks. In the process, 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 explained.

Sony will not have an 8K OLED version at this time, but it did introduce a new flagship 4K Ultra HD OLED series in the Master Series tier called A9G. The 77A9G will also incorporate the X1 Ultimate processor and will employ the company’s Acoustic Surface Pro sound system that uses special technology to vibrates the ultra-thin OLED panel turning it into a large stereo speaker. This offers clean, clear sound with dialog that appears to be coming directly from the subjects on the screen.

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For those with full multi-speaker surround sound systems, the Acoustic Surface system can be set to serve as a center-channel speaker in a 5.1, 7.1-channel or larger speaker set up.

For the 8K Z9G models, Sony said it has expanded that same Acoustic Surface Audio concept for use in an LED-LCD TV. Here, the system called Acoustic Multi-Audio delivers the same sound-from-picture reality experience, Sony said, utilizing four front-facing speakers—two on the bottom and two on the top—to deliver a faithful sound position.

“Viewers will hear the sound coming from the screen, and not where the speaker is located,” Sony said. “The Z9G also has a TV Center Speaker Mode to turn the speakers into a single center channel for full surround sound speaker systems.”

In addition, the sound system supports Dolby Atmos sound enhancement offering a wider, richer sound field, Sony said.

The Z9G also features X-Wide Angle technology that broadens the high level of picture quality visable from wider angles. In additiona, X-Motion Clarity minimizes motion blur without sacrificing screen brightness.

A9G Premium OLED TV

The new flagship A9G 4K OLED TV series will feature models with 77-, 65- and 55-inch screen sizes, each of which includes the X1 Ultimate Processor and Pixel Contrast Booster for more color and contrast in bright areas. Sony said this results in picture quality approaching professional-grade OLED monitors.

The A9G is very slim in depth and is optimal for wall placement. Sony offers an optional SU-WL855 wall mount system designed to make the TV musch closer to the wall, creating a sense that the screen is floating off the surface. The SU-WL855 mount also can swivel for optimal positioning.

Both the Z9G and A9G series TVs are designed for high level HDR performance, with support for the HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR profiles. The Master Series sets will also present content produced in IMAX Enhanced mode from an expanding library of movies including Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “Venom,” using the IMAX Enhanced service Privilege 4K available this spring.

Smart TVs With AI

Both the Z9G LCD and the A9G OLED series models incorporate the Android TV smart TV OS offering access to a large app library on Google Play, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and others.

Both TVs also feature built-in Google Assistant with built-in microphones to accept spoken commands to operate television features. The TVs also work with popular smart speakers such as Sony’s own LF-S50G and SRS-XB501G, or those from Google Home or Amazon Echo. With smart speakers, users can control the TV and stream content on their TV with verbal commands.

Pricing and availability on all 2019 Sony TV models will be announced in the spring.

Other new non-Master Series Sony TVs for 2019 introduced at CES 2019 include:

The A8G 4K OLED TV series, featuring models in 65- and 55-inch screen sizes. The TVs also ship with a smart remote that is capable of control multiple components connected to the TV, a 4K X1 Extreme process with advanced HDR performance through three new technologies including: object-based HDR remaster, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR and dual database processing.
The A8G models also feature the Acoustic Surface Audio system, 180-degree rotating stand that will rise the screen up to accommodate a sound bar, IMAX Enhanced certification, HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR compatibility, and an Android TV OS with built-in Google Assistant.

Also announced with the Sony Bravia X950G 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD series with models in the 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch screen sizes. Key features include:
• Picture Processor X1 Ultimate with: object-based Super Resolution, Object-based HDR remaster, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR and dual database processing;
• Full-array local dimming backlight with X-tended Dynamic Range PRO offering six times the contrast of Sony’s conventional LED TVs without local dimming;
• Acoustic Multi-Audio by Sound Positioning Tweeters – with Sony’s Sound-from-Picture Reality experience;
• X-Wide Angle feature minimizes the color change when seen from the side, giving you faithful shades and hue from wherever you watch the TV (available in 85 and 75-inch models);
• X-Motion Clarity clear motion smoothing;
• Netflix Calibrated Mode;
• IMAX Enhanced certification;
• HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos object-based audio surround sound support.
• Android TV OS with built-in Google Assistant;
• Multi-component smart remote with built-in voice control microphone;
• New processor with quicker response launching apps, engaging controls.

In a late-breaking announcement Sony added:

“Sony Z9G Series, A9G Series, X950G Series TVs will be compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.  AirPlay 2 lets you effortlessly stream content from your iPhone, iPad and Mac right to your Sony TV. Watch movies and TV shows from iTunes and your other video apps, and view photos directly on your Sony TV. Listen to Apple Music, your iTunes music library, podcasts and your other music services on your television and AirPlay 2 speakers throughout the home — all in sync. HomeKit lets you easily and securely control smart home products using the Home app or by asking Siri on your Apple devices. These TVs can be added to the Home app and included in scenes or automations with other HomeKit accessories. For example, users can create a “Movie Night” scene in the Home app to easily turn on their TV and dim the lights, and simply ask Siri to launch the scene. AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support will launch in Z9G Series, A9G Series, X950G Series later this year.”


By Greg Tarr


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