When it comes to TV innovation, you can always count on Sony to deliver. In a grand launch held at the Sony Hall all the way in New York City, Sony showcased two new smart TVs that aim to provide a new level of experience in home entertainment. Say hi to the new MASTER series of 4K HDR TVs. It has two members in the family to its name, currently, namely the A9F and the Z9F.
There are a few things that should immediately pique the interest of home entertainment enthusiasts, such as the fact that the new TVs support 4K resolution and HDR. But the heart of the A9F and Z9F is undoubtedly its image processor – the X1 Ultimate.
First revealed as a prototype at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the X1 Ultimate image processor is twice as powerful as the X1 Extreme. You can also expect the A9F and Z9F to be able to come very close to delivering image quality that is very close to that a professional-grade monitor can output. The new models were specifically engineered to provide this level of image quality out of the box, using its pre-configured Custom picture mode.
The X1 Ultimate can intelligently detect and analyse each object in a picture from the source, then proceeds to output those objects with high-levels of accuracy and detail. Viewers will also enjoy greater image depth, more accurate textures and colours.
Sony wants the MASTER TV series to be enable consumers to experience home entertainment content the way it was intende,d, which means the TVs couldn’t have been developed in a vacuum. Leveraging on its connection with Sony Pictures Entertainment and other professional bodies, Sony has created a picture mode (specifically the ‘Custom’ picture mode in the settings) that can deliver to viewers what producers and directors intended the viewer to see.
Another major feature that is, for now, exclusive to these two new TVs is the Netflix Calibrated Mode. As the name suggest, this setting tunes the TVs to the picture profile that is ideal for watching Netflix Originals. The MASTER series is also CalMAN-ready, which in laymen’s terms means that it should deliver studio-like picture quality out of the box.
Let’s move on to the actual TVs themselves, starting with the A9F. The A9F is an OLED TV that comes in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. In addition to the features mentioned above, it also has the Pixel Contrast Booster and Acoustic Surface Audio+ technologies. Pixel Contrast Booster relies on 8 million self-illuminating pixels to maximise dynamic range, allowing for consistent and accurate colour reproduction even at high levels of brightness, while also delivering great details and textures.
As for the Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech, it’s an upgrade to the one showcased in the BRAVIA A8F that debuted last year. It now outputs via 3.2 audio channels, with two tweeters in each actuator unit and two subwoofers that face sideways. In Center Speaker mode, the central actuator functions like a cinema’s behind-the-screen center speaker. What this means is that audio will sound as if it’s coming from a central position, instead of being off-centre as is the case with typical audio system setups.
Next is the Z9F, the LCD model that uses multi-zone dimming technology. Available in 65-inch and 75-inch models, the strength of this model would be its X-Wide Angle, X-Motion Clarity and X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology.
The X-Wide Angle tech ensures that picture quality remains consistent, regardless of where the user is viewing from – an important thing for a product that’s likely to be used in a large/wide living room. Then there’s X-Motion Clarity, which works to minimise motion blur without having to compromise on screen brightness. As for X-tended Dynamic Range PRO, it allows the multiple lighting ‘zones’ to be controlled. By being able to dim some areas while boosting others, the Z9F can balance the light output, so that the TV can have better contrast.
Sony has not revealed when the new MASTER series TVs would be available in Malaysia yet. But we have been informed that a local launch is in the cards, so you can count on being able to test this at a Sony Centre within the year.