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It has been two years since Sony introduced the Z9D TV, considered by many to be the best LED / LCD TV ever made. Since the company refused to follow the tradition of the general industry to issue a new model annually, critics and enthusiasts have wondered when we could see the replacement of the Z9D, and what it would look like. Today, our questions were answered.
Finally came what many Sony fans expected: the company has just announced its latest flagship Master Series TVs, the Z9F LED and the A9F OLED, which include the X1 Ultimate processor. The intention of Sony is clear in the name: Master Series, because with its latest flagship products, Sony aims to offer the same image quality that the creative masters of the studios want the viewers to see. It's not a new idea, but it's been easier said than done.
"Master Series elevates the 4K HDR viewing experience in the home to a whole new level. Sony's approach is different from any other in our industry, "said Mike Fasulo, Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics North America. "Our engineers specifically designed this series based on the information they received from the creative community."
In fact, if we judge it only by its specifications, the Z9F would seem like a TV enthusiast's dream: thousands of points of view. maximum brightness, hundreds of individual LED backlight areas attenuated locally, the best black levels in the industry and, of course, the Android TV operating system. Below, we explain more about both options.
Z9F 4K HDR LED TV
In a market dominated by two competing TV panel technologies, LCD and OLED, the Z9F tries to bring deep blacks and the contrast offered by OLED, while excelling in every facet of LCD TV: intense brightness, shocking HDR and a mbadive palette of colors, all of which benefits those of us who watch TV in almost any place other than a darkroom. In fact, the Z9F seems to succeed in that goal.
Sony introduced two new key features on the Z9F TV. The first is a technology called X-Wide Angle that, true to its name, aims to solve the problem out of the angle that has become an integral part of LCD panels to date. Samsung's QLED TV series promises a similar improvement, and at first glance, Sony's efforts seem to match or surpbad QLED in this regard. Seen from extreme angles, the colors seem almost as saturated as when viewed directly from the front.
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The Z9F runs with the new Sony's Ultimate X1 processor, which we could at CES earlier this year on an 8K, 10,000-dot, 85-inch television. While this TV is not as intense, the benefits of the new processor are obvious.
The X1 Ultimate chip unlocks a world of possibilities for Sony, and in the case of the new Master Series, the benefits include brighter images with reflections More intense HDR, more refined details using object-based badysis, a self-calibration system using CalMan software, and support for a new feature called Netflix Calibrated Mode, which we'll talk about later in this article.
The TV Z9F points directly to the Samsung QLED series, specifically the Samsung Q9FN, as it is the only TV that can compete remotely with the new Z9F. We hope to be able to face the two against each other soon. It should be an interesting battle.
A9F 4K HDR OLED TV
The latest presentation on Sony's OLED TV line, the A9F, also runs with the new X1 Ultimate processor, further refining the excellent image quality . The new OLED TV also advances Sony's acoustic surface technology by adding a third actuator mounted in the center.
If you're not familiar, Sony takes advantage of its OLED panels as speakers. You read it well: the screen is the speaker. Using small electric actuators behind the OLED panel, Sony can make the screen emit sound. This sound is reinforced by a subwoofer mounted on the back of the TV. With a built-in left and right actuator, Sony's previous OLED TVs could offer stereo sound. Now, with the electric actuator mounted in the additional center, there is a central channel to anchor the sound from the center of the screen when necessary. A second subwoofer promises to add even more bbad.
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In addition, the television can act as a central channel in a multichannel cinema speaker system at home, which eliminates the need to place an individual speaker above or below the television. This means that the dialogue and the effects will seem to emanate from the image, not from above or from below.
The highlights of HDR in the A9F subjectively seem much more striking than those of Sony's previous OLED TVs, and the Sony's new X-Motion Clarity engine clearly smoothes vibration.
What's Netflix Calibrated Mode?
Another new feature for the Sony Master Series TV line is a feature developed in conjunction with Netflix, called Netflix Calibrated Mode, or calibrated mode. The idea is to restore Netflix's compressed 4K HDR video to almost master-quality levels, using a combination of Sony's Ultimate X1 processor and a dedicated image preset mode.
Without having to do anything, viewers can enjoy the content of Netflix with an image quality that approaches the levels of Blu-ray Ultra HD, without a doubt an intelligent addition, being that at present the vast majority of people watch movies via streaming, instead of buying CDs or discs from Blu-Ray.
More to come …
Although we still do not receive the technical report from the company, which will shed a little more light and specific details about the new Master Series TVs, for now it is safe to say that Sony has done an excellent job of exceeding the limit in terms of what is possible with consumer TVs. In the coming weeks, we will make full revisions on these televisions and see how well they compare with the competition, but if today's first impressions are an indication, they will maintain an excellent position.