Last year’s CES marked a slight expansion of the OLED TV market; Sony debuted its first large-screen consumer 4K set to utilize the display technology. OLED in the living room has long been a signature of LG, and while LG Display manufactures the panels that Sony puts in its OLEDs, Sony handles the actual image processing. Not only did Sony make a big switch to the pristine, colorful picture that OLED delivers, but the company’s A1E introduced a very cool feature called Acoustic Surface. Unlike the traditional, mediocre side or bottom speakers usually found on a TV, Sony’s Acoustic Surface makes it seem as though audio emanates from specific areas of the screen — such as the mouths of people speaking.
2018 is Sony’s second time around with OLED, and the just-announced AF8 series pulls back on design a bit to offer something the company says “a little more traditional TV design.” It will come in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes.
The most immediate change is that Sony has removed the flashy, pull-out stand around back in favor of a regular slab of metal that holds the AF8 upright. It’s more minimalist and back to basics. But picture quality is getting better. Dolby Vision is now supported in addition to HDR10. Sony is again highlighting its in-house image tuning — powered by the TV’s X1 Extreme processor — as something that sets it apart from LG’s sets and claims that it “precisely controls the tremendous number of pixels and extends the capability of OLED to deliver an exquisite 4K HDR picture.”
If you’ve got a Sony TV from 2017, you’ll be pleased to know that Sony plans to add Dolby Vision to the higher-end models from last year via an upcoming firmware update.
On the LED side of things, Sony is expanding its X900 series to cover even bigger screen sizes. The new X900F line comes in 85-inch, 75-inch, 65-inch, 55-inch, and 49-inch models. Sony says it has done work to improve motion fluidity on the X900F series with a “new technology” it refers to as X-Motion Clarity, which “keeps fast action images smooth and life like.
As in recent years, all of these new TVs run Android TV and include Google Assistant integration. So you can launch shows and movies from streaming services through voice commands to an Android smartphone or Google Home in your living room. But they’re also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, offering the same convenience if you’ve got an Echo device.