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Sony’s new Master Series 4K TVs make Netflix look better than ever

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The Master Series comes in both OLED and LCD models

Sony is taking the unusual step of launching new TV models in the middle of summer. The company announced updated OLED and LCD 4K HDR TVs back at CES, but it’s not quite done for this year. At an event today in New York City that had the tagline “a masterpiece unveiled,” Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo said the company’s new flagship sets — called the Master Series — are designed to preserve and showcase a creator’s intent “from lens to living room.”

“The Master Series provides image quality approaching that of a professional monitor in a production studio,” said Kazuo Kii, who oversees Sony’s TV business, adding that it’s “the best of the best.” There are two models of the Master Series, the A9F (OLED) and Z9F (LED). It includes the new X1 Ultimate picture processor — the most powerful chip Sony has put in a TV yet — which the company first showed in prototype form at CES.

The Master Series TVs will be available this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to release. Like Sony’s other TVs, the newest models run Android TV and support both Google Assistant and Alexa for voice controls.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Fasulo said that Sony has worked with Portrait Displays and SpectraCal to ensure optimal calibration and picture performance. And the company has also collaborated with Netflix on a new “Netflix Calibrated Mode” that’s meant to indicate you’re seeing the image exactly as intended — as it would on a fancy display meant for grading and post-processing.

Netflix Calibrated Mode is debuting exclusively on the new Master Series sets, but I’d bet on it expanding to TVs from other companies at CES 2019. “Our members can view content as it was meant to be seen, with precise colors, accurate dynamic colors, and true motion so there’s no soap opera effect,” said Scott Mirer, Netflix’s VP of device partner ecosystem. He talked up Sony’s long history with Netflix — the PS3 spent a long time as the leading living room streaming device for Netflix — and even showed an image of the old Spider-Man-font console and the Netflix app from that era.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Aside from picture refinements, the A9F OLED model also improves upon sound and Sony’s Acoustic Surface speaker system by adding a center actuator and a subwoofer channel, which results in the TV being able to produce 3.1 audio on its own. The Z9F promises near-flawless viewing angles and best-in-class motion clarity and smoothness.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge