The Sony Master A9F OLED 4K (3840 x 2160) TV is a masterpiece of both imaging technology and sound engineering.
We all know that Sony, Panasonic and many other OLED TV makers get their OLED panels from LG. They then wrap around it their design, sound, electronics and marketing prowess to try to top LG!
Is the Sony Master better than the LG?
To use a Japanese saying “Motoki ni masaru uraki nashi” – no fountain can rise higher than its source. Can Sony do more with the LG OLED panel than LG can?
To prove that Sony placed an LG OLED side-by-side, reset both to the factory defaults and then used a signal generator to simultaneously show a variety of content.
The answer, if you can believe your eyes is yes. Both LG and Sony are excellent. But, in the final analysis, there was a perceptible difference in image quality.
Sony put it down to its marketing positioning, “From Lens to Lounge” claiming it has leveraged its Sony Pictures Entertainment expertise as a producer of blockbuster films and TV series to develop the electronics and finesse the Master A9F OLED to as close to what the filmmaker sees.
As a journalist I want to thank Sony for the facilitating a comparison – we love ‘shoot-outs’. You will note that major retailers no longer place different brands side-by-side for comparison. Their answer to what is the best picture is what makes them the most money!
The Sony Master 55A9F OLED is $4,998 (on special from $5,799). It is the best Sony has to offer. It uses brand-new 2018-19 technology with its X1 Ultimate Processor and Pixel Contrast Booster. Marketing hype aside it has more power to process more metadata (colour data) on a frame by frame basis than its previous model.
The LG was a 55C7T – a 2017 model on runout pricing at $3599. The C7T is a mid-range (not the best model) using a 2017 processor is nowhere near as powerful as LG’s 2018-19 Alpha 9 Intelligent processor found in its new 2018-19 series. A fairer comparison would have been the LG OLED 55E8 ThinQ at $4599 (normal retail).
It was in no way an apple with apple comparison.
Nice try Sony, but it did not impress this tech journalist! If anything, it made me a little more sceptical about the new Master Series from the Master of Marketing hype – Sony.
Review: Sony 55” 4K 55A9F OLED TV
So, began a review of the 55” A9F OLED during an overnight stay (courtesy of Sony) at the Ovalo Hotel – a well-worn method of getting tech media to review TVs. It is a hell of a lot easier than carting a 55, 65 or 75” TV into your office or home, disrupting your existing TV setup and leaving it for a week or so only to wrench it back after you realise how inadequate your existing TV by comparison!
The benefit is that we get to see it and play with it. The downside is that the time is too short and hotel room lighting conditions are usually too dim to really get to know the TV.
4K Video tests
Armed with my 4K TV testing software – a greyscale generator, colour bars, tone generator and a few tests for DCI-P3 colour gamut I set out to put the TV through its technical paces.
As expected of any OLED with pixel-level control it gave good, rock solid colour bars with clear definition between bars – no overlap. There were no bands of lighter and darker colours that you see with LED/LCD TVs. PASS.