The Sony Z9G 8K Master Series LED/LCD TV is its offering in
the 8K space. GadgetGuy had a first look at the huge 85-inch TV.
While GadgetGuy still has misgivings about 8K TVs (and you should not rush in to buy one) the Sony Z9G 8K Master Series is impressive. And it is not just for its enormous 85-inch screen but for its impressive 8K upscaling and picture quality.
So with the caveat that we don’t have the test equipment (yet)
to really understand the various technologies behind all the 8K screen types,
here is a brief first look.
Screen size – 85-inches (Sony also make a Sony Z9G 98-inch at US$70,000)
It is big – very big – and that must be prime purchase consideration.
While Aussies now buy more 65-inch 4K TVs, I am not so sure that an extra
20-inches, nor the price, will be something we all aspire to.
But 8K (7680×4320@24/25/30Hz frame refresh or 33,177,600
pixels) has 4/16 times more pixels than 4K/FHD so you can sit closer and not
see any pixels. Still, we recommend three to four metres less you suffer neck
strain trying to take in the huge vista.
Upscale – everything is upscaled to 8K at present
It was sitting beside the A9G 65-inch 4K Master Series
(GadgetGuy review here)
and we could see the same images upscaled on each – native 4K and 8K.
While native 4K content looked more vivid and crisp on the
4K TV, it was pretty damned good on the 8K. We could see a softening as it adds
four times more pixels, but it uses its X-Reality PRO 8K database to sharpen
and refine in real-time. With 4K content the 8K TVs full backlight (the Sony
A9G 4K is OLED) almost matches the brightness, contrast and definition.
With 1K content, the images were acceptable but looked
better on the 4K TV. While FTE TV is still 576 (SD), 720 (HD and 1080 (FHD)
resolution it should upscale sufficiently well for as good as image as you see
on a 4K TV.
8K Image Quality
While I preferred the 4K OLED colour and sharpness, this was
impressive with HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and more.
Its Full Array Local Dimming has 720 zones or segments. I
witnessed some bleed, blooming and motion distortion.
Viewing Angle/motion clarity
While 4K OLED offers the best off-angle viewing for colours
and definition, this was almost as good.
We discussed Sony X-Motion clarity in the 4K review using
Black Frame Insertion (BFI). Well, 8K has to do a lot more work, and it manages
almost as well as the 4K. It has to push around 4 times as many pixels using the
same X1 Ultimate processor.
Fact: At $26K you are going to buy an AV receiver or soundbar.
At present, it does not support Dolby Atmos (coming via a firmware update) but
has 4 x Tweeter, 8 x Woofer and 4 x Subwoofer (total 80W). In reality it is 2.1
channels. It does not use the behind glass acoustic panel technology that it
has in its OLEDs.
It has three HDMI-in ports, but these are the older 2.0 (18Gbps)
standard. They can they support 4/8K in 100/120Hz. The fourth port is eARC, and
we know it is HDMI 2.1.
The new 2.1 standard is important to future-proof the device
and allow for more 8K inputs. There are currently no 2.1 input devices nor
soundbars with 8K switching.
Wi-Fi is N – now that will not stream even 4K. BT is 4.2.
First Android TV is not yet updated to support 8K TV. The interface looks soft and not every app works on 8K. For example, it does not decode 8K HEVC or VP9-2 (8K YouTube).
Sony has built a custom solution with an external video player that can decode 8K video, output it via 4x HDMI 2.0 ports to another box that couples these four feeds together into an HDMI 2.1 output that is then passed to the 8K TV.
Expect to see 500-1000W per hour or a cost of 25-50 cents
The unit 1,913 × 1,226 × 432 mm x 74.5kg with the tabletop
stand. My chippie says 75kg is way too much to wall mount without steel-reinforced
GadgetGuy’s take – Sony Z9G – 8K now or wait
While I am sure Sony would like to sell heaps of these, the fact is that it, Samsung and LG’s 8K TVs are more proof-of-concept than mainstream devices.
I have yet to understand all the issues surrounding HDMI 2.1, local dimming, motion control, pixel dimming and other technologies that are going to make 8K mainstream. If it were my $26K I would want to be sure I knew what was best.
From what I saw picture quality is good but sub-native 4K, features
are less than future 8K units will deliver and all TV makers need to work on
V2.0 – never buy V1.0.