Sony TV Buying Guide 2017 – What should be considered when Buying Sony 4K TV in 2017?

 


Sony has introduced some of their 2017 4K TV lineup in CES 2017 including their first OLED TV at once their flagship A1E series. For their LED TV lineup, if in 2016 they labeled their lineup with ending “D letter” or XBR-X***D, for their 2017 lineup, they labeled their LED TV lineup with the ending “E letter” or XBR-X***E series.  As happened in previous years, there are some upgrades and improvements on new 2017 lineup over the predecessor 2016 lineup. But even so, the excepting of A1E series as their OLED TV that becomes something new, there are not many major improvements on their new LED TV lineup over 2016 lineup like they are still used 4K processor as their main image processor and TriLuminos Display as their main panel technology. But unlike 2016 model, Sony has removed 3D technology from their 2017 lineup. This means there is no Sony 3D TV that released in 20117.

Sony 2017 4K TV Lineup

TV Series Panel Technology Size Image Processor TriLuminos Display Backlight Dimming Motion Flow X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro
A1E OLED X1 Extreme Yes Self Lighting Pixel Dimming Yes
X940E LED 75” X1 Extreme Yes Direct LED Local Dimming XR960 Yes
X930E LED 55” and 65” X1 Extreme Yes Edge Lit (Slim backlight Drive) Local Dimming XR960 Yes
X900E LED 49”, 55”, 65” X1 Yes Direct LED Local Dimming XR960 Yes
X850E LED 65” and 75” X1 Yes Edge Led Frame Dimming XR960 No
X800E LED 43”, 49” and 55” 4K X-Reality Yes Edge LED Frame Dimming XR240 No

What’s New?

OLED Technology

Sony OLED TV

That becomes really a new of Sony 2017 4K TV lineup is about the presence of OLED technology on their lineup. As mentioned, in 2017 Sony has released their first 4K HDR OLED TV lineup named A1E series. This certainly will enliven the OLED market where previously controlled by LG. Despite the fact that this is not really competition because their OLED panel still bought from LG, but at least combine to Sony’s most advanced technologies like X1 Extreme, TriLuminos Display maps color technology and others, A1E series will bring something different to LG OLED TV.

Support More than One HDR Formats

If in 2016, Sony 4K HDR TV lineup support HDR 10 format only, in 2017, they already support more than single format. This means, in addition to it already supports HDR 10, an open source HDR format by UHD Alliance, it also already support Dolby Vision as a proprietary HDR format by Dolby Laboratories. Even not only that, Sony has confirmed that it will provide a firmware update that brings Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) on their HDR lineup. You need to know, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) HLG is the royalty-free standard HDR format that has been developed by NHK and BBC. This is a solution to watch TV broadcast with HDR quality.

Main Features

X1 Extreme HDR Processor

X1 Extrenme 4K HDR Processor

Most of Sony’s 2017 4K TV lineup especially for top class including A1E and X930/940E series already use 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme as their main picture engine. This actually is not something new considering the flagship of 2016 model Z9D series has also used this images processor. This picture engine is clamed offers 40% more real-time image processor than the predecessor X1 4K Engine. Meanwhile, X900E series and lower series still also use new images processor called 4K HDR Processor X1 Engine as their main processor. The differences between these engines, X1 Extreme use Dual Database processing and Precision Color Mapping behind it, while there are no both of these technologies behind new X1 Engine. But it is still more powerful than old 4K X1 engine, especially when processing HDR signals.

TriLuminos Display

Sony TriLuminos Display

You might already know about this technology because Sony has used this technology in some most recent years for their lineup. As we know this technology is designed for improving color gamut so hard-to-reproduce color like hues of reds, aqua blues and emerald green, and other will displayed properly on the screen. Of course this will makes the picture that displayed will also looks more natural with richer color. Meanwhile, HDR contents also need far wider color gamut than normal content for displaying it fully. As the note, HDR 10 need at least 90% of DCI P3 color space while Dolby Vision even need wider color gamut that is Rec.2020 color space, compare to SDR contents that need Rec.709 color space only.  This means for displaying HDR contents fully, a HDR TV must deliver wide color gamut. For this case, the use of TriLuminos display is very helpful to meet the minimum color gamut required by HDR.

X-tended Dynamic Range Technology

X-tended Dynamic Range

X-tended Dynamic Range

This is a Sony’s proprietary backlighting algorithm that designed for improving peak brightness a brightness range so at least three times than conventional panel. As we know, since HDR comes on 4K TVs, peak brightness is one of the most important aspects of HDR performance. With this technology behind Sony’s 2017 lineup, they can deliver brighter picture while dark scenes is darker. Even for top model like A1E or X930E series, this technology claimed can improve up to 10 times brightness range than conventional LED TV. But unfortunately, for a while, this technology is only applied on X900E series or higher.

Slim Backlight Drive

Slim Backlight Drive

Slim Backlight Drive technology is the Sony’s proprietary technology that designed for improving black level and contrast of their lineup with edge Lit backlighting while the aesthetic of slim design of edge lit is still maintained. This technology refers to Edge Lit with local dimming technology but with some improvements that allow improved light output, more precise dimming zones, and reduced blooming.  And what resulted is indeed better than standard Edge Lit with local dimming. But unfortunately, between Sony’s 20117 4K HDR TV lineup, there is only X930E series that uses this technology.

4K X-Reality Pro

4k-x-reality-pro-block-diagram

4K X Reality pro is Sony’s most advanced image processing that designed for up-scaling every pixel for remarkable clarity. It will analyze, converted, and evaluated every signal entering then up-scaled to near 4K quality sharply and clearly with any small details preserved well.  It works with main image processor X1/X1 Extreme to produce sharp and clear picture quality from sources with any resolution, even for lower resolution contents like SD with 480p resolution. Combination between these images engines makes Sony lineup is the best in UHD Up-scaling performance.

Google Android TV

Google Android TV 2017

As the smart TV platform, Sony’s 2017 4K TV lineup features Google Android TV based version 7.0 (Nougat). There are some new features such as app recording, multi accounts, multitasking menu, picture in-picture, better HDR support, Vulkan 3D Engine, some bugs fixed, and many more which makes it is more comfortable to use.  Considering most of the people already familiar with Google Android platform on their android smart phone, of course this makes them didn’t so awkward when operating. Nevertheless, not all features provided on Android Smart phone also provided on Sony’s Google Android TV considering they use different controller. But overall, the major apps like Google Play Store, Google Cast, and other also provided on Sony TV. Most of Sony TV lineup also equipped with Cloud Games apps like Play Station Now that allows you to play PlayStation Games without a console.

Conclusion

After released flagship model Z9D series that offers extreme peak brightness, in this year 2017, Sony also makes a new breakthrough by released their first 4K HDR OLED TV named A1E series as the flagship of their 2017 lineup. It will compete directly to LG OLED TV or Panasonic OLED TV where all of them use the same OLED panel from LG. Additionally, for LED TV lineup, there are not many change and an improvement from last year model such as X930E/940E is a successor of X930D/X940D, X850E is successor of X850D, and so on.

All we have discussed above are main features that offered by Sony’s 2017 lineup where you should considered before buying one of Sony’s 2017 TV models. At least, you already know the terms that used by Sony for their 2017 lineup so that will help you to determine which model is suitable with your preferences. The interesting, now Sony’s 20117 TVs are not just support HDR 10 only, but also Dolby Vision and third HDR format named Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) that will come via update later this year. About performance that offered by each model, we will review one by one as soon as possible.

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