We knew 8K TVs would be expensive, but we never thought they could be this expensive. Sony has released pricing and availability information on its entire 2019 TV lineup, and while there are plenty of competitively priced options to be excited about (will they be the best TVs of 2019?), the company’s monstrous 98-inch 8K LED/LCD TV isn’t one of them.
All told, Sony is coming to market with six different series of TVs comprising 17 sizes ranging from 43-inch to 98-inch and everything in between. Every TV from Sony this year will run Android TV and support Apple AirPlay 2 and Homekit (via update coming this summer).
We see some familiar features returning, including Sony’s X1 Ultimate picture processing chip on premium models, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support, and Netflix Calibrated mode (for what it’s worth), while IMAX Enhanced debuts as the latest branded feature.
Each of the 6 series fulfills a different need, so without further ado, here’s the lineup starting with the most expensive (and somewhat absurd) to the most affordable and practical of the bunch.
Sony Master Series Z9G 8K HDR TV
I won’t make you wait any longer. The 98-inch Z9G 8K TV is $70,000. That is … steep. What’s more astonishing, however, is that the 85-inch model is just $13,000. That’s still a king’s ransom for a TV, but it is difficult to reconcile the $57,000 difference in price over 13 diagonal inches. I’m visiting Sony this week for an up-close look at some of these new TVs and will ask for some insight around the price difference, then update this article with what I learn. For now, let’s take a brief look at what you get with Sony’s 8K flagship.
The Z9G, along with several other TVs listed here, is armed with Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor, which is key considering this TV will rely heavily on upscaling. Until 8K content is more readily available, Sony’s 8K TVs will be upscaling lower resolution content to help fill all 33 million pixels on display. Since upscaling is a processing intensive job, it stands to reason Sony would put its hot-rod processor in its 8K TVs. Interestingly, it is the same processor found in some of Sony’s 4K TVs, in which we have found it does an outstanding job — so good, in fact, that we gave it a Best Tech of CES award in 2018. Let’s hope that, along with Sony’s Backlight Master Drive technology and full-array local dimming, the processing does its job well enough to make a convincing 8K picture.
- 85-inch model: $13,000. Available in June
- 98-inch model: $70,000. Available in June
Sony Master Series A9G 4K OLED TV
Sony makes a stunning OLED TV, and the A9G will be Sony’s most elaborate yet. As the Master Series badge implies, these OLED TVs will benefit from the aforementioned X1 Ultimate processor and an extremely thin profile. Perhaps most exciting is the TVs Acoustic Surface Audio Plus, which refers to the fact that the TV’s screen itself makes the sound — there are no conventional speakers, save the subwoofer driving in the back that creates bass for a historically full, robust sound. This year’s OLED has more actuators vibrating the screen, so we are expecting even higher performance than in prior years.
The A9G also sports Netflix Calibrated Mode and — new for this year — IMAX Enhanced mode with DTS audio, which I have yet to experience firsthand.
- 55-inch: $3,500. Available in May
- 65-inch: $4,500. Available in May
- 77-inch: $8,000. Available in May
Sony A8G 4K OLED TV
While this step down from the ultra-premium Master Series is less expensive, it appears to be the OLED TV most Sony fans will want to buy. Sony boasts its X1 Ultimate processor again, this time highlighting what the company calls object-based HDR remaster, along with 4K HDR Super Bit Mapping and dual-database processing.
We’re interested to learn how some of these new processing technologies will affect picture quality and whether the effects will result in superior picture quality. What we do know for certain is that the A8G OLED also offers Acoustic Surface Audio, but without the “plus.”
- 55-inch: $2,500. Available in May
- 65-inch: $3,500. Available in May
Sony X950G 4K TV
This is the series I suspect most die-hard Sony fans without a small fortune in savings will gravitate to if an upgrade is in the cards this year. The X950G uses the X1 Ultimate processor, once again, along with what Sony calls X-Wide angle, which refers to the TV’s improved off-angle picture quality. This series will offer IMAX enhanced mode and Netflix Calibrated mode along with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. Everything a TV enthusiast needs is here, including a wide array of sizes stretching to 85 inches.
Note: No availability dates were provided for these options (except the 85-inches), so we presume they will be available immediately.
- 85-inch: $5,000
Sony X850G 4K HDR TV
This is a strange model in Sony’s lineup as it presently only comes in an 85-inch model and lacks a lot of the Netflix Calibrated-this and IMAX Enhanced-that seen with the upper-tier TVs. This TV gets the standard X1 processor and some sound enhancement from specially positioned tweeters. My best guess is Sony is taking a swipe at making a premium 85-inch TV more affordable and is highlighting this size for now. Sony’s website does, however, show 55-, 65-, and 75-inch variants in the works. I just don’t know how much they will be or when they will be available for purchase.
Sony X800G 4K HDR TV
Finally, we come to Sony’s entry point into its all-premium TV strategy. We see the most screen-size options here along with the least boasting by Sony. The best I can tell is that this TV has expanded color and good 4K upscaling. The rest I’ll have to dig up at a later date.
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