Sony swan dives into OLED with its first big-screen model, the XBR-A1E

For years now, LG has been the only OLED game in town, but that changed today at Sony’s CES 2017 press conference with the official introduction of the rumored  XBR-A1E Bravia OLED TV.

While the XBR-A1E’s TV’s ability to offer perfect black levels and excellent contrast will get plenty of attention, Sony is pointing to its 4K HDR X1 Extreme processor as the special sauce it brings to the OLED TV landscape — after all, Sony is using an LG OLED panel, so it’s the company’s processing that helps make this OLED TV different.

“Sony delivers incredible innovation and excitement to customers with all of our premium 4K HDR TVs through a powerful mix of technology and our exclusive image processing,” said Mike Fasulo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics.

In addition to Sony’s latest processing technology, the TV packs, of course, 4K resolution with HDR for increased contrast and color expansion, as well as what Sony is calling “first of its kind audio technology.” As OLED panels allow for impressively thin TVs, Sony has taken advantage of that extra space with its new Acoustic Surface sound technology, designed to allow for a wider soundstage and better image synchronization with sound that seems to emanate from the screen itself. Sony hopes the new acoustic design coupled with the OLED panel will give the XBR-A1E a leg up on the competition, offering a wider angle for both sights and sounds to create an “unmatched visual and aural experience regardless of viewing position.” In addition, the design allows for the TV’s new “stand-less” form factor.

Other features for the XBR-A1E include Sony’s Triluminos Display technology for enhanced color accuracy, the 4K X-Reality Pro algorithm for enhanced 4K detail, and Google’s Android TV operating system to support a wide array of streaming apps. At present, the TV only supports Dolby Vision’s version of HDR, with no word yet as to whether or not the TV will support the other major player in HDR technology, HDR10.

The new XBR-A1E will come in 75-inch, 65-inch, and 55-inch model sizes, with pricing, dealers, and launch dates to be announced.

While LG may be supplying the panel, Sony’s entry into the OLED TV space still represents competition for LG, and competition usually translates into consumer benefits in the form of lower prices and new features.