Sony Launch A1 4K OLED TV with Dolby Vision at CES 2017

This is likely the biggest story of CES 2017 as far as TV is concerned. We were absolutely flabbergasted when we first heard it, and many industry watchers will probably be taken by surprise too. Consumer electronics heavyweight Sony has just announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that its upcoming A1 series of 4K OLED TV will support Dolby Vision (DV) HDR standard.

Sony A1E OLED TV

Rumours of Sony entering the OLED TV market have of course been swirling especially since leading AV journalist John Archer broke the story on Forbes, but if we’re honest, we never saw this hookup with Dolby coming. TV manufacturers who take pride in their own picture processing sauce, such as Panasonic and Samsung, have been extremely wary about handing over control to Dolby’s proprietary chipset for DV HDR presentation, and we certainly rate Sony TVs as having some of the best video processing in the business.

That said, Sony has never been as vocal as Panasonic and Samsung in slating Dolby Vision, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment did join up with Dolby Labs back in September 2015 to use Dolby Vision mastering on future 4K Ultra HD titles. In hindsight, perhaps Sony embracing Dolby Vision shouldn’t come as a surprise after all.

But what a scoop for Dolby. Previously the organisation only had support from LG, Vizio and a handful of brands such as Philips and Loewe, but Sony is a big well-known brand that immediately adds gravitas to the whole Dolby Vision movement. Even though from our tests (albeit limited) HDR10 on a capable HDR TV didn’t look inferior to Dolby Vision, the “Dolby” brand commands such recognisability and respect among the video enthusiasts community that many prospective buyers will demand Dolby Vision compatibility on their future televisions, especially as Dolby Vision content becomes more widely available. Can Panasonic and Samsung continue to ignore DV?

The A1 OLED is not the only Sony TV to support Dolby Vision: the step-down X93E LED LCD will be getting it too, as well as last year’s outstanding Sony ZD9 via a firmware update.

Given Sony’s excellent video processing and motion handling complemented by Dolby Vision HDR, we expect Sony’s new 55in and 65in A series OLED TVs to be the displays to beat for the year ahead, as long as they’re not priced extravagantly high. We’ll be attending a briefing from the company at CES 2017 this week, and will bring you more details as we find out.

2 comments

  1. A TV WITH A TILTED BACK PICTURE IS A LATRINE. SHAME ON SONY!!!

  2. Judging by Sony’s CES 2017 post conference Q&A

    https://youtu.be/BdP-jNAf_oY?t=2822

    comment by Phil Jones (Head of the Bravia Division) at 56mins and 40 secs

    https://youtu.be/BdP-jNAf_oY?t=3372

    This might be the OLED to beat, but he disagrees that the A1 will surpass the ZD9 on picture quality – going so far as to say the A1 isn’t a flagship Sony screen, and the ZD9 will remain the flagship TV in their range.

    In my mind that would be quite logical, if we compared the ZD9’s nit range as a percentage of the maximum perceivable range(10,000nits?), and then did the same comparison with the A1’s LG panel limitation of about 800nits, in the context of SDR material being bitmapped too, the scale of difference between the ZD9 on the issue of brightness dynamic range would be multiple factors more significant than any perceivable benefit the A1’s OLED panel had over the ZD9’s master backlight drive LED panel.

    In the coming weeks; or a few months at most, I’m looking to get a new Sony TV to replace my 55” X9. I was all set to take a hit in integrated audio quality and get the 65” ZD9, but with the announcements of the A1 – which Phil Jones claimed (in the Q&A at about 57mins 30secs) has the best audio in any TV Sony have ever done; so it must be amazing integrated audio if it is better than an X9’s fluid magnetic speakers – I’m tempted by the A1 at 55”. I’m also quite interested in how well the 75” XE94 holds up against the ZD9.

    The ZD9 is here and available along with a monster price tag, the XE94 should be a few weeks away with an unknown price and is bigger with newer faster android tv, and presumably the A1 is a few months away with the best audio and newer faster androidtv, and as a 55″ option.

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