Sony’s first 8K TVs get supersized to 85 and 98 inches at CES 2019

Sony’s Master Series 8K Z9G comes in 85- and 98-inch sizes.


Nothing says CES 2019 like obnoxiously large 8K TVs. And Sony is throwing down some serious screen real estate with its latest models.

The Z9G Master Series LCD comes in just two sizes: 85 inches as well as a whopping 98-inch model. The latter ties Samsung for the largest 8K TV introduced at the show so far. No pricing was announced, but for reference, Samsung’s current 85-inch 8K TV costs 15 grand. ‘Nuff said.

8K resolution promises improved detail compared to standard 4K, but at this early stage in the game there’s no actual 8K TV shows and movies to take advantage of it. That’s why Sony and other TV makers tout their sets’ video processing, which takes 4K and lower-resolution video and converts it to 8K for display.

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Sony says the Master Series’ Picture Processor X1 Ultimate “has a unique algorithm specially developed for 8K that can intelligently detect and analyze each object in the picture, resulting in exceptional detail and contrast for a more realistic picture that represents the creators’ intent.” It sounds a bit like the AI processing Samsung uses, and in my brief time with that technology I found it tough to see the benefit of the processing and extra resolution. We’ll see how Sony compares.

The new 8K sets also have full-spec HDMI 2.1 inputs complete with 48Gbps capability, which means they’re compatible with higher frame rates and resolutions that could come down the pike soon, like 4K at 120 frames per second or 8K at 60fps. They also support variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM, or auto game mode) for as well as enhanced audio return channel (eARC).

Like the current smaller, 4K resolution Z9D models, the new 85- and 98-inchers have fancier full-array local dimming LCD backlights. They utilize “ultra-dense LED modules that are independently controlled” and can “intelligently boost the brightness in the areas where it needs to be boosted.” 

Sony also revamped the sound quality, using four front-facing speakers to position the sound on the screen. Unlike Sony’s OLED TVs, however, the screen itself doesn’t produce the sound. Sony also built in the same kind of far-field mic array found in its current Master Series TVs, allowing you to summon Google Assistant hands-free, without using the remote.

In addition to the new 8K sets, Sony also revealed details on its 2019 4K TVs.


Sony’s Master Series A9G OLED TV


A9G Master Series OLED TV: Sony’s highest-end OLED TVs for 2019 are really similar to the 2018 version, the Master Series A9F, except that now it offers a 77-inch option in addition to 55- and 65-inch sizes. The main different is in design; the A9G has a more standard ultraslim look, without the large “kickstand” lean-back design of the A9F. Sony’s OLED TV screens are actually big speakers, and the version on the A9G (“Acoustic Surface+”) supposedly offers better sound.

A8G series OLED TV: Sony’s step-down 2019 OLED sets, they lack the fancy processing of the Master Series and have just the standard Acoustic Surface screens. The series comes in 55- and 65-inch sizes.

X950G series 4K LCD TV: Available in 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch sizes, these sets look similar on paper to the X900F we reviewed in 2018, complete with full-array local dimming and Dolby Vision. It gets a couple new features however, including improved sound (“Acoustic Multi-Audio”, said to improve sound positioning) and a far-field mic for Google Assistant. 

Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support: Similar to LG’s and Vizio’s, Sony’s 2019 TVs will work with Apple AirPlay 2. That means iPhone, iPad and Mac computers can be used to control TV show and movie playback on the big screen, whether from iTunes movies and TV shows or other compatible apps. Photos can also be shown on the TV screen, and it can mirror a phone or computer screen to show web pages for example. The TV can be part of a multiroom audio setup, and controls for the set itself can appear on the phone screen. 

With HomeKit, “these TVs can be added to the Home app and included in scenes or automations with other HomeKit accessories” according to Sony’s press release. “For example, users can create a ‘Movie Night’ scene in the Home app to easily turn on their TV and dim the lights, and simply ask Siri to launch the scene.”

Sony says pricing and availability for all of its 2019 TVs will be announced this spring.

CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.

CES schedule: It’s six days of jam-packed events. Here’s what to expect.

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