Sony joins the 8K club, rolls out its new flagship LCD TV at CES
There's usually an abundance of new TVs at CES, and the latest models to arrive are from Sony and include the company's first 8K-resolution set for consumers. The Z9G LCD TV is available in 85-inch and 98-inch sizes, to show off all those 33 million pixels.
As part of Sony's Master series – representing "the pinnacle of picture quality" in Sony's words – the Z9G features color, contrast and clarity optimized by the latest Picture Processor X1 Ultimate chip introduced last year. The intention is to produce images and video that match what content creators intended as closely as possible.
That Picture Processor X1 Ultimate chip will also handle the algorithms designed to upscale content to 8K – something that's going to be essential while there's still only a smattering of 8K content around. While a lot of new movies and shows are now available in 4K on platforms like Netflix and iTunes, it's going to be a while before 8K becomes the norm.
The set also features new technologies for managing backlighting, dynamic range and audio across 8K content – you get four front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and the TV can act as the central speaker in a surround sound home cinema setup. HDMI 2.1 and support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard are also included.
If you're not ready (or wealthy) enough to join the 8K revolution just yet, Sony has also introduced the new A9G OLED TV as part of its Master range. 4K resolution and Dolby Vision HDR are supported here, with sizes of 77 inches, 65 inches, and 55 inches to pick from.
The same Picture Processor X1 Ultimate is on board the A9G, and again Sony is promising professional-grade picture and audio quality, as well as seamless upscaling for any content that isn't delivered at 4K resolutions.
Both these sets and the more affordable LCD and OLED variants that Sony is launching in Las Vegas feature Android TV included, as previous Sony televisions have. Apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu can be launched right from the home screen, while Google Assistant and Chromecast functionality is integrated too.
For the first time, these Sony TVs will offer AirPlay 2 compatibility, just like the range Samsung has unveiled at CES. The Apple-made streaming standard allows video and audio to be beamed from iTunes and iOS devices, and it now appears Apple is ready to give other manufacturers access after years of exclusivity.
There will be no native iTunes app for Android TV though, as there is for the Tizen-running Samsung TVs, so you'll need to stream iTunes content from another device. The new Sony TVs will also double up as HomeKit hubs however, another concession from Apple.
As for the all important pricing, Sony says this will be revealed in the early part of 2019, but be prepared to pay a premium for the Master sets – especially the 8K one.