OLED is having its moment. Earlier this year, Sony announced its reentry into the category and now it's officially taking preorders for its new XBR-A1E OLED TVs, which will be available in April.
“With over 10 years of OLED experience, Sony is pleased to introduce the BRAVIA OLED 4K HDR TV, its first large-screen consumer OLED television,” says Kevin Brinkman, director of product marketing, TV and projectors, Sony.
“Our long experience with OLED technology, together with the new 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme [processing engine], meant that this was the right time to return to the consumer OLED market,” adds Brinkman. “The A1E features a powerful mix of our exclusive image processing with a striking new design concept that is sure to make an impression in anyone's home.”
Sony first entered the OLED market back in 2007 with its XEL-1 11-inch television. Sony Professional has been using OLED for several years and its OLED products have won a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award and a Technical Emmy Award for Outstanding Innovation in Engineering Development.
Sony A1E Turns Heads
The A1E TV was the talk of a Sony demo event in New York in late January as well as at CES 2017 earlier this year. This is in part because the TV boasts Ultra HD 4K with HDR as well as deep black levels, rich colors, dynamic contrast levels, noise-free and wide-viewing angles.
The TV also uses Sony's 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme to enable the products to support all formats of HDR content including HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma and Dolby Vision.
The processing engine also improves the look of non-HDR content to levels close to HDR dynamic levels; its TRILUMINOS Display maps colors to produce a wide color pallet, and its Super Bit Mapping technology helps the TVs to produce smooth images with no “banding” effects.
No Speakers? No Problem
But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that this TV is virtually speaker-free. Traditional TVs have speakers on the sides or bottom, but Sony does something new with the A1E.
Sony's Acoustic Surface technology creates an audio surface out of the screen of the TV itself. If you touch the screen, you can feel a very slight vibrating sensation when the audio is turned up.
The absence of protruding speakers, as well as the TV's easel concealing the subwoofer and cable management systems, provide a clean look that we haven't seen before in the market.
Google Assistant and Android
The A1E incorporates the Android TV platform, to offer homeowners a choice of streaming services like Amazon Video, Google Play, Netflix and YouTube.
Android TV also provides the Internet-based Vue streaming service that allows users to watch TV, movies and sports without a cable or satellite subscription
Consumers can also communicate directly with their Google Assistant through the A1E, for example, giving users the ability to check scores from sporting events using voice control.
Now that the TV is available for pre-sale, it’s clear that this is a flagship set for Sony, and it has been priced as such.
The 55-inch XBR-55A1E will priced significantly above LG TVs at $5,000. That’s a lot more than the LG C6 and B6, which cost $1,999 apiece, while the E6 is $2,499.
Those opting for the 65-inch model will find less of a price gap between LG and Sony’s models. Sony has priced the 65-inch XBR-65A1E at $6,500, which is comparable to LG’s flagship G6, which is priced at $5,999.
If 65-inch isn’t big enough, then Sony is promising a 77-inch OLED too. Expect a big price jump, however.