CES 2019 is only just getting started, but one thing is abundantly clear already: This is the year that 8K goes from being a cool concept, to something you can actually put in your living room. Today, Sony has officially taken the wraps off its first 8K TV for consumers: The Master Series Z9G 8K LCD, and it’s a technical tour-de-force. If it’s anything like the prototype we saw last year, it should be a show-stopper.
8K is a lot of resolution — four times more than 4K — which would be wasted on a small screen. So the new Z9G series come in two monstrous sizes: 85-inch, and 98-inch. At nearly 100-inches, that’s projector-class image size, an impressive feat for any TV, let alone an 8K model. Sony claims it has updated both its Picture Processor X1 Ultimate image processor, and its X-Reality PRO technology to be optimized for 8K content, ensuring that all content regardless of its native resolution, looks as good as possible. As part of Sony’s Master series, these two 8K models also feature Netflix Calibrated Mode and IMAX Enhanced.
Last year, on its OLED TVs, Sony debuted technology it calls Sound-from-Picture Reality, which makes dialog sound as though it’s coming from the actors on-screen, and not from the TV’s speakers. It accomplished this using OLED Acoustic Surface Audio, where the screen itself acts as a speaker. Apparently this technology doesn’t lend itself to LCD panels, so the Z9G models are equipped with four, front-firing speakers — two on the top, and two along the bottom of the screen. This combination, when managed correctly, has the same effect as the OLED panel-as-speaker, or so Sony claims. If you’ve already got a 5.1 or better surround sound system, the TV’s speakers can take the place of your center channel.
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