CES 2019 News: Sony unveils AG9 OLED and ZG9 8K TVs

Go big or go home!

by Steve Withers Jan 8, 2019 at 1:23 AM

  • Sony's new 98” and 85” ZG9 8K HDR Full Array LED TV and a 77”, 65” and 55” AG9 4K HDR OLED TV will join its flagship Master Series.
    Sony announced the ZG9 and AG9 at CES 2019, and the two TVs are designed to represent the pinnacle of picture quality available to home viewers with a Netflix Calibrated Mode and support for IMAX Enhanced to further ensure that content is delivered as intended.

    Both new models feature the latest generation Picture Processor X1 Ultimate for accurate detail and contrast. Introduced last autumn with the inaugural AF9 and ZF9 Master Series models, this processor has a unique algorithm specially developed for 8K that can intelligently detect and analyse each object in the picture resulting in exceptional detail and contrast for a more realistic picture that more accurately represents the creators’ intent.

    Premium quality sound is a key part of the viewing experience as well, and both the ZG9 and AG9 models feature the new Sound-from-Picture Reality which faithfully reproduces the position of the sound on the screen so when actors are speaking, the sound appears to be coming directly from their mouths and not from a speaker off to the bottom of the TV.

    ZG9 Super-Large Sized TV

    Larger TVs are becoming more popular and Sony’s goal with delivering new ZG9 98” and 85” TVs is to maximise the super-large screen experience in the living room.

    In order to deliver premium picture quality in such extra-large screens, Sony has introduced 8K resolution with twice the number of horizontal lines and vertical lines of 4K and four times the number of pixels (or 16 times the resolution of Full HD). This higher resolution results in a more immersive viewing experience as 8K means the larger-sized TVs look great up close with virtually no pixel differentiation. Sony will update the ZG9 to HDMI 2.1 so that it can support 8K resolution over HDMI.

    But it is not just resolution that matters. As screen sizes get larger the processor plays an even greater role in delivering premium picture quality. Utilising a proprietary algorithm, the powerful Picture Processor X1 Ultimate has been optimised to handle the 33 million pixels of 8K. And the same processor enables the newly developed 8K X-Reality PRO to up-scale any content closer to true 8K picture quality using a new, dedicated 8K database to refer to for even more precise, detailed upscaling.

    In addition, completely new dedicated 8K technologies have been developed for the ZG9 series, including Backlight Master Drive with full-array local dimming and 8K X-tended Dynamic Range PRO. The Backlight Master Drive on the ZG9 has ultra-dense LED modules which are independently controlled, delivering unprecedented contrast with punchy brightness and pitch blacks. To leverage the most out of this backlight system, 8K X-tended Dynamic Range PRO uses the saved energy to intelligently boost the brightness in the areas where it needs to be boosted, which is especially useful with High Dynamic Range.

    Accurate sound position is another key factor as TVs get larger. Taking the experience gained from its OLED’s Acoustic Surface Audio, Sony has expanded the concept to the ZG9 Full Array LED TV with Acoustic Multi-Audio. To deliver the Sound-from-Picture Reality experience, the new Acoustic Multi-Audio on the ZG9 utilises four front-facing speakers; two on the bottom and two on the top – to deliver a faithful sound position. Viewers will hear the sound coming from the screen, and not where the speaker is located.

    The ZG9 also has a TV Centre Speaker Mode for those who have a home cinema setup – the TV becomes the centre speaker. Also enhancing the sound experience is Dolby Atmos, which will be added via a future firmware update.

    Finally the ZG9 also features X-Wide Angle to ensure the picture retains its quality and true colours regardless of the viewing angle by reducing colour shifts when viewing the screen off-axis. Also, X-Motion Clarity minimises motion blur without sacrificing screen brightness.
    AG9 Premium OLED TV

    The AG9 is Sony’s new flagship 4K HDR OLED TV available in 77”, 65”, and 55” screen sizes, in a very slim form factor. The AG9 also uses the Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, along with the Pixel Contrast Booster for more colour and contrast in bright areas. As a result, the AG9 provides premium picture quality approaching that of a professional-grade monitor, showing images and colours as they truly are, as the creator intended. The processor improves SD and HD content closer to 4K HDR quality and shows 4K HDR content in stunning clarity.

    Acoustic Surface Audio+ provides a totally immersive sound experience with the sound coming from the entire screen, enveloping viewers in exciting new entertainment experiences, providing pictures and sound in perfect harmony. In addition, a TV Centre Speaker Mode provides choice to use the TV as the centre speaker in a home cinema setup.

    The AG9 is very slim in depth; when wall-mounted using the optional SU-WL850 wall mount system, it will fit close to the wall at around half the distance of Sony’s previous AF9 model. Furthermore, in order to bring the best viewing position and flexible usage, SU-WL850 has a swivel functionality so that the TV’s position can be adjusted as preferred.

    As with the ZG9, the AG9 features a Netflix Calibrated Mode, support for IMAX Enhanced, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to deliver the viewing experience just as the creator intended. IMAX Enhanced certified content including films such as Venom, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will be available in the UK on select BRAVIA TVs via the RakutenTV streaming service later this year.

    Both the ZG9 Full Array LED and the AG9 OLED TVs feature Sony Android TV which supports a wide range of apps from Google Play, including YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video. The ZG9 and AG9 TVs will also have Google Assistant built-in, along with built-in microphones that will free users’ hands. Viewers can simply talk to the TV using Google Assistant to quickly plan the day, discover content, or play TV shows, films, and more. The TVs also work with smart speakers, Google Home or Amazon Echo devices, allowing users to control their TV and stream content by simply using their voice.

    Sony Android TVs will be compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. AirPlay 2 lets you effortlessly stream content from your iPhone, iPad and Mac right to your Sony TV. Watch movies and shows from iTunes and other video apps, and view photos directly on your Sony TV. Play music or listen to podcasts on the television and AirPlay 2 speakers throughout the home – all in sync. HomeKit lets you easily and securely control smart home products using the Home app or by asking Siri on your Apple devices. TVs can be added to the Home app and included in scenes or automations with other HomeKit accessories.

    Finally for an even friendlier user experience, a new easy to control smart remote enables viewers to control their connected devices such as cable/satellite boxes, Blu-ray disc players, and game consoles without switching remote controllers. Also added to the smart remote is an RF so the TV can be controlled without pointing the remote. And a newly developed user interface brings seamless and quick access to favourite apps and settings.

    Pricing and retail availability will be announced at a later date.

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