I want to buy a 48A9S but am worried...

automatom

Active Member
Hey all, not sure if you’ve seen my other posts in different threads but I usually upgrade my TV with each console generation. Last-gen I bought a Sony 42W653 to go with my PS4 and absolutely loved this set. It was an edge-lit VA panel but the viewing angle was still great, the response time was great, the black levels and contrast ratio were great. I was really happy with it and every game or film I threw at it just looked spot on. So fast-forward 7-years to the PS5 launch and I decided it was time to take the plunge and get a 4K set and decided on one in a similar price range to my old model. I went with the 43XH81 and boy was I dissapointed. I wasn’t really clued up on IPS vs VA at this point and wondered why the contrast was appalling on this new TV. After a load more research I realised my old W653 was an edge-lit VA panel and my new XH81 was edge-lit IPS. The difference in black levels and contrast was staggering, no matter how much I played with settings I just couldn’t get anything out of it, so I returned it and forced myself to get the bigger 49XH95. Now my living room is tiny and I don’t like a massive TV being a focal point really, but I read great reviews on the XH95, it was full-array and VA so was excited to get it. I wasn’t dissapointed in terms of contrast ratio, but man this TV is so bright it burned my retinas, and gave me an instant headache. I‘ve stuck with it for a few days, lowering the brightness to 10, but it just doesn’t feel right. While it is a lovely set, the viewing angles are BAD (49” doesn’t have the wide angle layer) and because I can’t tolerate the high brightness, I’m losing out on the HDR effect and general picture clarity.

I’ve decided to return it and now I’m stuck with not many options. The holy grail for me seems to be this new 48A9S. It seems to have everything I need in a TV (from reviews I’ve read). At 48”, and with a very low profile design, it sits perfectly between the 43 and 49-inch options I’ve tried, OLED doesn’t have to be as bright to give a good HDR effect, also there’ll be less blue-light output. My worry though is mentions I’ve read on these forums about people returning their Sony OLEDs because they were too dark. I mainly game at night in a dark room anyway, but I’m really worried about lack of detail in the dark areas, it’s one of the most annoying things for me when gaming. Going into a room and you can’t see into the corners properly etc. Does this TV suffer this? Is it all OLEDs? Also what about burn-in? I watch a fair bit of football and F1, and I’ve read the TV will auto-dim when there’s static HUD items on screen such as the SkySports logo etc. Is this a real problem? This TV is extremely pricey, and I’m sick of ordering and returning by now. My only other thought is maybe just getting a Samsung 43Q60T. It may not be the best TV out there, but it’s edge-lit and VA like my old 42W653 and I’m thinking that might be good enough for me? It’s also very cheap at the moment.

Cheers all
 
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automatom

Active Member
Go with the LG CX instead so you can use Dynamic Tone Mapping, its one of the things that makes LGs better for gaming.
Won’t DTM wash out the colours though? I read the Sony fares better with shadow detail, so I was kind of hoping it would be okay for gaming? CX is cheaper and has the 2.1 stuff though 🤔
 

Eotyr

Active Member
If you do decide to go OLED, whatever you do, make sure you buy from John Lewis and pay the additional (£140?) for their Protect+ accidental damage insurance which covers burn in for the first time this year. I'd go CX for the 2.1 ports myself. If you could go up to 55", things get cheaper and you'd also be able to consider the Q90*. Or, as you say, buy something much cheaper to tide you by and then see what the 2021 sets bring. Not easy

*Edit or rather the XH90 which is supposedly noticeably dimmer than XH95 and also has 2.1 ports.
 
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automatom

Active Member
Guess by then we will all be ready for an upgrade!!! not into gaming (wish had the time) so no real interest in 2.1
My A8 has Earc so im more than happy
Problem with my setup is my new Pioneer amp doesn’t do HDMI 2.1 so I’d need to upgrade that too. I think the features of 2.1 are way overhyped anyway, and are only really usefull for people who want to use their TV as a PC gaming monitor. VRR sounds great, but all the top PS4 games I played had excellent vsync built-in anyway. Remember these developers have to cater for mass consumption and 99% of the TVs out there don’t have VRR. I don’t remember reading a review complaining about screen tearing until this new generation, and even then it seems to affect the Xbox Series consoles way more, which makes sense as they are more PC orientated by design. I think Sony’s dev tools cover a lot of these basic requirements for a game to run smoothly.
 

automatom

Active Member
If you do decide to go OLED, whatever you do, make sure you buy from John Lewis and pay the additional (£140?) for their Protect+ accidental damage insurance which covers burn in for the first time this year. I'd go CX for the 2.1 ports myself. If you could go up to 55", things get cheaper and you'd also be able to consider the Q90*. Or, as you say, buy something much cheaper to tide you by and then see what the 2021 sets bring. Not easy

*Edit or rather the XH90 which is supposedly noticeably dimmer than XH95 and also has 2.1 ports.
Do you know if the Sony 48A9S has features to help prevent burn-in like the LG CX does? I’ve read the CX has a cool feature that will ‘wipe’ the screen when you turn it off, and can also manually dim selected HUD elements it feels have been on screen too long. SkySports logo etc. I really like the CX but from a purist standpoint, the 48A9 looks and sounds like a beautiful piece of hardware (from all the reviews I’ve read). I might see if I can head over to my local PC World and see if they’ve got one on display (take my PS5 with me haha).

Thanks for the heads up about John Lewis and their Protect+. How long does this cover your for though? Talking of cheaper, I’m thinking of just getting a really cheap TCL or Samsung until the 2021 models come out. I mean if they did a 48A9S with HDMI 2.1 then that would tick all the future proof boxes I guess? Also the small matter of miniLED. Are they planned for next year? Could bridge the gap even closer to OLED with no risk of screen burn-in.
 

mrapriliafalco1

Active Member
Do you know if the Sony 48A9S has features to help prevent burn-in like the LG CX does? I’ve read the CX has a cool feature that will ‘wipe’ the screen when you turn it off, and can also manually dim selected HUD elements it feels have been on screen too long. SkySports logo etc. I really like the CX but from a purist standpoint, the 48A9 looks and sounds like a beautiful piece of hardware (from all the reviews I’ve read). I might see if I can head over to my local PC World and see if they’ve got one on display (take my PS5 with me haha).

Thanks for the heads up about John Lewis and their Protect+. How long does this cover your for though? Talking of cheaper, I’m thinking of just getting a really cheap TCL or Samsung until the 2021 models come out. I mean if they did a 48A9S with HDMI 2.1 then that would tick all the future proof boxes I guess? Also the small matter of miniLED. Are they planned for next year? Could bridge the gap even closer to OLED with no risk of screen burn-in.
Yes it does, Cant remember what its called but its on there
 

Eotyr

Active Member
Hi. I think you're spot on with the point about having to ensure things run smoothly on the 99%, it's what I'd arrived at too. I've just bought an XH95 and am not concerned about its HDMI ports. That said, I read on here this morning that Sony are due to start announcing new sets in January with a new processor and 2.1 ports. If the set is to last you the PS5 generation and you're serious about your gaming (I'm not !), then makes sense to try and incorporate 2.1 compatibility; it's the bandwith I imagine - who knows how it might be utilised further down the line? These guys all know much more about things than I do, I've just been lurking for a year.
The JL Protect+ can be added within 60 days of your purchase I believe and runs alongside the 5 year mechanical/electrical warranty they provide as standard - it'd expire when that 5yr warranty expires, I think on 5th anniversary of delivery of the set. I guess we won't know how useful the burn in cover is until someone comes to claim, which'll surely happen but perhaps not for some time.
 

automatom

Active Member
So I went to Curry’s PC World tonight because their website told me they had the 48A9 in stock. Turns out they didn’t have any on display. Nor did they have the 48” CX on display. Very disappointing. So I asked one of the staff about the Sony and he instantly went into ‘OLEDs are amazing mode’ and tried to show me the 55” model. Told him the deal and he said they can’t get one out to show me. He looked on his tablet and said the A9S has been updated and has 1xHDMI 2.1 port now? First I’ve heard.. I checked on their website when I got home and it mentions it on there. Surely a mistake? From what I could tell from looking at the massive LG OLEDs on display, even standing a metre away and seeing it in ‘retail mode’ didn’t hurt my eyes at all.

E748741B-9010-45D7-A213-CF5A8124D089.jpeg
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
So I went to Curry’s PC World tonight because their website told me they had the 48A9 in stock. Turns out they didn’t have any on display. Nor did they have the 48” CX on display. Very disappointing. So I asked one of the staff about the Sony and he instantly went into ‘OLEDs are amazing mode’ and tried to show me the 55” model. Told him the deal and he said they can’t get one out to show me. He looked on his tablet and said the A9S has been updated and has 1xHDMI 2.1 port now? First I’ve heard.. I checked on their website when I got home and it mentions it on there. Surely a mistake? From what I could tell from looking at the massive LG OLEDs on display, even standing a metre away and seeing it in ‘retail mode’ didn’t hurt my eyes at all.

View attachment 1423337
It may have a HDMI 2.1 port but I think the limiting factor isn't the HDMI hardware, but the dedicated image processor inside the TV. Sony TVs that come with a dedicated processor can't cope with the higher bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 signals but some other HDMI 2.1 features aside from HDMI VRR 40-120hz may be there.

It's easy to spot in their lineup, because the Sony XH9005 which doesn't share a dedicated picture processor doesn't have the same limitation.
 

automatom

Active Member
It may have a HDMI 2.1 port but I think the limiting factor isn't the HDMI hardware, but the dedicated image processor inside the TV. Sony TVs that come with a dedicated processor can't cope with the higher bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 signals but some other HDMI 2.1 features aside from HDMI VRR 40-120hz may be there.

It's easy to spot in their lineup, because the Sony XH9005 which doesn't share a dedicated picture processor doesn't have the same limitation.
Yeah the XH90 uses the same MediaTek SoC as the 8K sets (I think). What’s interesting is HDMI 2.0b is up to 18Gbps of bandwidth (and seems to be what these ‘non HDMI 2.1’ sets are utilising) but that means it won’t accept a chroma 4:4:4 signal @ 4K/60 HDR right? If the A9S does then it would need 20Gbps of throughput. So if it manages that then is it just firmware limited?

I had a look at some other TV models on the Curry’s website. Seems they’re using eARC implementation as a way of selling the TVs as HDMI 2.1 compatible. Very naughty.

A bit off topic (well still in my hunt for a TV topic) I saw a Philips Ambilight 50PUS85 and it seemed like a very balanced image. Was quite impressed with it to be fair. Did some research when I got home but struggling to find 100% confirmation that it’s an mVA panel? Seems to keep the benefits of VA while improving the vewiing angle. I’m not sure if this is just the same technology Sony call X-Wide Angle? or a fundamental structural advantage. Either way, it looks nice enough, with good shadow detail, and it’s directly lit. Trouble is, as with most 43” models, there’s no real spec info to confirm features of the bigger models are shared by the smaller display.
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
Not entirely sure where exactly the limitation lays with the A9S, or any Sony TV with its own image processor but I do know that Samsung managed to modify its HDMI 2.0 ports on last years Q90R to work with a higher than 18gbps signal.

Given the restrictions of supported resolutions on TVs I'd be surprised if you could force 4:4:4 10bit 4k 60. There's no reason too anyway, all HDR is 4:2:0 10bit.

I'm not exactly sure if you are referring to the 43" or 50" Philips. If its 50" its definitely using a VA panel as there's no 50" IPS panels available (only 49"). If its 43" you mean then its probably using an IPS panel. You can check here although it does have some errors: Philips 2020: Übersicht / Line Up / Range aller 2020er Philips TVs - Toengels Philips Blog

Not sure where you saw the Philips, if in a store I'd be hesitant to make any judgements at all. As far as I know its nothing special. It suffers from the same major problem all lower tier LCD TVs do nowadays with poor HDR picture quality. If you are strictly avoiding HDR content you might be okay with it though.

There's no tech on low tier models to improve viewing angles, those with VA panels have narrow viewing angles until you start to look at the higher end Samsung Q85T and above or Sony XH9505, which both add wide viewing angle filters. Even then those TVs viewing angles are not as good as OLEDs.

Direct lit means nothing unless the LCD TV also has FALD. Edge lit low tier models are just as good as direct, in some circumstances better.
 

automatom

Active Member
Not entirely sure where exactly the limitation lays with the A9S, or any Sony TV with its own image processor but I do know that Samsung managed to modify its HDMI 2.0 ports on last years Q90R to work with a higher than 18gbps signal.

Given the restrictions of supported resolutions on TVs I'd be surprised if you could force 4:4:4 10bit 4k 60. There's no reason too anyway, all HDR is 4:2:0 10bit.

I'm not exactly sure if you are referring to the 43" or 50" Philips. If its 50" its definitely using a VA panel as there's no 50" IPS panels available (only 49"). If its 43" you mean then its probably using an IPS panel. You can check here although it does have some errors: Philips 2020: Übersicht / Line Up / Range aller 2020er Philips TVs - Toengels Philips Blog

Not sure where you saw the Philips, if in a store I'd be hesitant to make any judgements at all. As far as I know its nothing special. It suffers from the same major problem all lower tier LCD TVs do nowadays with poor HDR picture quality. If you are strictly avoiding HDR content you might be okay with it though.

There's no tech on low tier models to improve viewing angles, those with VA panels have narrow viewing angles until you start to look at the higher end Samsung Q85T and above or Sony XH9505, which both add wide viewing angle filters. Even then those TVs viewing angles are not as good as OLEDs.

Direct lit means nothing unless the LCD TV also has FALD. Edge lit low tier models are just as good as direct, in some circumstances better.
Right, that table was massively helpful. Thanks so much. I had actually ordered a 43” PUS8545 from Amazon about an hour ago thinking I’d give it a go. I found a couple of websites saying the PUS85xx line used mVA panels, but looks like it’s 50” and above only (it was a 50 I saw in-store). Another lead run dry in my 43” hunt. Maybe I’ll have to go older gen?

Basically if I’m not going with the 48A9S I’d like a cheapish 43” model (preferable Sony) with a VA panel that has decent input lag and AndroidTV. I actually don’t mind if the HDR isn’t really pronounced as long as the black levels are decent and the highlights aren’t massively blown-out. Just anything that hits the sweet spot of being a good all-rounder really. Seems impossible to find these days, they structure everything towards price brackets, nothing seems to outperform its category. What TV do you use?

I should probably just quit and order the 48A9S but then, you know, that much money brings a certain level of guilt along for the ride..
 
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