Sony AF9 - is it head and shoulders above AF8 and other brands?

Discussion in 'OLED TVs Forum' started by Tremolo Arm, Oct 31, 2018.

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  1. Tremolo Arm

    Tremolo Arm
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    Coming from the ancient world of plasma, I'm thinking of retiring my trusty 10-year old 46" Panasonic and upgrading to OLED.

    Considering a 55" panel, I have an opportunity to purchase either a Sony AF8 or AF9. The AF8 is a refurbished model for £1300 (including 1 year warranty) and the AF9 is new - also with one year warranty for £1900. Which one should I go for?

    Main usage is (in order of time used):
    - Gaming - PS4 (standard) -mainly sports games - FIFA, PES, NHL
    - Netflix
    - BT Sports (football)
    - BBC (iPlayer and 1, 2)
    - Live streaming - 11 sports - football (I have a BT Hub with good broadband connection).

    Would it also be advisable to upgrade to PS4 Pro to get the best gaming experience?

    I should also say that I have a decent surround system - amp and 5 speakers.

    Many thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  2. GadgetObsessed

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    I would not say that the AF9 is "head and shoulders" above the AF8 - at least in terms of picture quality. Both are built using the same 2018 panel provided by LG.

    For example, look at these reviews:
    Sony A9F Review (XBR55A9F, XBR65A9F) - RTINGS.com
    Sony A8F Review (XBR55A8F, XBR65A8F) - RTINGS.com

    However, the AF9 does have advantages such as the following:
    (1) Faster X1 Ultimate image processor - the main difference for you as a gamer is that the input lag for 1080p is lower. (27ms vs 47ms) For 4k inputs the input lag on the two is about the same (28ms vs 31ms)
    (2) It has a more powerful chipset for the OS - making the apps and menus etc much faster.
    (3) Better sound and you can use the TV as a centre channel speaker i.e. the TV has speaker terminals.
    (5) eARC for getting better sound from internal apps such as Netflix to your receiver. (But only if your receiver supports eARC.)
    (4) Better calibration controls - but these only make a difference if you pay a calibrator or have your own colour meter and know how to calibrate a TV. (You cannot calibrate a TV by eye.)

    How much those advantages are worth is up to you.

    Personally, at those prices I would lean toward the AF9 - mainly because I would be very wary of buying any refurbished OLED - especially with the possibility of screen burn.

    BTW - where can you get the AF9 for £1900? (And do they have the 65"?)
     
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  3. Tremolo Arm

    Tremolo Arm
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    Thanks so much for your post - exactly the concise advice I was looking for.

    I am not really using apps that much (so the more powerful chipset will be wasted) and my receiver does not support eArc so it sounds like the AF8 might be a better deal.

    The "refurbishment" statement attached to the AF8 is quite vague and ample - it says that it could be a change of mind, faulty out of the box, box damage or minor cosmetic damage - all fully tested and repaired (if necessary) by authorised repair centre.

    As for your question on where I can get these from - my partner works for Sony so she can get staff discounts and offers (such as the refurbished AF8)
     
  4. sagaris99

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    I echo @GadgetObsessed 's thoughts. The AF9 is a better TV than the AF8 (but then it should be, given the AF8 is nearly identical to the A1, a 2 year old product nearly). Is it head and shoulders, and by that we mean £1000 better? Ehhhhh, for me no.

    I was expecting/hoping to be blown away by the AF9. I was excited to see what the historical king of TVs could do, having had 5 months to take the C8/FZ802/Q9FN etc, look at what makes them great, and beat them. Although a nice tv, I was left underwhelmed.

    For me, the good - Image is punchier than the AF8. Skin tones more natural, less banding, cleaner noise reduction, better upscaling, better (how they could improve on the af8 is incredible) motion. Improved OS, still not perfect but seem to have got rid of the bugs. 96w sound system is very impressive.

    For me, the disappointing - noticeably poorer DV than the C8/E8, not as bright or with the range of colours. The OS is still way too confusing for me personally, the cheek to include a cheapo remote as well I feel does the product an injustice. The design is still polarising, I hoped they'd have reduced footprint of the A1, if anything it's bigger. The lack of Atmos support currently (I believe) is also a seemingly daft move.

    Summarised? The Af9 is one hell of a tv. It's not the clear best tv of 2018 (to be frank that doesn't exist) but the improvements on the AF8 are welcomed. Is it better than the competition? In some ways, yes. But it has flaws, which LG and Panasonic eagerly jump on.

    As it says in my signature, the best TV doesn't exist. It's subjective.
    Having read through your needs, I would suggest either the AF8 or the C8, because
    • You've already got a sound system, paying more for the improved AF9 sound is worthless
    • Motion is good on both, not noticeably better on the AF9
    • OS for IPlayer, Netflix and BT Sports App (coming 2019 to LG and Samsung) would be better for you on the LG.
    • Gaming performance would be better on the LG - lower input lag, can support Dv over HDMI.
    Ultimately, whatever TV you choose you'll be blown away by. The endless and pointless squbbling of fanboys (such as on this forum by one or two users) is ludicrous.

    I ended up choosing the LG as to me, it was the best all around package on the market - which is why it wins the 'best tv' awards (Best 4K TVs 2018: 4K, HDR, OLED, QLED - best 55 oled). But I wholehearted acept it's far from perfect.
     
  5. GadgetObsessed

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    Through my employer I used to get 15% to 20% discount codes for Sony on-line that worked on Sony Centre refurbished products as well. I ended up buying a lot of Sony refurbished stuff - mainly cameras. Unfortunately my company switched the supplier of employee discounts and the new one no longer has any Sony codes. (Anyone know of any other sources of these Sony discount codes?)

    The condition varied greatly but was generally pretty good. Some things seemed virtually new in their original packaging whereas a few came completely bare with no accessories and in generic brown boxes. On the very few occassions I got something I wasnt happy with they were good with accepting returns.

    For example, at the moment Sony Centres refurbished have a 55AF8 for £1649 - if you have a 20% discount code or staff discount then that would take it down to about £1300.
    Sony KD-55AF8 KD55AF8BU.A

    You can always try the refurb and send it back if there are any issues. (Although bear in mind that sending a TV back may not be easy - not many couriers will insure TVs for transport.)

    It is a shame that the new AF9 only comes with one year warranty. Through the Sony Centres web site it has a 5 year warranty:
    Sony KD-55AF9 AF9 _ Master Series _ OLED _ 4K Ultra HD _ High Dynamic Range (HDR) _ Smart TV (Android TV)

    A new AF9 with 5 year guarantee would be worth the extra over the refurb AF8.

    One other difference between the two is the design - the AF9 has a lean back stand whereas the AF8 is more traditional. This dos mean that the AF8 seems to be a slightly better option for wall mounting.
     
  6. GadgetObsessed

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  7. lgans316

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    After watching the AF9 in person, I was pleased to stick with 65C8 for which I paid £2,399 which is £1,200 lesser. WebOS makes a huge difference guys and the mouse pointer is super cool and handy. Also DV / HDR / Blu-rays looks awesome.
     
  8. Tremolo Arm

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    Thanks for your advice and suggestions for more options.

    I have no experience with LG - never owned a product made by them. I am conscious it is a naive argument (especially given that they make all the OLED panels) but I seem to struggle considering them as an option for this purchase. I have to read up more on them for sure.

    I guess, having the Sony connection is definitely biasing me towards them (for economic reasons and also history), but that's why I came to the forum - to gauge opinions and learn truths about the competition. If Sony is not the best at that price point for what I need, then I am of course interested to hear about other options. Incidentally I always thought Sony's LED models were way too brights and always preferred my Panasonic plasma.

    Speaking of Panasonic, I did consider the Panasonic FZ802 OLED, which I saw in a John Lewis (for £1699) and looked magnificent (but then all OLEDs did). With Black Friday coming up, that's definitely in the mix.

    Not owning a PS4 Pro (and not planning to buy one soon) makes me wonder if the input lag will be that much of an issue on an "older" OLED. I mean anything would be better than my current Panny plasma - right?
     
  9. MysteryMan

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    First reaction would be to say to snatch their hands off at £1900 for an AF9!

    Second reaction is that £1300 for a refurbished AF8 does not seem that generous and I would see what you could get a new AF8 for.
     
  10. sagaris99

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    I get where you’re coming from.

    Certainly I would never have considered buying an LG product at all 5 years ago, especially in the premium market. They were known for making cheap crap really.

    As I said, it comes down to your personal preference, and what you want from a TV. What pushed me towards the LG was the OS and futureproofing features which for me nobody else could match, but they were my needs. I of course will continue to believe that I made the right choice :laugh: but who knows, maybe the Sony could have been better for me

    Sony certainly has the heritage other brands can only dream of. Either the Af8 or the 9 will blow you away, though it’s sounding like you’re leaning towards the 8 - for an awesome price. You’ve definitely come to the right place in the forums, you’ve got staunch fighters for each brand and then knowledge wizards like @Goldorak or @Dodgexander to help anyone and everyone.

    There’s the Philips shootout in just over two weeks where we expect to see the AF9 on the shortlist - if you want to see how it stacks up compared to others definitely see if you can grab a place (thread on the oled tv page). If not, definitely go to a store, ideally with your own content and try them out if you’re not sure. We have differing opinions on sales reps but any of them will be there to help.... or not :rotfl:

    See if you can get an idea of what you’re after before BF, then you can pull the trigger depending on price.
     
  11. Tremolo Arm

    Tremolo Arm
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    Thank you. When you say future proofing, which exact features do you refer to which the LG C8 (assuming it's a C8 you have) has an edge on over the Sony (or other brands for that matter)?
     
  12. Tim2049

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    I upgraded from a Panny plasma to the AF8 back in May. Best purchase I've ever made to be honest.

    I've seen an AF9 and can't add more than what has already been written in this thread really. I agree with the general concensus and, in short, you'll be blown away by either TV.

    I just wanted to reassure you of that basically!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  13. Tremolo Arm

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    Coming on these forums is like diving in a huge well of knowledge but also leaves you with more questions than answers.....I just read some of the content in the "Burn-in" thread. Wow!

    It seems incredible that spending this sort of money on a brand new TV, you have to worry about what you watch and how long you watch it for!

    It looks like the verdict is still on the fence regarding 2018 panels, but are certain models / brands less prone to burn than others?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  14. Goldorak

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    Nice problem to have
    I will be more blunt than the guys here. If you have a discount with Sony, stick with Sony.
    Af9 is well worth it BUT depending on the price and frankly they need to sort that DV issue at that price
    Af8 is good ONLY if the new oreo improves the overall experience and I will never ever buy a refurbished oled..ever

    Now, there is a shootout coming but who cares if you have a discount with Sony...

    You can’t wait...Af9 end of story

    You can wait a bit, Black Friday and end of year should drive prices down including your discount (Sony promotion on top)

    You can wait a lot!, major event in USA beginning of jan 19 where you have a glimpse what is coming in March April 19 and can then decide to wait or buy 2018 TVs at perfect rock bottom price..

    I know I should not post when I am hungry... take care
     
  15. Tremolo Arm

    Tremolo Arm
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    Excellent advice. Many thanks!
    As it happens I can wait a bit so will definitely wait for Black Friday to see what deals are on offer... Just one question - what DV issue are you referring to exactly?
    PS Hopefully you've had a bite to eat by now... :)
     
  16. GAmbrose

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    OLED was such a phenomenal upgrade compared to LED/Plasma that they've shot themselves in the foot in a way with yearly incremental updates not really making much difference to picture quality because there wasn't much to improve on.

    I have a 65" B6 and a mate has a 65" C8 and other than maybe HDR game mode, it looks pretty much identical.
     
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  17. Goldorak

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    Just eaten thanks
    See the review for af9 by Vincent on YouTube and dv just need fixing...hdr10 works very well. Nothing to be worried about, just Sony own implementation of DV sucks a bit versus LG for example.

    Great that you can wait for Black Friday as it can save you another £200-£300 and and/or a blu Ray on top...
    Up to you to decide if worth it
     
  18. lgans316

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    If you have enough £££ then go for the AF9, If want a TV that is 98% close to the AF9 but got £1000-£1200 then go for LG or Panny.

    If you want best bang-for-the-buck, hands down it is LG (DV, 4 full bandwidth HDMI ports, WebOS and that mouse pointer which gives you quick access to any part of the screen and the ability to move the slider during playback, YouTube HDR, Media playback etc.)
     
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  19. GadgetObsessed

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    For the
    As all current OLEDs are using 2018 LG panels it seems unlikely that any one make is any more or less prone to screen burn than any others.

    Given that the RTings test on 2017 panels showed that the main (only?) issue is with red it is reassuring that the 2018 panels have much larger red-sub pixels which should theoretically make them much more resilient to screen burn.

    PQ isn't massively different on any of the OLEDs - although Sony (and Philips) are well known for their motion processing. That would lead people generally to go for the cheaper OLEDs.

    Using Currys prices as a guide, the current prices are LG B8 (£1500), LG C8 and Panasonic 802 (both £1700), Sony AF8 and Philips 803 (both £2000). For most it is very hard to justify the extra £1,000 for the AF9 at £3,000. (All prices with a 5 year guarantee apart from the Philips with 2.)

    However, you get a great discount on the AF9 bringing it into line with the above sets. (But without the guarantee.)

    The above prices prices may be reduced somewhat on Black Friday but it is very unlikely that you will be able to get the AF9 for any less than £1,900.

    My suggestion would be wait for Black Friday. If a tempting deal comes then jump on it. If not, then get the AF9 and be pleased that you got a great set at a significantly reduced price.
     
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  20. Tremolo Arm

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    Sounds like top advice and exactly what I will do! Thank you, sir
     
  21. Goldorak

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    I didn’t know about the rtings issue with red. That could explain why the new panels have a bigger red.
    Love this forum, you learn something everyday indeed
     
  22. TRIPLE A

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  23. Tremolo Arm

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    Just a quick (uneducated) question on this... Does this mean that the danger is only when the static logo is red?
    For example, currently BT Sports are broadcasting football on two of their channels and on both channels, the score, time and teams abbreviations are shown in a little rectangular box is in the bottom left corner. But the colours in the box are black, green and white. Does this mean that watching these channels continuously (for say 4 hours) will not have any effect?
    What if one of the teams was red, so their colour in the box is shown in solid red?
    Thanks
     
  24. GadgetObsessed

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    Unfortunately not. If red is the issue then anything that uses the red sub pixel would cause a problem.

    The red sub pixel will be at its maximum brightness for a bright red image but will also be at maximum brightness for bright yellow (which combines red and green) and bright magenta (red and blue).

    Lots of other colours include some element of red - but at lower levels of brightness.
     
  25. GadgetObsessed

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    Yes, if you buy an AF9 from a shop it will generally come with a 5 year guarantee - but its price will be much higher than the £1900 that the OP can get the AF9 for with a 1 yr guarantee.
     
  26. Dodgexander

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    I think its perhaps easy to read too much into stuff, there are some very good posts and info above highlighting the differences but its unlikely given what I have read about the OPs usage so far that the extra £500 can be justified in his case.

    It would be very different if it was a matter of unplayable input lag versus low enough or great sound versus poor but the incremental updates for the AF9 are small enough in this instance to be worth next to nothing.

    I would go for the AF8 unless there is one particular reason you prefer the AF9, many people will snap the opportunity off for that AF9 even when they don't really need it just to have the best model.

    In reality, its possible you don't even need to spend any more than the £1300, be it on the AF8 or if you wanted to buy new a 2018 OLED model from one of the other manufacturers when they come close to or at that price next year in clearance.
     
  27. GadgetObsessed

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    The worst burn in on the RTings test is for the CCN Max brightness test. This is a very unrealistic test in that the settings are at max brightness and the set is displaying live CNN (lots of bright logos) for 20 hours a day. After 36 weeks (equivalent to about 3.5 years for someone who watches 4 hours a day) the images for red, green and blue are as follows.

    It looks like the problem is far worse with the red (sub-pixel) than with green or blue.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The red showed noticeable burn in after about 18 weeks.
    [​IMG]

    Remember that this is an absolute torture test that:
    (1) Is for a TV displaying nothing other than the worst possible content for a burn in test - a news channel with bright banners and logos. (If red is the main weakness for OLED then the problem will be worst with red, yellow or magenta banners/logos.)
    (2) TV is set at maximum brightness - to speed up and increase the probability of any burn in.
    (3) TV is on for 20 hours a day. If you watch for 4 hours a day then the test will show burn in 5 times faster than you would see on your set.

    After 38 weeks there are also red issues on the sets displaying more realistic content at more realistic levels of brightness but it mainly seems to be an issue of fading. (The emitters that OLED use do fade over time.)

    For full details have a look here:
    Real Life OLED Burn-In Test on 6 TVs
     
  28. GadgetObsessed

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    Generally I agree but you also have to take into account that the £600 difference relates to buying a refurbished set vs a new one.

    Even if both sets were the same model I would personally value the refurbished one less than a new one. If a refurbished set is worth say 20% less than a brand new one, then that alone would account for £380 of the difference making the "real" comparable difference only £220.
     
  29. Tremolo Arm

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    Very informative - thank you!
    In this context, I guess a couple of hours of FIFA 19 and/or a couple of hours of Champions League on BT Sports (in cinema mode) is unlikely to cause any issues then...
     
  30. NM2160

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    Yep, it should be fine.

    Had my LG E6 OLED for 2 years & watch sports / video games with static icons & it's absolutely fine.
     
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