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Sony KD-55AF9 (AF9/A9F) OLED TV Review & Comments

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
The MASTER SERIES AF9 OLED from Sony boasts picture quality that gets you closer to what the creator intended with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and featuring a form of Dynamic Tone Mapping and the Acoustic Surface+.
Read the review.


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Ripsnorter

Active Member
Unlike Phil I was unable to overlook the lean back, although this could be down to us viewing the set at different heights. The price is also a negative, especially when there are so many great OLEDs on the market now, and not forgetting Samsung's Q9 either.
 

stevebk

Well-known Member
As always very thankful for the reviews from AV Forums, and thanks to Crampton & Moore.

As you have had hands on with Sony AF9 when compared to the Panasonic Oled "Picture Quality Only" my question is:
I am finding it hard to understand how Sony can justify such a high price tag. I can'thelp thinking they try to fool the public and say "it cost more because it'd a better picture" is it a better picture ??
 

Ripsnorter

Active Member
As always very thankful for the reviews from AV Forums, and thanks to Crampton & Moore.

As you have had hands on with Sony AF9 when compared to the Panasonic Oled "Picture Quality Only" my question is:
I am finding it hard to understand how Sony can justify such a high price tag. I can'thelp thinking they try to fool the public and say "it cost more because it'd a better picture" is it a better picture ??
Sony has always considered itself not only a top brand but also the top tier one. In the past it was first out of the gate with technology and features and charged a premium for it (I vaguely recall a then head of Panasonic joking that his company's test lab was called Sony!). But that also brought arrogance, hubris and then hard times. Leaving aside the AF9's qualities, I think this is Sony seeking to regain the, in its own eyes, position it feels it lost (rightly so) and wishes to reoccupy (undeservedly: times have moved on). In short: the 'Sony Price Premium' is back and consumers need to take this down a peg.
 

stevebk

Well-known Member
Sony has always considered itself not only a top brand but also the top tier one. In the past it was first out of the gate with technology and features and charged a premium for it (I vaguely recall a then head of Panasonic joking that his company's test lab was called Sony!). But that also brought arrogance, hubris and then hard times. Leaving aside the AF9's qualities, I think this is Sony seeking to regain the, in its own eyes, position it feels it lost (rightly so) and wishes to reoccupy (undeservedly: times have moved on). In short: the 'Sony Price Premium' is back and consumers need to take this down a peg.
I agree what wat you are saying, in the past Sony did put them selfs on that pedestal, and I think they still do...
I am a person that says you get you you pay for, and if the price is justified on the product then so be it. Spend and enjoy..

It's fantastic to see Sony bring the AF9 and to include DV, and the other features good on them. Also a different direction with the design, and sound from the screen doesn't distort the picture quality, thats brilliant.. I personally love the Sony.
If all these features are where Sony say the price is justified, then ok.

This year we have had tv's & quality sound in one unit, the Panasonic FZ £1999, Phillips 903 £2499 & Sony AF9 £2999 !!! all have gone the route of stepping up the quality of the sound. Sound is important and it's good to see this direction from manufacturers, but the (picture quality) is what I watch a tv for.
Is £2999 justified ?
Difficult question I think..:thumbsdow
 

IsaacJDean

Standard Member
Vincent Teoh of HDTVTest found the autocal feature to introduce posterization as well so probably best to mention that to whoever will be calibrating your TV
 

Venrith

Member
Nice review, I still cannot decide between the AF9 and the Panasonic Fz802 though.. Both seem like excellent tv's
 

Ripsnorter

Active Member
I agree what wat you are saying, in the past Sony did put them selfs on that pedestal, and I think they still do...
I am a person that says you get you you pay for, and if the price is justified on the product then so be it. Spend and enjoy..

It's fantastic to see Sony bring the AF9 and to include DV, and the other features good on them. Also a different direction with the design, and sound from the screen doesn't distort the picture quality, thats brilliant.. I personally love the Sony.
If all these features are where Sony say the price is justified, then ok.

This year we have had tv's & quality sound in one unit, the Panasonic FZ £1999, Phillips 903 £2499 & Sony AF9 £2999 !!! all have gone the route of stepping up the quality of the sound. Sound is important and it's good to see this direction from manufacturers, but the (picture quality) is what I watch a tv for.
Is £2999 justified ?
Difficult question I think..:thumbsdow
I'm the same: the price has to be justified. There will be some who find the Sony price no obstacle because they are swayed by the design, features, picture, sound etc. Or even just by the company name itself. Due to previous experience with Sony I am not a fan and so won't be going down their route. In the end we pay our money and make our choices, but here there is still too large a gap between price and performance. As you write: "Is £2999 justified?" For some it is a no-brainer, for others a no-sale.
 

stevebk

Well-known Member
Vincent Teoh of HDTVTest found the autocal feature to introduce posterization as well so probably best to mention that to whoever will be calibrating your TV
Spending £2999 I am expecting it not to need calibrating :lesson:
 

SPINO

Well-known Member
Shame about the remote , it’s the same as I have for my XE 900 .. what happened to progress ..
 

dave1956a

Member
Now I get very confused here, in the review it says "They openly state that the aim is to get image quality that gets incredibly close to that of their studio OLED monitor."

Ok I get that and that's fine, but as I understand it the AF9 comes with a white point that is not D65 cos the pro Sony monitor does not have D65.

So if the AF9 OOTB looks like the pro monitor and the studio used the pro monitor when colour grading the film then the AF9 will look as close as poss to what the colourist saw with his/her eyes when grading the film.

So why would anyone have the AF9 set to D65 if after doing so it will no longer look as close as poss to the pro monitor ?

BTW good to read full disclosure on where the review set came from
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member
While Sony don't tend to have too many price drops and are expensive, I think its unfair comparing a brand new oled price with oleds from 5 months ago (5 months is a long time in AV land :) )
 
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diesel72

Standard Member
Thanks for the excellent review @Phil Hinton. Given that you had the AF8 on long term test recently, can I ask how the HDR10 performance compares and how much of a difference the dynamic tone mapping makes?
 

Diagnosticz

Well-known Member
I think the high price tag is due to the manufacture costs of the speakers and the stand design.

Sony should have like other brands given us an option not to include the speaker system and in turn reduce the price for those who like me would never use tv speakers regardless of how good they compared to other manufactures.

I have seen this tv in action in a dark room in with Numerous HDR disks SDR 1080p content and it is as good or betters the Panasonic FZ range. Look wise the tv looks amazing i think the LG E8 in ots price range is the only tv that when you see it for the first time you know its a premium set.

The tone mapping is outstanding on this set. It is in my opinion the most detailed image i have seen on A tv. Sony have opted for more details over a brighter image but how bright does one want it, it goes bright enough.

Compared to say a LG C8 which to many gives the opinion of having the best HDR image due to the brighter impactful Image don't be be fooled its a great set i own one. I did not need a side by side comparison. i watched content i am familiar with The Sony is Superior in every aspect it just looks so natural. There is a reason why it has a high price tag but i ma sure that will come down in the the next few months
 

raduv1

Distinguished Member
I really do not want a Sony OLED display due to its price point . It is however the only OLED ( due to its unique footprint ) where I can upgrade to a 65" from my 58" , even the upward tilt works for us as our current display sits just a tad below our seating position. It would still take some 're jiggling but all other manufacturer OLEDs would mean going from 58" to 55" .
 

Diagnosticz

Well-known Member
I really do not want a Sony OLED display due to its price point . It is however the only OLED ( due to its unique footprint ) where I can upgrade to a 65" from my 58" , even the upward tilt works for us as our current display sits just a tad below our seating position. It would still take some 're jiggling but all other manufacturer OLEDs would mean going from 58" to 55" .
Wall mount it if possible
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
I agree what wat you are saying, in the past Sony did put them selfs on that pedestal, and I think they still do...
I am a person that says you get you you pay for, and if the price is justified on the product then so be it. Spend and enjoy..

It's fantastic to see Sony bring the AF9 and to include DV, and the other features good on them. Also a different direction with the design, and sound from the screen doesn't distort the picture quality, thats brilliant.. I personally love the Sony.
If all these features are where Sony say the price is justified, then ok.

This year we have had tv's & quality sound in one unit, the Panasonic FZ £1999, Phillips 903 £2499 & Sony AF9 £2999 !!! all have gone the route of stepping up the quality of the sound. Sound is important and it's good to see this direction from manufacturers, but the (picture quality) is what I watch a tv for.
Is £2999 justified ?
Difficult question I think..:thumbsdow

They don’t include DV. They include half-baked DV where external devices take on the processing.

I’ve owned Sony TV’s for longer than I can remember, but went LG for my current cinema room TV as I’m not paying £1k more for something that won’t be compatible with some of my DV capable stuff because Sony can’t be bothered
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Thanks for the excellent review @Phil Hinton. Given that you had the AF8 on long term test recently, can I ask how the HDR10 performance compares and how much of a difference the dynamic tone mapping makes?
Yes, there is a difference that I personally think is better with the AF9. But be aware that both the AF8 and AF9 still struggle to provide a decent Dolby Vision image.
 

Diagnosticz

Well-known Member
They don’t include DV. They include half-baked DV where external devices take on the processing.

I’ve owned Sony TV’s for longer than I can remember, but went LG for my current cinema room TV as I’m not paying £1k more for something that won’t be compatible with some of my DV capable stuff because Sony can’t be bothered
I owned a LG B7 and the DV was not good it was dark just like the Sony, it was one of the earlier TV to have DV and there where some issues. i now own a LGC8 and the DV is very impressive indeed. A huge improvement so it can be sorted out. I am sure Sony will fix this it was just surprising that Sony got it wrong in the first place. It's not only Sony's reputation on the line its its Dolby so i have no doubt they are both working on a fix. But saying all that Sony's' own tone mapping is so impressive it makes up for it
 

clydebest

Distinguished Member
About pricing at the Weekend the AF9 65 inch was £3499 and the 55 inch £2599 but not from Crapton and Moore..wish i had submitted a PM with JL now .
 

Dixie4

Well-known Member
Yes, there is a difference that I personally think is better with the AF9. But be aware that both the AF8 and AF9 still struggle to provide a decent Dolby Vision image.
Is this just with the apps ? How is DV watching 4K discs ?
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member
I had always assumed Sony decided to go with DV a few days before CES’17 and surprised many including their engineers :) that was the reason for their lite version.
This isn’t factual but that’s the impression I got.
 

zeppelino

Well-known Member
I had always assumed Sony decided to go with DV a few days before CES’17 and surprised many including their engineers :) that was the reason for their lite version.
This isn’t factual but that’s the impression I got.
Well, they’ve had a lot of time since but still their DV remains the same.
 

Goldorak

Distinguished Member
Superb review and confirms how good this set is. However, and I am going to surprise many including Phil. I don’t believe this set deserves a 9 until Sony sort the DV issue.
This half backed DV implementation should be called out. Sony is being lazy and can do full blown dv with latest SOC.
If LG can do it, so can Sony and they bl**dy should at this price!!!
 

stevebk

Well-known Member
About pricing at the Weekend the AF9 65 inch was £3499 and the 55 inch £2599 but not from Crapton and Moore..wish i had submitted a PM with JL now .
Full price at JL
 

xfilian

Active Member
Thought long and hard about waiting for this or going for the Panasonic FZ802. In the end I opted for the latter and am glad I did. For the extra £1000+ I would be hoping that the AF9 blows the Panny and other associated sets out of the water. I am not doubting it is a fabulous set - just not fabulous enough to warrant that kind of hike in price.
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
I owned a LG B7 and the DV was not good it was dark just like the Sony, it was one of the earlier TV to have DV and there where some issues. i now own a LGC8 and the DV is very impressive indeed. A huge improvement so it can be sorted out. I am sure Sony will fix this it was just surprising that Sony got it wrong in the first place. It's not only Sony's reputation on the line its its Dolby so i have no doubt they are both working on a fix. But saying all that Sony's' own tone mapping is so impressive it makes up for it
That means Sony have got it wrong with successive TV’s. And the points you make don’t address what I said.

I moved to an LG C7 when my B6 went, and there was a big improvement there. The C8 is nowhere near the same step up
 

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