Visiting Sony at CES is always one of the highlights of the show, because we know we’re going to see some wild, futuristic concepts right alongside the first viewings of popular products that will be on our salesfloor in just a few months. As expected, we got to take a close look at the 2020 model year TVs, including both Sony’s OLED and LED TV lineups.
Since its debut, the Sony A-series OLED has consistently been one of our favorite TVs. It does just about everything right, from producing an incredible picture to putting out audio way better than you’d expect from such a slim design. This year’s edition, the Sony A8H OLED, is no exception. Though it’s one step down from the top-tier A9 OLED, the Sony A8H now inherits that series’ X1 Ultimate processor, a chip formerly reserved only for flagship TVs. It’s the same chip that powers the Sony 8K TVs, so it’s got more than enough oomph to deftly process the most complex scenes and output a perfect picture. This year’s model features a more streamlined design, with an adjustable stand meant to accommodate placement of a soundbar—though you might not even need it. That’s because the A8H OLED features an improved version of Sony’s fantastic Acoustic Surface Audio, which was already the best integrated audio we’ve ever heard from a flat panel TV.
OLED TVs are certainly great, and they best LED displays in just about every measurable attribute except for one: max screen brightness. A high-end LED is able to display a picture much brighter than a comparable OLED TV, which gives them the advantage when displaying the most intense HDR content, especially in non-dark rooms. This makes them a better choice for movie aficionados that don’t have the luxury of a dedicated theater space, and may need to contend with stray light coming from an open window. It’s this reason that the Sony Z-series LED has continuously been chosen as one of the top TVs to buy if getting the ultimate HDR experience is at the top of your checklist.
This year’s model, the Sony Z8H, retains everything you’d expect from its predecessor, the Z9G, with some welcome refinements. You’re still getting the jaw-dropping 8K display, the X1 Ultimate processor, Android TV (our favorite Smart TV OS), Netflix Calibrated Mode, and everything else that came along with last year’s Master Series TVs. A slightly friendlier design than that of its decidedly industrial-looking predecessor means the Z8H will probably look better in the average theater room. And the most welcome upgrade is an inclusion of drastically improved audio, thanks to a version of the acoustic actuator design that’s used in the A series OLED TVs. So the Z8H could comfortably go without a soundbar, or can easily fill the center channel in a multi-speaker home theater system. Check out the video to learn more about the new Sony Z8H Master Series LED TV.