At CES 2019 Sony showed its new Master Series TVs and, while the AG9 will be appealing to many, it’s the ZG9 LCD that created most of the headlines. Why? Because it’s Sony’s ^
first 8K TV and its stunning. TO celebrate the kickoff, Sony has invited me to munich to test the Zg9 in the 25hours hotel and they even brought some sick equipment for testing it.
If you look at the TV then you will that the Sony ZG9 is huge and imposing, but it’s also rather pretty and elegant. The first thing you notice is that its a thick screen.
It’s a thick display as a result of the size of the screen and use of a direct LED backlight and the impressive speaker system.. If you are looking for a superslim tv, you might be
better off with the ZG9’s OLED sibling, the 4K AG9. Overall im not impressed by the design but for the first 8k Tv and the fact that it is direct LED its okay. Also I guess when you
got a home cinema you dont care too much about having a styled superlim TV. Just something that bothered me a bit are the stands which wobble a bit. But i guess most people would wall mount this beast anyway. The bigger 98 inch version comes with some massive stands to support the heavy weight.
The master Series is nothing for average consumers. Its a high end home cinema tv for really demanding consumers who want the most realistic picture you can get. When I had a briefing on this Tv at the CES 2019, they often said that it comes very close to professional monitors that are used in film production and that means that you are feeling the creators intent. That means that you will see the colors and brightness exactly like the creator of the movie wanted you to see it. Actually really impressive. But beside 8K resolution, it features some improved functions to make the picture even better.
8K X-Reality Pro takes care of the upscaling, using a new, dedicated 8K database for apparently more precision and detail, while 8K X-tended Dynamic Range Pro boosts brightness when necessary in specific areas and works in conjunction with the Backlight Master Drive full array local dimming feature, which independently controls the backlight’s LED zones. But Sony isn’t being specific on the number of zones that the ZG9’s backlight has. The peak brightness goes up to 3000 nits and I have to say it looks stunning. I could also play around with the KONICA MINOLTA Spectroradiometer CS2000,which is used to measure brightness, black tones and color, all together with the 4K UHD & HDR Generator from Murideo and confirm these values.
its not all about the panel, even more important when it comes to 8k is the processor of the tv. Inside the X1 Ultimate chip, last seen on Sony’s previous Master Series TVs, the ZF9 and AF9, runs all the features such as X-Motion Clarity – the latest version of the company’s
much-loved motion processing. X-Wide Angle, which is designed to improve viewing angles when compared to other backlit TVs and much more. HDR of course forms an important part of the 8K ZG9’s repertoire, and itsupports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. HDR10+ isn’t on board, with Sony claiming it “doesn’t need it”, as its own processing does a similar job.
Beyond HDR format support which also works super well in games, Sony is also supporting cinematic standards, with both IMAX Enhanced and Netflix Calibrated on the features list.
Both are designed to give you a picture that as closely as possible reflects the creator’s intent, which is very much inline with the claimed intentions of the Master Series. I watched some movies with their latest 4K Blu ray player and also from an 8k player and the image is stunning. upscaled 4k looks amazing and 8k content is just breathtaking.
The optimum distance to sit away from an 8k TV is 1.5 times the height of the TV which is around 1.8meters on the 85″ version.
You could sit closer and not see the individual pixels. At this sort of distance the image is awesomely, immersive, packed with detail, deep and three-dimensional. When I watched
some 4k movies they looked very good, with smooth edges, excellent detail and very little in the way of banding or artefacts. So upscaling is done very good on the zg9.
The best picture is useless without good audio. Sonys Oleds use accoustic surface technology, but this is not possible on lcd’s. ZG9 instead uses four, front-facing drivers; two built into the chunky bezel above the screen, and two below. Compared to OLEDs such as the AF9, it certainly doesn’t feel as if the sound is coming as directly from the screen, but it’s a lot better than most TVs. What’s more, this ZG9 sounds richer, punchier and more dynamic than the OLEDs. Like other sony tvs, it can also be used as a centre speaker in a home cinema system thanks to a pair of speaker terminals on the rear of the set. Talking about the connectors, you can find all them on the back after you have removed a plastic cover.
The Zg9 features the most important connectors like: 4 HDMI with HDCP 2.3 and 8K support. Optical audio output, 3 usb ports, tuner, ethernet and wifi. All hidden behind some plastic covers.
Speaking of the remote, Sony has finally, after enduring years of complaints from the media changed its remote control. The new remote avoids the overly stripped-back approach of many rivals, but is vastly slicker and more ergonomic than its predecessor. It uses RF, too, so doesn’t require line-of-sight for operation and thats a very welcome addition. Android TV also brings with it Google Assistant integration, and the ZG9 is ‘Works with Alexa’ certified, too. What’s more, the microphone is built into the bezel of the TV,
so there’s no need to dig up the remote and hold a button down in order to issue your voice commands, but for sure you can do it. Also in the futue the tv will support
AirPlay 2 und HomeKit. Here is a quick test.
The TV comes with Android TV 8.0 Oreo on board, unfortunately there is no android 9 on it right now. Overall android is running really smooth. A few things have changed but i mostly
just saw some optical changes like the new action menu. Other than that its the same UI and user experience we know from sony tvs. The only downside is that the memory of the TV is really small. I really would appreciate some bigger internal storage for us power users. Other than that, the android experience is pretty smooth.