The most important two words you need to use when buying a new TV and most people miss it completely…
We found it out after spending 10 days with The new 2020 A8H Sony OLED
‘The Processor’ these are the words that only a few people will utter. ‘Tell me about the processor’ is the key question above all when buying a new TV. Who makes the panel is not relevant the panel is blank, like a piece of canvas. The old saying ‘It is not the car you drive its way you drive it’ well that translates here
Why is it so important? well there is a huge problem with content these days …
It is a mess. There we said it. Content is all over the place. Days gone by we all used to watch broadcast TV, it was terrible standard definition and the same on each channel. Now we still do but we mix it with Youtube, Netflix, Amazon, Plex, Hulu and many more and you might even cast these from your phone. Netflix and Amazon deliver some of the most stable and better-quality content but the way they treat and apply High Dynamic Range (HDR) is completely different.
The only way to beat all of these sources into place so you can enjoy any content from any source (to its full potential) is to defend yourself from fuzzy pictures, bad color and pixilation. Do this with the most powerful weapon of a processor you can find…The X1 Ultimate[SS1] is just that -the latest from Sony and it powers the new OLED range. It is outstanding among processors used by other brands. Sony’s competence in professional content generation shines through
So it’s all about processing power? ..
Yes, it is but that is not enough by itself. Yes you need the capability of power but the processor is also a blank canvas it needs to be mapped, tuned and tweaked with over 1,000’s of hours and that’s done by computer testing and human eye. So it is experience that counts
All TV manufactures have experience in making TV’s what a silly thing to say..
Hold that thought we are going somewhere here. Did you know Sony has been involved in making film cameras since 1982?. They also make references monitors which are used to scrutinize the final cut and they own Columbia pictures, Tri star pictures, Screen gems and of course Sony pictures. This understanding of image and audio capture or signal processing from the set to your home is what the X1 Ultimate [SS2] is tuned with and as far as we can see no other manufacturer has can boast this or even come close to it for that matter and it shows.
Don’t believe us? Have a look around the internet, Sony has long been regarded as the masters of motion, upscaling and balanced color representation. Clearly the insight gained from producing films
We had 10 days with the A8H Sony OLED 65 inch and despite its size it was (you need 2 people) quite easy to remove from the well thought packaging insert the feet and place on a cabinet unit
Fire up the power from the newly designed slender remote and Android 9 appears. Enter your google account and you are away. Android 9 has come a long way and offers a slick, simplified and zippy operating system experience.
We dive straight into Netflix and start new a series ‘Away’ largely based in space and Altered Carbon a favorite testing series. Altered Carbon we have seen before but its Bladerunner dark fast-moving scenes pitted with neon lighting and lavish color are always a challenging test for any TV
4K Doby Vision and Dolby Atmos labels greet us on the home screen so this is about as future proof as it gets. The introduction starts and we are plunged into a completely black room with no light whatsoever coming from the screen, the graphics appear with titles seemingly hovering in midair.
In full screen Imax mode the action melts into the room the HDR by Dolby vision punches through the dark scenes where Riker decides to stay in the Ai Raven Hotel, he walks past a stained glass window with different colors, the light pierces our test room as if we were there. The performance is that good we watch the entire first series again. The Sony A8H OLED produces sheer 100% black from corner to corner melting into our test room.
Don’t think the Sony A8H OLED needs to be watched in completely dark room to achieve these results – it does not. We use a complete dark room as we want the full effect. In a lit room the colors oddly enough pop just as much.
We load up ‘Planet’ and the room goes quiet as we all take in the shot from the moon looking back at Earth – for some it’s the first OLED experience and you never forget it
4 things happened with the Sony A8H OLED that we were not prepared for, firstly we have always grumbled at the overly compressed feed from Netflix. Squeezing 4K HDR into your house starting as low as 7.5MBPS (yes that was the lock down limit) with a maximum of 15MBPS is criminal. Considering 4K HDR discs require between 50MBPS to well over 100MBPS that goes to show how much your glorious TV is not getting
The Sony OLED A8H produced a mesmerizing Netflix experience, we have never seen Netflix or Amazon prime look as natural and detailed. This is all down to the X1 Ultimate picture processor , it is unpacking the compression and defies belief this is only using 15MBPS of your network
We also tried to trip up the Sony A8H with the world’s worst offender – 720P. Yes you can see the Sony A8H is working hard to stretch the image but it works, it’s by far completely watchable and we get lost in The Sweeny and forget all about the quality and just start enjoying the film. This is probably the biggest credit of all
Second, we fire up Pacific Rim on Bluray full 1080P which our Sony 4K Player (UXBP800) tells us is reading between 25 – 35MBPS. We see finite details we have never seen before, small scratches on the body suites and scenes inside the Yeager’s look out of this world – closer to 4K Native material than anything else. There is no HDR with this format, but it doesn’t matter it’s just upscaled so well.
Lastly, we roll out the Native 4k HDR Bluray collection, Ghost in a shell, Bumble Bee, Residential Evil Extinction are the selection. A quick push of the information button and we are feeding the Sony A8H OLED upto 110MBPS of data with HDR10. The performance is simply astonishing, large parts of each test film go by without our test group muttering a word. Visual effects are no longer effects and are just real. The Sony A8H OLED shows us that the Decepticons and Bumble Bee himself actually exist; this is not an effect. As Major walks towards us head on from ghost in a shell we feel we are the camera lens backing up the ally towards us. Too many times we feel we are actually on the film set watching this happen Infront of us.
A serious note about the sound
The Sony A8H OLED is the speaker. All 65 inches of it vibrate pushing a wall of sound towards you and it is surprisingly good. The screen produces the mid to high notes and sure enough there are 2 micro subwoofers in the back of the frame (firing down) which makes for a completely passable audio experience. Everything you need is there, don’t expect room pounding bass or super high treble but it is there with audible depth and as we flick between the in built audio to our 5.1 system we suddenly realize how horizontal a 5.1 presentation is and although we may not have the absolute detail, depth and room shaking base the Acoustic Surface Audio system gives us dialogue coming straight from the screen, from the actors lips. This adds a huge element of realism to an already compelling visual experience. It is something an additional system just cant match and we tried…
The Sony A8H OLED will show your favorite streaming apps in way you never thought possible. It will turn hit and miss quality from the internet into compelling entertainment. For those of use with physical film Bluray 1080P collections you will need to re-watch from start to finish and be amazed and what you never saw before
If you dare to feed The Sony A8H OLED a native 4K HDR Bluray or any other native content prepare to be transported into the film.
The down side?
There is no going back from The Sony Oled A8H. Prepare a list of excuses for friends when they ask you over to ‘watch something’
Showing off your Sony A8H OLED will mean its favorite party trick. Plunging the room into complete darkness during viewing. This makes finding the right button on the remote tricky however that doesn’t relate at all to picture quality
The Sony A8H OLED is a cinematic masterpiece.