I recently got a sneak peak at some of Sony's brand new TVs.
This included it's very first consumer 8K tellie, which was promptly ruined with a meme.
I got to spend a bit more time with the 4K A9G and were particularly interested in how it would handle upscaling. Plus I'm 115 hours into Fire Emblem Three Houses and have no intention of stopping naytime soon, so I did the only logical thing. Inundated the unit with some of my favourite weeb trash.
Sony just announced its first ever consumer 8K TV, and it's truly a thing of beauty. Unfortunately for us peasants, it also comes with an eye-bulging price tag. Being professionals, we were morally obliged to show off its capabilities with something else that bulges.
Like Sony's LED range from earlier this year the A9G has the brand's X1 Ultimate processor.
It combines object-based Super Resolution, Super Bit Mapping and Dual database processing. It's also what will help not 4K content to still pop when blown up, which is important for anyone still on the free-to-air bandwagon, or if you want to stream YouTube at 3am.
The A9G also includes a full array local dimming backlight (which makes for bright colours and hardcore black levels), X-Motion Clarity (which is great for fast action sequences) and X-Wide Clarity, which helps to keep the colours consistant from all viewing angles.
You'll also find Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
When it comes to usage the A9G has Android TV with Google Assistant integration. It's still one of our favourite native TV interfaces - it's easy to use and sleek.
Holding down the microphone button on the remote will allow you to ask for a specific TV show or movie and the system will bring up the options of where you can view it. For example, Stan and Netflix.
We only had limited time with the A9G and chose to spend our time on deeply specific upscaling. This is mostly because we already know that 4K and HDR content is going to look great on this thing. Although our pictures don't do it justice, proof can be found in Keanu's face in Always Be My Maybe, which is available in 4K on Netflix:
The other reason is a deep obsession with Fire Emblem Three Houses, Food Wars and Stardew Valley. Happily, all of them are only available at a lower resolution and are therefore perfect for testing. How convenient.
When docked, the Nintendo Switch displays both Fire Emblem and Stardew at 1080p, and both looked gorgeous on the A9G.
To be fair, Stardew is already a stunning pixelated game. But while Fire Emblem did suffer some minor pixelation both in-game and in the menu screen, it wasn't enough to be unforgivable.
Food Wars also streams up to 1080p from the Animelab app. When the internet was behaving it too looked gorgeous; delivering the animated food porn (and uh, the interesting reactions to cuisine from characters) straight into my eyeballs.
Quality would drop on occasion due to streaming on hotel Wi-Fi. It remained comfortable to watch, but internet quality should still be taken into consideration if you're dealing with significant upscaling.
We also had the chance to put the A9G's Audio In Picture functionality through its paces thanks to the lyrical genius of Lonely Island's The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience mockumentary.
It sounds crisp and clear, and is incredibly impressive for internal sound. I wouldn't bother with a Soundbar if this was my TV.
Glare is a problem for the A9G, but that's pretty standard for OLEDs. Still, it's a shame when the black levels and colours are so damn gorgeous but you can get distracted by a reflected light. This was an issue while utilising both natural and internal lights.
My only real gripe came from a surprising place - the elongated back panel of the TV extends across the port inputs. It's odd and makes them incredibly difficult to access. While this may not be an issue if you don't switch out cables much, it's a big deal to a multi-console gamer like myself. It's annoying and I don't know why this aesthetic choice was made.
Quality of life details like this may seem small but can make and break buying decisions, even when it has no impact on the actual viewing experience.
We haven't spent enough time with the A9G series to recommend running out and buying it right now, but it certainly was a pleasant experience.
It continue's Sony's tradition of combining a stunning viewing experience (even for lower res content) with impressive audio and an easy user experience. The UI can be just as important as how the content looks for some of us, and fortunately Sony once again delivers on both.
The Sony A9G series is available now and starts at $5,199 the 55-inch, $7,199 for the 65-inch and $14,399 for the 77-inch. You can find out more here.
The author tested the A9G overnight as a guest of Sony.