Sony unveiled its flagship Bravia series TVs for 2016 today, with all featuring 4K resolution and high dynamic range, or HDR, technology.
The range starts at $2999 for the 55-inch 8500 series and goes all the way up to $14,999 for the 85-inch model. All models, apart from the 85-inch, will be available from late April or early May.
On top of all being 4K with HDR, each model runs on Android TV, which means the user interface is slick and easy to use while also featuring all your favourite streaming apps such as Netflix, Presto and the Google Play store.
What sets the Sony TVs apart though is the price, which for the flagship 9300 series starts at $3999 for the 55-inch model or $5,999 for the 65-inch model. Comparative LG 4K HDR TVs, which are currently the benchmark of the segment, are priced at $7499 for the 55-inch and $10,499 for the 65-inch, although retailers often offer discounts.
Like with Samsung and LG’s 2016 flagships, HDR is the key feature here, offering much richer colour and more detail than before. Interestingly Sony says HDR is all about the brightness, which it claims is the best, while other companies such as LG and Dolby say it’s more to do with the contrast.
Sony is claiming that its use of backlight drive technology makes HDR look better on Sony’s TVs due to a boost of brightness and better black levels.
In terms of HDR content, you’re not going to find all that much of it just yet. Netflix is rolling it out, and promises over 100 titles by the end of this year, but aside from that, it’s going to be a while before it becomes mainstream technology.
We had a brief chance to see Sony’s latest next to LG’s with both on their default settings. While the test videos were clearly picked to favour the characteristics of the Sony TV, there actually wasn’t all that much difference between the two. The LG definitely had better contrast and nicer colours in most cases.
But was it $5000 better? We’re not quite convinced of that.