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Impression: Sony LCD and OLED TVs also emphasize sound

Impression: Sony LCD and OLED TVs also emphasize sound
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This week Sony presented its new televisions for 2020 at an event at the head office in Belgium and we were present. Through this article we give an impression of the line-up for the coming year. Among other things, the manufacturer emphasizes good sound, without soundbar or external speakers.

At the beginning of the year, Sony presented its line-up to major televisions for 2020. There we have a nice picture here overview made, where you can view all specifications and models at your leisure. Colleague Eric has also written an extensive report of various workshops and interviews with television manufacturer, including of course Sony. In this article we look at important televisions that the Japanese brand put in the spotlight this year. One thing is immediately noticeable: audio is and remains an important pillar.

When you choose a Sony television, you soon come across different terms when it comes to sound. With the somewhat cheaper priced models that are terms such as ClearAudio + and X-Balanced Speaker, more expensive models have terms such as Acoustic Multi-Audio and Acoustic Surface Audio, which are sometimes accompanied by the X Balanced Speaker, a subwoofer or the Frame Tweeter. Those are terms that not everyone says. But if you are considering a Sony TV, it is useful to know exactly what they mean.

Acoustic Surface Audio from Sony

We start with Acoustic Surface Audio. This is sound technology developed by Sony that actually turns the screen into a speaker. This is only possible on OLED televisions, because you can send sound through it. This is not possible on the LCD LED models. Behind the OLED screen are two drivers that make the panel vibrate, so that sound is presented. In addition, there is (of course a relatively narrow) subwoofer for the necessary bass sound; the standard TV sound must therefore be much better than normal.

The recent OLED models can also be incorporated in a home cinema system. For example, if you use an amplifier with a few speakers in the house, you can set the TV as a large center speaker for that system. Sony calls this the TV Center Speaker Mode. You should then see the screen as an addition to your existing system. The advantage of this option is that, for example, conversations can come very clearly to the fore, while the more intense effects are simply controlled by the other speakers.

For more information, see the article that addresses this in more depth [19659013]. TVs with this audio technology are the Sony AG9, AG8, A9 Master Series and A8.

Acoustic Multi Audio

The various Full Array LED televisions from Sony can count on Acoustic Multi Audio. This is an audio technique that works slightly differently than the aforementioned Acoustic Surface Audio. Very disrespectfully said, Acoustic Multi Audio is another name for 3D sound, but with that you probably do too little justice to the technology. Televisions with Acoustic Multi Audio, also sound technology developed by Sony, have four speakers on the TV: two on the side and two on the bottom.

The two speakers on the side of the TVs have enough space for a good sound box . That should ultimately improve the quality. The speakers are facing the walls and can take into account the layout of the room. Are there curtains on one side? No problem: because the system can measure the acoustics in the room via the microphone in the remote control, you don't have to notice this in the sound reproduction. The other two speakers are facing downwards and also have a large sound box.

What we also encounter on these Sony TVs are the X-Balanced Speakers. Those speakers are also on smaller and somewhat affordable models. X-Balanced Speakers have a special shape that brings functionality and design together. Traditional round speakers have a good sound, but require some space – and therefore the TV can become thicker. Thin, oval speakers require less space, but that comes at the expense of the sound. According to Sony, the X-Balanced Speakers are exactly in between those two models.

Acoustic Multi Audio is featured on the following Full Array LED TVs: Sony ZG9 and ZH8, as well as the XG95, XH95, XG85 and XH90. The X-Balanced Speakers can be found on XG81, XH81, XH80 and XH80, the XG85, XH90, XG96 and XH95.

Software changes

Many models of Sony, on a some TV here and there after, run on Android TV. That is the operating system of Google that we also find on TVs from Philips and Panasonic. It is a system where Google allows little freedom of movement for other manufacturers, but Sony has made some adjustments here and there. For example, the various image settings must be made clearer and you will now find more explanation. In general, it should be immediately clear to the user what a particular setting has a result.

Sony televisions that will be on the market in 2020

We have mentioned different models above. You may find some model numbers familiar, because you have already seen them in the store; other models have yet to be released. That is why we list below the nine models that you can expect in the various stores in 2020.

  • ZH8, in 75-, 85 and 98-inch (the 98-inch is actually the ZG9 of last year)
  • A9 Master Series, in 48-inch
  • A8 in 55- and 65-inch
  • XH95, in 49-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch
  • XH90, in 55-, 65 , 75- and 85-inch
  • XH85, in 43- and 49-inch
  • XH81, in 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch
  • XH80, in 43-, 49-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch
  • X70, 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch (without Android TV)

For more information about the different specs per device, please refer to continue to our comprehensive overview that we published early this year.

Read more?

For more news about Sony's TVs and other brands, visit our extensive news archive [19659013]. We also have a collection of background articles with everything about different techniques and possibilities. In addition, you will find here the overview of all our reviews.

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