Whilst new televisions are always interesting and exciting, it’s very rare that something breaks the mould and really stands out from the crowd…
Every now and then a certain product does just this; the Samsung F9000, or the first LG OLED screen for example. Both incredible sets. At the time these were both pioneers in their chosen field.
Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I believe the technology the Sony KD55A1 uses puts this incredibly beautiful screen on the map, and I’ll explain why. The Sony A1 is the Japanese manufacturer’s first contribution to the ever expanding world of 4K OLED screens. It certainly hasn’t cut any corners either. Sony has previously had a little dabble at OLED technology in the form of an 11inch OLED screen back in 2008, but as you can imagine nothing really came of it. The A1 however isn’t available in 11″ (sorry), only 55″ and 65″.
The A1 features Sony’s most powerful picture engine to date, and of course the A1 is also a 4K OLED screen conforming to latest HDMI specifications. Oh, and the screen is also a speaker. Gone are the days of big bulky speakers taking up valuable space around the television. A first look at the Sony and you’re greeted with nothing but screen, from edge to edge. It’s utterly beautiful, without a blemish or imperfection. Sony have achieved this by using their Acoustic surface technology, which utilises four dedicated actuators located at the back of the screen which vibrate the screen which creates the sound. I was a little skeptical about the screen shaking, but upon closer inspection it does not. I’m honestly utterly perplexed by this technology, the soundstage these four actuators create across the entire screen is utterly magnificent. Sony has created a world’s first with this technology and I can really see it taking off.
A quick sneak over the back of the television and the A1 screen is incredibly slim, with a very interesting A-board design. The prop of which becomes the television’s connection panel as well as a dedicated subwoofer for the in screen speaker. Connection-wise the A1 has 4 HDCP2.2 HDMI inputs, a good old fashioned optical in case you want to bypass the screen speaker, and there is also ARC should you wish to introduce a full AV system into the array.
Sony are still using the Android interface, this now in its third year. While it had some initial faults, the user interface is very straightforward and an absolute joy to use; with apps such as BBC iPlayer, 5 on demand, ITV player and All 4, as well as premium services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime video. The A1 also makes the most of YouView services, which allows you to navigate both forwards (to set a reminder) or backwards (to view catch-up programs on demand).
Down to the important stuff, the image quality. As the A1 is Sony’s first real jump into OLED technology, you would be forgiven for thinking that maybe, just maybe they haven’t quite got the hang of it, yet. Well you would be wrong; the sheer depth of images the A1 can achieve with its infinite contrast ratio is absolutely mind blowing. Information and detail are depicted in areas I hadn’t even considered. Comparing this to the LG B6 from last year it’s clear that the increased brightness really separates the two. Of course, to really take advantage of this amazing screen you need to give it the best source possible. Whilst the A1 will gobble up HDR10 for breakfast, it is still waiting on Dolby Vision support, which is coming later in the year via a firmware update. Not a massive issue. So far in the battle of premium TVs the Sony KD55A1 is my personal number one. The combination of the incredible image quality and the groundbreaking technology is a clear winner. It’s fantastic we now have more than one option to choose from within the OLED range, the only problem is which amazing TV to buy?! If you’re still torn, or just interested in how the new speaker and OLED technology works, please feel free to pop into any of our stores and ask for a demonstration!
Author: Garrett, Plymouth store.