4K UHD HDR TV Comparison

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Sony A8G vs A9G Review (XBR55A8G vs XBR55A9G, XBR65A8G vs XBR65A9G)


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The Sony A8G and the Sony A9G are part of Sony’s 2019 4K HDR OLED TV lineup. The Sony A9G is the replacement for 2018’s Sony A9F while the Sony A8G is the replacement 2018’s Sony A8F. On the market, the Sony A9G comes in 3 screen size options including 55 Inch (XBR55A9G), 65 inch (XBR65A9G), and 77 inch (XBR77A9G). On the other hand, there are only 2 screen sizes available for the A8G, which is the 55 inch (ABR55A8G) and the 65 inch (XBR65A8G). With the same screen size between the series (ABR55A8G vs XBR55A9G, XBR65A8G vs XBR659G), the A9G is priced more than the A8G. And an you might know, all OLED TVs have almost a similar overall picture quality, so it comes down to the additional features and the design which is the main key for those differences. So what are the differences between them and why is the A9G much more expensive than the A8G?

Sony A8G vs A9G Key Specs

Specs and Features Sony A8G Sony A9G
Sizes Available 55 Inches (XBR55A8G), 65 Inches (XBR65A8G) 55 inches (XBR55A9G), 65 Inches (XBR65A9G), 77 Inches (XBR77A9G)
Panel Technology OLED Panel OLED Panel
Dimming Technology Pixel Dimming Level Pixel Dimming Level
Pixel Structure WRGB WRGB
Image Processor 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme 4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate
HDR Support HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Clarity Enhancement 4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing 4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing, Object-based Super Resolution
Contrast Enhancement Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Based Remaster Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Based Remaster, Pixel Contrast Booster
Color Enhancement Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display
Motion Enhancement MotionFlow XR MotionFlow XR
Native Refresh Panel 120 Hz 120 Hz
VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) Supports No No
Smart TV Platform Android 7.0 Nougat Android 8.0 Oreo
Google Assistant Yes Yes
Amazon Alexa Compatible Yes Yes
Apps Store Google Play Store Google Play Store
Remote Sony Voice Remote Sony Voice Remote
Voice Navigation Support Yes Yes
Audio Channel 2.2 channel 2.2 channel
Sound Output 20 watts + 20 watts + 10 watts + 10 Watts 10 watts + 10 Watts + 10 Watts + 10 Watts
Speaker Type Acoustic Surface Audio+ Acoustic Surface Audio
Speaker Configuration Actuator X2, Subwoofer X2 Actuator X2, Subwoofer X2
Dolby Atmos Support No Yes
HDMI Ports 4 4
HDMI Supports CEC, HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, HDMI 2.0, ARC CEC, HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, HDMI 2.0, ARC, eARC
USB Ports 3 (USB 2,3: USB2.0, USB1:USB 3.0) 3 (USB 2,3: USB2.0, USB1:USB 3.0)
Price See today’s price See today’s price

Technologies and Features of the Sony A9G and the Sony A8G

Design

The Sony A9G and the Sony A8G both have excellent design and build quality. They are also extremely slim like most models of OLED TVs. So if you want to move it, you must be extremely careful when lifting it.  Even so from the side of the body where the electronic parts are housed, the A9G looks thinner than the A8G. From the front, the border of the A9G is also a bit thinner than the A8G. Meanwhile the striking difference between them is on the stand that supports their main body. The Sony A8G has a very simple stand with a “U” shape in front.  Unique to the stand of A8G is the stand can be set to two different height positions. With the maximum height position, the stand leaves a gap between the TV and the table of about 2.4 inches, allowing you to place a small sound bar in front. The A9G comes with a flat stand. But unlike the stand of the A8G, its stand is not reversible and only leaves a small gap between the TV and the table. So if you want to place a small sound bar in front of the TV, a part of the screen will be blocked. Even though their stands support the TV equally well, when the TVs is nudged, the A8G does wobble more than the A9G.

Panel Technology

Just like their predecessors being the A8F and the A9F, both Sony’s still use LG’s OLED display technology for the A8G and the A9G. Their display panels use a WRGB pixel structure where there is an additional white sub-pixel to the standard RGB sub-pixel. You might know that the OLED panel has a self-lighting pixel. This means that each pixel of the OLED panel can switch on/off/dim individually which allows them to emit their own light without affecting the condition of the other pixels. When it’s showing black, there is no sub-pixel that emits light. This allows the black produced to be perfect. On the other hand, when showing a white color, all of the sub-pixels switch on with maximum light. Nevertheless since the OLED panel doesn’t have a backlight, the white produced is not very bright. In this case, the white sub-pixel is required for boosting the white produced. That’s why the peak brightness of an OLED TV is not as bright as the peak brightness of a Premium LED TV.

On the other hand, since each of their pixels can switch between on/off/dim individually, this allows the OLED panel to have pixel level dimming. This is equal to an LED TV with Full Array Local Dimming where the number of dimming zones is same as the number of pixels. This means that if they have 4K resolution, this is equal to an LED TV that has dimming zones of 8 million. Currently this would be impossible for an LED TV. For these OLED TVs, the pixel level dimming of both series is very helpful to eliminate blooming. The result when showing a highlight in a dark scene, is that there is no blooming noticeable around the edge of a bright object.

Image Processor

As seen on the table above, the Sony A8G is still powered by the 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme that we found on some 2018 models like the Sony X900F, the Sony A8F, and others. On the other hand, the Sony A9G is powered by a newer processor called AK HDR Processor X1 Ultimate. This new processor is claimed to be twice as powerful as the X1 Extreme.  In addition the features offered by the X1 Extreme like Object-Based Remaster, Dual Database processing and Super Bit Mapping HDR, there is also new additional features offered by the X1 Ultimate, which would be Pixel Contrast Booster and Object-based Super Resolution. In re-mastering images, these processors may be both focused on the object, but the X1 Ultimate will analyze the object with more detail than the X1 Extreme. As an example, when they are showing a fruit bowl, the X1 Extreme assumes a fruit bowl as a single object for re-mastering, while the X1 Ultimate will assume the individual fruit within the bowl as a single object. The result is the X1 Ultimate can deliver better fine details than the X1 Extreme. Additionally it offers a huge improvement in fine detail, the X1 Ultimate also offers some improvement in other aspects like Motion Handling, input Lag, Smart TV performance, and more.

Motion Technology

Sony A8G and the Sony A9G both have a native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. This allows them to interpolate the lower frame rate content up to 120 Hz. For improving performance in handling motion, both have a feature called Motion Flow XR. By combining the native refresh rate panel, frame insertion, flickering control and Image Blur Reduction, this feature is very effective to make motion look clear and crisp. Even so, unlike the premium model of LG’s TVs and Samsung’s TVs, both the Sony A8G and the Sony A9G don’t support VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) for the gaming experience.

Audio System

Both the Sony A8G and the Sony A9G use Acoustic Surface technology. As you might know, for generating sound this technology utilizes the panel as a speaker membrane instead of having a conventional speaker.  There are two actuators behind the panel that vibrate the screen. The result is this technology can deliver better sound quality than a conventional speaker and gives the impression that the voices are coming directly from the actor’s mouth rather than from a speaker unit below the TV. For boosting the low frequency or bass, both also have two built-in subwoofers. The difference between them is the A9G has a higher sound output than the A8G. The actuator of the A9G has 20 watts of power output, each actuator of the A8G only has 10 watts of power output.

Connectivity

The Sony A9G and the Sony A8G both have 4 HDMI ports as their major connectivity. Their HDMI ports support HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, CEC, HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, and ARC (HDMI 3). But the difference between them is the eARC support. The A9G supports eARC while the A8G doesn’t support it. This allows the A9G to pass through Dolby Atmos via True HD signal DTS:X via DTS-HD MA signal via its HDMU eARC. On the other hand, due to the HDMI ports of the A8G not supporting eARC, it can not pass though the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X signal via its HDMI ports. The video source that supports them is the same. Both support most video sources including 4096 x 2160p (24, 60 Hz), 3840 x 2160p (24, 30, 60 Hz), 1080p (30, 60 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (60 Hz), 720p (30, 60 Hz), 720/24p, 480p, 480i. Even so, they don’t support HFR (4K @120 Hz) and 8K resolution.  In addition to HDMI ports, they also have the same number of USB ports, which are 3 ports, 1 port is USB 3.0 and 2 ports are USB 2.0. They both have Tuner In, Composite IN (AV IN), Digital Audio Out (optical), Ethernet Port, and IR IN for IR Blaster. For the wireless connection, they both have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Smart TV

Both the Sony A9G and the Sony A8G run the same smart TV platform of Android TV. Even so, the A9G runs a newer version, which is the Android 8.0 Oreo while the A8G runs the 7.0 Nougat. There is a small difference for their user interface. The interface is equally well organized and easy to navigate. But even so, the performance of the Android 8.0 is faster and smoother than the 7.0 version. As a side note, the A8G is expected to receive the update to Android 8.0 soon. It is a very interesting offering by Android TV for the apps and features provided. In addition providing several interesting and popular apps and features, there is an app store called Google Play Store that provides tons of games, apps, content, and more. With Google Play Store you get a more complete app store than with any other platform. Additionally both series support Google Voice Assistant and Amazon Alexa, AirPlay 2, Apple TV’s apps, HomeKit and more.

For the controller, the Sony A8G and the Sony A9G come with different remotes. The remote of the A8G is similar to what we saw on last year’s models like the A8F, the A9F, and the X900F. Its remote is plastic with a black tint and rubber buttons.  For the remote of the Sony A9G it comes with an upgrade over the A8G’s remote, similar to what we see on most models of Sony’s 2019 lineup like the Z9G, the X950G, and others. Its remote is plastic but is thinner and now has a metallic tint. Both of these remotes have an almost similar button layout, although the button placement of the A9G remote is actually better than the A8G.  They both also have two dedicated buttons for Google Play and Netflix. Both remotes have a built-in microphone and a button that gives you direct access to Google Assistant where you can make a voice command. In general although their remotes have a difference in design, the functionally is about the same.

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Sony A8G <<

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The Sony A8G vs the Sony A9G Performance

Picture Quality

Contrast and Black Level

Infinite contrast ratio and perfect black level are the main strengths of the amazing picture quality produced by OLED TVs including the Sony A8G and the A9G. Since the OLED display panel has self-lighting pixel, this means its panel doesn’t need a backlight. When displaying black, the screen doesn’t even emit light at all. This makes black produced by the Sony A9G and the A8G to be perfect. Additionally they both have perfect black uniformity. And since black level is one of the main aspects of picture quality, this makes the picture displayed on screen look amazing, particularly when displaying a dark scene.  The information in a dark scene can be revealed fairly well and makes shadow detail look very clear on screen. Of course, it’s perfect for HDR content that requires very deep black in order to produce shadow detail that looks clear. And with its excellent performance in producing black, this makes them a perfect choice for those who often watch movies in a dark room.

Winner: Draw

SDR Peak Brightness

The Sony A8G and the A9G have similar peak brightness. Their peak brightness varies depending on content.  The brightest peak brightness hits on a 2% window (2% of the screen is white, while the rest is black) where they hit around 300 nits. On a 100% window, their ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) is very aggressive to dim the peak brightness to around 150 nits. But overall, with real SDR Content, peak brightness reached by them is less than 300 nits. For an average-lit or dim lit room, their peak brightness is bright enough to make the picture produced to be fairly bright. However for a very bright room, this might not be bright enough, so the picture displayed on screen looks too dim. This means with the peak brightness reached by each series, that both the Sony A8G and the A9G are less than suitable when used in a very bright room.  For a very bright room, you should consider a TV that has a much brighter peak brightness like the Samsung Q80R.

Keep in mind that this condition is reached when the “Picture Mode” is set to “Custom” and with “Peak Luminance” set to “High”. When the “Picture Mode” is set to “Vivid”, they might be able to hit around 700 nits on a 2% window, but this will reduce the accuracy of the image. So in different picture modes, the results might be different.

Winner: Draw

HDR Peak Brightness

While with SDR content, both series have similar peak brightness, but with HDR content the Sony A8G can hit a brighter peak brightness than the A9G. Like with SDR content, the peak brightness of the A8G is also dependent on the content and “Picture Mode”.  The brightest peak brightness is reached on a 2% window where they can hit around 750 nits for a short time and around 475 nits after stabilized. Meanwhile with the same % window, the A9G can only hit around 700 nits for a short time and 375 nits after stabilized. Even so, their ABL is equally aggressive where the peak brightness will be lowered to less than 150 nits on a 100% window. With real HDR content, their peak brightness is not far different where they can each hit around 600 nits. With th peak brightness reached by them, they both can show small highlights in HDR fairly bright to really standnout. And this actually is what’s recommended for OLED TVs.  As you might know, the minimum peak brightness recommended for OLED TVs in order to be able show HDR images fully is 550 nits. This is still far from the HDR level reached by LED TV like Z9F or Sony Q90R.

Keep in mind this result is reached when the “Picture Mode” is set to “HDR Cinema” and “Brightness” is set to “Max”.  Using a different picture mode and a different setting may result in brighter peak brightness, but can reduce the accuracy of the picture. Overall, the Sony A8G may have a bit brighter peak brightness in HDR than the A9G, but their difference is not very significant and this might be due to panel variance.

Winner: A8G

Color Reproduction

Both the Sony A9G and the A8G have a wide color gamut, similar to what’s delivered by the LG OLED C9.  Their color gamut can cover more than 96% of DCI P3 color space. This means it is great for HDR content mastered in DCI P3 like HDR10 content. In Rec.2020 color space, the color coverage is around 75%, wide enough to show HDR content mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision. Unfortunately, their color volume is only mediocre. Contrary with color gamut, in this case, the Sony A9G has a bit better color volume than the A8G. Overall, since they both have a perfect black level, they both can produce dark colors excellently. Although they can not produce very bright saturated colors. The use of white sub-pixel might be able to boost the peak brightness, but on the other hand, this will de-saturate the pure colors at high brightness level. But even so, in general, they both can show colors of HDR images fairly accurate, making the HDR images look colorful on their screen.

Additionally, both the Sony A8G and the A9G have excellent color gradient. But even so, for this case, the color gradient of the Sony A9G is better than the A8G. Color gradient of A9G is even including the best ever. On the screen of A8G, there might be still some banding in all colors, while on the screen of A9G, banding is very minimal. This is likely due to the impact of the use of different image processor. As we know, the A9G is powered by X1 Ultimate while A8G is powered by X1 Extreme. But even so, although color gradient of A8G is not as smooth as A9G, but it is still better than most TVs. And overall, even though color banding can not be removed completely, this should not be noticeable with most content.

Winner: A9G

Side Viewing Angle

Side viewing angle is a huge advantage for an OLED TV compared to LED TV. On a LED TV, there might be IPS panel which provide good side viewing angle. Even in 2019, some manufacturers start to use a certain optical layer to improve side viewing angle of the VA panel such as Samsung with their Ultra Viewing Angle and the Sony with their “X Viewing Angle”. But all of this technology is still not as good as what’s offered by OLED TVs. For comparison, on an LED TV the black level will raise starting at around 15 degrees, on the screen, black level can be maintained up to 70 degrees. Color and brightness can also be maintained at a far wider angle than on the screen of LED TV. The result, when viewing from an angle is the picture displayed on screen will still look accurate, far more consistent than LED TVs.

Winner: Draw

Motion

Both the Sony A8G and the A9G can do a great job in handling motion. Just like other models of OLED TVs, they both have instantaneous response time, far lower than the lowest time reached by LED TVs. The result is motion looks extremely clear and smooth on screen. There is almost no motion trail visible following a fast moving object. Although a lack of blur might cause stutter, particularly when playing low frame rate content like 24p movies. For minimizing this issue, you can enable Black Frame Insertion or Motion Interpolation. When playing higher frame content like sports or video games, the stutter will be less noticeable.

Since the OLED panel of the Sony A9G and the A8G doesn’t have backlight, they don’t use a PWM system to dim their screen.  This makes the screen almost flicker-free. Nevertheless, the lack of flicker may cause a persistence blur that bothers some people. But as mentioned, both have an optional Black Frame Insertion rate that will flicker the screen at 60 Hz. By enabling this feature, this will reduce persistence blur and make motion look crisper, particularly when they are playing 60 fps content like sports or video games. But this could cause flicker that might bother some people. Black Frame Insertion can be enabled by setting “MotionFlow” to “Custom” and “Clearness” to “High”.

As seen on the table above, the Sony A8G and the A9G both have a native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. This allows these series to interpolate lower frame rate content to 120 Hz. Unfortunately, both don’t support Variable Refresh Rate like GSync, FreeSync, HDMI Forum, and VRR. As you might know, the VRR allows you to play a game with almost screen tearing-free.

Both th Sony A9G and the A8G do a great job when playing 24p movies. Regardless of the frame rate of the source, whether it is native 24p like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, a 24p via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, a 24p via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices or 24p via streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Videos and YouTube, each are able to show them with judder-free. And to remove the judder without motion interpolation, you just need to set “Motion Flow” to “Custom”, and “Smoothness” to “Min”, and “CineMotion” to “Auto”, and “Clearness” to “Low”.

Winner: Draw

Input Lag

In PC and Game Mode, the Sony A9G has better input lag than the A8G. Regardless of the resolution, whether it is 1080p, 1440p, 4K, 4K with HDR, or 4K @4:4:4, the input lag of the A9G at 60 fps is lower than 30 ms which means it’s great for gaming, even for fast paced games. However at 120 fps, its input lag depends on the resolution. With 1080p resolution, its input lag is lower than 20 ms which means it is great. But with 1440p, its input lag is too high, at around 45 ms. Keep in mind, the A9G doesn’t support 4K @120 Hz content.

On the other hand with 120 fps, the input lag of the A8G is very similar. Whether with 1080p and 1440p resolution, the input lag is around 20 ms. Just like the A9G, the the A8G doesn’t support 4K @120Hz. But even so, with 60 fps content its input lag depends on the resolution. With 4K resolution, regardless if it is native 4K, 4K with HDR, or 4K @4:4:4, its input lag is higher than 30 ms. Although its not as low as the A9G, its input lag with 4K resolution is still acceptable for most games. As well with 1440p resolution, its input lag is almost the same for 4K resolution. Unfortunately, with a 1080p source, its input lag is far higher than the A9G, at around 50 ms. This might be still acceptable for casual games, but for fast paced games, this input lag might be too high. From what we’ve seen, the Sony A9G is far more responsive than the A8G when used for playing 1080p games, particularly those that have a frame rate by 60Hz.

Winner: A9G

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Sony A8G <<

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Sony A9G <<

Summary

Performance Sony A8G Sony A9G
Picture Quality (4.3/5) (4.4/5)
HDR (4.6/5) (4.6/5)
Motion Handling (4.4/5) (4.4/5)
Inputs (4.1/5) (4.4/5)
Sound Quality (3.4/5) (3.7/5)
Smart TV (4/5) (4/5)

Conclusion

As we have discussed above, both the Sony A8G and the Sony A9G have very similar picture quality. For certain aspects, each has some items where they are superior, but their superiority is not very significant. This difference is even likely due to panel variance. Overall they both have outstanding picture quality with perfect black, excellent color reproduction, excellent viewing angle and great motion handling. And just like we mentioned, their difference is precisely on aspects outside of picture quality such as the design, input lag, HDMI ability, Smart TV performance, and sound output. Except for sound output and the design, their differences could be more influenced by the different level of the image processor.

In terms of performance, both are great TVs for any use. Whether they’re used for watching movies in a dark room, watching sports, watching TV Shows, playing games, watching movies in HDR, or smart TV performance, the performance is equally great. Although for the A8G, it might be a disappointment when used for playing 1080p games with a frame rate of 60 Hz. But this doesn’t mean they each don’t have flaws. The major flaw is they both have a risk of permanent burn-in when showing content with a static image like games or a TV broadcast logo. So playing the same game over a long period of time should be avoided.

Which is a better choice for you? As mentioned above, within the same screen size the A9G is more expensive than the A8G. Meanwhile the advantages offered by the A9G is for input lag, sound output, smart TV performance, and image processor. In terms of picture quality their performance is very similar. Now the decision is yours according to your preferences. If you have the budget, the Sony A9G might be better for you since it has a better performance for some aspects and abilities that the A8G doesn’t have (such as HDMI eARC support to pass through Dolby Atmos signal). Even so, if you only care about picture quality, the Sony A8G might be a better choice for you considering it is priced hundreds cheaper.

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Sony A8G <<

>> Please click here to see today’s price for the Sony A9G <<

Sony A8G vs A9G Review (XBR55A8G vs XBR55A9G, XBR65A8G vs XBR65A9G)

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