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Sony Might Just Have the OLED TV to Beat at CES 2017

An OLED TV with Sony’s image processing? Yes, please.

Ever since Samsung and Sony popped in and out of the United States OLED market a few years ago, LG has gone unchallenged in the world of OLED TVs. That’s changing at CES 2017, as Sony has announced their new line of Bravia OLED TVs. Combining the superior color contrast and spectrum of OLED with Sony’s great 4K HDR image processing could make this TV the one to beat.

The Bravia OLED A1E series ticks all the boxes. They’ll be 4K HDR televisions with support for Dolby Vision, Dolby’s dynamic HDR technology. Because OLED televisions are made from individually-lit diodes, no LED backlight is needed, making for deeper blacks and the best possible color contrast on a display. The line also gets Sony’s X1 Extreme processor, which was introduced in their high-end LCD TVs. That processor improves on HDR quality, giving Samsung a leg up on LG.

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The ultra-thin television will be propped up by a weighted stand, which will also hold the processor. With the kickstand, the display can face straight ahead or be tilted up slightly, like a picture on an easel. We’re hearing a lot about TVs doubling as art pieces (and maybe even digital art displays when they aren’t being used), so the easel look seems appropriate.

Being that thin, audio becomes a challenge. Sony’s solution is a technology called Acoustic Surface. Apparently, the display itself while vibrate, producing sound waves. Considering there’s almost zero chance of that producing quality bass, and considering there’s almost 100 percent chance this TV is going to be really, really expensive, prospective buyers are almost definitely going to be setting up their own sound system anyway.

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As with all Sony TVs, the Bravia OLED sets will run the Android TV smart interface. Android TV hasn’t always gotten rave reviews, but now that the Google Home smart assistant can be used to control the TV using voice commands, it’s looking a little better.

The only thing we’re left wondering is where the OLED panels are coming from. Sony doesn’t have the means to produce their own OLED panels, and there aren’t many other companies to source them from. The most obvious guess is LG Display, a separate components business under the LG umbrella, but we don’t know for sure.

No word on when the new Bravia OLED TVs are coming out or how much they’ll cost yet. Sony will also be refreshing their LCD televisions this year, with the addition of Dolby Vision support on some models being the most notable change in 2017. Those televisions will become available later this year.