Sony Televisions – Smarter TV


Our Verdict

Sony TV

Sony’s decades of experience in handling professional video has long been the best reason to buy one of their TVs, and based on what we’ve seen, the end results just keep getting better.

Overall 83%

Ever since the arrival of colour television in Australia in the mid-1970s, there’s was one brand that all the others seemed to endlessly be trying to catch up to – Sony. The veteran Japanese company had been making electronics of all kinds for decades, but it was the introduction of colour TV that gave them their big moment. As companies tried to solve the big technical problems of getting a quality colour picture out of existing technology, Sony came up with a system called Trinitron – and it become the standard that everyone tried to beat for decades afterwards. It was so good that every TV and movie studio seemed to be decked out in Sony TVs and monitors.

When technology finally let heavy tube TVs make way for thin LCD screens, though, Sony wasn’t quite as ready for prime time. Instead, they partnered with Samsung to make the actual LCD screens, and put their cleverness to work at improving the quality of the picture itself, as the world moved to DVDs and Blu-ray discs (and on to digital downloads and streaming TV).

What Makes Sony TVs Different?

The TV you watch today is very different to the TV your parents and grandparents saw. What used to be a simple broadcast that got picked up by an antenna and displayed on the screen, static and all, has now become fully digital, just like the discs and streaming services we watch from. The TVs that receive and display all this digital video have had to overcome some pretty big challenges to do it. They’re basically small computers with a big screen attached, and as the range of different types of video has grown – HD, 4K, HDR, different frame rates, etc – so has the complexity of getting it onto the screen.

For years now, Sony’s TVs have been regarded as being among the very best in the industry at dealing with all kinds of video challenges. One of the most difficult challenges for any TV is to translate the native frame rate that all movies and most TV shows are made with – 24 frames per second – into something that the screen can display smoothly. Modern TVs all use some kind of computerised cleverness to do this, but all too often, the end result is movement that looks artificial – everything looks too smooth and sharp, like you are watching a low-budget soap opera instead of a blockbuster movie. Many video experts call this the “soap opera effect’.

Sony’s TVs draw upon decades of experience in dealing with professional movies and TV, delivering the most natural motion handling in the business, no matter what the content is that you’re watching. Advanced scaling software also makes sure that even if you’re viewing a lower-quality source – like a standard definition TV channel or DVD – the end result on screen will look crisp and clear. In this area as well, Sony’s TVs are pretty much without equal.

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The Sony User Interface – Android TV

While they’ve designed their own interfaces in the past, Sony engineers were impressed enough with Google’s elegant solution to the smart TV interface – Android TV – that they adopted it for almost all of their product range. Android TV has many advantages – like its massive app support, tight integration with Google’s online services, and a fast and stylish yet incredibly detailed user interface among them.

Support for all major streaming services is a given, since they don’t need to deliver a Sony-specific app to enable support for your TV (though many, like Stan, do so anyway). Every major streaming service has an app here – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube (of course) and even Kayo Sports has a native Android TV app (beat that, other brands!) Overall, it has a bit of a learning curve compared to other smart TV systems, but it’s worth it.

Best of all, Android TV incorporates native support for a built-in Chromecast Ultra and yes, Sony’s TVs include it. With a Sony TV on your home network, anyone in the household can cast video direct to the TV, which seamlessly switches to its Chromecast mode as necessary. It’s a brilliant feature that actually works together with the rest of the TV far more smoothly than an external Chromecast device does.

Sony Quality at a Wide Range of Prices

With a range of around a dozen different models at any given time, Sony’s TVs are available to fit almost any budget, including a couple of models (without Android TV) that deliver Sony quality at an astonishingly low price – under $600 for the 32-inch W66E, for example. But even without heading up into the realms of higher price tags, there’s some real bargains to be had in the middle of the Sony range, with Android TV delivering a fantastic smart TV experience that’s exactly like what you’d get on the expensive top models. The X75F starts at about $1100 for a 43-inch screen, yet comes packed with the same Sony tech like X-Reality that’s found in the top-end models.

If you’re looking more towards OLED for a high-end TV experience, Sony has been impressing the world in recent years with its combination of LG-made OLED screens with Sony video technology, and the two OLED models in the current range are, according to the pros, worth every cent of their starting-at-$4000 price tags. But Sony’s speciality has long been LCD, and their flagship TV remains the LED-lit Master Series Z9F, a 75-inch beast that will – if you can handle the price tag – give you an incredible, huge HDR image.

Sony’s Still Got It

They might not be quite the same Sony these days as back in the 70s and 80s when Trinitron ruled the world, but Sony’s clever collaborations with key manufacturers has let them keep a laser focus on what they do best – making sure that the picture you see on the screen when you turn on a Sony TGV, no matter what the size or price range, is smoother and clearer than any other TV brand on the market. And while you’ll pay a price premium for the higher-end models, Sony doesn’t forget that no matter what the budget, everyone deserves a quality experience.


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