Sony aims to set a new bar for picture quality with its ZD9 (Z9D in the US) flagship TV that has been officially unveiled today. It utilizes “Backlight Master Drive” to reach extreme levels of contrast for HDR.
Sony ZD9 flagship TV
Sony has today unveiled its new flagship TV for 2016 at an event in London. ZD9 comes with UHD resolution and potent HDR hardware. Sony says that the “Z moniker designates a significant leap forward and the ultimate in display technology”.
ZD9 will be available in 65, 75, and 100” sizes and all three will feature “Backlight Master Drive technology, which Sony introduced as a prototype at CES 2016”. At CES 2016, Sony said that the prototype could pump out up to 4000 nits of brightness for beautiful HDR pictures but it is not clear what the consumer version can do, although Sony noted that ZD9 has been optimized for a living room environment.
Sony is clearly excited about Backlight Master Drive that it has trademarked. The company says that the system “attains extraordinary contrast and extremely accurate wide color expression” for HDR video.
Backlight Master Drive does not use local dimming zones in the traditional sense but can instead control each LED individually. However, the company refuses to reveal how many individually-controlled LEDs the TVs incorporate.
- “Previously, local dimming was controlled in zones consisting of several LEDs. In combination with the latest accurate lighting algorithm, the discrete LED control of Backlight Master Drive is able to dim and boost each LED individually. This innovative algorithm delivers total precision for unparalleled contrast and realism,” says Sony
The TVs further employ a new picture processor dubbed '4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme' that has “40% more real-time image processing as compared with Sony’s renowned 4K Processor X1”. It incorporates three new technologies; object-based HDR remaster, dual database processing, and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR. Each component is explained in the embedded box at the bottom.
Slate design and Android TV
Sony describes ZD9 as having a slate design. If you opt for the 100” version you have the option between a floor stand and table stand. The 65” and 75” models will only be available with a table stand.
- ”From the front, the design exudes sophistication in the form of a simple black slate, letting viewers immerse themselves in the stunning power of 4K HDR. From the back, the design keeps all the cables completely concealed, ensuring that the device strikes an elegant look from any angle,“ said Sony
The screens also come equipped with Google’s Android TV operating system. With Android TV you can download apps and games from the Google Play Store and search for new movies and TVs series with voice search. Additionally, Google Cast is integrated.
You can stream content in 4K and HDR quality from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video. You can obviously also connect external players such as a UHD Blu-ray player via HDMI.
Sony ZD9 will be available in 65, 75, and 100” in August/September in Europe for 5000, 8000 og 70000 Euro (Ł4000, Ł7000, Ł60000). In the US, it is called Z9D and will be available "this summer" for $6,999 and $9,999 USD (price for 100" not announced).
ZD9 – in Sony’s words
4K HDR compatible to receive and process the new video standard signal with higher brightness, higher contrast and vibrant color via Internet video services, HDMI and USB port.
Features Backlight Master Drive™ with a dense LED structure, a super accurate lighting algorithm that gathers the emitted LED lights in a spot and focuses drive area more narrowly to display ultra-higher contrast.
Features New 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme to improve clarity, color accuracy and contrast of HD, 4K and 4K HDR videos. It incorporates three new technologies: object-based HDR remaster, dual database processing, and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, bringing your 4K HDR content to whole new level.
Object-based HDR remaster By analyzing images in each scene and correcting color and contrast of each object individually, object-based HDR remaster can reproduce scenes with the detailed texture and the appearance of real life. This technology also up-scales standard dynamic range HD content to near 4K HDR quality.
Dual database processing On top of the current up-scaling database, 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme has an additional Sony-exclusive database for noise reduction. By searching through thousands of picture patterns, the dual database processing removes unwanted noise and up-scales every image to a super clear 4K image.
Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR creates a smoother, natural picture. With 14-bit powerful signal processing, it breaks up the solid bands of color of 8-bit (FHD) or 10-bit (4K) source, up-converting 14-bit equivalent gradation with 64 times more color levels. It delivers graceful reproduction of faces, sunsets and other areas of subtle color gradation.
Includes X-tended Dynamic Range PRO to produce better contrast by precisely balancing the light output across the screen, dimming some areas and boosting others. It reveals a brightness range three times that of a conventional LED-backlight TV, and it enhances any source to near HDR quality with a wider range of brightness.
Features vibrant, expanded color with TRILUMINOS Display, further enhanced for color accuracy.
Uses 4K X-Reality PRO to produce stunning detail with Sony’s unique algorithm of reality creation database for any content, such as TV broadcasting, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Internet video and digital photos.
Clean cable management for table top mount.
100” comes with floor stand/table-top stand. 75”/65” come with table-top stand only.
Android TV lets you explore a world of movies, music, photos, games, search, apps and more. Voice Search to find content, ask questions and control your TV. With Google Cast you can easily send content from your smartphone or tablet to the TV. With access to Google Play, you can enjoy what you like to do on a smartphone or tablet, from your TV.
Sony’s exclusive Content bar user interface allows you to comfortably browse content quickly and intuitively without disrupting your TV viewing.