Sony QD-OLED will for the first time be available in 77 inches and feature the Pentonic 1000 chip while A80L will be available in up to 83 inches without Pentonic 1000. Here are our first impressions.
At a launch event in London, Sony unveiled its 2023 TV line-up consisting of new QD-OLED, OLED and LCD TV models that the company said are not just made to watch and listen but "made to entertain" with built-in services such as Bravia Core.
'Made to entertain', Sony said. Photo: FlatpanelsHD
2023 Sony OLED TV line-upWith only A95L (QD-OLED) and A80L (WOLED), Sony has fewer OLED ranges than in 2022. Last year's 42 and 48-inch A90K will carry over into 2023.
There are no TVs based on the MLA (Micro Lens Array) WOLED panel but in a comment to FlatpanelsHD Sony said that although it will not happen this year, it is not ruling out MLA technology for future models.
A95L will expand QD-OLED to 77 inches, in addition to 55 and 65 inches. It has a new brighter panel and we got a first look at A95L (see next section) during the event.
A95L will be Sony's first and only TV in 2023 with a Pentonic 1000 chip from MediaTek meaning that it is also the first to support Dolby Vision at 4K 120Hz for gaming. It will still have only two HDMI ports with HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, of which one is the eARC port.
A80L will be available in 55, 65, 77 and 83 inches. Sony previously offered 83-inch OLED only in its flagship 9 series so hopefully the 83-inch A80L will be considerably cheaper. A80L will have the same chipset as last year's A80K and without MLA OLED we do not expect major upgrades here – a notion that the demonstrations seemed to back up.
The new OLED TVs are still powered by Sony's 'Cognitive Processor XR' which in 2023 gains 'XR Clear Image' to clean up the image in various ways depending on the signal. It takes into account resolution, encoding, bitrate and other parameters to apply adaptive noise reduction and super resolution, Sony explained.
|Acoustic Surface Audio+
|Acoustic Surface Audio+
|4K120, ALLM, eARC, VRR
|4K120, ALLM, eARC, VRR
|55, 65, 77
|55, 65, 77, 83
Sony A80L OLED. Photo: FlatpanelsHD
Google TV and Bravia CoreA95L and A80L both run Google TV and come with Sony's exclusive Bravia Core streaming service that delivers a selection of Sony Pictures movies in up to 80 Mbps bitrate with IMAX Enhanced aspect ratio, DTS audio, and soon Dolby Atmos. Learn more about Sony's plans for Bravia Core in 2023 here.
Sony is the only TV maker to offer a streaming service that more or less matches UHD Blu-ray video quality (but not audio quality) so it is a little ironic that Sony's A95L and A80L are still limited to 100 Mbps on the LAN port, forcing you to use WiFi or a USB LAN dongle to reach Bravia Core's 80 Mbps bitrate level due to overhead (requires 115 Mbps).
All Sony 2023 TVs will gain a new Game Menu to provide quick access to VRR, Screen size, Crosshair and other useful settings for gaming. In addition, there is a new Eco Dashboard that lets you see how your TV settings, including picture settings, affect power consumption. It is an attempt to give the user easy access to settings that were already available in Sony TVs in a unified dashboard. A95L is the only model to feature a new picture-in-picture function called Multi-View.
You still get Sony's unique 'Acoustic Surface Audio' speaker system built directly into the QD-OLED and WOLED panels to ensure that voices sound as if they are coming from the people in the screen. Sony A95L and the 83-inch A80L have speaker terminals too, and both can be used as the center channel together with a Sony soundbar that supports Acoustic Center Sync.
There is still support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, Chromecast, Calman Ready, Bravia Cam, the PS5 features, HDMI 2.1 including VRR, ALLM and eARC, and other features that we know from existing Sony TVs.
The new Eco Dashboard in Sony's 2023 TVs. Photo: FlatpanelsHD
First look: Brighter QD-OLEDAs A80L is mostly an extension of last year's A80K, we will focus on A95L with the brighter 2023 QD-OLED panel.
Sony started out by claiming that A95L has twice the peak brightness compared to last year's A95K. In our Sony A95K review, we measured peak brightness to roughly 900 nits in the most accurate picture mode so we would be surprised to see A95L hit double that. TV makers tend to refer to Vivid mode when talking about nits numbers and that is most likely also the case here. We will examine in-depth once we get our hands on a review sample later this year.
What we can say is that in one of Sony's arranged demonstration with the 2022 A95K, 2023 A95L and 2022 Samsung S95B, all in Vivid mode, A95L most definitely hit higher overall and peak brightness. The difference was pronounced and further elevated the HDR picture and bright details such as lights and a wedding dress in one scene. We were not allowed to take photos in this room.
As Sony (and Samsung) likes to point out, QD-OLED's high brightness does not dilute color because there is no extra white subpixel. So at the same time you get higher color saturation at high brightness levels which was also evident from the demonstration in flowers and other bright, colorful objects. Black looked very deep, but it was clear that ambient light still has a tendency to raise blacks somewhat on the 2023 QD-OLED panel. Sony said that the coating on the A95L prototype in the demos was not the final one so let us see how it pans out once the TV hits the market.
Leaving the demonstration, I had no doubt in my mind that A95L will be Sony's best 2023 TV by miles. Close to it was the upgraded Sony X95L miniLED LCD TV next to last year's X95K and although we saw notable improvements in contrast and zone control on X95L, the Sony A95L QD-OLED delivers picture quality on another level.
As for Google TV, Sony did not confirm the Android version in A95L with the Pentonic 1000 chip. Dolby Vision 4K 120Hz was – unsurprisingly – not a major talking point as it is currently supported only by Xbox Series X while PlayStation 5 uses HDR10 for 4K 120Hz. Sony instead highlighted the special PS5 integrations that allow its TVs to automatically tone-map HDR in games and switch into game mode.
We were not allowed to film the part of the presentation about the new Game Menu as the design is still being tweaked so the pictures below are from the main presentation. Sony demonstrated how various gaming functions can be quickly switched on and off. A fixed crosshair in the center of the screen, which is customizable, can help the user aim in shooting games, while the 'Screen size' feature can downscale the PS5, Xbox og PC signal to take up a smaller part of the screen; useful for gamers sitting very close to their screen, according to Sony. VRR can also be switched on an off with a toggle.
Sony's new Game Menu in the 2023 TVs. Photo: FlatpanelsHD
Another segment of the demonstration focused on the TVs' integration with Sony soundbars and the HT-A9. There are no major changes in this area so we refer to our Sony's new Game Menu in the 2023 TVs. Photo: FlatpanelsHDhands-on article from Amsterdam in October 2022 where we spent time inside a Dolby Atmos mix stage with Sony's ecosystem of '360 Spatial Sound' products.
In addition to the line-up introduction, you can see Sony demonstrate Google TV, Bravia Cam, the new Eco Dashboard, and more in the two videos below, shot by FlatpanelsHD in London.
Pricing and availability details will be announced later. Full specifications can be found in the TV Database by clicking the model names below.
Sony 2023 OLED TVs – specifications