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Feature Articles

First impressions: Sony's Master Series A9F & Z9F are reference-grade TVs for the discerning consumer

By Vijay Anand - 23 Nov 2018

More new features to preserve the creator’s artistic intent

More new features to preserve the creator’s artistic intent

Beyong the power of the X1 Ultimate image processor enabling the above shared features, Sony's leading position in the entertainment and content production business have landed it special industry-first collaborations.

CalMAN’s auto calibration: Easier home TV calibration beyond factory calibration

The new Master Series is the first and only set of TVs to be CalMAN-Ready for speedier home calibration.

While Sony does factory calibration to ensure native panel uniformity, the fundamental necessity to set the stage right for display accuracy, variations in characteristics of each manufactured panel always exist.

To fine-tune color control, and accuracy to match the creator’s intent, further manual calibration is needed. As such, aftermarket calibration is a necessity for anyone who wants a highly accurate reproduction of the director’s intent to make the screen perfect (or bring it close to perfection). After all, you can’t adjust any parameters accurately if you are not sure if your screen is displaying colors accurately.

Manual calibration is, however, a very time consuming iterative process of displaying a pattern, fine-tuning the display, and taking measurements with a display meter. Sony’s new partnership with CalMAN to fast track aftermarket calibration at home by reducing several fine-grained steps in the calibration process and tools to help professional calibrators and prosumers better tune the TV with less hassle.

To give you an idea, Sony shared that a typical 21-point grayscale calibration can take an hour - and this is just for one test. CalMAN’s AutoCal on CalMAN Ready TVs will bring this down to just 3 minutes! You’ll still need a meter to analyze the patch on the screen, a standalone signal/pattern generator and CalMAN software running off a laptop. While it still requires a certain level of professional knowledge and handling to fine tune the display and use the gear to make it possible, AutoCal’s sole purpose it for speedier calibration. This is most appreciated as now more than ever before, the calibration process is getting lengthier due to changing technologies and multiple standards (look at the state of HDR).

For now, Sony’s Master Series TVs is the first to be CalMAN Ready - applicable to both the A9F and Z9F.

To augment this Sony has implemented a fully working color management system (CMS) into the Master Series TVs – a first for any Bravia TV that’s intended for home use. With this, you’ve access to adjust ALL the color parameters through a user menu.

 

Netflix Calibrated Mode: Maintain the director’s intent even on streamed content!

Another unique feature that’s available only on the new Master Series TVs, the Netflix Calibrated Mode is a unique collaboration between Netflix and Sony to help deliver the director’s intent even through streaming content.

This single toggle function overrides all other TV presets (even custom configurations) to work on any Netflix content streamed through the TV’s Netflix app. Take note that this feature does not work if you’re streaming Netflix from your phone or other media player boxes. This function will only be present in the Netflix app that comes with the TV (which mind you, is only applicable for the A9F and Z9F models). While we suspect Netflix will eventually roll this feature out with other TV vendors, for now only the Sony Master TV series can boast of this.

While we are skeptical if such a mode can make a difference to your content viewing as it is unlikely that there are special parameters for every unique programme that Netflix has in its library, it is probably that there are genre based settings that Netflix can apply. Speaking with Sony staff on the ground at the event, some have shared that Netflix can optimize viewing on a per show basis (e.g., Lost in Space, Stranger Things, etc.) for specific TVs. The latter part is easier to control when Netflix is working with only limited vendors and TVs – in this case, just Sony and there are only two TV models that support this now). And if it’s a Netflix production, there’s even more control on their end.

It’s still early days on how this will pan out, but ultimately, consumers will appreciate a one-click option when most don’t necessarily spend time calibrating their TVs (or even not at all). According to Netflix, you can expect more precise colors, accurate dynamic contrast and better motion to help you experience streaming content closer to the director’s intent.