Sony has officially announced the pricing for its 2018 4K/UHD premium TV models, including the A8F OLED line and some sizes of the X900F and X850F LCD lines. (The other sizes are already available.) The press release also includes the word "availability," but that only means they are available for pre-order at Amazon and Best Buy. There is no indication of when those pre-orders will be filled.

A8F OLED

The A8F (seen in the photo above) is a 4K/UHD HDR OLED TV, which means super-deep blacks and rich color, even at wide viewing angles. The biggest difference between the A8F and last year's A1E is the design—the A8F stands completely upright rather than leaning back slightly thanks to a new redesigned table-top stand. And if you mount it on a wall, it does not stick out as far as the A1E.

Otherwise, the feature set is essentially identical to last year's A1E. Sony's Acoustic Surface technology turns the entire screen into a vibrating speaker—and it works quite well, as I've heard for myself. The X1 Extreme processor provides plenty of video muscle, including support for Dolby Vision high dynamic range as well as HDR10 and HLG. The X1 Extreme also employs three technologies—Object-Based HDR Remastering, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, and Dual-Database Processing—as well as 4K Reality Pro, to render the best possible image from any source.

As an Android TV, the A8F includes lots of streaming apps. It also provides Google Assistant built-in, which lets you find content simply by talking. In addition, you can control the TV with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home. For example, you can ask Alexa to play, pause, fast forward, and rewind.

The A8F will be available in two sizes—55 and 65 inches—with the following list prices:

XBR-55A8F: $2800
XBR-65A8F: $3800

X900F LCD

Like last year's X900E, the new X900F is a 4K/UHD HDR LCD TV that incorporates a FALD (full-array local-dimming) LED backlight. However, its video processor has been upgraded to the X1 Extreme, which allows it to support Dolby Vision high dynamic range as well as HDR10 and HLG. (Dolby Vision will be added in a firmware update sometime this year.)

A new technology called X-Motion Clarity is said to keep fast action images smooth and life-like using Sony's proprietary local-dimming algorithm to control the luminance and duration of each dimming zone. Another feature called X-tended Dynamic Range Pro is said to enhance HDR and non-HDR content by boosting and dimming backlight levels for each dimming zone.

The X900F is also an Android TV with many streaming apps, and it offers Google Assistant built-in. Just push the microphone button on the remote and ask a question or say a command. You can play content, search for content, and control many smart-home devices. In addition, it also works with voice-assistant speakers such as Google Home devices, Amazon's Echo products, and Sony's LF-S50G.

The newly announced prices apply to the smallest and largest X900F models; the other sizes are already available:

XBR-49X900F: $1100
XBR-55X900F: $1500  
XBR-65X900F: $2200  
XBR-75X900F: $3800  
XBR-85X900F: $5300

X850F LCD

The X850F is a 4K/UHD HDR LCD TV that uses edgelighting in the 65" and 75" sizes. The 85-incher uses direct-LED backlighting, in which LEDs are placed behind the LCD panel in an array, but it does not implement local dimming. Instead, all three sizes offer "frame dimming," which means that the brightness of the entire backlight is dynamically controlled as a whole.

The X1 processor supports HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range, but not Dolby Vision. A feature called 4K X-Reality Pro is said to upconvert standard dynamic-range (SDR) content to near-HDR quality, and Object-Based HDR Remaster technology can detect, analyze, and optimize each object in an image. Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR is designed to reduce banding in areas of gradual gradation.

Like the other 2018 Sony TVs, the X850F is based on the Android operating system, which offers many streaming apps. It also supports sophisticated voice control with Google Assistant built-in and compatibility with Google Home and Amazon Echo devices.

The pricing for the largest X850F was announced yesterday; the smaller sizes are already available:

XBR-65X850F: $1800  
XBR-75X850F: $3000  
XBR-85X850F: $4500

It's great to see Sony offer a wide range of premium TV models, especially in larger sizes, and I look forward to putting some of them through their paces later this year. Meanwhile, check out my interview with Sony's Philip Jones at CES 2018, in which he discusses the A8F, X900F, and other technology advancements announced at the show:
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