Sony is set to be the last of the big TV brands to roll out a new OLED 4K UHD TV offering, a move that could put further pressure on Samsung at the top end of the Australian premium TV market.
During the past 12 months Sony has quietly increased their share of the Australian TV market primarily at the top end, after the Japanese Company chose to chase profitability over volume.
In a past life Sony was often the #1 or #2 TV brand in Australia.
Today they float between number four and fifth spot in the market, having to compete with Chinese brands for market share. In February when Hisense hit #1 with 20.1% TV market share Sony was in fifth position with 8.2%. Ahead of them was TCL with 8.6%. Samsung was #2 with 19.3%, LG was third with 11.1% share according to GFK data.
While this was abnormal data due to the run out of old models and heavy discounting by Chinese brands it does reflect that the Chinese brands are making traction in the Australian market up against the likes of Sony who along with Panasonic are two of the last remaining Japanese TV brands on sale at Australian retailers.
With their new 4K OLED TV Sony is also looking to also appeal to consumers looking for improved sound technology from their TV.
The new Sony TV’s have no independent speakers but instead, transmit sound through the entire screen surface.
Taking advantage of the OLED’s backlight-less structure, Sony developed a sound technology that allows the entire screen to resonate the audio without the need for a soundbar or external home entertainment system.
The TV enables a fusion of image and sound, with voices appearing to come directly from the characters speaking and sounds coming directly from the relative position of the action on the screen.
The Acoustic Surface technology makes possible the edge-to-edge design of the A1E series by doing away with conventional speakers usually located to the sides or below the TV.
The A1E’s design eliminates any visible stand or speakers, the easel support conceals a subwoofer and cable-management system that can be folded in, against the TV, for wall mounting.
SmartHouse TV writer John Archer said of the new TV ‘Sony has pursued a ‘just the screen’ design concept for the A1E range to an almost obsessive degree, and the result is that, you really do pretty much just see a fractionally angled back screen.
He said that ‘There’s only the very trimmest of black frames around it, and even this skinny frame tends to vanish in a dark room environment, thanks to the stunning black levels the TV is capable of delivering’.
You don’t even have to have your eyes assaulted by a visible stand or speakers. The TV is supported like a photo frame by a ‘lean on’ angled stand, while sound is provided by the screen.
One of the leading TV reviewers in the world, Archer said that the combination of the necessarily heavyweight and chunky screen support and the need to build in stereo sound ‘exciters’ does mean the A1E is pretty cumbersome round the back by OLED standards. It manages to stay super-slim at its edges, though, to retain OLED’s typically incredibly thin feel from all but the steepest of viewing angles, and its build quality is absolutely outstanding.
Pricing for the Australian market have not yet been announced but expect the top end model to retail for around $8,000.