Sony’s new 4K OLED TV vibrates its screen to produce audio

After seeing the stunning piece of art that is LG’s Signature W7 4K OLED TV, I didn’t think I’d be impressed by another TV anytime soon. Today, though, I spent some time with Sony‘s new flagship Bravia A1 HDR OLED TV and let’s just say I stopped and stared.

Sony’s flagship TV got a lot of attention when it first launched because it’s an impressive piece of tech. It’s got a 4K Triluminos OLED panel that supports Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma and HDR10 formats. Needless to say, image quality was spot on. The contrast was gorgeous, colours popped and the viewing angles held up even at the extremes.

But TVs at this range tend to have an X-Factor about it and Sony’s Bravia A1 features something the company calls Acoustic Surface technology.

You might have noticed that this TV — which is priced at RM16,999 for the 55″ model and RM29,999 for the 65″ model — doesn’t have space on it for speakers, nor does it come with a sound bar. Well, that’s because it doesn’t need to thanks to Acoustic Surface technology.

The layman explanation is that there are two actuators behind the display that actually vibrate the screen itself to create sound — and pretty incredible sound at that. If you hold your finger on the display while audio is playing, you can actually feel it shivering but if you’re looking at it, there’s no sign that the whole panel is actually vibrating. I didn’t expect it to sound as good as it did so I was definitely impressed.

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And then we have the elephant in the room — the way the TV sits on the stage, tilted ever so slightly. When I first saw it, it irked me a little because it looked like a punk was staring at you with his chin slightly cocked, beckoning you to fight him.

Curious, I questioned the product guy and he told me the TV was designed to be viewed from this angle. He even went as far to say that the TV should ideally be viewed from this angle instead of perfectly straight. When I then asked him about what happens if the TV was mounted to the wall, he proceeded to say that it’s ideal to view the TV straight on as well. So, make of that what you will.

To my eyes, though, I didn’t notice any depreciation in quality or distortion when viewed at that slightly tilted angle — probably due to the excellent viewing angles — so I don’t think the tilt is a big deal. Perhaps the only problem I forsee you having with the tilt is if you have a light source above your TV, it might reflect.

I was also told that the tilt is there for a reason: To give the TV’s speakers enough space to produce good bass. Yep, there’s actually a woofer in the stand that is supposed to hit those low notes. If nothing else, the tilt is pretty eye-catching and it does a great job at hiding the TV’s stand from most angles, giving it a free-standing kind of look.

It’s impressive, for sure. If you ask me which panel (LG’s W7 or this) looks better, I wouldn’t be able to reliably tell you without looking at both side-by-side. They both look absolutely stunning by themselves, though, AV enthusiasts have told me that they prefer the Sony panel.

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If I had to give an award for theatrics, I think the LG Signature W7 OLED takes the cake there because of its showy swivelling speakers and magnet mounting mechanism. But, after spending time with the Sony Bravia A1, I honestly don’t know which I would rather have. No, I’m lying, I’d probably still pick the LG Signature W7 because I’m a sucker for theatrics when all else is equal.

That said, for those who want to save some cash, the Sony Bravia A1 is significantly cheaper and if you buy it during their roadshow in Mid Valley (which ends on Sunday, 13th of August) Sony will throw in a brand new PlayStation 4 Pro and a pair of Sony MDR1000X headphones with active noise cancellation.

For more info on the Bravia A1, head on over to sony.com.my.