Best of 2017: Sony A1E OLED UHD TV Is a Winner

The A1E is Sony’s first foray into large-screen, consumer OLED TVs. That isn’t to say the company has no previous experience with OLED technology. It brought the XEL-1 OLED TV to market in 2008, but the screen measured only 11″ diagonally, and the resolution was 960×540. In addition, Sony currently makes several widely used professional OLED monitors, including the BVM-X300, a 30″ UHD HDR model and the largest of the lineup. However, most of those pro monitors cost well into the five-figure range.

The Sony A1E’s OLED panel is supplied by LG Display, which means it’s WOLED—that is, the OLED material emits white light that passes through red, green, and blue color filters as well as a clear filter that creates a white subpixel in addition to the RGB subpixels. This results in higher peak luminance, but it also reduces color saturation at high brightness levels. By contrast, the X300 is strictly RGB with red, green, and blue OLED material.

Of course, Sony applies its own technology to the panel. Perhaps most important is the company’s X1 Extreme video processor. This powerhouse chip serves three main functions: providing a dual database for noise reduction and 4K upscaling, Super Bit Mapping that smooths gradations by reproducing the equivalent of 14 bits from an 8-bit source, and object-based HDR remastering that identifies individual objects in the image. The same processor is found in Sony’s Z9D, X940E, and X930E UHD HDR-capable LCD TVs.