Sony launched the world’s very first OLED TV. The XEL-1 was lovely too, delivering breathtaking picture quality from a gorgeous design. There was a problem with this OLED ground-breaker, though: its screen was just 11 inches across.
Now, a mere nine years later, Sony has finally returned to the OLED fray – and this time it’s packing something much, much bigger. Its new A1 OLED series is finally making its way to Australian shores this week in 65-inch and 55-inch sizes, giving Sony plenty of room to squeeze in 4K pixel counts.
Add to this new-found abundance a unique sound system that uses the screen as the speakers and the stand as a built-in sub-woofer, as well as Sony’s most powerful picture processing engine, and it’s easy to see why AV fans have been buzzing about the A1 range from the moment Sony first announced it at CES.
Before we dive too deep here, though, keep in mind that OLED is still expensive and Sony’s take on the technology is no different. The 65-inch version, which is the one Sony
Sony has been putting extra effort into the design of its products for the past couple of years, and this effort is writ large all over the 65-inch A1 OLED. It’s almost impossible to come away unimpressed by this monolithic yet ultra-thin design.
Sony’s idea with the KD-65A1 was to focus 100% on the TV’s picture, keeping the bodywork around the image to an absolute minimum. The result is a TV with nothing more than an incredibly thin black frame around all four sides of its screen. There’s no hint of any speakers, a stand or even a Sony logo to distract you from what you’re watching.
During our time with the A1 OLED, numerous people in our office dropped by to tell us how stunning Sony’s television was, with its screen about as thick as your average smartphone. No doubt about it, when it comes to design, the A1 is a real head-turner.
On top of this, the A1 OLED is unmatched when it comes to viewing angles, as this it experiences no loss in visual quality whatsoever when viewed completely side
The screen is supported in picture frame fashion by a leg that angles out from its rear at a 3-degree angle. The television’s lean is slightly noticeable when the screen is off, but once the screen was on, we were too distracted by the gorgeous images on display to notice its angle. You might notice it more if you have a particularly high cabinet.
Impressively, the leg also has a sub-woofer built into it, bringing deep, bassy sound output and offering a nice low rumble. Meanwhile, regular sound duties are performed by the screen itself rather than normal speakers. Yes, you read that right: the screen itself delivers the sound.
How? By using rear-mounted ‘exciters’ to vibrate the TV’s flat screen surface. We’ve seen flat speakers before, of course. However, no TV has ever applied this technology to its own screen – and nor, so far as we know, has any brand ever managed to deliver a stereo effect from a single flat surface like Sony has with the patented audio solution it’s created for the A1.
Touch the screen with the volume up and you’ll notice that the sound causes it to vibrate. Before you get too worried about that, you should know that this particular vibration frequency is invisible to the human eye.