The Sony AF8 OLED is an updated version of the excellent Sony A1

Last year, Sony unveiled its first mainstream 4K OLED – the excellent A1. Now we have word on its successor: the Sony A8F.

That’s its moniker in the US, but in the UK it will sell as the Sony AF8. Either way, its unveiling is welcome news, because last year my coverage of the Sony A1 OLED proved the most popular of everything I wrote about TVs. Here’s everything I know so far about the AF8 from visiting the Sony stand at CES 2018.

The Sony A8F/AF8 is a straight version of the slanted Sony A1

So what’s new? I’m told the only real difference is the design. The Sony A8F/AF8 screen is now vertical, which will please those who didn’t fancy the A1’s five-degree lean backwards. It continues to sport a minimalist look. There’s a central pedestal-type stand, although the screen sits so low that the TV almost appears to be sitting on its bottom edge.

Aesthetics aside, virtually nothing else has changed. We’re looking at the same OLED panel as last year. The Acoustic Surface technology, where vibration of the screen creates sound (negating the need for speakers) remains a key feature. The Sony A8F/AF8 OLED will continue to use last year’s excellent 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, and Android TV makes a return too.

Elsewhere at the show booth, Sony is also demonstrating its prototype next-gen processor, the X1 Ultimate. This is capable of twice the real-time processing power of the current generation. It can process 8K HDR in real-time and handle up to 10,000 nits. That’s the maximum that HDR can express.

While playing with this new processor could well be mere future-gazing, I reckon this is a sign that we’ll see a new super-powered premium TV in the near future, perhaps an update to the excellent ZD9; around September at IFA in Berlin. It would be a move consistent with the release of the Sony ZD9, which skipped the traditional spring release window and came out at the end of the 2017.

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How much will it cost?

There’s no word yet on price but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the 55-inch AF8 OLED hit stores at around £2000, which is significantly lower than the A1’s launch price of over £3000. Come Black Friday, that might even dip to around £1500. But that’s all speculation at this point.

The Sony A1, which remains one of the best TVs you can buy right now, will continue to be sold at significant discounts in 2018 – alongside the new Sony AF8 OLED.

Related: Panasonic’s new FZ950 and FZ800 4K OLED TVs are the closest thing to Hollywood in your home

When can you buy one?

The Sony A8F/AF8 OLED will be released in spring 2018.

Sony X900F series – LCD LED is still getting love

On the LCD front, the top model will be the XF90 (X900F in the US), which shares the Sony AF8’s 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme. As seen in last year’s XE90 series, this will be backlit. There’s no word on the higher-end Sony 93 and 94 ranges from last year, nor a successor to the excellent ZD9.

It appears Sony is putting more emphasis on OLED, which is consistent with the other TV makers I’ve seen so far at CES 2018. Panasonic is strongly emphasising its FZ950 and FZ800 OLEDs, and I’d argue that LG hasn’t taken LCD seriously in years. Only Samsung is still fighting for the LCD cause, citing concerns for OLED’s longevity.

Related: Samsung’s Crazy Plan to Beat OLED in 2018: QLED, Micro Full Array and modular Micro LED

 

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