It’s been a good year for those getting onto the 4K TV bandwagon. The premium 4K TVs in this section have seen some interesting advancements. We have seen the transition from the scene based HDR rendering to the better, object-based rendering. OLED 4K TVs have helmed the flagship market in India with companies like Sony, Panasonic showcasing their offerings.
The AI approach is popular and allows AI-enabled TVs to control your home appliances, have perfect voice recognition and fluid UIs. Some also sport Alexa or Google Home connectivity. We have seen some 4K TV makers bundle a soundbar with the TV whereas Sony has improved upon its acoustic surface technology. Surprisingly, these 4K TVs can make even 720p content look good. Flagship TVs have embraced Dolby Vision ensuring the best picture.
2018 Zero1 Award Winner: Sony A9F
The A9F, Sony’s OLED offering for 2018 retains the same look and design as last year’s A1 with improvements under the hood. The TV sports the picture frame tabletop design. It is powered by Sony’s new X1 Ultimate processor which is capable of some impressive object-based rendering. Additionally, the TV also boasts a Netflix Mode to ensure you watch content in the brightness, contrast and colour temperature that the content creators actually intended.
Sony’s Acoustic surface has improved with the TV as well, offering 3 actuators instead of 2 and 2 subwoofers instead of 1 to add a good sound experience from the TV. Another feature is that the TV can be used as a centre channel speaker in your home theatre. Running on Android TV 8 out of the box, the new UI is smoother and simpler to navigate with the ability to control your smart home appliances just like you would with a Google Home speaker.
With picture-perfect display performance and good sound from the TV mixed with a new UI, smooth functionality and a host of features to exploit, the Sony A9F is the Zero1 winner for best-performing TV of 2018.
Runner-up: LG C8
The LG C8 is by no means a slouch of a TV. In fact, placed side by side with the A9F and only a trained eye will be able to tell the difference. The TV is powered by LGs new 9 Intelligent Processor. If you are looking to pick up this TV, you aren’t making a bad decision at all. It can playback 4K content in HDR and Dolby Vision extremely well. The only place where it loses out to the A9F is with its sound performance.
To truly enjoy this TV, you will need to invest in a sound bar or a home theatre. It runs on LG’s new ThinkQ AI-powered webOS and the UI is butter smooth to navigate. The picture presets automatically change to suit the content on display ensuring you never need to adjust the settings to get the best picture on screen. Even 720p content looks great on this TV.
Best Buy: LG C8
During the process of testing the TVs for the Zero1 Awards, the 55-inch Sony A9F is priced at Rs 4,29,900. Whereas the 55-inch LG C8 has an MRP of Rs 2,24,990 and a street price of about Rs 1,61,800. The price difference between the two is quite high. If a fantastic display is what you want, then yes, you can consider the LG C8. It has a slim design making it aesthetically pleasing. It boasts smooth performance and a remote control that literally works like a magic wand.