Vincent Theo of HDTVTest fame recently compared LG’s G1 OLED to Sony’s A90J, which in an earlier review he announced produced the most impactful HDR he’d ever seen from an OLED TV. Which is best for content creators who can’t afford a USD $30,000 reference monitor?
Sony’s WRGB quad sub-pixel boosting
A common complaint of WRGB OLED displays is that intense colors become desaturated, so news that the A90J employs processing that restores that saturation was exciting indeed. However, how closely do those richer colors adhere to the creator’s intent? We learn the answer in Vincent’s comparison video:
In my review of the Sony A90J, I questioned whether the company’s quad sub-pixel boosting technique which made brighter colors more saturated was still faithful to the artistic intent and today we have the answer. In this unforgettable scene from Mad Max Fury Road you can see that the Sony A90J came closer to matching the HX310 in terms of the roaring flames as well as the shiny reflections of the vehicles. Of course, the Sony HX310, which is capable of 1,000 nits full screen was still way out in front, but the A90J definitely fared better than the LG G1, which rendered the flames in a more muted manner owing to white sub-pixel dilution. Whatever processing Sony has implemented allowed the A90J to consistently outperform the LG G1 when it came to reproduction of bright saturated colors.
Super intense, dazzling colors are one thing, but what we really dig are scenes that take place in near total obscurity. Which display handles those situations the best?
The above black gradation on the Sony A90J was superior initially in the darkest regions but dropped off a cliff pretty soon due to over-brightened near black gamma which could not be fully corrected since Sony’s 20-point grayscale controls only went down to 4.6% video stimulus. When compared to a Sony BVM-XH310 mastering monitor which tracked 2.4 gamma linearly using this black clipping pattern from the AVS HD test disk you can see that there’s a big jump in brightness from levels 19 to 20 on our A90J retail unit causing levels 20 to 25 to look much the same and lacking in tonal differentiation. Translated to real world viewing this dark scene from Game of Thrones appeared more washed out with harsher transitions on the Bravia A90J whereas the LG G1 came closer to matching the reference monitor.
And finally, for content creators, this alone could be a deal-breaker – apparently, the YouTube app on the Sony has appalling color space mapping, with the result that HDR videos are completely unwatchable. It remains to be seen whether this flaw is addressed in a future firmware update or not.