We were also treated to a side-by-side comparison of a Z-series TV when compared to an LG OLED TV plus a Samsung LCD, both of which are 4K HDR sets. The same video seen on the Samsung set looked pretty washed out -- the blacks were not nearly as deep and dark. The OLED TV, on the other hand, handled blacks as well as the Z-series, but it couldn't handle subtle colors. For example, a shot of a light fixture looked a little blown out on the OLED screen, while the same scene on the Z-series appeared more true-to-life. Similarly, a close-up of cooked rice looked rather monotone on the OLED screen, while the Z-series showed the same scene in much richer detail, so much so that each rice grain seemed to pop from the display.
According to Sony Electronics President Michael Fasulo, Sony sought the opinions and insight of the creative community when developing the set. "We've designed it so that the video you see on screen is exactly as [the filmmakers] want it," he said. However, the TVs aren't quite perfect -- a Q&A session at the press event revealed that the Z-series doesn't support Dolby Vision.
Despite the quality of the Sony Z-series, I'm not sure if that extra bit of color realism is worth the added $3,000 to $4,000 premium. It certainly looks a lot better than comparable LCDs, but the difference between this and a cheaper OLED is not quite enough in my opinion. Still, it's an admirable step forward in TV technology and I'd be interested to see if Sony will come out with smaller-sized 4K HDR sets in the future.