Sony’s A1E OLED 4K HDR TV U.S Prices Finally Unveiled. Here’s What We Think
Stephan Jukic – March 14, 2017
Though I doubt anyone thought Sony’s new A1E OLED TVs would be cheap, the prices finally being unveiled for them are probably going to disappoint even a number of Sony fans who were expecting to pay a steep premium for OLED and Sony goodness in one single package.
Sony has announced that it’s going to be shipping out its extremely anticipated new A1E OLED HDR 4K TVs to the U.S market as of April and is already offering them up for pre-order. Starting price? $5,000 for the 55 inch model and a hefty $6,500 for the 65 inch version. Sony is also planning the release of a giant 77 inch A1E TV but hasn’t yet announced its specific availability or a possible price, though we’re guessing it will be available to order as of the summer and probably come priced at around $10,000 given how the price of the 65 inch A1E model compares to that of the 65 inch Sony LCD flagship, the Z9D.
Sony also still has yet to confirm pricing for its A1E OLED TVs for other markets such as Canada, though European pricing has been announced already.
Strangely, when we reported the supposed upcoming European prices of the A1E OLED several weeks ago, the 3,799 Euro retail cost of the 55 inch A1E (called the A1 in the UK) amounted to an expected U.S dollar price of just $4,030, which was close to what we expected the A1E to retail for whenever it came out in the U.S and which would have been consistent with LG’s prices for some of their 2017 55 inch OLED TV models. This European market price now seems suspiciously low considering Sony’s official U.S MSRP for the A1E and is an issue we’ll clear up as formal European prices are clarified.
It’s also interesting to note that with these official prices, the Sony A1E OLED models are selling for a lot more than many of their LG counterparts from the new 2017 OLED lineup from the LG brand. For example, the 2017 C7 55 inch edition, which also supports all three currently significant HDR standards (HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG) just as the A1E does, has been unveiled by LG for an MSRP of “just” $3,500. Even the 65 inch C7 OLED model, with a suggested retail price of $4,500, costs less than the 55 inch Sony A1E! Of course, this comparison is also not entirely fair since Sony’s A1E is the brand’s absolute top flagship 2017 4K TV (along with its LCD counterpart the Z9D) while the LG C6 TVs are only third-tier 2017 OLED televisions, behind the more steeply priced picture-on-glass E7 (at $4,500 for the 55 inch edition) and the LG flagship W7P and G7P TVs, which respectively cost $8000 and $7000 for their 65 inch editions, making them even pricier than Sony’s new OLED.
On the other hand, all of the OLED TV panels currently used by major brands today come from LG itself. Thus, the A1E likely delivers what should amount to the same level of raw display performance as its LG OLED counterparts, regardless of pricing. Sony however has always been prone to pricing its TVs more steeply than comparable rival models and partly for an acceptable reason, namely that the company does indeed deliver some excellent picture processing technology and other associated TV performance features.
Thus, for fans of OLED display, the A1E may seem to be priced arbitrarily higher than its LG rivals in the same size ranges but its higher cost could be justified by the helpful presence of Sony’s notably superb X1 Extreme Video processing chip system, which might arguably give a new spin to how well OLED performs in this particular TV. However, we don’t expect the A1E to literally outshine the 2017 LG OLED models in terms of peak brightness, or outperform them at how well it handles local dimming and black levels (both of which are pretty much universally the same in any OLED TV display panel being released in 2017).
Then as one final major justification for the Sony A1E’s remarkably steep price, we have the possibly gimmicky feature of speaker technology built right into the TV’s screen itself. This is a new spin on television audio implementation that Sony is touting as a definite improvement over traditional speaker layouts since in the A1E, all sound comes to a viewer directly from the picture itself, creating a more “realistic” auditory experience for users while they watch movies and other content. How much real value the screen speaker of the A1E creates is something we’ll have to test for ourselves when we do a review of this TV. For now, it seems like a fairly weak justification for the extra $1500 to $500 you’d have to spend for Sony OLED technology over what LG’s also absolutely stunning C7 and E7 would cost you.
Finally, for those of you among our readers who would love to get your hands on an OLED 4K HDR TV but are thoroughly disgusted by the prices of these 2017 TVs, we have to note that for one thing, the price tags we’re seeing now are initial release MSRPs. In other words, they will almost certainly decrease further into 2017 and possibly sooner rather than later, so if you absolutely want a Sony OLED or a 2017 LG OLED, you might want to consider waiting a bit for some savings. Secondly the 2016 OLED TVs are still absolutely available and all of them are just as excellent as they ever were. These are of course only LG models (for U.S buyers) but they offer superb display specs, full HDR support, most of the same color performance as the 2017 OLEDs will offer and while the 2016 OLED models aren’t quite capable of the same peak brightness as some of their 2017 cousins, they still shine superbly. The 2016 B6 OLED in particular is a stunning model with excellent levels of brightness and one fantastic price of just over or slightly under $2000 for the 55 inch model depending on what sort of deal you find it on sale for.
Finally, here’s a comparison of all current 2017 OLED 4K HDR TVs based on their prices, sizes and release dates:
Brand Model Size US price Availability
LG OLED55C7P 55-inch $3,500 Now
LG OLED65C7P 65-inch $4,500 Now
LG OLED55E7P 55-inch $4,500 May
LG OLED65E7P 65-inch $6,000 March
LG OLED65G7P 65-inch $7,000 March
LG OLED65W7P 65-inch $8,000 March
Sony XBR-55A1E 55-inch $5,000 April
Sony XBR-65A1E 65-inch $6,500 April
Story by 4k.com