GEEK

Using the Sony A8G 65 inch 4k UltraHD OLED TV

After 15 years with our old Sony HDTV (see figure 1 below) we finally had to catch up with the times and technology and get a new TV.

Figure 1: Our Old Reliable Sony HDTV Circa 2004

Lori selected (with consulting help from the TV watcher…..ME! :-)) the Sony A8G 65 inch 4k UHD OLED TV (Figure 2 below) that was on sale because, as always with technology, the A9G is already out and they want to get rid of the old shit. 😉

Figure 2: New Sony A8G 4k 65 inch OLED TV and Blaze

We couldn’t be happier with our decision….but….I am getting ahead of my self.

Old and New TV Configurations

Time marches on, and technology changes. The difference between 2004 and 2019 TV technology is impressive! The picture quality, the connectivity to the Internet, the apps…..it’s a whole new world.

Figure 3 shows our most recent configuration for the Old Reliable Sony HDTV. A lot of stuff! 🙂

Figure 3: Old TV Configuration

The Old TV had only ONE HDMI port (HDMI was new back in 2004) and did not connect to WiFi (WiFi did not exist in 2004, or was so new, no one had it). As such, we purchased a Black Box HDMI expander to connect some of our newer devices to old reliable and used the Sony Soundbar HDMI ports to connect the others. NOTE: The Black Box stuff is always super reliable, and we kept the HDMI expander….just in case.

Alas, the new A8G Sony OLED 4k 65 inch TV does not need all the hardware because it is loaded with software (apps and such), connects to WiFi, and has four HDMI ports. See Figure 4.

Figure 4: NEW Sony A8G 4k OLED 65 inch TV

Installation

The installation was relatively easy for me, but, I suspect it will be harder, possibly much harder, for the average non-technical person. If I were younger, I’d fire up my YeOldeTechy.com business again, but, alas…..I am happy just doing this stuff, now, for me and Lori. 🙂

After getting the Wifi connected, and a few new apps downloaded (Figure 5), I played with the screen a bit. The most significant change I made was to the brightness which I cranked down to 15% of it’s default setting, hoping to avoid blindness. I looked at all the menus and made less significant setting changes to suit our needs. If you get this TV it is fun looking at all the setting (Start with the Home button and scroll over to the Settings gear icon).

Figure 5: Apps on the A8G (Disney+ being the most important!)

Our Sony sound bar, when connected to HDMI port 2 on the A8G, is controlled very nicely by the A8G (Figure 6).

Figure 6: HDMI connections

I set the the “IR Blaster” (Figures 7 and 8) to control our Comcast (Xfinity) set top box (STB) rather than re-configure a remote to do that. The IR Blaster works well except that it is a few beats slower than the Comcast remote and the two IR thingys need to be moved when dusting.

Figure 7: IR Blaster port on the A8G
Figure 8: IR Blaster thingys by the Comcast STB

Watching TV

Turning on the A8G happens fast! The display comes on almost instantly while the sound bar takes a few extra beats.

The A8G remote makes it easy to get to the Apps, Home, Action menu (where you can change a few active features), and Comcast guide (see figure 8). It takes a bit of getting used to to use the Back button when you have wandered away from where your were previously, but, I am getting the hang of it. You can go to Netflix and Google Play (NOTE: this is an Android centric TV) with the push of a single button. The remote is missing the voice input and info button we get with the Comcast remote….and…..it needs to be lighted since movies are so much better in the dark. Oh, and the buttons need to be further apart. But other than that, we have now consolidated our remotes down to one, or two if we use the Blu-ray.

Figure 8: A8G remote

In Short

2019 is an exciting time to buy a new TV!

The 4k, UHD (Ultra High Definition) OLED (Organic Light emitting diode) picture quality is AMAZING (the only problem is finding 4K content). The apps that are included, or download-able, are equally amazing with Disney+ being the most amazing and life-changing (see my blog entry on Disney+ here).

What I Learned

I learned a lot while installing and using our new Sony A8G 4k OLED 65 inch TV. Here are a few lessons learned:

  1. The signal coming from Comcast and pretty much every cable provider is only 720p. When watching a ball game and get close to the TV, it is blurry as heck. It’s ok when you move back into viewing position….the couch!)
  2. To see true high definition content (1080p up to 4k or 8k) you will have to watch Disney+, Amazon Prime, Netflix, VUDU, YouTube, or any number of online streaming providers (as long as you have the Internet bandwidth to support it, our Orbi WiFi works great). 4k Blu-Ray discs are also available, but at $30+ a pop, they are EXPENSIVE. Watching the TV on full-4k and standing as close as you want to the TV….the picture is FANTASTIC. It’s like you are there. Wow!
  3. Make sure you get at least 4 HDMI ports as you will still need them at least for a sound bar, a 4k (or 8k) blu ray player, and, if you still have cable (which we do), your cable service provider set top box.
  4. Reading the reviews, people complained about the OLED not being bright enuf. I think those people are on crack….we had to dial the brightness down to 15% to avoid going blind. Sooooo, no worries about OLED brightness.
  5. Before the A8G….we used the Chromecast dongle thingy to stream movies and other content. Good news: Chromecast is embedded in the A8G. One less HDMI port to worry about. 🙂
  6. We also watched movies on Amazon Prime using the Fire Stick dongle thingy. Good news again! Prime Movies is an app on the A8G, so we have another HDMI port freed up! 😉
  7. In fact, there are a bunch of apps on the A8G….no need for using the apps on the BluRay player like we had to with old reliable. But Lori bought a new BluRay player capable of 4k, so that stays.
  8. The screen is SUPER THIN….I am almost afraid to touch it!
Super thin screen!

Conclusion

TV’s continue to improve and streaming services continue to grow in capabilities. Eventually, I see the day where first run moves will be streamed rather than released to movie theaters and the world will forever change. Time to buy stock in couches. 😉

Geek On!

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