New Sony LCD Tech: Better Than OLED?

Usually when you hear a marketing blurb for TVs that says something “backlight master drive” you can safely ignore it. It’s just a fancy name that companies create to advertise their slightly faster processor or new-and-improved wire colors, right? Often, yes – but not in the case of Sony’s absolutely real Backlight Master Drive, which appears to be making a real difference in TV quality.

Sony started 2016 by tackling a widespread problem in the TV world: People are slowly but surely switching from LCD screens to the brighter, much more impressive OLED screens and their excellent electronics reviews. Sony doesn’t want to make OLED screens, at least not yet, but it does want to keep selling LCDs – what does it do? Create an entirely new LCD technology.

As a result, Sony’s TVs at CES 2016 and upcoming models to be released on the market are going to be so bright that people may confused them with OLED at first glance. Most LCD screens produce 300 to 500 “nits” of brightness, the common system of measurement for TV screens. Sony says that its backlight master drive tech can put out up to 4,000 nits: While your home TV isn’t likely to ever see those numbers, Sony TVs will be getting a whole lot brighter.

Sony Light Zones
Sony’s thousand light zones help move light from dark portions of the screen to where it’s needed.

Sony’s technology breakthrough appears to come from a much more complex LED backlight array that includes 1,000 lighting zones, plus new algorithms that work even harder to reduce light in dark areas and push that light toward brighter sections of the screen that need it. Results are…quite impressive. The luminosity makes a surprising difference, adding an aura of realism to just about everything, particularly faces and night-time shots.

We have to underline that this technology is new, new, new, which means there’s no info on when Sony TVs will actually come with this technology, nor how well the “market-friendly” version of it will compare to OLED efforts made by other brands. But for now, it seems that Sony has found an interesting way to stay in the game – particularly if its new prices are significantly lower than the high costs of OLED tech. Check out our LCD TVs to see how the reviews compare to this upcoming tech.

Tyler Lacoma

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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