What is it?
Sony's new range of Bravia televisions promise "a significantly enriched visual experience with unprecedented blacks, authentic colour, blur-less image and a free viewing angle". After several weeks of testing of the 65-inch model, I absolutely concur. It's the biggest, most vibrant and immersive TV screen I've ever seen, with flawless picture quality and stunning depth. But all those self-illuminating pixels - eight million of them, apparently - come at a pretty steep cost.
How does it work? It's not as simple as smaller plug-and-play televisions. The A1 range come with quite a bit of setting up out of the box - and a heap of packaging. But once you've got it in position, the angled back panel covers up the cords cleanly, and makes the screen look like it's resting on an easel. Once you've got it angled right, you can get straight into Netflix streaming, Freeview or anything else you want, through a thoroughly decent remote control. But you'll want to add a 4K blu ray player to your set up to make the most of all those pixels. I can thoroughly recommend Planet Earth II: on this TV, it's just incredible.
What's its best feature? The screen, for one. It pulls you in, and makes you feel part of the action. Even mediocre films, like Life, a B-grade monster movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, was kind of amazing, just because of the screen. The other thing I really liked is that the speakers - and they're good ones - are behind the screen. Turn it up and put your hand near the screen and you can feel the vibrations.
Any downsides? Compared to my smaller 55-inch television, the 65-inch Bravia A1 felt imposing. Suddenly, the television became the focal point of the room. When it was on, it totally took over - it's hard to look anywhere else when a picture draws you in that much. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: if you're spending this much on a TV, you'll want to have it on as often as possible. The only other quibble is that to use the A1 to its full extent, you'll need access to 4K streaming - and that's can still be hard to come by. You'll want a Playstation Pro or Xbox One S if you're a gamer to really push it to its limit.
Okay, so what does it cost?
Are you sitting down? Because Sony Bravia's A1 range doesn't come cheap. I was a little stunned to see the television that we'd quickly became accustomed to and didn't want to part with cost about the same as a decent car at $10,999.95. The 55-inch is cheaper with a RRP of $7499.95. That's not going to be an instant decision for anyone, but after several weeks of use, I could easily be swayed - even if it's just to watch Planet Earth II again.