Sony is presenting a new range of televisions at CES 2021. It consists of 8 models. Five of them are Bravia XRs, with a new image processor. The promise: deeper contrasts, even with Full Array LED models. Two models are OLED. One model is 8K. And all of them are compatible with Android TV, Alexa, Netflix Calibrated Mode, and HDMI 2.1. For sizes that vary from 55 to 85 inches.
Barely the Bravia range mid 2020, presented last September (find in our columns the tests of XH90, XH95 and A8), has it been tested than new televisions are announced by Sony. The Japanese firm today held a major conference to announce its range in early 2021 at CES which will open its virtual doors next week. This range is available in three sub-segments: the entry level LED with the W800. The mid-range 4K LED with X80J / X81J and X85J. And the premium segments (see high-end) with five models named ” Bravia XR “.
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Why XR? Because these televisions benefit from a new image processor called Cognitive Processor XR. The X1 Extreme and X1 Ultimate that we knew in 2020 are therefore giving up their place (even if we will continue to find them in the less prestigious ranges). The big difference between the XR and the X1 is the use of artificial intelligence to analyze the content displayed on the screen and improve its rendering so that it is more humanly pleasant to watch, but also to listen to.
We therefore find techniques for restoring the image and sound similar to what we encountered with the 2020 models, whether in terms of upscaling, contrast, refresh rate and fluidity, or in terms of sound positioning according to the image. But Sony promises the effect will be even deeper, accentuating the focus on an object for example, or the contrast on another. The idea is to cut out, frame by frame, the object that will attract attention and make it stand out on the screen.
Sony doesn’t just optimize the image for the human eye. The XR processor also improves the processing carried out so far. For example, upscaling goes through a phase ofapplying a texture directly on an object to improve its definition. And it also improves the spatial positioning of sound. Someone is speaking on the screen, you will have the impression that their words are literally coming out of their mouths. If the X1 processor was already capable of this, Sony promises that the XR further improves this positioning. In addition, the two OLED models presented today are capable of vibrate the slab to create a new sound source. It’s not totally new, but still quite rare.
No models certified Perfect for PlayStation
All of the Sony TVs featured here work with Android TV, of course. We find all the applications previously discovered in the various tests of televisions at the end of 2020, including Apple TV +, Disney + and Prime Video, in addition to the eternals Youtube and Netflix. Some models are also compatible AirPlay and HomeKit, in addition to Google Cast. And some are also compatible Alexa in addition to Google assistant.
You will note, however, that none of the televisions presented is certified Ready for PlayStation 5, or at least, Perfect for PlayStation. We are very surprised that this is the case, because Sony had understood that the Bravia team was counting on the release of the console to communicate with the players. Already, at the end of 2020, we noticed that only two TVs were certified Ready for PlayStation 5.
No 8K model in OLED, but a Full LED model
Now let’s detail the five models. We present them here in three groups. The Z9J, only 8K model offered here, with Full Array LED panel. Then the two 4K OLED televisions, the A90J and A80J. And finally the two 4K Full Array LED models, X95J and X90J. We will not come back to the less ambitious models: even if they are not lacking in interest, they do not take advantage of the XR processor. The improvements will therefore be less impressive.
Let’s start with the Z9J, one of the two models, with the A90J, entering the Master Series lineup. This television, Full Array LED, is available in 75 inch and 85 inch. If you have to have 8K, you might as well be tall … and vice versa! This model is compatible Netflix Calibrated Mode, HDMI 2.1, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Its screen displays images at 120 frames per second in 4K. And she is compatible VRR. This means that it adapts to external devices, like the PlayStation 5, to avoid blurring or flickering.
No processing of reflections in OLED
Let’s continue with the two OLED models. The A90J has all the strengths of the Z9J with two exceptions: the treatment of the panel against reflections and very wide viewing angles. In addition, the A90J is OLED, which promises very deep blacks. The A80J also incorporates the characteristics of the A90J. Note however that the processing of the XR processor on the contrasts will be less accentuated.
The two models are available in three sizes: 55 inches, 65 inches and 77 or 83 inches, respectively for the A80J and A90J. Sizes greater than 80 inches are reserved for the most expensive models … just to make them even less affordable. A situation that you find as well here in OLED, but also in Full Array LED, with the Z9J and the X95J.
Complete and varied Full LED 4K TVs
Let’s finish with the two Full Array LED 4K models: X95J, available in 65, 75 and 85 inches, and X90J, available in 50, 55, 65 and 75 inches. The X95J is overall a Z9J with less definition, including reflection treatment and viewing angle (except for the 65-inch model). Moreover, the proximity of the design between the two televisions reinforces this impression. The 65-inch model should therefore be particularly attractive, since it will combine affordability and functionality.
On the other hand, the X90J is the LED version of the A80J. Quite simply. You will find all the improvements in image, sound and interactivity. But not the reflection processing or hands-free voice search that you find in the Z9J, A90J and X95J. However, the price should remain moderate.
Moreover, speaking of tariffs, you will not find here no price. The Japanese firm lets local subsidiaries express themselves on this point. The dates will also be announced locally. It will therefore be necessary to wait a few weeks before having access to these details.