Sony TVs Get Brighter OLED, Cognitive Processing and Google TV Streaming in 2021



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The Sony A90J television is the first “significantly” brighter OLED television announced in years.

Sony

This story is part of THESE, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets from fully virtual CES 2021.

Sony is probably the most famous TV mark always standing and hanging it is no longer a top 5 seller, it remains a powerhouse among the high-end models – that is, televisions that cost a lot of money. Its 2021 range of new sets, announced before THESE, includes a lot of awesome tech and will probably cost a pretty dime too.

The new highest-end Sony 8K resolution, but the most interesting TV for video quality nerds (like, uh, me) is the new Master A90J series OLED TV with highest peak brightness – This is the first time in years that an OLED TV maker has touted brighter panels. Brightness is important for HDR and to bring out an image in bright rooms, and this is the one major area where OLED traditionally lags behind the LCD screen. While I wouldn’t expect the new Sony to outperform the brighter LCD TVs, especially the newer models powered by Mini LED as the Samsung Neo QLED, any extra light is a good thing.

Sony is also the first company to officially announce a new OLED size: 83 inches, the largest 4K OLED to date. (If you keep track, LG has an 88-inch 8K OLED for, cough, $ 30,000.) And if that’s not big enough for you, the series that succeeds my Favorite Sony (for the money) of 2020 includes a 100 inch model. Hoo boy!

Less exciting (to me) than bigger, brighter TVs is something Sony calls “cognitive” processing, available on all of its 2021 TVs. In a video demonstration, company representatives used histograms to show how the algorithm improves the different areas of the image that you think you will focus on the most (like faces). It was hard to get a feel for how it worked without seeing it in person, and tellingly Sony won’t be engaging the processing in its Custom Picture Mode, which is the one designed to preserve the director’s intent. Anyway, I’ll have to wait to see how it works.

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All 2021 Sony TVs will run the Google TV operating system, which replaces Android TV.

Sony

More welcome was the news that all models detailed below include HDMI 2.1 game extras, namely 4K / 120 fps input and variable refresh rate (the latter available via a firmware update), which were previously reserved for a single 2020 model, the X900H. Sony was also the first TV maker to confirm streaming on Google TV in its smart TVs, an improvement over Android TV currently featured only on the new Chromecast Streamer. “Hey Google” hands-free functionality is built in (as in 2020) and Sony is offering a new streaming service called Bravia Core which offers Sony images and some Imax movies in “UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to at 80 Mbps ”. Finally, all televisions below have integrated NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) tuners.

Here’s how the new TVs break down, starting with the most premium.

Master Z9J Series 8K LCD Display (85 and 75 inch): Sony’s best non-OLED TV sets itself apart from its lower siblings with 8K resolution, improved processing, and Sony’s best and brightest complete local dimming, which he calls “Contrast Booster 15.”

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The 85 inch Sony Z9J, 8K resolution in a typical, ordinary home environment and nothing special.

Sony

Master A90J Series 4K OLED (83, 65 and 55 inches): Sony claims that “the peak luminance of the A90J is significantly improved” compared to the A9G 2020 and other OLED TVs, but company representatives do not say more. New aluminum foil contributes heat radiation and the four WRGB OLED elements emit fully during maximum brightness – as opposed to the W element only in current designs.

A80J 4K OLED (77, 65 and 55 inches): Sony’s step-down OLED isn’t any brighter than current models, but has improved processing and HDMI 2.1 including 4K / 120fps, variable refresh rate, Auto Low Latency mode (aka automatic play mode) and e-ARC.


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X95J 4K LCD display (85, 75, 65 inch): The company’s best non-8K, non-OLED TV will probably still cost a little price. Its local dimming, “Contrast Booster 10”, slips between the other two LCD models in terms of brightness and accuracy, although, as usual, Sony does not share the actual number of dimming zones, nor any output specifications. bright (reps mentioned that the numbers 15, 10, and 5 aren’t proportional, however; so the brightness of the X95J isn’t necessarily double that of the X90J, for example). Another differentiator is a single glass panel design with a “Seamless Edge bezel”.

X90J 4K LCD display (100, 75, 65, 55 and 50 inches): The successor to 2020’s excellent X900H as Sony’s mainstream price TV, this one skips the size from 85 inches and goes straight to 100, a size that I don’t expect to be at all at the price. General public. It includes a full local Contrast Booster 5 dimming, which is less precise and less bright than the lift models, but still better than no local dimming at all.

Prices and availability for 2021 Sony TVs will be announced in the spring.

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