Sony TVs arriving in 2021 bring HDMI 2.1 to many models, for a lineup consisting of 8K and 4K TVs.
Last year Sony surprised everyone with a lineup full of alternatives but which lacked something: support for the gaming functions of HDMI 2.1. During 2020, only one model arrived, apart from the expensive ZH8 8K, the XH90 we reviewed a few months ago, too little to better support the launch of the PS5. In hindsight, given the limited amount of consoles on the market, it wasn’t a serious damage, but this year things will be different and many fans, along with PS5, may want to buy a new TV.
Here because the new 2021 TV range was created with an eye towards gamers, obviously without overshadowing the consolidated quality of vision that has always distinguished the Japanese house. In all there are seven models shown during tonight’s presentation event, others will arrive later this year, for a lineup that brings 4K to 120 Hz and VRR even in the mid-range.
Lots of news
The announcements made by Sony not only concern the upcoming televisions, but also the new technologies fielded by the Japanese house in the 2021 models, starting with the image processor. The change promises to be important, already with the X1 Ultimate Sony was at the top of the category in image management, now however, with the Sony XR chip, what is called “The first processor with cognitive intelligence“According to Sony, this processor is able to process images from a more human perspective, placing emphasis and improving the elements that we are most likely to observe within a content. For the occasion they have all been renamed the technologies seen in Sony TVs in recent years, we therefore find XR Triluminos Pro, XR Motion Clarity as well as a series of functions designed specifically for the improvement of contrast and audio.
Speaking of contrast, on the top of the OLED A90J range we find the Contrast Pro function which, according to Sony, it is able to bring the peak brightness to higher levels than those of traditional OLEDs.
So far OLED displays have only used a white light emitter to generate light, in the case of the A90J it seems that RGB components can do it too, so the light peaks increase in intensity. At the same time, an aluminum plate on the back is used to dissipate the excess heat generated by the components.
This is a new technology and still to be explored: Sony, during the technical workshop we attended, tried to show its benefits but without a live view we can only postpone the first impressions on the real capacity of the A90J to the next few months. to generate more intense than average light peaks.
The XR processor also takes care of the management of the sound, which is generated differently by the OLED and LCD models. In the OLEDs the excellent Acoustic Surface Pro technology returns, which generates sounds directly from the panel through actuators on the back, in the case of LCDs, instead, traditional speakers are used which, together with the processing provided by the XR chip, try to make the more enveloping and better positioned sound. Unfortunately, even in this case, without direct proof, it is impossible to make further considerations.
Interesting news on the software front, given that the new models are equipped with Google TV. This is not a real new operating system, but more of a renewed interface that runs on the previously used Android TV. Sony also announced the Bravia Core streaming service, exclusively for Bravi XR televisions, which will allow the viewing of high-bitrate 4K HDR films, arriving all over Europe (however, there is no confirmation on the possible landing in Italy).
The upcoming televisions, from 8K to 4K
Sony showed a total of seven new TVs arriving for over the course of 2021, starting with top of the range 8K Z9J, a Full LED backlit LCD from the Master series, which will be available in 75 and 85 inch sizes. It is a very high-end TV, with XR image processor, compatible with Dolby Vision (no HDR10 +) and equipped with X-Wide Angle technologies, to increase the viewing angles, and X-Anti Reflection, to reduce the minimal reflections. Like many of the TVs we will see, it supports input signals in 4K at 120 Hz, in addition to VRR and ALLM. Although not specified in the characteristics, being the only 8K model it is possible that the HDMI 2.1 used also accept 8K at 60 Hz.
The top of the OLED range is the A90J, coming in 55, 65 and 83 inch sizes. The design takes up much of what was seen in the Z9J, creating a minimal and very elegant looking TV.
The frames, at least from what can be seen in the images, seem thin, while the side supports have been designed to be positioned also in the center, thus avoiding problems during installation. This model is the only one equipped with Contrast Pro technology, which boosts peak brightness, supports Dolby Vision and Netflix calibrated mode. Also present the 4K at 120 Hz, VRR and ALLM.
Coming down the OLED lineup is the A80J, featuring a similar design but with thicker screen edges, coming in 55, 65 and 77-inch versions. A 48-inch OLED is also missing this year, a cut that LG has probably decided to keep to itself. The peak brightness of this model should be lower, given the absence of Contrast Pro technology, but here too there remains support for 4K at 120 Hz, VRR and ALLM, as well as Dolby Vision.
Sony has implemented these functions of HDMI 2.1 on most of the LCD range, starting with the X95J and X90J, equipped with Full LED backlight and XR image processor. The design of the X95J takes the lines of the more expensive variants, unlike the X90J, which uses simpler ones.
The X95J will come in 65, 75 and 85-inch sizes, while the X90J will be available in 50, 55, 65 and 75-inch diagonals. We do not know if there are differences in the amount of backlight zones between the two models, the certain thing is that the 50-inch cut could be tempting to many gamers with space problems.
So far we have seen that Sony has brought HDMI 2.1 functions across the high and mid-range range, what we didn’t expect to see is their presence also on the X85J, an LCD with Edge LED backlight and X1 image processor, less advanced than the XR chip. The available sizes are very interesting, starting from 43 inches and then rising to 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches.
It is the smallest TV seen so far with support for 4K at 120Hz, VRR and ALLM. At the base of the LCD range is the X80J, coming in 43, 50, 55 and 65 inch sizes. This is the only model without any HDMI 2.1 function, an entry level with a potentially very low cost.
This first look at Sony TVs arriving in 2021 has given important confirmations. Not many details are known yet and any information on prices is missing, however there are several ideas to consider, first of all the new XR image processor. The peak brightness of the A90J OLED bodes well, as does the arrival of the most important HDMI 2.1 functions for gamers across almost the entire range. Very interesting then are the proposed dimensions, which bring the HDMI 2.1 even in smaller models than last year, the 43-inch X85J is the perfect example to describe this trend, since it is a TV that should arrive on market at a relatively low cost. The premises are therefore good, all that remains is to see the products live to understand their real potential.