Sony’s latest TVs are getting a big processor upgrade and a new native OS experience.
The company this week announced its 2021 line of Bravia XR displays, which are powered by Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR. Sony is extremely proud of the new chip, which handles both video and audio processing and upscaling to ideally provide a better picture. Sony says this technology has the ability to identify the natural focal point of images on a screen and enhance the most important parts of those pictures to make them more lifelike. So in a scene where the hero is bloodied up in the foreground and a copse of trees is in the background the processor will ideally prioritise improving the foreground elements of the image. On the upscaling front, the new processor will now sample from a wider range of content when using AI to upscale content to 4K and 8K. For example, instead of simply referring to images of a castle when a castle is on screen, the processor would also refer to images of stone — as that’s what the castle is actually made from. That should provide a sharper image with less of the unattractive blur and noise that can plague upscaled content.
And it’s not just images that get a boost — the company says the Cognitive Processor XR can upconvert sound to create a more immersive sound stage as well. Apparently even upconverting 2.1 and 5.1 audio to 5.1.2 surround.
Besides the new processor, Sony’s also putting new ambient light sensors on its high-end sets that will not just adjust the brightness based on the brightness of the room, but adjust the white balance as well. Sony hasn’t disclosed exactly how the white balance adjustments will work — whether the TV will turn orange if you set all your Hue lights to red, for example. But it’s a potentially neat feature!
This new Bravia XR family includes the X95J and X90J 4K LED TVs, Master Series Z9J 8K LED, and the Master Series A90J and A80J OLEDs. In addition to their picture- and sound-enhancing smarts, all TVs in the Bravia XR lineup will also run on Google TV, a favourite OS among the staff here at Gizmodo that improved upon the Android TV experience (which is also great). And all models in this family will also be gamer ready, with each supporting 4K at 120fps, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and e-ARC. That’s a huge step up from last year, when Sony’s support for HDMI 2.1 features in TVs was extremely lacking.
Both Sony’s X90J, X95J, and A80J models will all be equipped with XR 4K upscaling. The X90J will be available in 50-inch to 100-inch display sizes, while the X95J will ship in 65-inch to 85-inch sizes that offer multiple stand orientations. The A80J OLED will be available in 55-inch to 77-inch displays, and the Master Series A90J OLED will be available in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 83-inch versions. The Master Series Z9J 8K LED, meanwhile, will be limited to 75-inch and 85-inch screen sizes.
These TVs will also get support for Sony’s Netflix Calibrated Mode, IMAX Enhanced, hands-free navigation with Google Assistant that’s baked directly into the TVs themselves, ATSC 3.0, ambient sound and picture optimisation features, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and Google Assistant- and Alexa-enabled devices. All good stuff that’ll probably cost ya!
Sony is tight-lipped about pricing for now, though. The company said it will officially announce pricing for these models in Spring, so there’s still time to dream.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.