Sony has new flagship 4K and 8K LCD TVs as well as 4K OLED TVs; its first with HDMI 2.1. All of them with Google TV. There is a new 'Cognitive Processor XR', Bravia Core streaming service, and more. Here's a full overview of Sony's 2021 TV line-up.
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Sony 2021 TVs
Sony's TV line-up for 2021 builds on the pillars of the TV line-ups from 2020 and 2019. There are new 9- and 8-series OLED TVs and a single 8K LCD range, while 4K LCD TVs make up the rest.
Some of the LCD models will feature full array local dimming (FALD) but Sony is not yet using miniLED in its LCD TVs and the company has not said how many LED dimming zones there are in its 2021 models. You will see Sony's flagship models marketed as "Master XR" and the others as "XR".
For the first time, Sony will have HDMI 2.1 ports in its OLED TVs, including support for 4K120, VRR, ALLM, and eARC. The top 8K and 4K LCD models in 2021 will come with the same HDMI 2.1 capabilities. Some of these HDMI features can elevate the gaming experience with PlayStation 5 (supports 4K120, will be firmware updated with VRR later) and Xbox Series X (supports 4K120, VRR and ALLM). However, Sony said that, once again, some of the HDMI 2.1 features will require firmware updates including VRR support. More generel information on HDMI 2.1 and its benefits can be found here.
For the first time, Sony will also have a larger 83-inch OLED model as part of its A90J range that will also be available in 55 and 65 inches. A90J will feature a more efficient and brighter OLED panel. A90J replaces the A9G/AG9 while the smaller 48-inch A9 from 2020 carries over into 2021 (without HDMI 2.1 ports).
Both OLED models, A90J and A80J, as well X90J and up for LCD models feature the new 'Cognitive Processor XR', which the company describes this way: "Brain of the new BRAVIA XR, the televisions use a completely new processing method that goes beyond conventional AI, designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear".
The new Google TV user interface
In 2021, Sony will transition from Android TV to Google TV, the new user experience on top of Android TV. You will still have access to all of the apps developed for Android TV (as the TVs will still run Android), including HBO, Disney+ and Netflix, but the user interface will be more curated and personal, according to Google.
Also read: Sony in 2021: Android TV becomes Google TV
Google TV can be found in Sony X80J and up, and Sony TVs will receive Android software upgrades in the future. In addition, the TVs come with features like built-in Chromecast, Google Assistant (hands-free in some models), and later this year Google Stadia game streaming. Sony's backlit remote control comes bundled with some of the higher-end models.
Also read: Sony debuts Bravia Core: 4K HDR streaming at "UHD Blu-ray equivalent quality"
Sony is introducing the Bravia Core streaming service. It is exclusive to the 2021 model and will provide access movies from Sony Pictures in 4K HDR and 'IMAX Enhanced'. The company says that Bravia Core will offer "UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to 80 Mbps" and that customers will receive vouchers (5 or 10 vouchers depending on the 2021 Sony TV purchased) that are redeemable for premiere movies as well as access to an 'Unlimited Streaming' section with over 100 Sony Pictures catalog titles. Bravia Core will offer the largest library of IMAX Enhanced movies (50+ at launch).
Bravia Core will be exclusive to Sony's 2021 TVs
Sony explained that some of its 2021 models feature audio upgrades too. The new XR processor can up-mix 2-channel stereo or 5.1 surround sources to virtual 5.1.2 channels. The OLED TVs come with 'Acoustic Surface Audio' technology that uses the actual OLED panel as speakers. The top LCD models will have 'Acoustic Multi-Audio' that uses the frame around the TV in addition to regular speakers. Sony says that the benefit is more direct sound with voices coming directly from the screen.
Sony is partnering with Dolby to enable Dolby Atmos decoding in its TVs and with Apple to enable AirPlay 2 casting, HomeKit home automation, and the Apple TV app.
Sony's 2021 TVs will support three HDR formats; HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Like LG, Sony continues to shun Samsung/Panasonic's HDR10+ format. It has not announced plans to support Dolby Vision IQ, the room-adaptive version of Dolby Vision, either.
Other features include IMAX Enhanced certification, Calman Ready for picture calibration, Netflix Calibrated Mode in the Netflix app, Ambient Optimization for adaptive room optimization, XR Motion Clarity for enhanced motion, X-Wide Angle (in some LCD models) for wider viewing angles, and X-Anti Reflection for reduced screen reflections. Check the specifications below to see which models offer these features.
The TVs will have built-in WiFi 5 (ac standard) and Bluetooth. The high-end models will have ATSC 3.0 tuners for 'next-gen' TV in the US and twin-tuners in Europe. All of the Google TV models are capable of decoding AV1, which is shaping up to be the next major video format.
Also read: Sony embraces the AV1 video format with its 2021 TVs
Suggested retail prices (only those that are confirmed) are included below, and the overview will be updated continuously as Sony announces further pricing details. Once TVs become available in stores, model names will be active, clickable links to price comparison or retailers.
Sony's 2021 TVs will start shipping in March/April. In 2021, Sony will use the same model names across Europe and North America. 'J' refers to the 2021 generation. A reminder: AJ/ZJ/XJ = 2021, AH/XH/ZH = 2020, AG/XG/ZG = 2019, AF/XF = 2018, A/XE = 2017, XD = 2016, XC = 2015, XB = 2014, XA = 2013.
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