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Sony's 2021 4K & 8K LCD TVs feature HDMI 2.1, FALD, Google TV

07 Jan 2021 | Rasmus Larsen |

Sony has announced its line-up of LCD TVs for 2021 that will include high-end 'XR' TVs with 8K or 4K resolution, full array local dimming (FALD), 'Cognitive Processor XR', Google TV, Bravia Core, and more.

Sony 2021 LCD TV line-up

Z9J with 8K resolution is the new flagship LCD TV from Sony. X95J, X90J, X85J and X80J/X81J are LCD TVs with 4K resolution. In 2021, Sony will use the same model names across Europe and North America. J refers to the 2021 generation. Like the new 2021 OLED TVs, Sony's 8K and 4K LCD TVs will, from X90J and up, feature an upgraded video processor called 'Cognitive Processor XR'. Sony says that it is "the brain of the new Bravia XR" and that "the televisions use a completely new processing method that goes beyond conventional AI, designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear". - "Sony’s intent is to constantly innovate in the TV technology to offer the most immersive viewing experience possible," said Masaomi Ando, head of Sony Europe’s TV business unit. "The new Bravia XR TVs convey reality better than ever, thanks to the processing power of the world’s first cognitive processor, which goes beyond conventional AI."

Sony Z9J 2021 LCD TV

Sony Z9J 4K LCD. Photo: Sony

From X90J and up you will get full array local dimming (FALD) for improved contrast and higher brightness in the picture. Unlike its direct competitors, LG, Samsung and TCL, Sony is not moving to miniLED backlights for its LCD TVs at this time. The company did not specify the number of dimming zones in its TVs either. It did, however, signal that Z9J will have the highest peak brightness with its 'Contrast Booster 15' as opposed to 'Contrast Booster 10' or 'Contrast Booster 5' in the X95J and X90J models, respectively. Like last year, some of the models will feature 'X-Wide Angle' technology to improve viewing angles. In the past, Sony's wide angle technology has sacrifized contrast and the company did not outline changes to the system for 2021. FlatpanelsHD has not seen any of the new TVs in action yet as CES is an all-digital show this year.

Sony X95J 2021 LCD TV

Sony X95J 4K LCD. Photo: Sony

Google TV and Bravia Core

All of Sony's 2021 TVs (except the HD W800) will switch to Google TV, which is Google's new user interface for TVs. It builds on the Android TV foundation but brings content front and center (for supported services) on a redesigned homescreen. Current apps available for Android TV will continue to work on Google TV, which is still built on the Android foundation. You can find more information on the switch to Google TV in our article here. High-end 'XR' LCD models will feature Sony's new streaming service Bravia Core. It offers movies from Sony Pictures in 4K HDR and 'IMAX Enhanced'. The company says that it will offer "UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to 80 Mbps". Sony's backlit remote control comes bundled with Z9J and X95J. The other models come with the standard remote control that still has a built-in microphone for voice commands. X90J and up offer hands-free Google Assistant voice control via a microphone built into the TV, and all of the 4K models are compatible with external Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices. Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit are also supported in all of the 2021 4K models announced at CES 2021.

Sony X90J 2021 LCD TV

Sony X90J 4K LCD. Photo: Sony

HDMI 2.1 from mid-range to high-end

Last year, Sony introduced its first 4K LCD TVs with HDMI 2.1 ports that unlock new video features together with consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. In 2021, Sony is including HDMI 2.1 in all 4K and 8K models from X85J and up. X85J, X90J, X95J, and Z9J feature HDMI 2.1 ports with support for 4K120 (4K at 120 frames per second). They also feature some optional HDMI 2.1 features, specifically VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) for smoother gameplay with supported consoles and games, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for auto-switching to Game Mode, and eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) for better sound. X80J/X81J features only eARC, which can be supported on HDMI 2.0 chipsets. Also read: List: 4K TVs and 8K TVs with HDMI 2.1 Features from 2020 carry over, including HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support as well as Dolby Atmos decoding. Many of the TVs also come with IMAX Enhanced certification and Netflix Calibrated Mode, and some of them are Calman Ready for easier picture calibration.

Sony X85J 2021 LCD TV

Sony X85J 4K LCD. Photo: Sony

Sony highlighted its work to improve sound by simulating the system used in its OLED TVs, meaning sound that appears to come directly from the screen. The 'XR' models can upscale 2-channel or 5.1-channel sources to virtual 5.1.2-channels, said Sony. Sony's 2021 LCD TVs will compete with LCD TVs from LG, Samsung, TCL, and others. In recent years, TV makers have tried to improve LCD picture quality by using more advanced LED backlights that year after year are reserved for the flagship models due to high production costs. These advanced LED backlights have not trickled down to mid-range models. See the table below for an overview or follow the links for full specifications in the TV Database:
  • Sony Z9J 8K LCD TVs - specifications
  • Sony X95J 4K LCD TVs - specifications
  • Sony X90J 4K LCD TVs - specifications
  • Sony X85J 4K LCD TVs - specifications
  • Sony X80J/X81J 4K LCD TVs - specifications Pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.

    Sony 2021 LCD TVs - specifications

    Sony Z9JSony X95JSony X90JSony X85JSony X80J/X81J
    Formats75, 85"85, 75, 65"50, 55, 65, 75" & 100" (X92)43, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85"43, 50, 55, 65"
    Display/resolution8K LCD4K LCD4K LCD4K LCD4K LCD
    Video processorCognitive Processor XRCognitive Processor XRCognitive Processor XRX-Reality PROX-Reality PRO
    Panel refresh rate100/120 Hz100/120 Hz100/120 Hz100/120 Hz50/60 Hz
    XR Contrast Booster15105
    XR Motion ClarityXXX
    SpeakersAcoustic Multi-AudioAcoustic Multi-AudioAcoustic Multi-AudioX-BalancedX-Balanced
    Bravia Core streamingXXX
    HDMI 2.1 (4K120, VRR, ALLM, eARC)XXXXeARC only
    Google TVXXXXX
    IMAX EnhancedXXX
    Calman ReadyXXX
    Netflix Calibrated ModeXXX
    Ambient OptimizationXXXXX
    AirPlay 2 & HomeKitXXXXX
    HDR supportHDR10, HLG, Dolby VisionHDR10, HLG, Dolby VisionHDR10, HLG, Dolby VisionHDR10, HLG, Dolby VisionHDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
    Dolby AtmosXXXXX
    Hands-free voice controlGoogle AssistantGoogle AssistantGoogle Assistant

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