Sony has today unveiled its new OLED TVs for 2021. The 'Master' series A90J has a brighter OLED panel and will be available in up to 83 inches. Sony is also introducing Google TV and its 'Cognitive Processor XR'.
Sony 2021 OLED TV line-up
In addition to its line-up of 2021 LCD TVs, Sony has today unveiled two new OLED TV ranges for 2021; A90J and A80J. In 2021, Sony will use the same model names across Europe and North America. J refers to the 2021 generation.
The company unveiled its new TVs as "the world’s first cognitive intelligence televisions". They will be sold as high-end 'XR' models and the XR moniker will be used widely to describe Sony's upgraded video and audio systems, including a new, upgraded video processor.
- "Powered by the Cognitive Processor XR, the 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. When we see objects, we unconsciously focus on certain points. Cognitive Processor XR, powered by cognitive intelligence, divides the screen into numerous zones and detects where the ‘focal point’ is in the picture. While conventional Artificial Intelligence AI can only detect and analyse picture elements like colour, contrast and detail individually, the new Cognitive Processor XR can cross-analyse an array of elements at once, just as our brains do," said Sony.
Sony A90J 4K OLED. Photo: Sony
Sony added that the "Cognitive Processor XR can also analyse sound position in the signal so the sound matches precisely with what’s on the screen", including the ability to upconvert sound to virtual 5.1.2 channels.
The new processing would seem to run counter to Sony's message of staying true to the "creator's intent". The company countered by saying that the TV's 'Custom' picture mode will have most of these systems disengaged.
Sony's flagship A90J will be available in 55, 65, and 83 inches and is the "brightest OLED we have produced yet" in terms of both overall and peak brightness, the company said without providing any numbers. In part due to better cooling, it explained. Last year's 48-inch A9 will carry over into 2021.
The more affordable A80J, which will replace last year's A8 (or A85/A87/A89), will be available in 55, 65, and 77-inch sizes without the brighter OLED panel.
Sony A80J 4K OLED. Photo: Sony
HDMI 2.1 for 4K120 and VRR
One of the biggest upgrades is HDMI 2.1 that unlocks new video possibilities with consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Sony introduced its first LCD TVs with HDMI 2.1 in 2020 but the OLED TVs we left out in the cold.
Both A90J and A80J will feature two HDMI 2.1 ports, both with support for 4K120 (4K at 120 frames per second) as well as eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) for improved sound support, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). VRR and ALLM will require a firmware update. These features are targeted mainly at PC/console gamers, with 4K120+VRR providing smoother, tear-free gameplay, and ALLM allowing for auto-switching into the TV's Game Mode.
Also read: List: 4K TVs and 8K TVs with HDMI 2.1
Sony highlighted new video systems like 'XR Motion Clarity' (replaces 'X-Motion Clarity') and 'XR Upscaling' (a new look-up table for improved upscaling to 4K, according to the company). The TVs will still support the features found in 2020 models including Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, HDR10, HLG, IMAX Enhanced, Netflix Calibrated Mode, and more. In addition A90J and A80J are Calman Ready for easier picture calibration, and can adapt to the light in your environment through a 'Ambient Optimization' feature.
A90J and A80J are equipped with an improved version of the built-in sound system (Acoustic Surface Audio+) that uses the ultra-thin OLED panel as speakers. There is a new front-facing subwoofer that utilizes the OLED panel to create invisible low-frequency sound waves. FlatpanelsHD has not yet had the chance to hear it in action due to CES being an all-digital show this year.
Android TV becomes Google TV
Sony's 2021 models will come with a revamped user interface as Sony is switching from Android TV to Google TV. It is Google's new user interface for TVs, first launched with the new Chromecast.
- "This line-up also introduces Google TV, a brand-new entertainment experience that brings together movies, shows, live TV and more from apps and subscriptions and organizes them just for you. Easily find something to watch with personalised recommendations and bookmark shows and movies to a single Watchlist to keep track of what to watch. Users can even add to their Watchlist from their phone or laptop with Google Search," said Sony.
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.
The TVs will also launch with Bravia Core, which is Sony's new video streaming service that offers 4K HDR and 'IMAX Enhanced' movies in "UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to 80 Mbps".
In addition, Sony has partnered with Apple to support AirPlay 2 for wireless transfer of media files from iOS/macOS onto the TV as well as HomeKit, which is Apple's platform for the connected home. HomeKit lets you control certain TV features from an iPhone or with Siri voice commands.
The TVs are compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. They can take hands-free voice commands through a built-in microphone. Sony's backlit remote control comes bundled with both TV models.
Follow the links for full specifications in the TV Database.