Sony who needs something big to get back into the mainstream TV market is punting on a new 8K engine, Sony content and an all-new Google TV offering.
During the past five years Sony has been losing market share in the TV in Australia, however their new offering looks promising especially for custom installers who are also selling the top end Sony Projectors.
one of the key new offerings in their new flagship 8K LCD TV, the 85-inch 85Z9J is a Cognitive Processor XR system the replaces their tired old X1 Ultimate processor which during the past two years have got tweaks as opposed to a major overhaul.
The difference with the Cognitive Processor XR is that it can handle unprecedented amounts of data and research shows that consumer habits have changed due to COVID-19 and that households are consumer more data than ever before a problem that Telco’s such as Optus and Telstra are complaining about, it’s also putting a strain on NBN’s backend.
Currently conventional AI processing detects and analyses picture elements such as colour, contrast, and detail individually, the Cognitive Processor XR checks each element and then configures the TV display and audio to deliver a near perfect offering. It also analyses the position of sounds being streamed to the TV and then adjusts the sounds so that when viewed it’s seen as coming the correct place on the screen.
Similar to Samsung’s Object tracking the new engine divides the screen into zones to find the key focal points for the audio.
The engine can then give that focal point more emphasis by gently manipulating all the elements of the image as a whole, rather than boosting the focal point with more brightness or colour saturation.
Sony is also the first brand to introduce the all new Google TV, a brand-new content operating system for movies, TV shows, live TV and apps and subscriptions sold by Google, users will be able to use their normal Google search to access content and then play it.
The new Sony TV’s will have HDMI 2.1 compatibility with all their Bravia XR TVs capable of 4K 120fps, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) , Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and e-ARC, supporting higher resolutions and frame rates which are ideal for next-generation gaming.
Sony claims their new A90J premium OLED TVs deliver higher brightness levels than any previous Sony OLED TV’s due to the integration of laminate aluminium sheet that’s used to handle heat radiation and thus enables the OLED screen to be run harder.
Sony’s new processor also ensures that the A90J’s brightness increase applies to all four white, red, green, and blue OLED elements, rather than just driving white alone.
The A90J should be able to use its brightness boost to deliver a proper colour volume improvement, rather than the extra brightness potentially making colours look washed out.
All Bravia XR models will support both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound, as well as the IMAX-Enhanced format that Sony Pictures has adopted for many of its recent home entertainment releases.
A new contrast booster which is designed to boost peak brightness while maintaining well exposed whites and blacks in the image is built into select models.
With the Sony A90J and A80J OLEDs, the technology comes in the form of XR OLED Contrast Pro and XR OLED Contrast, respectively.
A new range of Bravia XR TVs have cognitive intelligence for TV sound too. Along with improvements to the speaker hardware, features such as XR Sound Position aim to analyse the signal and make sure that the sound is coming from the correct parts of the picture with both Acoustic Surface Audio+ (OLED) and Acoustic Multi-Audio (LCD) technologies.
The big new addition for audio, though, is XR Surround with 3D Surround Upscaling. This takes a 2ch or 5.1ch audio signal and creates a virtual 5.1.2ch experience with the aim of enveloping the viewer in sound in all dimensions.
Another major benefit for Sony TV owners is a new feature called Bravia CORE (Centre of Real Entertainment), this new streaming service effectively has two elements. On the one hand it will host hundreds of titles from the Sony Picture Entertainment back catalogue, all of which can be freely streamed for either 12 or 24 months, depending on which TV you’ve purchased.
It also allows for pay-as-you-go streaming of fresh-from-the-cinema movies, with owners of the new XR TVs given a number of free credits (five or ten, again depending on the model you’ve bought) that can be used as ‘payment’.
Many analysts are now claiming that the core focus on content by TV Companies coupled with new engines and new content streaming services will see the demise of cinema’s in Australia.
The new Sony content will deliver 4K HDR levels and will host a large number of IMAX Enhanced movies where the data rates are significantly larger much higher, the higher the data the better the picture quality is.
Sony says streams will be at up to 80Mbps, which it claims is beyond the rates of many UHD Blu-ray discs. We’re fascinated to find out whether Bravia CORE streams really can outperform disc-based movies, and what happens when users connect via a slower connection.
The Japanese Companies 2021 TV line-up includes at the top end Z9J Master Series LCD TV. It’s an 8K LED TV, positioned to replace the ZH8 from 2020. This will be available via Audio Active and their custom install retailers who can set these TV’s up properly.
These TV’s have an Immersive Edge design, which includes a titanium silver bezel and a three-position stand that allows for wide and central feet as well, as a third setting to allow space for a soundbar.
The panel itself has Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology, to maximise picture consistency when viewing off-axis, as well as X-Anti Reflection glass to minimise unwanted glare from light sources in your space.
It comes with an aluminium, back-lit voice remote and there’s a colour sensor as well as a light sensor so that Ambient Optimisation mode can automatically adjust chromatically as well as for brightness, according to your viewing environment.