Updates in 2021 Sony Line-Up: Bravia XR chipset & HDMI 2.1

Even before the CES, the Japanese technology company Sony has already provided a lot of information about the upcoming 2021 TVs and which exciting new technologies we can expect. The new Bravia XR chipset, which is supposed to replace the somewhat problematic 4K HDR processor X1 in the higher-end models, will probably be at the center of it all. With this chipset, there is now also HDMI 2.1 in many 2021 models!

BRAVIA XR Lineup © Sony

New processor against old problems

The new Bravia XR processor is supposed to solve the problems like resolution loss at 120Hz or the lack of VRR, but how exactly this will manifest itself remains to be seen. However, since the processor is fundamentally new, it can be expected that many old problems will be solved with this generation change.

Nevertheless, the cognitive processor XR comes with a great amount of new features that are really exciting at first glance. First of all, most will be pleased to note that all models with the new processor support HDMI 2.1 features.

ALLM, eARC and [email protected] are supposed to be included at release, and VRR is supposed to come later via an update – but it remains to be seen whether Sony is more reliable than 2020.

The picture and sound processing algorithms are also supposed to be improved once again with the new processor, which were already considered the best on the market before. In this context, Sony advertises with the term cognitive intelligence, which means that content on the TV should be rendered as we would perceive it. Therefore, most content is supposed to be displayed even closer to reality and an intensive TV experience is supposed to be created.

News about the 2021 Sony OLED TVs

Sony A90J OLED with brighter display

Sony A90J OLED © Sony

Besides the much more powerful processor, the display of the Master Series OLED has also been optimized. Due to better heat dissipation, all subpixels can get brighter without overheating. An aluminum layer, which is located behind the organic LEDs, it is used as a heat conduction element.

This increases the brightness tremendously, which has been a not insignificant weakness in the OLED design. Thanks to the new Bravia XR chipset, the A90J has HDMI 2.1 included and it also has the Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which causes the OLED panel to vibrate via actuators, turning it into a speaker itself. The sound literally comes from the center of the screen and creates a high degree of immersion.

In combination with Sony’s excellent image processing, this really is an excellent high-end OLED TV!

Oh, and the Sony A90J OLED is not only available in 55 and 65 inches. It now even comes in an 83-inch version!

Sony A80J OLED – HDMI 2.1 & Akustisches Oberflächen-Audio

Sony A80J OLED © Sony

What Sony missed out on last year was the HDMI 2.1 availability on their TVs – even though they sell the Playstation 5 themselves. However, they are making up for it this year by equipping the lineup predominantly with this interface and with all the eagerly awaited gaming features.

The same is true for the more affordable 2021 OLED TV, the A80J, which comes in a total of 3 variants, namely A80J, A83J and A84J. It is not yet clear if there are any differences between them, but the suspicion is that they are identical models that are sold by different retailers and may have been changed a bit in design.

Unlike the A90J, the A80J has a common OLED panel and therefore cannot get as bright. However, it can still convince in terms of picture quality and is miles ahead of most ordinary LED-LCD TVs.

Furthermore, the A80J also has the Acoustic Surface Audio+ feature, which turns the screen itself into a speaker. Thus, the sound really comes from the movie and not artificially from the side.

News about the 2021 Sony LCD TVs

Sony Z9J the 8K LED-LCD Flagship

Sony Z9J 85 inches © Sony

The Sony Z9J is an 8K TV that is also in the upper price range and will most likely be relatively similar to the X90J. One thing that is clear, however, is that it will have higher brightness, more local dimming zones, and better contrast – as was the case with the 2020 Z8H and X900H models.

However, Sony’s new X-Anti-Reflection layer should have a similarly good effect as Samsung’s counterpart. Admittedly, reflections were a bit annoying in the 2020 series.

Of course, the Z9J has everything modern TVs should have in addition to Sony’s outstanding picture and sound processing with the cognitive processor XR. HDMI 2.1 with all gaming features is on board, as well as Dolby Vision IQ, X-Wide Viewing Angle

Sony X95J – Sony’s best 4K TV only from 65 inches?

Sony X95J 85 inches © Sony

Somewhat surprisingly, Sony’s best 4K LED-LCD TV will only be available in a size of at least 65 inches. It is unclear why Sony is taking this step, but it is suspected that the A80J OLED and the X95J in 55 inches are in a similar price range and that Sony therefore preferred the A80J – but that is just speculation.

Unlike its predecessor, the X950H, the X95J has HDMI 2.1 compatibility with all the associated features. Thus, it is also an interesting option for gamers with Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X, since additionally its picture quality with Full Array Local Dimming and a high contrast ratio are really convincing – at least this was the case with the XH95.

Just like the Z9J, it is also equipped with the X-Wide Angle layer to widen the viewing angle of the VA panel and to minimize reflections, the X-Anti-Reflection layer is also included.

Sony X90J – More reliable than its predecessor this time?

Sony X90J 85 inches © Sony

As the successor to the X900H, the X90J takes on a rather complicated legacy. Not because the X900H was a bad TV, but because Sony has been somewhat unreliable in updating promised features – at the time of writing, customers are still waiting for VRR, which, with the slogan “Ready for Playstation 5”, is starting to take a bit too long.

There was also the issue of resolution loss with [email protected] content. But both are supposed to change with the X90J! The new chipset with cognitive processor XR is a completely new approach compared to the old 4K HDR processor X1, so that the teething troubles from last year will probably not occur again – but VRR is supposed to come again via update for all Sony models.

Still, the X90J will once again be an excellent TV with full array local dimming, great colors thanks to Sony’s Triluminos layer, and excellent contrast with high brightness – at least if it wants to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps.

For gamers, it’s an excellent choice for next gen gaming with Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X with 120Hz panel and HDMI 2.1. But unfortunately, the picture quality is probably only good at a straight viewing angle, since Sony saves the X-Wide Angle and X-Anti-Reflection layer for the X95J.

But just like the more expensive 2021 series models, the X90J should be able to take advantage of the processor’s cognitive intelligence to create more immersion

Sony X85J – Affordable TV with HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz panel

X900H or X85J? Confusingly similar design © Sony

The X85J is obviously a TV designed for gaming, which is supposed to have everything you might need – even though ALLM and VRR are supposed to be added via an update. It looks confusingly similar to the X900H from 2020, but it has to cope with fewer features, so you have to make some concessions in terms of picture quality and the processor.

There is no local dimming on the X85J and the backlight is only Edge Lit, so it can’t quite hold a candle to its sister model here.

At first glance, it seems to be a competitor for LG’s NANO86 from 2020, since it also came with all the gaming features, but otherwise wasn’t quite as comprehensive. It is not yet known which panel the X85J will use – whether VA or IPS, both were used by Sony last year. But in any case, it will be equipped with a 120Hz panel.

The processor is the 4K HDR processor X1, which is the same as the XH90 last year. However, it might be a bit more mature by the time the X85J is released.

Sony X80J/X81J Sony’s entry-level TVs

X80J in 85 inches © Sony

The X80J or X81J is the basic model of the 2021 lineup, so to speak. It has to deal with fewer features than the other TVs in the lineup, but unlike all Samsung models, it supports Dolby Vision, which was not expected for a model in this price range. How far the TV can take advantage of that is another question, though.

The 4K HDR Processor X1 with 4K X-Reality PRO is surprisingly strong and can thus also do quite a bit of image processing, which Sony is really known for.

It is not yet clear which panel type is installed, but a look at Sony’s past entry-level models strengthens the suspicion that it will be an IPS panel. However, the panel is supposed to have a refresh rate of 60Hz in any case.

Android TV is now called Google TV

The rebranding of Android TV is not only limited to a new name; there are also a number of new features and the user interface has been adapted. Time will tell how exactly this will manifest itself, but in any case, Google Assistant has been integrated so that you can operate the TV without the “annoying” use of your hands.

A nice feature is also the three-way stand, through which the stands can be placed in three different positions – which is also the case with the Z9J.

Furthermore, the X95J is supposed to be launched in a sales variant in an almost exaggerated size of 100 inches. However, it is not yet clear whether it will appear in this size in Europe or North Amerika.

Exclusive Bravia Core streaming service

Bravia Core is a streaming service that is only available to customers who have purchased a Bravia XR TV. Some models, such as the A90J, come with a free membership that allows you to freely choose from a library of around 100 content items.

The library contains a total of around 300 titles, most of which have to be purchased before they can be viewed on-demand.

Up to this point, there is nothing special about the streaming platform; the innovative thing is that Bravia Core is supposed to generate an almost lossless 4K picture and sound quality on the Bravia XR TV, which is supposed to be achieved by the high transfer rate of up to 80Mbit/s – much more than with ordinary streaming services.

Nothing is known about the exact content yet, but it is supposed to be mostly 4K resolution content that is supposed to be tailored exactly to the Bravia XR series in terms of sound and HDR formats to create the best possible home theater experience.

However, the question now is how many users will actually be able to enjoy this lossless streaming service. Not many will have a strong enough Internet connection with a constantly high data rate.

Sony 2021 Lineup

The 2021 Sony lineup was already announced in advance. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to say whether the lineup could still undergo any changes or whether it is set in stone, so to speak. Therefore, there might still be changes until the release of the individual models.

ModelSizesDisplayResolutionRefresh RateFeatures
Z9J75'' & 85''VA-LCD (FALD)8K120 HzBravia XR,
X-Wide Viewing,
X-Anti Reflection,
HDMI 2.1
A90J55'', 65'' & 83''OLED4K120 HzBravia XR,
Brighter OLED Panel,
HDMI 2.1
A80J, A83J, A84J55'', 65'' & 77''OLED4K120 HzBravia XR,
HDMI 2.1
X95J65'', 75'' & 85''VA-LCD (FALD)4K120 HzBravia XR,
X-Wide Angle (from 75"),
X-Anti Reflection,
HDMI 2.1
X90J, X92J, X93J, X94J50", 55'', 65'' & 75''VA-LCD (FALD)4K120 HzBravia XR,
HDMI 2.1
X85J43", 50", 55'', 65'', 75'' & 85''LCD4K60 HzHDMI 2.1
X81J, X80J43", 50'', 55'', 65'' & 75''LCD4K60 Hz

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