Sony came prepared to CES 2022 with improvements to the Bravia XR line of televisions, positioned to take on rivals LG and Samsung. Featuring an updated XR processor, Sony's Bravia XR TVs ramp up image processing power and combine it with the latest in Mini LED tech.
Not only that, Sony is upping its OLED game with QD-OLED technology for its upcoming Master Series 4K A95K. This is the first QD-OLED TV we've seen announced.
Sony isn't dropping OLED or standard full array LED altogether, but is swapping out some full array units for Mini LED sets instead.
Unlike Samsung or LG, Sony isn't a major large panel manufacturer. It orders OLED panels from LG and some of its LCD panels from Samsung and others. Sony differentiates itself with image processing, thanks to the company's extensive experience in cinematography and filmmaking.
Essentially, Sony tries to set itself apart from panel manufacturers by creating the best image possible with others' display tech.
For gamers, a PS5 will be able to detect each individual Sony TV model and adjust HDR setting accordingly. The Bravia XR processor will also be able to switch between game mode and standard mode automatically, depending on what type of content is being played on the PS5. Playing Gran Turismo 7? Game Mode. Playing a 4K Blu Ray? Game Mode off. There's no need to go in and fiddle around with the settings.
Sony A95K QD-OLED: more vivid colors thanks to XR
This year, Sony will introduce the A95K QD-OLED line of televisions. With Sony's XR Triluminos Max color processing, the TV maker claims that it can display the full spectrum of colors even in the brightest scenes when compared to "conventional OLED." We're unsure if Sony is referring to LG's line of OLED televisions or just OLED displays in general. Either way, Sony has also eliminated white phosphor from its sets, meaning there's no dilution of color in even the brightest of images.
Sony claims that it'll be able to achieve deeper greens and reds with its own elementary color shift method. And like Samsung's upcoming QD-OLED, which throws a quantum dot layer above the OLED array, Sony will do the same with the A95K. This should mean a better light and color spread across the panel from each individual pixel, creating a more vivid and bright picture.
We'll have to see how this quantum dot plus OLED method stacks up against LG's new EX line of televisions, which use deuterium compounds for a brighter image.
Again, with Sony it's all about image processing. Its OLEDs will have CPXR, a technology for better depth control so that objects appear better in a 3D space. It'll preserve positioning while not over-sharpening objects in the background.
Sony Master Series Z9K and Premium X95K Mini LED TVs
In the area of Mini LED, Sony's XR Blacklight Master Drive system aims to reduce zone visibility. Because Mini LEDs are so bright, the small individual zones that are laid out on a grid can become visible, making the edges of an image look blocky.
Traditional algorithms may simple lower brightness across the board to prevent these grids from shining through, but Sony claims its XR Backlight Master Drive can intelligently control Mini LED power to reduce visibility of individual zones. It's uncertain if Sony is calling out Samsung and last year's excellent QN90A Neo QLED or all Mini LED TV manufactures, including TCL and LG.
Smart TV updates
Sony touts Netflix Adaptive Calibrated Mode as part of its new line of TVs. This mode is designed for the creative intent of Netflix content. Based on the ambient environment, it will calibrate the image automatically for better tone.
TVs by Sony will ship with Google TV and work with Apple AirPlay. There will also be hands-free voice search functionality.
The Sony Bravia Cam is a camera and ambient sensor that can sit atop all 2022 Sony televisions. It will come bundled with the Z9K Mini LED and A95K QD-OLED televisions and will also be sold separately for anyone who wants to add additional functionality to their TV.
The Bravia Cam is a webcam that can detect a person's positioning and adjust the picture and audio accordingly. Sony calls this Ambient Optimization Pro — it means that if someone is not sitting right at the center viewing angle, the TV will make adjustments to the image and stereomix to account for that. And for those that are concerned about privacy, there's a slider at the top to cover the camera lens.
This accessory, which connects via USB and mounts to the back magnetically, has gesture controls for basic functions, like powering on and off, adjusting the volume, or pausing playback, and has a proximity alert. This last feature is handy for anyone with kids, as the TV will put up a full screen notice telling users to step back keep a greater distance. The TV also dims when it notices someone has walked away for increased power savings.
A new premium remote will come bundled with the Z9K Mini LED and A95K QD-OLED and A90K OLED televisions. The remote is 36% smaller than last year's unit and will be backlit. Also included is OK Google functionality to quickly find your remote.
Sony has reduced the number of keys from 49 to 25, removing the number keys altogether. Keys are integrated into a new keypad UI. The remote also has a flush design for easy cleaning.