Fresh off CES 2021, Sony’s 2021 Bravia XR Series televisions have been leaked online by retailer B&H Photo, which is advertising models with pre-order dates starting in March, April and May, depending on the model classes.

According to the information, Sony’s new 83-inch high-brightness 4K OLED TV, the BRAVIA XR XR83A90J, will ring in at a cool $7,999 unilateral pricing policy (UPP). If the new 8K Ultra HD resolution has caught your eye, Sony’s 85-inch Master Series XR85Z9J 8K Ultra HD Full-Array LED LCD TV runs $9,999, and the 75-inch Master Series XR75Z9J runs $6,999.

Before we go further, Sony announced at CES 2021 that all BRAVIA XR TVs this year will feature advanced gaming support features, including HDMI 2.1 compatibility, with up to 4K/120fps high refresh rates, generic Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and e-ARC, supporting higher resolutions and high dynamic range (HDR). The number of inputs with the highest level of support will vary by model series.

In addition this year, cord-cutters will find that all BRAVIA XR series TVs include tuners for the new ATSC 3.0 NextGenTV stations that are gradually going live across the country.

Sony has also updated the smart TV platform this year, offering the new Google TV OS supporting a more robust and easy to use overlaying user interface that rides on top of Android TV platform. Google TV has been described as offering movie and TV show recommendations right up front, instead of focusing on a more app-centric approach. Specific models this year will offer hands-free voice search capability to simplify the task of finding titles and making search entries.

Most importantly, televisions in the BRAVIA XR class all incorporate Sony’s latest Cognitive Processor XR optimized for full-array LED LCD TV or OLED display technologies. The processing brings an improvement on the X1 Ultimate picture and sound processor from last year. In addition to AI processing enhancement it adds Cognitive Intelligence to better analyze both incoming pictures and sound to help the advanced processing engine present an experience better suited to human perception for a more emotional result. In general, this means better brightness highlights, shadow detail, more impactful contrast highlights and more natural and emotion-inducing color reproduction.

For background, in past years the company sought to achieve “Kando” (or human emotion derived from a product) around the faithful delivery of the creative intent reproduced on its television sets.

Sony said the system was developed to create something that is “both faithful” to the content creator’s vision, as in previous years, and more beautiful and exciting to the experience of the viewer watching it.

Interestingly, the BRAVIA XR processor has been developed in association with the Sony Pictures team to power a new 4K/HDR streaming platform, called XR Core. This will present specially enhanced movies and shows in 4K and HDR with Ultra HD Blu-ray quality 80 Mbps bitrates and “lossless quality” using new PureStream technology. The forthcoming new streaming platform will also send to BRAVIA XR sets special content mastered for the IMAX Enhanced System with DTS HD surround sound presented as close as possible to way the content creators want it to be seen in super widescreen IMAX theaters. The service will carry the best of Sony Pictures’ newest releases along with the studio’s “all-time classics,” plus it will include some 100 IMAX Enhanced titles with IMAX remastered pictures and sound.

What’s the big deal? Sony said the Cognitive Intelligence XR processor leverages “an improved cross analysis, multi-element process that happens at the input level to have a better understanding of what is happening on the screen and we then pass that through the technologies developed over the past several decades, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, while taking into consideration the human perception focal point. We then ensure everything is presented as fast and accurately as possible.”

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The system also adds an updated and improved visible texture library that better distinguishes between different textures, like fur and stone in the same frame, to reproduce objects that appear more realistic.

For high dynamic range (HDR) this year, all Sony 4K and 8K models continue to support HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG profiles.

In addition to better picture processing, the Cognitive Intelligence Processor XR is used for better audio reproduction in Sony’s “Sound From Pictures” technologies this year.

Sony has been delivering the concept of sound from pictures using OLED panel-vibrating actuators for the past several years, and varying combinations of front, side and down-firing speakers in LED LCD TVs. Both approaches are being enhanced this year with the addition of Cognitive Audio processing to present a more impactful experience from the different types of hardware approaches as well as taking less robust sound tracks like two-channel stereo, for example, and presenting them in a more immersive fashion.

Many models this year build in support for Dolby Atmos object-oriented surround sound.

The following is a breakdown of Sony’s 2021 TV models with initial pricing as listed online. Keep in mind these are initially listed prices presented to retailers in advance of the company’s formal public disclosure. The pricing available at pre-order and sell-through dates are subject to change.

Sony 2020 BRAVIA XR TVs

8K Z9J Master Series Full-Array LED-LCD TVs

In the top full-array LED LCD TV series — 8K Z9J, and 4K X95J and X90J — this year, Sony is offering its XR Contrast Booster 15, 10 and 5 systems, respectively, for backlight control to adjust lighting for different levels of peak luminance, brightness and color volume, depending on the model series. Sony explained that the different XR Contrast Boost version numbers do not reflect any actual degree of brightness or luminance elevation, but are used just to give consumers a better sense of performance ability from one to another.

85-inch XR85Z9J ($9,999 UPP)
75-inch XR75Z9J ($6,999 UPP)

4K Ultra HD OLED TVs

A90J Master Series OLED TVs

Specific to the A90J flagship OLED series this year, Sony is elevating panel brightness while better handling heat dissipation to preserve panel longevity. To do this, Sony adds an aluminum sheet lamination to the backside of the panel to better manage thermal temperatures and dissipate heat more efficiently. This is done in conjunction with real-time temperature distribution mapping to know how the panel is behaving thermally at any given time.

Along with better thermal control, the technology enables boosting peak brightness of red, green and blue phosphors, and not just the white OLED backlight, as is typically done with today’s WRGB OLED TV panel technology.

The technology allows for “a significant improvement” in peak brightness and all-around luminosity (color volume) in the A90J models this year.

83-inch XR83A90J ($7,999)
65-inch XR65A90J ($3,999)
55-inch XR55A90J ($2,999)

A80J OLED Series

The step-down 4K/120 OLED series is the A80J, with 77-, 65- and 55-inch models. These include the Cognitive Intelligence Processor XR with XR OLED Contrast, Google TV interface, and Acoustic Surface Audio+ system.

77-inch XR77A80J ($4,499)
65-inch XR65A80J ($2,799)
55-inch XR55A80J ($2,199)

4K Ultra HD Full-Array LED-LCD TVs

X95J Series

The top of the 4K/120 full array LED LCD TV line is the X95J series with 85-, 75- and 65-inch models, Cognitive Intelligence Processor XR with XR Contrast Booster 10, Acoustic Multi-Audio and Google TV with hands-free voice search. Also features is X-Wide Angle technology that provides strong color, contrast and brightness from a wider angle of view.

85-inch XR85X95J ($4,999)
75-inch XR75X95J ($3,499)
65-inch XR65X95J ($2,299)

X90J Series

The step-down Sony 4K/120 Full Array LED LCD TV series includes the 75-, 65-, 55- and 50-inch screen sizes. These models have the Cognitive Intelligence Processor XR with XR Contrast Booster 5 backlight system, Acoustic Multi-Audio and the Google TV user interface. The series’ XR Motion Clarity technology uses cross-analysis data to ensure action stays smooth, bright and clear with no blur. The series offers 4 HDMI inputs, 2 of which are ATSC 2.1 supporting ALLM, VRR, HFR and one with eARC. These models also include a NextGen TV dual tuner (ATSC 3.0/ATSC 1.0). Sets have a minimalist bezel design and Ambient Optimization technology with a light sensor that automatically adjusts picture and sound to viewers’ environment.

Sony said it will also offer a 100-inch model in the X92 series, featuring most of the same features as the X90J series, minus the Acoustic Multi-Audio system.

65-inch XR65X90J ($1,799)
55-inch XR55X90J ($1,499)
50-inch XR50X90J ($1,299)

2021 KD-Series 4K LED-LCD TVs

In addition to BRAVIA XR Series models, Sony is offering more value priced lines of LED-backlit LCD TV series in the X85J and X80J series, which will have step-down processing, picture brightness and sound systems.

Sony will offer a single 85-inch model in the X91 Series — KD85X91J ($3,499).

X85J Series 4K LED LCD TVs

85-inch KD85X85J ($2,999)
75-inch KD75X85J ($1,799)
65-inch KD65X85J ($1,499)
55-inch KD55X85J ($1,199)
50-inch KD50X85J ($899)
43-inch KD43X85J ($799)

X80J Series 4K LED LCD TVs

50-inch KD50X80J ($849)
43-inch KD43X80J ($749)

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By Greg Tarr

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