Sony Announces 2021 Bravia XR TV Prices, Pre-Order Dates
Sony has been releasing official pricing on its 2021 TV models in dribs and drabs over the past several weeks, and on Monday it presented a comprehensive suggested retail price list and pre-order availability across the majority of its U.S. “BRAVIA XR” 4K OLED TVs and 4K & 8K LED-LCD TVs.
Many are available for pre-order now on Amazon and we’ve included links to get to them below. Note that several suggested retail price changes have been made since leaked pricing information was reported several weeks back. Prices listed below many differ from the current Amazon selling price. Check links regularly for the latest pricing information.
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 the 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 also sends 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 now carries 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.”
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 2021 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. The Z9J series supports 8K resolution, HDR10, and Dolby Vision and HLG high dynamic range with Contrast Booster 15. Sony explained that the different XR Contrast Booster 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. Other features include X-Wide Angle and X-Anti-Reflection technology, XR Color, XR Contrast and XR Clarity processing using the Cognitive Process XR. It also includes a 3-way multi-position stand, Ambient Light Optimization, Acoustic Auto Calibration, Light & Color Sensor, HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K/120Hz high frame rate, eARC and advanced gaming support. It also features extensive voice control and Apple AirPlay/HomeKit support.
85-inch XR85Z9J ($9,999 UPP) (Pre-orders begin this summer)
75-inch XR75Z9J ($7,999 UPP) (Pre-orders begin this summer)
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.
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.
4K Ultra HD Full-Array LED-LCD TVs
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 featured is X-Wide Angle technology that provides strong color, contrast and brightness from a wider angle of view.
85-inch XR85X95J ($4,499.99) (Available to pre-order this summer)
75-inch XR75X95J ($2,999.99) (Available to pre-order this summer)
65-inch XR65X95J ($2,299.99) (Available to pre-order late summer)
X92J & 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’ environments.
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.
100-inch XR100X92J ($19,999.99) (Pre-order begins this summer)
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.
X85J Series 4K LED LCD TVs
This step-down Sony 4K Direct LED LCD TV with frame dimming series includes the 85-, 75-, 65-, 55-, 50-, and 43-inch screen sizes. These models have HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG HDR support, 4K HDR Processor X1; Google TV/Android TV; 4K X Reality Pro; Triluminos Pro color processing; Dynamic Contrast enhancer Native 120Hz refresh rate panels with Motionflow XR 960 motion smoothing; 10W + 10W audio; Dolby Atmos support; DTS Signal Surround; Vewd internet browser (not pre-installed); Auto Calibration with Calman; ATSC 1/ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV tuner, 4 HDMI inputs (2 with HDMI 2.1 with 4K/120Hz, ALLM, VRR support, 1 with eARC/ARC support); Apple AirPlay/Homekit support; thin-bezel design.
85-inch KD85X85J ($3,199.99) (Pre-order begins May 2021)
75-inch KD75X85J ($2,199.99) (Pre-order begins April 26, 2021)
65-inch KD65X85J ($1,599.99) (Pre-order begins May 2021)
55-inch KD55X85J ($1,199.99) (Pre-order begins May 2021)
50-inch KD50X85J ($999.99) (Pre-order begins May 2021)
43-inch KD43X85J ($899.99) (Pre-order begins May 2021)
X80J Series 4K LED LCD TVs
This step-down Sony 4K Direct LED LCD TV with frame dimming series includes the 75-, 65-, 55-, 50-, and 43-inch screen sizes. These models have HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG HDR support, 4K HDR Processor X1, Android TV, 4K X Reality Pro, Triluminos Pro color processing, Dynamic Contrast enhancer, Native 60Hz refresh rate panels with Motionflow XR 240 motion smoothing, 10W + 10W audio, Dolby Atmos support, DTS Signal Surround, Vewd internet browser (not pre-installed), Auto Calibration with Calman, ATSC 1/ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV tuner, 4 HDMI 2.0b with eARC/ARC support, Apple AirPlay/Homekit support, thin-bezel design.
75-inch KD75X80J ($1,699.99) (Pre-order begins April 26, 2021)
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By Greg Tarr
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