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Sony is updating 2021 Bravia TVs with variable refresh rate

According to reports from owners of 2021 Sony Bravia XR TVs — and verified by HDTVTest’s Vincent Teoh — Sony has started to update the firmware on these models to enable variable refresh rate (VRR). Digital Trends reached out to Sony for an official confirmation and a company spokesperson provided this response:

Starting March 1, 2022, the following 2021 Bravia XR TVs (X90J, X95J, A80J, A90J, and Z9J) will be receiving a firmware update v6.5660 to support VRR. This is in addition to the X85J and X91J, which were updated November 2021. As with all firmware updates, it will be pushed out to the market in waves, finishing on March 15th. This update will be distributed over-the-air (OTA).

In recent years, pretty much every major TV maker has added variable refresh rate (VRR) functionality to its premium models — a feature that is especially appealing to gamers as it prevents an unpleasant screen-tearing effect when some game titles shift their frame rates during the course of play. Every major TV maker that is, except Sony. Despite its support of most other HDMI 2.1 features like HDMI eARC, 4K at 120Hz, and auto low-latency mode, VRR never made the cut.

When Sony announced its 2021 lineup, it acknowledged that VRR would not ship with the new TVs, but promised that a firmware update would follow and that all of the TVs would have VRR enabled by the end of the year. Save for a few LED-based models, that didn’t really happen.

Now, just a month or so before Sony reveals the pricing and availability on its 2022 TVs, the company has apparently started the long-overdue process of giving its 2021 models VRR support. Teoh tweeted that his 2021 Sony A90J OLED TV received the update on March 1. If you have a 2021 Sony TV with an XR processor, you can also try to manually check for a firmware update.

VRR doesn’t impact the experience of watching TV shows or movies, as these types of content use a consistent frame rate that doesn’t change while you view it. Some video games, however, do change their frame rates — particularly PC games running on modern graphics cards. When these games are played on TVs without VRR, these frame rate changes can cause the image on the TV to judder and tear as the TV tries (and fails) to adapt to the changes.

Microsoft’s latest generation of Xbox gaming consoles also support VRR, but ironically, Sony’s family of PlayStation consoles — including the PlayStation 5) does not support it, making VRR on Sony TVs a handier feature for non-PS gamers.

Finally, if you want to get a sneak peek at Sony’s exciting new QD-OLED-powered A95K TV, Digital Trends has an exclusive, in-depth first look at this 2022 model.

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