CES 2021 is underway, though not quite yet officially. The best new TVs of 2021 we’ve been looking forward to hearing about have been announced. You might be surprised to learn that Sony, which is usually the last to make its reveal, came out early, and big. This announcement comes alongside the Samsung QLED NEO, TCL 6 Series, and LG TV lineup.
Let’s start at the top of the new lineup, but hang with me because the last TV I want to talk about is probably the most exciting one and you’re going to want to know why.
Sony’s top of the line TV for 2021 will be the Master Series Z9J. You can think of it as last year’s Z8H, but on steroids. And those of you who remember the Z9G? Well, its replacement is here and it looks like there are some significant improvements.
This 8K monster LED TV is going to do just about everything. It’s got a full-array LED panel, Sony’s contrast boosting technology, X-wide angle for better off-axis performance, Acoustic Multi-Audio with even more speakers and sonic improvements, and it runs Google TV, which will be replacing Android TV. Then there is the new three-way stand for versatile placement and, finally, full-spec HDMI 2.1, so VRR, 4K 120, auto low latency mode, and eARC are all covered.
You can get the Z9J Bravia XR in 75- and 85-inch sizes.
It will no doubt be bright and beautiful with incredible contrast, but the picture quality will get special improvements thanks to a new Sony chip, the Cognitive Processor XR. I’m going to dig into details around that shortly, but Sony’s hot new processor is in all of the TVs I’m about to tell you about.
One step down will be the Bravia X95J and this will be Sony’s flagship 4K TV for the year, replacing the X950H. It’s got just about every feature found in the Z9J, but it is 4K as opposed to 8K and won’t get quite as intensely bright as the Z9J, although you can count on it getting plenty bright enough. As I said, everything else is here, including the one-slate design, three-way stand, HDMI 2.1, acoustic multi-audio, and all of Sony’s other goodies for this year.
Before I get to the TV I think most folks are going to be stoked about, let’s talk about Sony’s two new OLED TVs. Yes, two new OLEDs for the year.
The model numbers are the Master Series A90J and the new A80J, replacing both the A9G and A8H from years past. The big news here is that Sony has developed new OLED technology that it calls XR OLED Contrast, which will boost brightness in bright highlights and offer solid blacks in shadow areas.
Of course, the Master Series A90J offers everything Sony has to offer: HDMI 2.1, a two-way stand, Google TV, almost no bezel, extremely thin profile. Trust me, it will do everything and do it beautifully. Here’s the real kicker, though. There is now going to be an 83-inch model to go with the 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. That’s right. An 83-inch OLED.
Just a step below is the A80J. This OLED series will come in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes and it will share a lot of the same technology and features as the A90J, only this series will have a three-way stand. It will get that same contrast boosting technology for brighter highlights, HDMI 2.1 — again almost the full package. In a lot of ways, this looks like the more compelling OLED option.
Finally, we have the X90J which replaces last year’s wildly popular X900H. This is the TV I think tons of people are going to want to buy in 2021. It gets the same processor as all the other TVs I just talked about, which is a big step up for this model, and it will be available in screen sizes ranging from 55 inches all the way up to 100 inches!
Yes, I’m serious. And again, the only real step-down here is that it won’t have quite the brightness of the step-up models and it has a slightly more modest audio system — though it is still acoustic multi-audio, and you can bet it will be priced well below all the other TVs I’ve gone over so far. I truly think this will be one of the most popular TVs of the year.
I need to address the Cognitive Processor XR chip Sony is introducing. It replaces the X1 Ultimate chip I raved about last year, and I have seen what it can do. I believe it is going to be one of the biggest TV trends that sets Sony apart this year.
Honestly, I probably need to do a full explainer on it, but the key takeaways are that Sony is incorporating intel on how people see images along with utilizing all of its different processing elements, cross analyzing all that information, then optimizing the picture.
It sounds like a lot, and it is — it requires a lot of computing horsepower — but from what I have seen, it does some amazing things for picture quality. And I think the fact that it will be in all of the TVs I just talked about is fantastic for Sony fans. Sony is taking a big step up in 2021, and leaving a big imprint at CES 2021.
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