Sony goes big (and small) on OLED TVs for CES 2022
New OLED and mini-LED TVs join the Bravia XR family
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During CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Sony unveiled its 2022 TV and home theater lineup, including a range of new OLED and mini-LED televisions aiming at picture quality dominance and a premium user experience.
The new series being showcased at the massive electronics show in Vegas include the Z95K, X95K, X90K, A95K, A90K, and A80K. There's also a suite of upgrades to Sony's core approach to the TV experience in the form of a new webcam and an enhanced Cognitive Processor XR. Here's what we know so far.
2022 Bravia XR Highlights
According to Sony's CES press releases, these new Bravia XR TVs will utilize the company's proprietary Cognitive Processor XR, designed to cross-analyze on-screen images to add realistic depth, contrast, and color. In the flagship sets, you'll get the XR Backlight Master Drive powering mini-LED backlights by way of a uniquely tailored algorithm.
Many series will also support a form of Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio+ or Acoustic Multi-Audio, the former being a method by which rear-placed speakers play through the TV's screen, creating subtle vibrations to make for a more immersive soundscape. Naturally, Sony's 2022 TVs will also play nice with forms of Sony's 360 Spatial Sound (on headphones or Bluetooth speakers).
Sony has also claimed that its 2022 TVs will support Variable Refresh Rate at launch, which is great news for gamers. Bravia XR TVs will also be specially designed to function with Sony's PlayStation 5 in a way other TVs can't.
If you thought the days of webcams on TVs were behind us, think again. Sony's most surprising announcement must be the new Bravia Cam, a TV-mounted webcam that's intended to watch and listen to your living room, adjusting elements like picture brightness or sound emphasis depending on where you're sitting or the ambient light in the room. This feature, which Sony is calling Ambient Optimization Pro, "recognizes where users are in the room and how far they are from the TV, then adjusts sound and picture settings so they're just right," according to Sony.
Fortunately, the Bravia Cam sounds like it is as geared towards enhancing your watching and listening experience (as well as Sony's own eco-friendly efforts for 2022) as it is Zoom calls with grandma. We'll have to wait and see it for ourselves to make a final call.
With all that in mind, here's what we know about Sony's 2022 TV models. At this time, all pricing and availability is slated to be announced this spring.
Master Series Z9K
Sony's flagship series for 2022, the Master Series Z9K is an 8K mini-LED TV available in 85- and 75-inch variants. Regardless of which size you spring for, the Z9K 8K TVs feature every single one of Sony's bevy of picture/sound enhancements for 2022, including the new Cognitive Processor XR, XR Backlight Master Drive (tuned specifically for the Z9K's mini-LEDs), XR Triluminos Pro (which is Sony's way of confirming that the Z9K will have quantum dot color), and XR Contrast Booster.
While Sony's Bravia XR TVs are sporting a lot of jargon this year, such as "X-Anti Reflection" and "X-Wide Angle," the implied picture quality enhancements—an anti-reflective coating and wider viewing angles—are just what you'd expect from a set of flagship 8K TVs. The Z9K TVs also feature a sound upgrade called Acoustic Multi-Audio, which places four frame tweeters at the top and either side of the TV—these in addition to the standard front-firing speakers and subwoofers. The Z9K is also one of the 2022 TVs that features the new Bravia Cam by default, as well as Sony's newer remote with hands-free voice capabilities.
Finally, the Z9K TVs will use a "Minimalist One Slate" design with "Seamless Edge," which uses a single pane of tempered glass to lend the Z9K TVs the kind of premium finish that's worthy of their flagship status. They'll also be configurable with three stand positions—narrow (for smaller TV stands), standard, and "soundbar" width.
Master Series X95K
The top of Sony's 4K TV lineup this year, the Master Series X95K comprises three 4K mini-LED variants in 85-, 75-, and 65-inch models. Like the 8K Z9K models, the X95K TVs feature Sony's Cognitive Processor XR, XR Backlight Master Drive (for advanced mini-LED TV control), XR Triluminos Pro, and XR Contrast Booster.
The X95K TVs will likewise receive Sony's improved screen reflectivity and viewing angle upgrades. At present, it sounds like the only picture quality difference between the Z9K and X95K series is the former's 8K resolution, which offers four times as many pixels as 4K TVs—though, at present, there is very little content being captured natively in 8K.
The X95K series will also support Sony's Acoustic Multi-Audio initiative (with frame tweeters in addition to front-firing and subwoofers) and includes the Bravia Cam accessory standard. It will also utilize the same Minimalist One Slate/Seamless Edge design as the Z9K and feature the same three-way stand design.
Master Series A90K
The new Master Series A90K makes Sony's premium OLED TV tech available in smaller screen sizes, in 48- and 42-inch variants. These smaller OLED TVs are a first for Sony, and as impressive as the mini-LED-equipped Master Series TVs are, the small A90K OLEDs may be the most exciting Sony TVs for a wider audience. Sony has alluded that the A90K is the direct successor to last year's A90J, which may continue to be sold in its larger sizes into 2022.
Like the other Master Series models, the A90K TVs feature Sony's Cognitive Processor XR, plus an OLED-specific lighting algorithm called XR OLED Contrast Pro. Like Sony's 2021 OLEDs, the A90K will support Sony's Acoustic Surface audio functionality, which allows their screens to vibrate with audio and enhance immersion: Hidden in the super-slim panels, you're getting two actuators and two subwoofers.
Like the other Master Series TVs, the A90K comes with Sony's premium remote with hands-free voice capabilities. The Bravia Cam is not included, however, though it is compatible with the A90K sets. Finally, these OLED displays feature a two-way stand: standard and soundbar (but no "narrow" mode like the other Master Series sets).
If you're looking for larger OLED TVs, the A80K series will be available in more traditional 77-, 65-, and 55-inch sizes, also featuring Cognitive Processor XR and XR OLED Contrast Pro. You'll also still be getting Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio, which allows the screen to vibrate with audio thanks to rear-mounted actuators—all told, there are three actuators and two subwoofers.
Like the Master Series A90K, the A80K doesn't include the Bravia Cam standard, but is compatible with it. You're also not getting the premium Sony remote with this set, though the standard remote still includes hands-free voice capabilities. The A80K utilizes a "Metal Flush Surface" design and the same three-way design as the flagship sets, with narrow, standard, and soundbar positions for the feet.
The only "standard" LED TV revealed within Sony's 2022 lineup so far (meaning no mini-LED backlights for finer contrast control), the X90K series will be available in 85-, 75-, 65-, and 55-inch sizes. However, the X90K is still a premium Sony series in 2022, featuring Sony's Cognitive Processor XR, a full-array LED panel with quantum dots, and similar degrees of the XR Triluminos Pro and XR Contrast Booster features found on the Master Series sets.
The X90K also features Sony's Acoustic Multi-Audio enhancement with two sound-positioning tweeters (in addition to its regular TV speakers) and is compatible with the Bravia Cam. Naturally, these TVs deliver a minimalist design and (like the others) feature multiple stand positions: a standard position and a soundbar position.
While we can't comment on the prowess of any of Sony's 2022 TVs until we get them into the lab for testing, if they're anything like last year's models, we're in for some beautiful screens in 2022. In the meantime, stay tuned to Reviewed for all our CES 2022 coverage.