Sony TVs in 2022: These are the most important innovations: It looks like 2022 will be an important year for Sony TV. After all, there are a lot of novelties on the list, and they are not limited to minor cosmetic procedures or the traditional upgrade of the image processing. What can you expect?
You can expect innovation in the domains below. Time to shed some light on all those items in more detail.
Sony TVs in 2022: These are the most important innovations
New screen technology: QD-OLED
The time has finally come in 2022 that we can welcome a new screen technology. It is QD OLED. This screen technology was developed by Samsung Display, but it is not yet clear whether Samsung Electronics will actually use it this year. Sony has seized its chance. We already wrote about QD-OLED following all kinds of new technologies that are expected, but we are working on a specific article about QD-OLED. For now you can still go to the old article.
QD-OLED is a screen technique in which both OLED and quantum dots are used. A blue OLED layer serves as the light source, and the red and green quantum dots ensure the conversion to red and green light. QD-OLED would thus combine the advantages of OLED and quantum dots. It gets the pixel-precise and near-perfect contrast from OLED. Like the A90J last year, the A95K is equipped with a cooling film and the processor accurately measures the heating in different zones of the screen to prevent image retention.
Quantum dots give it an even wider color range, which is also available in the brightest shades. After all, on OLED screens, very bright colors can tend to white due to the use of the white subpixel. As an added benefit, QD-OLED does not use a color filter, so it has a wider viewing angle for brightness and color, even wider than OLED. Sony traditionally doesn’t give numbers, so there’s no indication of maximum peak brightness.
Sony will deploy QD-OLED on one model, the A95K, available in 55 and 65 inches. It also does that under the name OLED, and not under the name QD-OLED, it seems. You can recognize QD-OLED at Sony by the name XR Triluminos Max, the traditional OLEDs use XR Triluminos Pro. The device will have the iconic One Slate design that we know from Sony’s first OLED, the A1, where the footplate points backwards and is therefore invisible at the front. You can also mount them forward if you want to place the TV close to the wall.
New screen technology: miniLED
Sony also has something in store for the LCD models in 2022. It now also introduces miniLED TVs. This technique was already used by many other manufacturers last year. It is a Full Array Local Dimming backlight which uses very small LEDs. That offers a number of important advantages. Of course you can also create smaller zones with smaller LEDs, although Sony does not disclose how many zones their devices will have. But because miniLEDs produce a smaller, more compact beam of light, they can also offer higher peak brightness, and there is less chance of ‘blooming’. Sony did point out that it is very important to drive the miniLEDs smartly. Due to their higher peak brightness, the edge of a high contrast object is just more likely to make a zone boundary visible. The easiest way to counteract that is to make the entire object dimmer. Sony’s processor, however, would be able to better detect the distribution of brightness on the screen and smartly adjust the brightness with that information. This way the image still retains sharp, clear accents with less risk of visible zone boundaries. It remains to be seen how good that will be in practice.
Sony is introducing miniLEDs under the name XR Backlight Master Drive on two models: the Z9K (8K, available in 85 and 75 inches) and X95K (4K, available in 85, 75 and 65 inches).
XR Cognitive Processor
The XR cognitive Processor was Sony’s most important novelty in 2021. This year it is mainly about smaller improvements. For example, the new version will be even better able to detect what is in the foreground and what is in the background. The objects in the foreground get a little more detail and focus, and the background is slightly suppressed. The result is a kind of bokeh effect as we know it from photography. The processor also received a new algorithm to adjust colors not only for lightness but also for saturation.
Adjusting the image based on the lighting conditions in the room is given more attention. All models from the X80K will be able to adjust the maximum brightness. Models from the X90K will also be able to adjust the brightness curve, and the Z9K, A95K and X95K will even adjust the color temperature based on the ambient light.
For Netflix, there will be a Netflix Adaptive Calibrated Mode, which gives the best image results and takes the lighting conditions into account. It uses the light sensor for this and adjusts the brightness curve with an exclusive Netflix algorithm.
Improved sound performance
Sony continues to position sound in images, as we already knew under the name ‘Acoustic Audio Surface+’ and ‘Acoustic Multi Audio’. Of course, the new A95K Acoustic Surface also gets Audio+. The QD-OLED TV will be equipped with a 60 Watt sound system. We also see that most devices get a slightly more powerful solution. From the X90K and above, the TVs are also equipped with Acoustic Center Sync, which means you can integrate them into the Sony HT-A9 and HT-A7000 audio solutions. The A95K and A90K would also have speaker terminals to connect them directly to an AVR as a center speaker, for example.
The return of the camera to TV
Indeed, he has been back. The Bravia Cam is a Full HD webcam that (for the Z9K and A95K) sits magnetically on top of your TV, or (for the other models) is connected to the TV via USB. Because Sony is all too aware of the privacy impact, there is a simple slider at the top of the camera with which you physically switch it off and slide a cover in front of the lens. This could also be done via the menus. The camera does not store any private data or transmit any data. Information such as viewing distance and other things that are stored on the camera can be removed via the menu.
What is a camera on your TV for? In the first place you can of course video chat with it. That will be possible with Google Duo (and later through other apps), but there’s a lot more to come, too. The camera will also be used for Ambient Optimization Pro. Picture and sound are adjusted for your seat. With picture it is about adjusting the brightness and with sound the dialogue is emphasized (based on viewing distance) and the TV adjusts the sound balance based on where you sit. With several people he aims at who is in the middle.
We are also seeing a return to gesture control. We’re a bit skeptical about that, gestures were never a good way to control the TV, but the previous implementations date back to 2014, so we hope that has improved a lot.
If you have children at home who are always too close to the TV, the Bravia Cam has an alarm for that. When the camera detects that someone is too close, a pop-up will appear. If that person stays there, a warning sounds and a message appears that covers the entire screen.
Something more useful in these times of soaring electricity prices is the ‘Auto Power Save’. As soon as the camera detects no one in front of the screen, it dims the TV. You can set when that happens from 1 to 60 minutes.
The Bravia Cam is bundled with the Z9K and A95K, and is optionally available on all models from the X80K.
A new remote
In 2022, Sony will also switch to a more compact remote. It is 36% smaller and contains only 25 (instead of 49) keys. Main victims are, as usual, the numeric keys. In addition, the remote has a flat surface and a special coating that makes it easy to clean. There is still a premium version, with backlit keys. You will not lose this version anymore, it will have a find function. On command (OK google, find my remote) the remote will sound a beep.
Collaboration with other Sony divisions
Sony continues with the ‘Perfect for PS5’ campaign. The PS5 will automatically detect which Bravia XR TV you connect and adjust the tone mapping of the games for optimal results. The TV also automatically switches between game mode and standard mode, depending on what you’re watching on your PS5.
Gamers can rest assured, all 2022 models will have VRR, ALLM and support for 4K120 from the start. The updates for the 2021 models are on the way. Sony could not tell us yet whether these new models will also support 4K120+VRR and Dolby Vision at the same time.
The Bravia Core film service will also remain present, it will also receive a specific ‘Bravia Core Calibrated’ mode for the best image. Sony had no further details about the future of Bravia Core, although there are a lot of new films or on the release schedule.