Sony's newest Bravia XR sets market a new era in AI processing, and the takeover of Google TV

Sony Bravia XR CES 2021 lineup
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has unveiled its newest Bravia TVs ahead of the virtual CES event. They're big. They've got more pixels than you can possibly count. They're going to look great.

And they also are mark the beginning of the Google TV takeover. The new sets will run Google TV instead of Android TV, as past Bravia sets have done. That's a relatively meaningful distinction for end users, who will notice the better user interface and more focus on content than applications while still maintaining all the smarts that Google can pack in there.

Google TV will span all of the new lines, including Bravia XR, the Master series sets, and the X92, X90J, X95J and A80J models. Also standard across the board is support for ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGenTV, which gives the ability to decode 4K resolution for over-the-air channels. (In addition to all kinds of smart doodads that go along with it.)

The new sets are powered by the "Bravia Cognitive Processor XR," which handles all the processing and unleashes its artificial intelligence computations on specific parts of the screen, separately adjusting color, contrast and detail on just the part of the picture that you're supposed to be focused on, "designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear," Sony says. (Whether that's something we actually want or if it's another setting to be turned off remains to be seen.)

Gamers have plenty to look forward to, of course, including HDMI 2.1 and the ability to play in 4K resolution at up to 120 frames per second. (Variable refresh rates will come via a firmware update, Sony says.)

There's also the new "Bravia Core," which is a sort of hub that showcases content from Sony Pictures Entertainment — including new movies as well as classic films —and streams them in the highest quality it can, at up to 80 Mbps. (More is better, and that's a big number for this sort of thing.)

The new sets are a veritable bowl of alphabet soup, with the Master Series Z9J bringing 8K at 75 and 85 inches, the Master Series A90J OLED at 55, 65 and 83 inches, the A80J OLED line at 55, 65 and 77 inches, the X95J 4K LED line at 65, 75 and 85 inches, and the X92 4K LED line at 50, 55, 65, 75 and 100 inches.

No news on pricing or availability, of course (CES has changed, but not that much), but we'll get more on that front in the spring of 2021. You can check out the full press release here, and the livestreamed event below.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.