Sony Bravia XR 2021: Features the XR cognitive chip, the Bravia Core streaming platform, and HDMI 2.1

Sony unveiled the TVs that will be in stores this year at the beginning of January, just a few days before CES kicked off. In that presentation, we could see that the 2021 range comes with important new features, such as the Bravia XR cognitive processor and the new Bravia Core streaming service.

As in previous years, this brand maintains its commitment to TVs with OLED and LCD panels, but the new models not only premiere the Bravia XR processing engine; they also come with full HDMI 2.1 connectivity and Google TV, the operating system that will be displacing Android TV this year.

Bravia XR 2021: these are the new Sony OLED and LCD TVs

This brand in its new batch of TVs proposes some models that stand out quite clearly from last year’s generation. As I mentioned in the first paragraphs of the article, most of them come with a new image processor, a new operating system, and full HDMI 2.1 support.

The table below summarizes the main features of the new TVs, and, as you can see, all of them maintain support for Dolby Vision and Atmos, but, like previous years’ models, they lack HDR10+ support.

PanelFull Array LEDOLEDOLEDFull Array LEDFull Array LEDEdge LED
Resolution8K (7680 × 4320 dots)4K (3840 x 2160 dots)4K (3840 x 2160 dots)4K (3840 x 2160 dots)4K (3840 x 2160 dots)4K (3840 x 2160 dots)
Available Sizes75 and 85 inches55, 65 and 85 inches55, 65 and 77 inches65, 75 and 85 inches50, 55, 65 and 75 inches43, 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches
Image ProcessorBravia XR CognitiveBravia XR CognitiveBravia XR CognitiveBravia XR CognitiveBravia XR CognitiveBravia X1
BacklightXR Contrast Booster 15XR OLED Contrast ProXR OLED Contrast ProXR Contrast Booster 10XR Contrast Booster 54K X-Reality Pro
SoundAcoustic Multi-AudioAcoustic Surface Audio +Acoustic Surface Audio +Acoustic Multi-AudioAcoustic Multi-AudioX-Balanced Speaker
Dolby CompatibilityDolby Vision and Dolby AtmosDolby Vision and Dolby AtmosDolby Vision and Dolby AtmosDolby Vision and Dolby AtmosDolby Vision and Dolby AtmosDolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Operating SystemGoogle TV – hands-freeGoogle TV – hands-freeGoogle tvGoogle TV – hands-freeGoogle tvGoogle tv
HDMI 2.1YesYesYesYesYesYes

One more note: according to Sony the A90J model is the OLED panel TV with the highest brightness delivery capability of all models with this technology that this brand has launched so far. This should allow you to get more out of Dolby Vision and HDR10 content, so we hope to have the opportunity to test it in the future to find out what impact this improvement has on our experience.

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The heart of the new range is its cognitive processor, the Bravia XR chip

The innovation that Sony has introduced in this image processor clearly distinguishes it from the engines that this brand has integrated so far into their televisions. According to company spokespeople, the Bravia XR image engine is capable of analyzing each frame in real-time to identify the focal point that is capturing the attention of people watching the screen.

Bravia XR chip

The purpose of this original strategy is to adapt the image processing to the real perception of the human being, putting more emphasis on those areas of each frame that have a direct impact on our evaluation of the image quality. Sounds good, no doubt, but we will have to wait until we have the opportunity to test one of the TVs incorporating this processor to confirm whether it has a perceptible impact on picture and sound quality.

Yes, also in the sound. Sony has confirmed that this processor is capable of analyzing the audio in real-time to improve its spatial accuracy and offer a more accurate surround sound even if the source does not implement multichannel audio. Like the image, it looks good, but we will have to try it to get an accurate idea of the performance of this technology.

The Bravia XR TVs incorporate the new Bravia Core, Sony’s streaming service.

Sony Bravia

All TVs in the Bravia XR family, including the most modest model, the X85J, incorporate Sony’s new streaming service, known as Bravia Core. This platform allows users to access more than 100 movies from Sony Pictures, and some of them are available in IMAX Enhanced format, a feature that will possibly attract the attention of some moviegoers. It will be interesting to see how these TVs deal with the IMAX format.

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To use this streaming service, it is not necessary to pay a monthly subscription. Whoever buys one of these TVs will be able to play some movies for free, and will also have several credits that will allow them to access the paid movies without facing any expenses as long as they have some credit available. The Z9J and A90J models come with 10 credits, and the other TVs come with 5 credits to spend on pay movies.

One last interesting note about this service: according to Sony, the Bravia Core platform uses PureStream technology to deliver a minimum bitrate of 30 Mbps, which will reach 80 Mbps in optimal conditions when playing 4K UHD content. The maximum bitrate of the platforms that offer the highest image quality does not usually exceed 40 Mbps at any time, so the improvement should be noticeable.

Sony Bravia XR (2021): Price and Availability

Sony has not yet confirmed the price of the new TVs of the Bravia XR family but has revealed that the first to arrive in stores will be the A90 model, which will be available in April. The others will be arriving gradually from that time. As soon as we have more information we will update this article to include it.

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