Sony TV 2021 new product experience for the whole series: the audio and picture quality has improved significantly, wait for the party to win!

In early January, Sony took advantage of the CES conference to hold the 2021 TV new product launch online, and launched 5 TVs equipped with XR cognitive chips in one go. Ai Faner also reported for the first time.

Recently, we were invited to Sony’s China headquarters in Shanghai, where we experienced these TVs on the spot, how they improved compared to the previous generation, and where is the wisdom of the XR chip.

Before sharing our experience, let’s review the 5 TVs that have been updated this time: two series of pictures, namely the 8K LCD flagship Z9J and the 4K OLED flagship A90J. The other three models are 4K OLED A80J, 4K LCD X95J and X90J.

At this experience meeting, Sony also revealed the X85J and X80J for the first time. The biggest difference between these two TVs and the previous five is that they do not have the support of the XR cognitive chip and still use the X1 chip. Among them, X80J does not support HDMI2.1 and 120Hz refresh rate, the target is the low-end market.

▲ X8000H vs. X80J, X85J

Overall, the new models of Sony TVs are quite abundant. I finally saw the A9G follow-up product that was absent last year. So next, we will share with you the experience of each TV from the following aspects:

  • chip
  • Picture quality
  • Sound quality
  • Feature
  • New system

On the basis of AI, the XR cognitive chip is coming

This year, except for the X80J and X85J, the other new products are all equipped with XR cognitive chips. There is no distinction between the regular version, the advanced version or the flagship version like the X1 chips in previous years.

▲ X1 series chips

Since the introduction of the DRC series of TV chips in 1997, Sony has introduced XCA and X1 series of chips in the following 20 years. The goal of specialization is picture quality and sound quality.

The same is true for the latest XR cognitive chip. There are two power points: one is XR images, which optimizes detailed textures and restores vivid and true colors; the other is XR sound effects, which automatically convert 2.0 or 5.1 channels to 5.1.2 channels to provide a cinema-like immersion.

First look at the XR picture quality. According to Sony, the XR chip can cross-analyze thousands of elements in the picture in real time. After integration and optimization, it will output a clearer, brighter, and highly dynamic picture.

In this process, the way the XR chip processes the picture is similar to the human brain and eyes. It will think from the perspective of the audience, analyze the resolution of the human eye when viewing the entire screen or a certain area, analyze the focus of the screen, use this point as a reference when processing the entire image, and output a screen close to the naked eye.

This is why the XR chip is called a "cognitive chip", which sounds like a strong metaphysical flavor. What is the specific performance? Let's look at the picture quality section below .

Next is XR sound quality. The improvement of sound quality includes two parts. One is the XR sound localization technology. The chip can independently analyze the position of the sound in the picture and output the sound in the same direction. Just like when you are playing a gunfight game, you wear headphones to listen to the position of the sound. After the XR cognitive chip is processed, the direction of the sound will be stronger, thereby achieving the audio-visual effect of the integration of audio and video.

The second is XR sound surround technology. The XR cognitive chip can convert any sound source into multi-dimensional surround sound. However, the actual listening experience is greatly affected by the hardware quality of the TV speakers. We will also discuss this later.

Picture quality is still the main upgrade point

Picture quality should be the most critical capability of a TV. This year, all new Sony products have been replaced with a new panel code-named "J". With the addition of the XR cognitive chip, the picture quality has changed visible to the naked eye from the previous generation.

The first is the 8K Picture Truth series TV Z9J, which is an upgraded version of Z8H.

Judging from the 4K video source played live, Z9J's 8K line-multiplying technology can convert it to a quality close to 8K. However, the X1 flagship chip of the previous generation can still play in terms of image quality optimization, and the difference in definition between the two is not big.

▲ Z9J on the left, Z8H on the right

What makes people distinguishable at a glance is the brightness of the screen and the presentation of the high dynamic picture. For example, in the picture below, the Z9J on the left is obviously brighter, with richer details on the face and walls, and the mountains and forests in the distance have a better sense of hierarchy.

▲Z9J on the left, Z8H on the right

In the picture below, the hot air balloon in the distance, Z9J can clearly see more information. On the back of the mountain in the lower right corner, the texture of the Z9J is also clearer and stronger. In addition, Z9J also dominates the transparency of the sky and the level of clouds.

▲Z9J on the left, Z8H on the right

In the skin of the characters, the Z9J looks richer, and the atmosphere of the ambient light on the face is very realistic. On the other hand, Z8H presents a gray-toned texture. One small detail is that the XR cognitive chip optimizes the eyes of the characters, so the eyes of the characters on the Z9J are clearer and brighter.

▲Z9J on the left, Z8H on the right

It is worth mentioning that the Z9J has added an X-anti-reflective layer to improve the common light reflection of large-size TVs. After I increased the camera's exposure by several notches, I can see that the reflection of the Z9J is significantly weaker than that of the Z8H.

▲Z9J on the left, Z8H on the right

Next, let's take a look at the upgraded version of the 4K OLED model A8H-A80J.

Frankly speaking, the picture quality level of A8H is already the first echelon in the OLED camp. A80J goes a step further on this basis, and you can find many differences between the two from the figure below.

▲ A8H on the left, A80J on the right

In the sense of hierarchy of the woods, there is not much difference between the two, but the A80J on the right is brighter. The obvious differences are clothes, floor, and roof beams. Whether it is details, brightness or color, the A80J looks better.

The picture below further demonstrates the advantages of A80J brightness enhancement. The characters in the foreground, the grass and the mountains in the background all have more details.

▲A8H on the left, A80J on the right

In the demo of the geopark, A80J is more intense in color performance. XR dynamic contrast enhancement technology also makes the texture on the ground clearer.

▲A8H on the left, A80J on the right

Let's take a look at the 4K OLED painting series-A90J.

As the ceiling of its own OLED TV, the arrival of A90J can be said to be long overdue. This is because in 2020, we did not wait for the A9G upgrade. Maybe A9G is good enough, and Sony needs more time to polish the iteration.

Although it uses the same chip as the A80J, the A90J's panel is "Design by Sony", with higher brightness than the A80J, and the measured peak brightness exceeds 1300nit.

The comparison chart below is very intuitive. The A90J on the right restored the "LAS VEGAS" plaque more realistically. In contrast, A80J has a faint cyan color.

▲ A80J on the left, A90J on the right

In the big scene as shown in the figure below, the high brightness of A90J makes the small town under the sun shine brighter and warmer.

▲A80J on the left, A90J on the right

In the picture below, there are obvious differences in the building on the left side of the river. A80J is slightly darker. The people in the lower left corner are clearly portrayed better by A90J, with fuller details and more eye-catching rendering of the noon light.

▲A80J on the left, A90J on the right

On Double Eleven in 2020, the 4K LCD TV X9000H will become Sony’s own sales champion. The updated X90J this time is an upgraded version of X9000H.

The picture quality comparison between X90J and X9000H is the most noticeable difference in this experience meeting. In the golden lion and the buildings in the background in the picture below, the X90J is much better than the X9000H in terms of brightness, contrast, and color.

▲X9000H on the left, X90J on the right

The higher the brightness, the more realistic the restoration of the highlight scene will be. In the picture below, the X90J is very natural for the restoration of the snow, and the X9000H is like a filter with a cool color, and the raised snow also lacks some sense of hierarchy.

▲X9000H on the left, X90J on the right

Pay attention to the skin color of the character in the picture below. Although the X9000H looks brighter, the problem is that it is somewhat false. The skin tone of X90J is more natural, which is more in line with the real skin tone of Asians.

▲X9000H on the left, X90J on the right

Although we also saw an upgraded version of X9500H-X95J at the scene, since there is no suitable reference for comparison, its image quality will not be evaluated here.

It is worth mentioning that the X95J, like the Z9J, is equipped with a wide-sharp viewing angle and X anti-reflection technology. In addition, I also like the newly designed tripod. The front looks more immersive.

The sound is more three-dimensional, and the bass is deeper

After talking about the picture quality, let's briefly talk about the sound quality.

There are two characteristics that impressed me the most in this experience meeting. First, the sound is more three-dimensional, especially the surround effect of the Z9J, which can echo the real thing. The route the bird flies over, the thunder above the head, and the sense of direction are all good.

▲ Z9J

The other point is that the bass is thicker. As far as the Z9J and X90J we experienced on the spot, both the sense of volume and the sense of texture, they all have an ear improvement over the previous generation. According to Sony staff, these two low-frequency speakers have been redesigned and placed forward, which can bring better bass performance.

But audio is not like picture quality, which can be displayed intuitively through photos. Through the description of others, there is always a taste of metaphysics. Therefore, in terms of sound quality, it is recommended that you go to offline stores to compare and experience.

HDMI 2.1, 4+32GB comes standard

For console gamers, Sony’s upgrade this year is quite impressive. Except for the X80J, all systems come standard with HDMI 2.1 interfaces, which support 120Hz variable refresh rate, 4K+120fps, automatic low-latency mode, and more.

Even if you don't play console games, there is no requirement for interface specifications, but it is undeniable that HDMI 2.1 is the trend in the next few years. This year Sony has taken a crucial step.

▲The design of "non-disturbed base" has also become mainstream

On the other hand, the storage and storage combination of the entire product line has been upgraded to 4+32GB. Daily use is smoother, and more apps can be installed.

It is worth mentioning that all products now support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and are equipped with AI smart far-field voice. In other words, you can enjoy better audiovisual effects on new products, and the success rate of voice control is also higher.

New system, shift to content driven

Compared with Sony mobile phones, the system of Sony TV is easier to use. However, compared with some domestic brands, its operating logic is not so "grounded" and its aesthetics are average.

This time, Sony’s new TVs are equipped with a newly designed system interface. Based on Android 10, from the previous app-driven to content-driven.

Judging from the X80J displayed at the scene, the homepage has become "mine", with some popular movies and TV series featured in it, and the resources are mainly from "Youai Teng". There is also an app list, where you can quickly find the app you want to open.

According to Sony staff, the TV series recommended here are algorithm-based, that is to say, your preferences will be analyzed based on your viewing records, so as to achieve "thousands of people" recommendations.

In terms of aesthetics, it is indeed better than the old system, but there is still room for improvement. Like the "Cinema" column, the posters and typography are slightly rough and not beautiful enough. We look forward to improvements in subsequent versions.

Regarding whether the old model can be upgraded with the new system, we also asked Sony on the spot, and the answer was "the upgrade plan will be launched later."

to sum up

From X80J to Z9J, Sony has taken actions in all price ranges this year, but the goal and strategy remain the same as in 2020, namely high-end and large-screen.

Looking back on my country's color TV market in 2020, this strategic layout is obviously suitable for Sony. Under the influence of the epidemic, the retail volume of my country's color TV market decreased by 20.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, 6.4% year-on-year in the third quarter, and 10.9% year-on-year in the fourth quarter. Only the second quarter was positive, an increase of 3.9%.

From the data point of view, 2020 is not friendly to color TV brands. However, Sony's results are not bad, with the four categories of "10,000 yuan or more", "OLED", "80-inch flat-panel TVs" and "75-inch flat-panel TVs", all of which won first place.

▲ Z9J

This year's new products still stick to this direction. 8K and OLED are still synonymous with high-end. The maximum size of A9J has come to 83 inches, and the X90J has come to 100 inches. All product lines are available in sizes of 75 inches or larger.

On the other hand, the addition of the XR cognitive processor has also brought TV into the "computing era", marking a big step forward for TV on the road of "computing video" and "computing audio."

In addition to the X80J, the HDMI 2.1 interface is standard on all systems, which also weakens the "game" attribute of the X90J series. When buying a TV, gamers can choose more flexibly according to their budget.

However, at this experience meeting, Sony did not announce the price and release date of these new products. Specific information will be announced in the spring. The current information is that the X80J will be the first product to be released, and the date will be around the Spring Festival.

Tell simple and easy-to-read stories. Work email: wanghelong@ifanr.com.

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