2022 Sony XR Bravia Overview
2022 Sony XR Bravia Overview
If you are an old-time fan of Sony TV’s like a lot of us here at Audio Advice, you might remember the year 1985 when Sony introduced their very first XBR TV. It was a 25” model with detachable speakers and had the best TV picture anyone had ever seen. Several models followed it with equally impressive performance, including their famous 34” XBR HDTV around the turn of the century. For decades, the XBR moniker has meant the best TV picture on the market.
Last year, when Sony announced their brand new video processor called the XR, we were very excited about how this could make their great picture even better. But when they said it was such an improvement they were dropping the XBR name and changing all their best TVs to be XR models, we knew this new processor was a huge deal! A year later, Sony has made even more advancements to create the best televisions on the market.
Technology These 18 Models Share
Along with a new QD-OLED, OLED & Full-Array LED models, Sony has introduced their first-ever Mini LED televisions — the Z9K Master Series & X95K.
Sony also highlights their commitment to sustainability this year — some of the new models use 99-percent recycled plastic material, while packaging size has been reduced by 15%, the use of ink by 90%, and plastic by 35%!
We will dive into the new tech many of the 2022 TVs will have in common. We will then go into each model series to describe what you get as you spend more to get Sony’s best technology.
There are 27 different TVs in the 2022 Sony lineup, and 18 of those use the XR processor. Since we are all about the best quality at Audio Advice, we will focus on those models.
Bravia Cognitive Processor XR
Of all the big changes from last year, the XR processor provided the biggest picture improvement over previous models. The XR processor added cognitive intelligence which is actually beyond artificial intelligence to imitate the visual process of the human brain.
The XR processor is looking at every frame of the image and breaking it down into thousands of elements it is processing all at the same time. Sony set out to make their processor look at the image much like the human brain would process real life. Everywhere you look, there are certain parts in your field of vision that you focus on more. The XR processor uses AI to make the picture look more like what you would see in real life.
The video technology used in the new Sony sets has many aspects. There is separate processing going on for each of the critical components of the image: color, contrast, motion, and clarity. To produce a lifelike image, all of these aspects need to be perfectly executed. The job of the XR Cognitive Intelligent Processors is very similar to the director of an orchestra. If you can imagine everything going on inside each of these elements as a musician or group of musicians. The XR processor acts as the director to decide how much of each component to apply to each of the thousands of elements inside every single frame of the image.
Within the groups of color, contrast, motion, and clarity as you move up in the model line, the technology used improves for some aspects, but the XR processor that is doing the directing is identical in all of the new models with this groundbreaking video processor.
Although we hope most of you would plan to add a full surround system or great soundbar to a TV of this level, the XR Cognitive Intelligent Processor also improves the audio if you are using the TV for your movie sound.
Depth Control Mapping
As the most powerful processor on the market, Sony’s XR processor acquires some new super powers this year. One of them is an improvement in depth control — called Depth Control Mapping — which more accurately identifies near objects from the background (especially around the focal points) to present real-life depth with a natural look and feel.
New Color Algorithm
The next improvement in the XR processor includes a new color algorithm that analyzes each frame to control the luminance and saturation for improved color volume. This upgrade allows the XR processor to develop brighter colors not previously recognized in the original XR’s algorithm. By adjusting luminance & controlling saturation in the image, the image will appear more vivid with brighter colors & darker darks over previous models.
XR Triluminos Pro
Sony has been famous for their Triluminos video processing for years which maps colors from a wider palette to reproduce finer gradients of shades and hues. The new XR Triluminos Pro takes this color palette and widens the color space even more through 3D color algorithm processing.
If you have ever seen bands on your TV picture where there are very small gradients of color changes across the whole screen, like you might see in a sunrise image, you have seen what is called banding. Sony has always had a great system to reduce banding but takes it to a new level with the XR processor. 4K images that might have banding on other TV brands will look super smooth on these new sets.
Let’s face it, right now, not all of the content we enjoy is in 4K or even better 8K. Sony has always done a great job of upscaling the incoming signal to 4K or 8K if the set supports it and this year these models have XR Upscaling, which takes advantage of the better processor to turn your 1080p or 1080i signal into something that looks even better.
We have always been very impressed with how well Sony pulled this off as it applies so much to streaming content and we love the fact that Sony keeps improving this technology.
New Sony Bravia Cam
The Bravia Cam is also a high-quality webcam that makes video chatting and conference calls more convenient on your big screen. If you work from home, you could have a video chat in the comfort of your living room on the couch, or in any room where your TV is. The Bravia Cam will work with major video chat services, but their app has to be developed, first. As developers roll out their own apps, Sony confirmed this cool feature will also work with select third-party compatible webcams as well.
Integrated Smart TV w/ Google TV & Built-In Streaming
The new 2022 models continue with the Google TV support with great search features. Using Google Assistant, you can organize your content or even use it to find your remote! Google Assistant is built-in, but the TV is also compatible with Alexa, letting you incorporate the TV into your preferred smart home system.
If you want a big library of 4K content, Sony has come to the rescue with their Bravia Core streaming platform. This is included on all of the models with the new XR processor and gives you access to the huge library of Sony content. The really great news for those of us with high-speed internet is their Pure Stream technology. You’ll need 100 down to get the full benefit, but this gives you the same picture quality as a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc. With the largest library of IMAX Enhanced content available, the Bravia Core app is pretty darn cool!
This is a subscription service, but every TV comes with a free time period from 1-2 years and some credits for movie purchases that vary based on the model.
You will want a good WiFi system in your home to make the best use of this service as the hard-wired jack on the back of the TV will not support these speeds, but the WiFi antennas do.
One big pro of using the built-in apps is Sony’s Calibrated for Netflix mode which brings studio quality picture & sound. Sony and Netflix engineers worked together to develop a system that delivers content closer to the original source. This does work fantastically using the built-in apps on a Sony TV that supports the Calibrated for Netflix mode.
As you might expect, these all support Airplay2, Alexa, Homekit, Google Home, and all have a voice remote.
For anyone lucky enough to have a new gaming console, this is a big deal! HDMI 2.1 supports up to a 48Gbps peak bit rate and 120 frames per second on 4K content. The great news is latency is reduced to as low as 8.5ms if you use the ALLM Game mode on the new Sony sets. If you are into competitive gaming, these features will give you a big edge in shooting, sports, and other games with instant on-screen action.
All of these sets have at least two HDMI 2.1 inputs onboard that support this higher speed (4K120/VRR/ALLM/48Gbps), so you can connect two next-gen gaming consoles. If you game on the Sony PS5, there’s a special Auto HDR Tone Mapping feature that will gives you the best picture. We also like the fact that all of the new Sony models have eARC. ARC stands for audio return channel. This tech sends the audio signal back down to your home theater receiver or soundbar via a compatible HDMI cable.
eARC upgrades ARC to send full Dolby Atmos immersive audio back into your soundbar or receiver. This also applies to enjoying Netflix using the Netflix calibrated mode as you will need to use the app on the TV.
We should point out that of the two high-speed inputs, one of them is the eARC input. So, if you are using eARC to get your audio back into your system, this really only gives you one input for 2.1, unless you go all out and splurge for the flagship Z9K model, which has three high-speed HDMI 2.1 inputs onboard.
Sony has maintained their new multi-position stand from 2021 that offers a variety of placement options. If you have ever tried to put a soundbar in front of a TV, quality soundbars are often taller than the TV image sits off the surface. These new models have stands you can adjust to have the TV sitting either flush to the top of your TV stand or raise up the TV enough to clear just about any soundbar.
Now we will get into the 8 new series that Sony has introduced for 2022.
2022 Sony Bravia XR Television Models
Sony Bravia XR-X90K 4K Full-Array LED TV
Screen Type: Full-Array LED | Available Sizes: 55”, 65”, 75”, 85” | Replaces: X90J
You’ll get most of the great Sony technology mentioned above at some very affordable prices, including a full-array LED backlight that provides precisely localized lighting across the entire screen.
The XR processor uses Sony’s XR Contrast Booster to improve the picture contrast. These models have XR Contrast Booster 10, which is improved over last year's models of XR Contrast Booster 5. The XR Contrast Booster 10 produces a dramatic picture with bright highlights and great black levels. Sony's XR Triluminos Pro further enhances the picture by reproducing a wide color spectrum for excellent textural detail and natural skin tones.
If you’re into gaming, the XR-X90K pairs well with your PC or next-gen console with a dedicated Game Mode that delivers an input lag as low as 8.5ms. It supports Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), 4K at 120Hz, and enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) out of the box. Auto HDR Tone Mapping provides more accurate detail and color reproduction when using a PS5. Sony says this TV will ship out of the box at launch with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) for smooth graphics without frame tearing or stuttering.
As the entry point into Sony’s impressive XR tech, this model gives you the option to add Sony’s new Bravia Cam later. For someone looking to get into that great Sony picture and stay on a budget, the X90K offers a whole lot of bang for the buck and covers the most popular sizes with tons of smart features built-in.
2022 Sony Premium Series Models
Sony Bravia XR-X95K 4K Mini LED TV
Screen Type: Mini LED | Available Sizes: 65”, 75”, 85” | Replaces: X95J
The X95K models are the top of the line for 4K LED models and replace the X95J Full-Array LED from last year. You get everything we discussed in the global overview, plus more. This year, Sony introduced their first ever Mini LED in the X95K. The already stellar performance of Sony’s LED technology has been further evolved with thousands of significantly smaller LED lights, allowing an even more crisp, bright image. We feel this series is a pretty big jump up from the X95J. These come in sizes of 65”, 75”, and 85”.
The super dense Mini LEDs paired with Sony’s XR Backlight Master Drive deliver incredibly precise light control with exceptional contrast. Sony’s XR Contrast Booster 15 delivers brighter highlights, more natural mid-tones, and deeper blacks by dimming some areas of the screen while boosting others.
This new technology also reduces “blooming” (known as the halo effect) that you often see around brightly lit objects on dark backgrounds. The X95K features Sony's X-Anti Reflection and X-Wide Angle technologies to help you keep enjoying a beautiful picture if you watch your TV off-axis. The X95K models have what Sony calls their X-Anti Reflection surface that reduces glare on your screen. This is great if you have light spilling into your room and onto your TV set. Interestingly, it’s the same surface tech Sony uses on their top-of-the-line 8K Mini LED panels too.
The XR processor in the X95K, along with 3D Surround Upscaling technology contribute to richer, more involving sound that creates a heightened Atmos-like sound field. The Acoustic Multi-Audio tech uses sound-positioned tweeters in the back of the TV that tracks the action on the screen. If you pair the X95K up with a Sony compatible soundar such as the Sony HT-5000 or Sony HT-7000, the Acoustic Center Sync synchronizes the built-in speakers for even better sound.
Sony Bravia XR-A80K 4K HDR OLED
Screen Type: OLED | Available Sizes: 55”, 65”, 77” | Replaces: A80J
OLED TVs have always appealed to video purists as they can deliver perfect inky blacks. When you couple a great OLED panel with Sony’s XR processor, you get an even more amazing picture.
The A80K models come in 55”, 65”, & 77” sizes and replace the A80J models from last year. They include most of the same great Sony tech mentioned previously, but the A80K models use a new high luminance OLED panel combined with Sony’s new XR OLED Contrast Pro engine to produce purer, deeper blacks with even better color reproduction for a picture that is full of depth and detail.
Pairing an OLED panel with Sony’s special XR OLED Contrast Pro tech really boosts the color and contrast even in rooms with a lot of ambient light coming in, so you get really deep, inky blacks with the brightness of an LED panel. These also support HDR10 which is essential for streaming 4K & 4K Blu-ray content so you get the brightest colors that look like they really pop off the screen. Brightness and color levels also adjust scene-by-scene in response to the video signal with Dolby Vision.
This model also includes Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ and Acoustic Center Sync. If you are looking at all the best OLED panels on the market, the Sony A80K provides a lot of value for an affordable price.
2022 Sony Master Series Models
The Sony Master Series is the best of the best and consists of three new models — the Z9K Mini LED, A95K QD-OLED, and the A90K OLED. Carrying over from Sony’s 2021 TV lineup, the A90J OLED remains in the lineup. Sony puts their highest grade components and best build quality into these sets. Then, after each panel comes off the production line, every single one is individually calibrated! When you want the best picture quality on the planet, choose the Sony Master Series.
Sony Bravia XR-A90J 4K HDR OLED
Screen Type: OLED | Available Sizes: 55”, 65”, 83”
The XR-A90J was released in 2021 and carries over into this year’s lineup. The A90J models come in 55”, 65”, & 83” sizes and remain in 2022 as one of Sony’s top-of-the-line OLED TVs. This OLED has won several awards throughout 2021, so if you want an 83” OLED panel, then this is one of the best OLED TVs available. We love the image an OLED panel can produce, but until the A90J was released in 2021, if you wanted a bright image, you had to go with LED.
In 2021, Sony improved brightness in this OLED by a combination of mechanical and software technology. First, they laminate a piece of aluminum to the back of the OLED panel. This serves as a heat sink which allows them to push the OLED panel harder with no heat issues.
Then they use a special temperature mapping technology to map the heat of the aluminum heat sink. This is all fed into the XR processor which analyzes the image and the panel to enable Sony to give you a great picture with the brightness of an LED, which is just incredible. Sony calls this combination of great tech XR OLED Contrast Pro and it is in every one of these sizes.
The A90J also adds a color sensor to the light sensor which actually looks at the color temperature of the light hitting the set and adjusts the white balance accordingly.
For those of you using the TV for audio, the A90J models have bigger and more powerful actuators, featuring Acoustic Surface Audio+. Although we feel for a set with a picture this good, you should get an audio system to match.
Sony Bravia XR-A90K 4K HDR OLED
Screen Type: OLED | Available Sizes: 42”, 48”
Sony's flagship MASTER Series OLED is consistently one of the most highly rated TVs available — and yet, somehow, they always manage to improve it every year. This year, they've got a few surprises up their sleeve including smaller panel sizes that will be great for gaming. The A90K models come in 42” & 48” sizes and these use the same new high luminance panel from the A80K OLED models with Sony’s XR OLED Contrast Pro engine — but as a Master Series set, Sony put their highest grade components and their best build quality into these models.
This model includes all of the same great Sony tech mentioned previously, but the two compact sizes makes this set a great choice as a gaming display or for general use in smaller rooms — there’s even a high-position stand available that turns the TV into a high-performance OLED gaming monitor.
The new high luminance OLED panel combined with Sony’s new XR OLED Contrast Pro engine gives this one a big boost in color and contrast even in brightly lit rooms with a lot of ambient light coming in, so you get peak brightness with those deep, inky blacks only a great OLED panel will deliver.
Overall, for the gamer who wants the best OLED TV with all of the features required for high-performance gaming on next-gen consoles, this OLED model is ergonomically designed with the highest build quality and engineered with the highest-grade tech available for a stunning picture that is full of depth and detail.
Sony Bravia XR-A95K QD-OLED
Screen Type: QD-OLED | Available Sizes: 55”, 65” | Improves on 2021 XR-A90J model that carries over into the 2022 lineup
Moving up the Master Series line, the new Bravia XR-A95K is the first QD-OLED ever released by a major manufacturer, and this improves on the 2021 XR-A90J model that carries over into this year’s lineup. The Bravia XR-A95K uses a new panel with a completely new QD-OLED (Quantum Dot layer) technology — and since Sony already makes the best processors in the industry, this year Sony made the really smart decision to use the best panels in the industry — giving consumers the best picture, features, and tech available, anywhere.
As a completely new technology, this QD-OLED panel is only available in 55” and 65” sizes, but the boost in brightness is huge. With the A95K, you get a big boost in color brightness of up to 200% compared to conventional OLED tech — and when you compare this new tech to the panel used in Sony’s best OLED TV ever — the A90J — there is less image retention sometimes found with conventional OLEDs and the picture on the new A95K QD-OLED is just incredible.
Since Sony makes the best processors, the QD-OLED tech in this panel uses everything Sony already knows about high-performance image processing — letting Sony's XR Triluminos Max technology squeeze every last drop of performance from the new panel to give you the best color reproduction and a very bright picture.
You get all of the same great Sony features and tech as the previous models, but with the QD-OLED panel, you’ll get the distinct advantages of brighter saturation of colors. The A95K delivers vibrant colors and realistic texture at any brightness level, along with the great contrast that made OLED TVs famous. With XR OLED Contrast Pro, the A95K adjusts brightness for peaks in glare and shadowy blacks so that the image is not too washed out or too dark to see.
The A95K's XR processor also contributes to a richer, more involving sound. The 3D Surround Upscaling technology can create a heightened Atmos-like sound field regardless of the source. Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology tracks sound effects and dialogue and match them with the on-screen action, creating an even more immersive experience.
Instead of the small and often down-firing speakers that you’ll find in most TVs, the XR-A95K uses actuators on the back to send vibrations through the screen to produce sound from its entire surface. The television can even function as your center channel in a traditional home theater setup with a separate receiver using Center Speaker Mode, which allows dialogue, effects, and music to come directly from the screen. Pretty cool!
Sony Bravia XR Z9K 8K Mini LED TV
Screen Type: Mini LED | Available Sizes: 75”, 85” | Replaces: Z9J
This year, along with the new A95K QD-OLED, Sony has also introduced their new Master Series Mini LED — the Z9K. At Audio Advice, we are really excited about the cool tech in this new flagship 8K model.
While there is not much in the way of 8K content on the market, there are still big reasons to consider an 8K panel. With the XR Processing power and thousands of tiny densely packed 8K Mini LEDs, the Z9K upscales any content close to 8K resolution, allowing you to see the fine details and textures on an immersive 75” or 85” screen!
A Mini LED is a lot smaller than a traditional LED. Since the size of Mini LEDs has been reduced to be so small, Mini LED-based TVs use thousands of tiny, miniaturized LEDs to power the backlight — illuminating what you see on the screen. — and since you have more LEDs in a Mini LED panel, you can control the black levels better.
With conventional LEDs, there are some challenges manufacturers have to work around, but not every brand has done nearly as well as Sony has. One of the most common challenges is “blooming” — also known as the “halo effect.” Blooming happens when the light from brightly lit objects on a screen “bleed” into the darker surrounding areas, creating a halo effect around the object, hence the name.
The effect is very noticeable in rooms with all the lights dimmed. When trying to watch your movie in a completely dark room, you may have noticed the effect around very brightly lit objects that are isolated against dark backgrounds — such as a street light, stars dotting the night sky, or even subtitles.
While Sony has achieved incredible contrast ratios with conventional full-array local LED dimming, Mini LED technology takes everything Sony knows about high-performance image processing and squeezes every last drop of performance from the panel tech to give you the best of both worlds — so you get the inky black levels like an OLED, the brightest colors possible of a traditional LED panel.
As Sony’s top-of-the-line Mini LED television, the Z9K comes with major improvements over the 2021 Z9J and includes all of the upgrades for 2022. With Sony’s XR Contrast Booster 20, the Z9K tops out the 2022 models in terms of peak brightness and provides better color reproduction compared to the Z9J. As the flagship Mini LED, this model is the second model in the 2022 Master series lineup to bundle Sony’s new Bravia Cam with the TV.
Sony’s XR Backlight Master Drive precisely controls each and every one of those densely packed Mini LEDs for exceptional contrast, so you get very bright highlights and deep, inky blacks on a glorious 75” or 85” screen. To see an 85” picture upscaled to 8K is super impressive. And we just can’t wait to see how good the IMAX Enhanced content on Bravia Core looks on these great new 8K models!
Acoustic Multi-Audio combined with the XR Processor ensures that you’ll always get 3D audio, regardless of your source and without the need for additional gear. Sony’s innovative frame tweeter design allows the TV’s frame to produce sound and can be projected vertically or to the side and positioned where the source of a sound appears on-screen. This cool acoustic tech also combines with Sony’s new Bravia Cam, which can detect your proximity to the screen or sense your motion that will adjust the sound coming out and even the brightness based on the axis of your seating position. Super cool!
We hope this overview of the new XR models from Sony has been helpful in understanding the differences. At Audio Advice, we have been fans of Sony TVs for decades. Sony also has by far and away the best customer support in the industry. There is just no comparison to the other big brands when it comes to customer service.
You really can not go wrong with any Sony TV as they all have incredible pictures, but we can say, as you move up, you will get an even better quality picture. This year, more than ever before, the step-up models are well worth the price difference when you consider most of us keep a TV for at least 10 years if not more.