The Sony TV 2021 lineup may just be the smartest, fastest and most feature-rich lineup of TVs the Japanese company has ever released. That’s big praise, of course, but with a new Cognitive XR Processor coming to every new Sony TV, from the high-end Master Series all the way down to the mid-spec X900J, it sounds like it might be true.
Sony doesn’t have quite the scale of Samsung, perhaps, when it comes to TVs, but we’ve still got our eyes on a good handful of new televisions coming this year – including the pricing for some of its high-end sets.
Sony will have to improve on a pretty stellar 2020 showing, of course, including a foray into 48-inch OLED sizes with the A9/A9S, the excellent mid-price A8H OLED, and firmware updates for the XH90 and Z8H that magicked their HDMI ports into the latest HDMI 2.1 standard – something we’ll be seeing a lot more of this year, now that Sony’s PS5 console is available to buy.
However, we think Sony is already off to a great start. For example, the Sony A90J OLED specs have now been released, which is set to be Sony’s flagship 4K OLED TV for 2021 – and there are plenty of reasons to pay attention to it if you’re in the market for a new high-end set this year.
Thankfully, naming conventions a bit simplified this time around too. Last year’s ‘X900H/XH90’ is being succeeded by the far simpler ‘X90J’, meaning US and UK shoppers alike are using the same brief terminology – even if those letters are rearranged to ‘XJ90’ in the rest of Europe.
So what’s the difference between a X95J and a X90J? Is it worth saving money by picking the Sony A80J OLED over the Sony A90J? You’ve got questions about the Sony TV lineup, and we’ve got answers. Read on for every Sony TV announced for 2021 so far, as well as a run-down of the technologies supported in this year’s sets.
New Sony TVs for 2021
Sony Z9J Master Series LED-LCD 8K TV (available in 85- and 75-inches): The only 8K TV we know about in Sony’s 2021 lineup is the Z9J Master Series.
What makes the Z9J appealing is that it uses the Cognitive XR Processor to enable a feature called XR Contrast Booster 15 that greatly enhances contrast by boosting brightness and black levels with better zone controls, and has the highest-performing upscaling algorithm in the lineup that it needs to fill all those pixels.
It has X-Anti Reflection that reduces glare and X-Wide Angle viewing that helps you see every detail from anywhere in the room and both a light and color temperature sensor that reads the intensity of the ambient light in the room and adjusts the picture accordingly.
Last but not least, the legs of the Z9J can be adjusted to fit both wide and narrow TV stands, or it can be wall-mounted if that works better for your space.
Sony A90J Master Series OLED 4K TV (available in 83-, 65- and 55-inches): The A90J earns its Master Series status by being one of the brightest OLED TVs ever made – this is because of Sony’s work on thermal dissipation and the new Cognitive XR Processor that can accurately balance the RGB and White subpixels simultaneously for extreme brightness.
You’ll be getting 4K resolution, as well as 4K/120Hz video at 48Gbps through multiple (at least two) HDMI 2.1 ports, and both VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode). The A90J also supports Dolby Atmos passthrough, as well as HDR10 and Dolby Vision dynamic HDR.
If you’re after the ultimate OLED, the Sony A90J OLED is the one to go for.
That said, it’s not cheap. The A90J’s pricing starts at $2,999 / £2,699 for a 55-inch model, going up to $3,999/ £3,499 for a 65-inch model, and £6,999 for an 83-inch model (US pricing not yet confirmed, but likely just above $7,000).
Sony XR-55A90J: $2,999 / £2,699
Sony XR-65A90J: $3,999/ £3,499
Sony XR-93A90J: £6,999 / TBD
Sony A80J/AJ80 OLED 4K TV (available in 77-, 65- and 55-inches): The Sony A80J (AJ80 in Europe) is the lesser of the two Sony 2021 OLEDs, but only because it lacks the higher brightness of the A90J. Even without it, the A80J has some seriously impressive technical specs and uses XR 4K Upscaling, XR Triluminos Color Pro and XR Motion Clarity.
Because it’s not as fully specified as the A90J, we’re expecting the A80J to be the more affordable of the two OLEDs, and if it can deliver most of the same performance then it will be a seriously compelling alternative to the LG CX OLED and LG BX OLED from last year.
Read more in our Sony A80J OLED guide.
Sony XR-55A80J: £1999/€2299 (around $2800, AU$3600)
Sony XR-65A80J: £2699/€3149 (around $3800, AU$5000)
Sony XR-77A80J: £4199/€4949 (around $5800, AU$7600)
Sony X950J/XJ95 4K LED-LCD TV (available in 85-, 75- and 65-inches): The Sony X950J (XJ95 in Europe) is the first step down in that middle range of the Sony TV lineup from the pricey premium models. That said, you’re not sacrificing a ton of features to be here: the X950J still offers the XR Contrast Booster that the Master Series uses (though it won’t be as bright) and the XR 4K Upscaling technology. It has X-Wide Angle, XR Motion Clarity and 3D Audio Upscaling thanks to the Cognitive XR Processor, but will only have X-Anti-Reflection on the two larger models.
In terms of changes compared to last year’s X950H/XH95, one of our favorite Sony TVs from 2020, the X950J/XJ95 is slimmer by about 10mm and adds HDMI 2.1 ports for 4K/120 gameplay – perfect for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. That was a huge sore spot on last year’s X950H, so it’s great that Sony has added them in for this year.
Sony X900J/XJ90 and X92 LED-LCD TV (X900J available in 75-, 65-, 55- and 50-inches, X92 available in 100-inches): The last entry that we know about in the Sony 2021 TV lineup is the X900J (XJ90 in Europe) and, technically, the X92 that comes into play at the 100-inch mark.
While the X900J doesn’t have all the fancy features like the color sensor of the Z9J or the X-Contrast Pro of the A90J OLED, the X900J has the one feature that really counts: the Cognitive XR Processor. With it, the X900J has the same XR 4K Upscaling as the other TVs, the same XR Triluminos Pro tech to enhance colors and 3D Surround Upscaling. It has Dolby Atmos passthrough and 4K/120 support. It has the potential to offer unparalleled value to anyone who wants a cinephile-quality TV at an affordable price, and we can’t wait to test it for ourselves.
Sony 2021 TV technology
So, what’s new with Sony TVs this year? The main change comes in the form of its Cognitive XR processor, which Sony claims is bringing a huge upgrade in capability to its 2021 TV range.
Can Sony one-up the X1 Ultimate processor that’s been driving its premium TVs for the past few years? Sony certainly thinks so, saying that the Cognitive XR chip utilizes a “completely new processing method designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear”, detecting a so-called “focal point” in the TV’s picture to focus processing around the more important parts of the image. “While conventional Artificial Intelligence (AI) can only detect and analyze picture elements like color, contrast and detail individually, the new processor can cross-analyze an array of elements at once, just as our brains do,” Sony says.
On top of the new processor, each model of the Sony 2021 line-up will use the new Google TV smart platform instead of the older Android TV software. That means you’ll essentially get a Chromecast with Google TV built into your TV which, considering that a standalone streaming stick would set you back $49 / £59 / AU$99, feels like a nice perk. Baked in support for Google Assistant is a given, though you can also connect your TV to smart speakers like the Amazon Echo (which uses Alexa) too.
In an interview with TechRadar, Sony told us that each of the models shown off so far will support 4K/120Hz with at least two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports, and the Master Series will also offer a third HDMI port that’s 8K/60Hz-enabled. VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode) features are supported for gamers, helping to ensure responsive play and a smooth picture, while eARC (enhanced audio return channel) allows for lossless audio passthrough from the TV to a connected soundbar.
While that last bit makes the Sony 2021 series perfect partners for a Sony-made Dolby Atmos soundbar, the company is making some major changes to the built-in audio of its TVs that will make them sound a lot better out of the box. The highlight of these features is called XR Surround that can take a two-channel or 5.1 surround signal and convert it to 5.1.2 – meaning you’ll have a basic faux-Atmos system with every TV you purchase. The impact of this will, we expect, vary between the audio capabilities of individual sets.
We’ll also be seeing the return of Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which uses motor-driven ‘actuators’ placed around the set’s casing to vibrate sound across the whole panel. It’s a neat concept in theory, though it can serve to muddy the audio somewhat as it spreads it around.
The much-marketed Netflix Calibrated Mode makes a return, too – even if we wouldn’t bother using it – but IMAX Enhanced is also supported for those with compatible content.
2020 Sony TVs
New Sony TVs for 2020
Sony Z8H 8K LCD (available in 75, 85 inches): Sony’s flagship 8K display was one of two new sets shown off at CES this year, with an X1 Ultimate processor, 4K video at 120Hz, Dolby Vision / Atmos, Netflix Calibrated Mode, and even moveable feet for easy placement in your home. Its new ‘frame tweeters’ should enhance Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech, too.
Pricing starts at $5,999 / £5,999 for the 75-inch model, going up to $8,999 / £8,999 for the 85-inch – which is a good sight cheaper than last year’s Z9G model. Buyers in Australia only get the larger size, which will set them back AU$18,999.
Read our full Sony Z8H/ZH8 8K TV review
US models: XBR-75Z8H, XBR-85Z8H
UK models: KD-75ZH8, KD-85ZH8
Sony A8H 4K OLED (available in 55, 65 inches): This 4K/HDR display may have lower specs than the Z8H flagship, but it’s still a heavyweight in Sony’s 2020 TV lineup. Its OLED panel will ensure deep blacks and incredible brightness control, with the X1 Ultimate processor, Dolby Vision / Atmos support, and Netflix Calibrated Mode to make it shine. This year’s OLED also gets Sony’s X-Motion Clarity technology for the first time, which should help smooth out fast-moving scenes.
The A8H retails at $1,899 / £1,799 for the 55-inch, and $2,799 / £2,799 for the 65-inch. It’s now on sale, too.
Read our full Sony A8H/AH8 4K OLED TV review
US models: XBR-55A8H, XBR-65A8H
UK models: KD-55AH8, KD-65AH8
Sony A9G 4K OLED (new 48-inch size): Hold on, isn’t this a 2019 model? Correct! But Sony is using the stellar A9G to introduce its first 48-inch OLED display. Other manufacturers such as LG will be doing the same in their TV ranges, but Sony will still be one of the first few doing so. It’s now available to preorder for £1,799 in the UK, with a similar $1,799 pricing expected in the US shortly.
Read our full 48-inch OLED TV guide
US models: XBR-48A9G
UK models: KD-48AG9
X950H 4K LCD (available in 49, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches): Another LCD set with the X1 Ultimate processor, Dolby Vision / Atmos, and the Sound-from-Picture Reality tech for pinning audio to its source onscreen. The 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch models have a flush design with minimal bezel, too.
Pricing starts at £1,199 / $999 for the 49-inch size, with successive sizes costing £1,599 / $1,399, £1,999 / $1,999, and (a considerably higher) £3,199 / $3,499 respectively. The largest 85-inch model is priced at £3,999 / $4,499 too.
Sony is making a number of improvements this year like the expansion of X-Wide Angle technology to the 55- and 65-inch models and improved Acoustic Multi-Audio, one of the biggest issues we had with last year’s X950G.
Read our full Sony Bravia X950H/XH95 TV review
US models: XBR-49X950H, XBR-55X950H, XBR-65X950H, XBR-75X950H, XBR-85X950H
UK models: KD-49XH9505, KD-55XH9505, KD-65XH9505, KD-75XH9505, KD-85XH9505
X900H 4K LCD (available in 55, 65, 75, 85 inches): A 4K/HDR set that uses the less advanced X1 processor. You won’t get as advanced picture processing, but you still get the same format support and full-array local dimming for detailed brightness control.
Read our full Sony X900H/XH90 TV review
US models: XBR-55X900H, XBR-65X900H, XBR-75X900H, XBR-85X900H
UK models: KD-55XH9005, KD-65XH9005, KD-75XH9005, KD-85XH9005
X800H 4K LCD (available in 43, 49, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches): Same X1 processor as above, but without the full array local dimming – meaning brightness won’t be as consistent. UK shoppers will be able to choose between the XH80, XH81 and XH85, with each varying slightly in the design, feet, and sizing.
The 43-inch version will cost $699 / £649 (around AU$1,150), the 55-inch will come in at $999 / £949 (around AU$1,650) while the 65-inch and 75-inch come in at $1,199 / £1,099 (around AU$1,980) and $1,799 / £1,899 (around AU$2,970), respectively, and the range-topping 85-inch X800H at $2,699 / £2,499 (around AU$4,450). These prices are for the XH80 model, with the XH81 and XH85 varying only slightly.
US models: XBR-43X800H, XBR-49X800H, XBR-55X800H, XBR-65X800H, XBR-75X800H
UK models: KD-43XH8505, KD-49XH8505, KD-43XH8196, KD-49XH8196, KD-55XH8196, KD-65XH8196, KD-43XH8096, KD-49XH8096, KD-55XH8096, KD-65XH8096, KD-75XH8096, KD-85XH8096
X70 4K LCD (available in 49, 55, 65 inches): Likely the cheapest 4K/HDR set in the Sony 2020 TV lineup, this UK-only set ditches the Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support for simpler television offering. Expect lower-spec processing too.
The X70 starts at just £599 (around $740 / AU$1,220) for the 43-inch model, with additional 49-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch sizes available – at £699 (around $860 / AU$1,430), £799 (around $990 / AU$1,630) and £899 (around $1,110 / AU$1,840) respectively.
UK models: KD-49X7052, KD-55X7052, KD-65X7052
Everything you need to know about the best TVs of 2021:
Best TV 2021: the best flatscreen televisions from the past year
Best smart TV 2021: every smart TV platform and which set does it best
Best 65-inch 4K TVs: the best big screen TVs for any budget
TV stands: finding the best TV stand to suit your living room cinema needs
- Check out all of TechRadar’s CES 2021 coverage. We’re remotely covering the online-only show to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus a smattering of hands-on reviews.