For Sony’s TV ambitions, 2022 promises to be a record year. Not only did it become the first company to market a QD-OLED TV (the Sony A95K), but it is also branching out into mini-LED backlighting for its non-OLED flagship models, the 8K Z9K ​​resolution and the X95K, a 4K model. And naturally, Sony considers its mini-LED version to be better than the competition, thanks to a new version of its XR Backlight Master Drive and improvements to its Cognitive Processor XR technology.

A better mini-LED?

Sony

Why is Sony so convinced that its mini-LED TVs are better than TCL’s mini-LED models, Samsung’s Neo QLED TV, and LG’s QNED mini-LED models? Apparently none of these competitors apply sufficient algorithmic control over their backlights, according to Sony, resulting in less than ideal picture quality.

As a reminder, mini-LEDs improve on conventional full-array local dimming (FALD) backlights by replacing hundreds of larger LEDs with thousands of much smaller LEDs, which should give mini-LED televisions great brightness but much better black levels and contrast control. thanks to more control zones.

Sony claims that its XR Backlight Master Drive overcomes two problems associated with mini-LEDs: a tendency to see the shape of mini-LED control areas due to their greater brightness, and a darker image than necessary when it is. called “simple”. “The algorithms reduce the brightness to compensate for the extra bloom in mixed-light scenes.

Basically, Sony believes that the combined algorithms of its XR Backlight Master Drive and XR Cognitive Processor do a better job of exerting precise control over the mini-LEDs of its Z9K and X95K TVs, allowing these models to deliver the benefits. mini LED in a way other companies haven’t been able to do. Are these claims hype or has Sony really cracked the code on mini LEDs? We won’t know until we test one of these TVs, but Sony’s image processing is world-class and some still believe that the company’s 2016 Z series (which used the Backlight Master Original Drive) has the best image quality the company has ever achieved.

Master Series Z9K 8K Mini-LED Bravia XR

Sony 2022 Z9K 8K mini-LED TV.
Sony

Sony’s 8K flagship is getting the mini-LED treatment for 2022, along with tons of other features and tech. It will be available in screen sizes of 75 and 85 inches, and like all of Sony’s Bravia 2022 line, the Smart TV interface will be powered by Google TV.

At the heart of the Z9K is Sony’s XR Cognitive Processor, which has been updated with Depth Control, which identifies foreground objects and makes them sharper, while slightly toning down the background. It also does a better job with color by adjusting both luminance and saturation, which the previous version of the processor couldn’t do.

In-car sound has also been enhanced with the latest version of Sony’s Acoustic Multi-audio, which incorporates four bezel-mounted tweeters, two midrange speakers and two front subwoofers for a 2.2-channel sound experience with a total of 85 watts of power. You’ll likely end up using a soundbar or home theater system with a large TV like this, but Sony makes a compelling case that you don’t need to do that to get decent sound.

Sony 2022 Z9K 8K mini LED TV with Bravia camera.
Sony

Along with the A95K, the Z9K receives Sony’s new Bravia Cam, a camera module that magnetically mounts to the top of the TV and will eventually allow a host of features such as gesture control, automatic dimming when people leave the room , and both sound and picture optimizations based on where people sit – something Sony calls Ambient Optimization Pro. At launch, however, only video calls through Google TV apps are supported.

Sony 2022 Premium remote control.Using the Z9K’s built-in light sensor, Sony introduces two new ambient light-based calibration modes: Netflix Adaptive Calibrated Mode and Bravia Core Adaptive Calibrated Mode, both intended to preserve the intent of the creator of content regardless of the lighting conditions in your room, when using these streaming services. It sounds a lot like Dolby Vision IQ, which Sony hasn’t offered on any of its TVs yet.

Sony is now relying on HDMI 2.1. The Z9K has four HDMI ports:

  • HDMI 2.0 18 Gbit / s port
  • 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 port with Automatic Low Latency (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and 4K at 120Hz
  • A second 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 port that supports the same features as above, plus HDMI eARC
  • HDMI 2.1 port 40 Gbit / s with 8K at 60 Hz and 4K at 120 Hz

Fast HDMI 2.1 ports with VRR, ALLM, and 4K at 120Hz will be welcome additions for Xbox and PC gamers, but Sony has also given the Z9K some features specific to the PlayStation 5: Auto HDR Tone Mapping, which enables the PS5 determine the capabilities for an enhanced HDR experience and an automatic genre picture mode that allows the TV to adjust picture settings depending on whether you are playing or streaming media on your PS5.

The Z9K retains the hands-free voice commands of last year’s model, but Sony has created a new premium remote for 2022, with a smaller, streamlined design, easy-to-clean buttons, and backlighting for better visibility in rooms. dark. There is also a remote control search feature that can be triggered by voice: “OK Google, find my remote”.

The price and availability of the Z9K will be released by Sony in Spring 2022.

X95K 4K Mini-LED Bravia XR

Sony 2022 X95K 4K mini-LED TV.
Sony

Available later in 2022 in 65, 75, and 85-inch screen sizes, the X95K is Sony’s premier 4K LED TV, featuring the same mini-LED system as the Z9K, using both the new processor Cognitive XR and XR Backlight Master Reader.

The Google TV powered smart TV will offer all the Bravia Cam benefits of the Z9K and A95K, but you’ll have to look to the Bravia Cam – it’s an optional add-on for the X95K. Sony did not say how much the option will cost or when it will be available, but it will also work with Sony’s other 2022 TVs, including the X90K, A90K and A80K. If you only want to enjoy video calling, you have even more choices as these TVs will work with Logitech Brio, Logitech C920 / C902S and Sony RX0 II and ZV-1 cameras.

The on-board sound has been improved over the X95J with 60 watts of power distributed over two tweeters, two midrange speakers and two subwoofers, the latest version of Sony Acoustic Multi-audio, which incorporates four frame-mounted tweeters, two midrange speakers and two front-triggered subwoofers for a 2.2-channel sound experience.

From a connectivity standpoint, the X95K has it all:

  • Two 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 ports
  • One 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 port with Automatic Low Latency (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 4K at 120Hz
  • A second 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 port that supports the same features as above, plus HDMI eARC

Like the Z9K, the X95K has the features specific to the PlayStation 5: automatic HDR tone mapping and automatic genre picture mode. It gets Sony’s new standard remote, which borrows the streamlined layout and easy-cleaning qualities of the Z9K’s premium remote, but lacks the backlight and remote search function.

As with the 2021 X95J, you get voice commands through the TV’s built-in microphones, which can be turned off with a physical switch. Apple AirPlay 2 is supported (as on all Sony Bravia 2022 TVs) and you have a choice of two positions for the stand legs – a standard location with feet at each end, or a more central location for those with smaller trays.

The price and availability of the X95K will be released by Sony in Spring 2022.

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