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Sony 2021 TV model numbers: Every new Sony OLED and LCD explained


Bamboozled by all those similar-sounding Sony TV model numbers? Here's how to decipher them

The name ‘Sony’ has been synonymous with cutting-edge tech for as long as most people can remember. Okay, it might have once backed Betamax over VHS but, on the whole, the futurologists at Sony have rarely put a foot wrong.

Sony’s TVs, in particular, have often been ahead of the curve. Even back in the dark old days of pre-flat screen CRT technology, the Japanese giant’s new sets frequently offered something more than its rivals. And so it is, too, with its year-on-year releases of the latest LCD and OLED technology with their TVs frequently appearing in our lists of the best TVs to buy.

As with most other manufacturers, however, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting just by looking at Sony’s TV model numbers. It’s not as simple as buying an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 13; it can often feel like you need a degree in cryptography to understand it all.

Never fear, though, we’re here to decode it all for you, explain the various TVs Sony has released in 2021 and more.

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What you need to know about Sony’s 2021 TV line-up

While other big brands in the field, such as LG and Samsung, have used 2021 to roll out a veritable armada of new TV models, Sony has kept things relatively concise this year, releasing a mere nine new options.

Among these are two stunning new BRAVIA Master Series models – an 8K LCD and a 4K OLED – plus an assortment of other 4K OLED and 4K LED TVs and even a 32in HD offering for smaller rooms.

Model sizes run from that aforementioned 32in model right up to 77in and prices start at £500. As ever, though, it’s all about the new and improved technology and Sony’s 2021 TV line-up does not disappoint in that respect.

Sony TVs 2021: The new technology

This year sees Sony wheel out its new Cognitive Processor XR chip across more than half of its new range. How does this differ from its X1 processor predecessor? By taking the best of that chip – namely AI image and sound enhancement – and adding what Sony refers to, rather bafflingly as “cognitive intelligence”. Essentially, this appears to be AI processing done in a more efficient manner. In Sony’s words: “Conventional AI can only detect and analyze elements like colour, contrast and detail individually. Cognitive Processor XR can cross-analyze every element at once, just as our brains do."

On the sound side of things, Sony is making changes that should improve the quality of the sound its new TVs are able to produce, although you’re still best off purchasing a soundbar or surround sound system for the best possible audio quality.

Sony’s XR Sound Position technology analyses the audio to ensure it’s coming from the corresponding part of the onscreen image, while the processor’s 3D Surround Upscaling is able to take a stereo or 5.1 audio signal and turn it into a virtual 5.1.2 signal.

Next-gen gamers will also be pleased to learn that all new models, except for the W800, have HDMI 2.1 ports and are 4K@120Hz capable, which means, in the case of the X80J/X81J, a top-notch gaming experience can be had starting from around £750.

Finally, the other big news is that Sony has made the move to the new Google TV user interface, ditching the old Android TV front end.

Sony TV 2021 line-up model names explained

What at first appears to be a confusing jumble of letters and numbers is actually a pretty simple-to-decipher code. If we take the new flagship BRAVIA Master Series XR-85Z9J as our example, it breaks down like this:

XR – Product line: XR represents the high-end; all other BRAVIA sets are given the KD prefix

85 – The screen size – 85 inches in this case

Z – The TV class, where Z and X mean LED and A means OLED

9 – Product tier. Note: single numbers denote high-end models, whereas double numbers represent the model’s position in the hierarchy, counting downwards)

J – This is the year of manufacture. So, J is 2021, H is 2020 (Sony skips I, presumably because it looks too much like a number one), G denotes 2019 and so on

So, applying this to the KD-65X80J lower down the line, we have a 65in LED TV from tier 80, made in 2021. Or, in the case of the XR-65A90J, we have a higher-end XR set with a 65in screen, OLED, tier 90, 2021 model. Simple.

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Sony TVs 2021: The Models

At the very pinnacle of the 2021 range sits the Sony BRAVIA XR Master Series Z9J, an 8K-capable full array LED TV available in 75in and 85in options. This top of the range TV comes with the full spec: a Full Array LED panel, X-Wide Angle, X-Anti Reflection, Contrast Booster 15, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, three HDMI 2.1 ports, Acoustic Multi Audio, Dolby Atmos, and 3D Surround upscaling, for the truest home cinema/gaming experience.

The other new Master Series set is the Sony BRAVIA XR Master Series A90J, a 4K OLED model available in 55in, 65in and 83in sizes. With a super-slim bezel, this beauty is basically all-picture, while the top-end tech of XR OLED Contrast Pro, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, Acoustic Surface Audio+, Dolby Atmos, 3D Surround Upscaling, and 2x HDMI 2.1 ports (4K@120Hz, ALLM, VRR), add up to a next-level AV experience.

Leaving aside the Master Series TVs, we come to the Sony BRAVIA XR A80J. This model offers entry into the world of Sony’s 4K OLEDs for around £2,000 (55in, 65in and 77in models are also available), with all the AV innovation that comes with it, including XR OLED Contrast, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, dual HDMI 2.1 ports, and Acoustic Surface Audio+, Dolby Atmos, 3D Surround Upscaling sound tech.

Sony’s LED backlit TVs are up next and we kick off with the Sony BRAVIA XR X95J, which includes 65in, 75in and 85in models. Here you’re getting lower level XR Contrast Boost processing (10) but you still get a Full Array LED panel with X-Wide Angle and X-Anti Reflection technologies, support for HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, plus two HDMI 2.1 ports, Acoustic Multi Audio, Dolby Atmos and 3D Surround Upscaling.

The Sony BRAVIA XR X94J boasts a similar lineup of features across a smaller subset of panel sizes (50in, 55in, 65in, 75in) but misses out on X-Wide Angle and X-Anti Reflection technologies.

Moving down the range, we have the Sony BRAVIA X90J, which takes in 50in, 55in, 65in and 75in sizes and prices that start at £1,249. Here, the main differences are that the A90J drops to XR Contrast Booster level 5 and misses out on Sony’s X-Wide Angle and X-Anti Reflection technology. However, with HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG support, twin HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming, and Acoustic Multi Audio, Dolby Atmos, 3D Surround Upscaling for upgraded audio, it’s not completely bereft of enticing tech.

The Sony BRAVIA X85J is where we part ways with Sony’s new XR Cognitive Processor, returning instead to the still hugely impressive X1 chip. Instead of Full Array LED backlighting these TVs have edge-lit LED 4K panels with support for HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, plus 100Hz refresh rates, Dolby Atmos, and a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports. Available in six sizes, from 43in all the way up to 85in, prices start at £849.

The entry-level BRAVIA for this year are the X80J and X81J (oddly, the X81J is simply the largest iteration of the X80J) and these kick off proceedings at £700 for the 43in option, with 50in, 55in, 65in and 75in also available. The specification overall is pretty much the same as the X85J, with just a drop in native refresh rate to 50Hz.

Finally, the Sony W800 is an HD LED available only in 32-inches. Android TV is retained as OS for this model, as is the older BRAVIA Engine processor. With a resolution of 720p and standard HDMI, it’s a TV for the bedroom, nothing more.

Below you'll find a list of Sony’s 2021 TVs, complete with (where known) their starting prices (for currently available models) and buying links.

^Yes, this is an official Sony TV press shot

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