Sony's 2021 Bravia XR TVs boast 'cognitive intelligence'

Sony has announced the world’s first smart TVs with 'Cognitive Intelligence' at CES 2021. The Japanese corp's new Bravia XR televisions, including the Master Series Z9J 8K LED, Master Series A90J and A80J OLEDs, and X95J and X90J 4K LED TVs, all feature a new processor said to mimic the human brain when it comes to picture recognition and quality.

Powered by Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR chip, the set’s picture processing engine goes beyond conventional Artificial Intelligence (AI), says Sony, to better replicate the ways humans see and hear.

XR processing is concentrated on natural focal points in the image. It divides the screen into numerous zones (Sony isn’t saying just how many), and detects where the ‘focal point’ is in the picture, then throws all its image processing might behind it.

Typical AI detects specific picture elements like colour, contrast and detail individually; the new Cognitive Processor XR can cross-analyse an array of elements at once, which Sony maintains gives a more lifelike result.

It’s not just about video either. Cognitive Processor XR can also analyse the sound position within a signal, to match what’s on the screen. It also upconverts any audio source to 3D surround.

Sizing up Sony's 2021 TVs
The Sony Bravia XR lineup for 2021 comprises the Master Series Z9J 8K LED TV (in 85in and 75in variants); Master Series A90J (83in, 65in and 55in models) OLED 4K sets; A80J (77in, 65in and 55in models) OLED 4K TVs; and X95J (85in, 75in and 65in) and X90J (75in, 65in, 55in and 50in) 4K LED TVs.

All Bravia XR TVs will feature HDMI 2.1 compatibility, including 4K 120fps platybacl, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and eARC.

In other big (virtual) CES 2021 news, Sony is introducing its own streaming movie service, available exclusively on the brand’s new XR flatscreens. Called Bravia Core, it’s produced in collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The service comes pre-loaded, and features new premium and library titles, plus a collection of IMAX Enhanced content.

Bravia Core will be the first streaming service to use Pure Stream technology, which claims to achieve near lossless UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to 80 Mbps – something we can’t wait to see.

Depending on the model purchased, viewers will receive one or two year’s access to Bravia Core. Bizarrely, Sony told HCC that the service is time limited, and will not carry on beyond that point, which seems to undermine the longevity of the IMAX Enhanced concept.

Sony will also be the first TV brand to switch from Android to the new Google TV platform. This features a completely different UI, but still offers access to a wide variety of popular streaming services. It’s also Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa enabled.

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