January 12, 2022
TVs continue to gain computer functionality as Sony borrows a page from the monitor playbook by adding camera functionality to models in the 2022 Bravia XR lineup introduced at CES 2022. The Z9K Mini-LED (8K) and A95K HDR OLED (4K) will ship with Bravia Cam, which adds video chat and gesture control. The camera will also help with brightness settings, dialogue emphasis and sound balance by tracking the viewer’s position with regard to the screen. Bravia Cam is an option on other 4K models, including the X95K Mini-LED series, A90K and A80K OLED models, and the X90K LED.
These models are all available for preorder on the Sony website. “You’ll need a firmware update to unlock more than video chat, but the company hasn’t said when that might arrive,” writes Engadget. With regard to the camera tracking capabilities, “yes, Sony is aware of privacy concerns. There’s a hardware switch to disable the camera, and neither the camera nor the TV will store private data. You can delete any positional data through the TV menu.” Picture and audio quality are improved, too.
AT CES 2022 Sony also introduced what The Verge and others predict will be “the world’s first consumer QD-OLED TV” when it comes to market later this year. The Bravia XR Master Series A95K QD-OLED (above) utilizes the hybrid display technology that leverages the strengths of OLED TV, improving on brightness, color and clarity through the use of quantum dots.
Experts say the result “should be a TV that exhibits the stunning levels of contrast and perfect blacks of OLED while delivering brightness levels that we’ve traditionally only seen on QLED TVs,” reports Digital Trends. Sony’s QD-OLED screens are supplied by Samsung Display, the only manufacturer currently producing these hybrids.
Samsung Electronics’ 65-inch QD-OLED display won a CES 2022 Innovation Award but the company didn’t include it in its 2022 product lineup, prompting speculation that Sony would beat it to market with a spring delivery target.
As part of the A95K line, the QD-OLED will also ship with a Bravia Cam. “With millions of individual, self-illuminating pixels, the A95K delivers more colors than ever before for an entirely new viewing experience,” Sony writes in its press release. Introduced last year, an updated Cognitive Processor XR “reproduces content the way humans see and hear for an incredibly lifelike experience. Images are cross-analyzed and enhanced, especially around the focal point, to give real life depth,” the Sony announcement notes.
Other Bravia XR improvements include Netflix Adaptive Calibrated Mode, which conforms the image to the room’s ambient light. Bravia Core is a pre-loaded movie streaming app, while Bravia Core Calibrated Mode adjusts the picture presentation to support the director’s original vision. The built-in speakers have been upgraded, and the 2022 models also accommodate higher-end speakers and soundbars.
PlayStation 5 owners will enjoy automatic picture-mode switching and automatic HDR tone mapping (which optimizes for gameplay display during PS5 setup).
Meanwhile, the 8K-resolution Z9K and X95K (at 4K) “have smarter backlighting that reduces mini-LED’s characteristic light blooming without lowering brightness,” according to Engadget.
CNET calls them “Sony’s best non-OLED TVs.”