Sony Unveils 4K Streaming Service for Latest Bravia XR TVs

Sony debuted its Bravia Core (the ‘CORE’ stands for ‘Centre of Real Entertainment’), a 4K streaming service exclusive and free to owners of its 2021 Bravia XR TVs. Its content draws from the Sony Pictures library for new releases and older movies. Sony stated that Core provides lossless 4K streaming at a much higher bitrate than Netflix and other streaming services,” HDR, DTS sound and “the largest IMAX Enhanced movie collection.” The service, accessed through the Bravia Core app, is not available on older Sony smart TVs or other devices.

Tom’s Guide reports that Core also offers “Studio Access,” a collection of behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and interviews. The company’s lossless streaming technology, dubbed Pure Stream, “matches what you’d get from a UHD Blu-ray Disc,” which means it includes HDR metadata and DTS immersive sound.

With regard to bitrate, Pure Stream uses between 30Mbps and 80Mbps and recommends 43Mbps and speeds of 115Mbps or higher versus Netflix’s recommended 25Mbps for 4K streaming. With “full control over both the initial compression and the video processing specifics at the end point,” Sony can — in principle — “tailor the stream to look its best on [its] new TVs.”

IMAX Enhanced, first announced in 2018, “is one of several media formats and certifications that takes advantage of high-dynamic range and multi-channel audio capabilities on today’s smart TVs.” The 100 IMAX movies in Sony’s Bravia Core library with that moniker means they are “remastered to meet a collection of standards for picture quality, aspect ratio, brightness, color and high-dynamic range” and eliminate letterboxing by offering a larger picture.

Its DTS Sound “with its own optimized version of the DTS:X codec” provides “multi-channel audio for bigger, more immersive sound … [and] will take advantage of even the most impressive speaker setups with 7.2.4 support.”

Bravia Core offers “free unlimited streaming and an allotment of credit vouchers that can be redeemed for new release movies,” with one credit “sufficient to redeem one movie.” Movies purchased with the credit can be streamed for 12 months and to “more than one eligible Sony TV.”

The “premium TV models (specifically the Z9J, A90J, A80CJ and X90CJ)” come with 10 credits and the other new models (the A80J, X95J, X92, X90J, A80CJ, X91CJ and X80CJ) with five. Sony added that the app is not configured to process payments, which ensures it is free — for now, at least. Sony states that the current, promotional pricing “begins February 24, 2021 and will end February 23, 2022.”

Tom’s Guide states that Bravia Core “is a play to use Sony Pictures’ library of content as a lure to sell more new Sony TVs” but may also “be an early move in a larger strategy to compete against the likes of Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros., who have all found some measure of success with their own streaming platforms.”