If we could have actually walked the floor of CES 2021, we might have experienced a far greater luminance emanating from the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center than ever before. Brighter LCDs, OLEDs and LEDs from nearly every television manufacturer, including those from Sony, was the talk this year.
But the real standout differentiator for Sony is what will also be a game-changing differentiator for custom installers. In January, Sony Electronics announced its premium line of BRAVIA XR televisions with a new processor that goes deeper than artificial intelligence. Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR is not marketing hype; it is powered by cognitive intelligence, a subset of AI. Cognitive intelligence understands and simulates human behavior, and it replicates how we see and hear.
The Cognitive Processor XR ties together Sony’s entire line of premium TV offerings for 2021. “We’re still using artificial intelligence to cross-analyze data to deliver a perfect picture quality,” said Jeff Goldstein, head of sales for Sony Electronics’ custom installation channel. “The critical difference from AI processing is that cognitive intelligence actually hones in on the focal point in the picture that your mind will pick up first.” Goldstein used an example of a scene with a face in the foreground. “Your eyes will automatically go to the face first. The cognitive processor will direct its processing capability to make sure that the skin tone is right, the color looks right and the clarity looks right.” The new processor simulates the human brain cross-analyzing an array of elements at one time and adjusts to deliver the best possible image.
Goldstein added, “An important distinction in this year’s technology is that it not only enhances the picture quality, but also the sound. The Cognitive Processor XR is also analyzing and vectoring where the sound is coming from visually to make sure that your eyes and ears match up with what you’re viewing.” In addition, it upscales 2- or 5.1-channel to 5.1.2-channel, 3D surround sound, to deliver supreme realism with an immersive soundscape.
The new processor with cognitive intelligence analyzes and understands unprecedented amounts of data and optimizes every pixel, frame and scene, producing what Sony considers the most lifelike picture and sound the company has ever delivered.
Related: Sony’s Commitment to the Channel
A Lineup CIs Will Love
With five different series and 16 models, there’s no shortage of options, but we think there are some that will quickly make it to the top of your list. The image above provides a snapshot of the full lineup.
The A90J MASTER Series, 4K OLED (available in 83, 65, and 55-inch) is, according to Goldstein, “our top-end, super-performance OLED for real premier customers.” The MASTER Series provides integrators with the widest range of fine-tuning and customization.
And for those not in the OLED camp, the X95J 4K full-array LED (available in 85, 75, and 65-inch) is Sony’s top-end LED offering.
While the price has not yet been disclosed, Sony has announced the X92, a 100-inch, 4K full-array LED, “in a whole new price level that’s going to be really, really great for the CI market,” Goldstein said. “People are already very excited about the 100-inch.”
Each TV in the lineup offers Calman Ready, advanced-calibration capabilities and the ability to fine-tune adjustments not possible through conventional picture settings.
Value-add That Will Make a Difference
Sony has added some new services and features that create a unique value-add for integrators.
BRAVIA CORE™: A common problem facing all integrators wanting to show clients the difference a high-performance TV makes is the lack of native content. That has just changed. In collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment, BRAVIA CORE is where entertainment meets technology and was developed to add value and showcase unique Sony experiences. Preloaded on all new BRAVIA XR models, users can enjoy a selection of the latest SPE premium and classic titles and the largest IMAX Enhanced movie collection. BRAVIA CORE is the first in the industry to feature Pure Stream™ technology, achieving near lossless UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to 80 Mbps.
Google TV: This lineup also introduces Google TV, a brand-new entertainment experience that brings together movies, shows, live TV and more from apps and subscriptions and organizes them. Easily find something to watch with personalized recommendations and bookmark shows and movies to a single watchlist to keep track of what to watch.
Hands-Free Voice Function: With hands-free voice control built into Sony’s Google TVs, you can just use your voice to search for entertainment, get answers, and control the TV and smart home devices.
Features Everyone Will Love
Whether it’s the Z9J MASTER Series 8K full-array LED, the A90J MASTER Series 4K OLED, the A80J 4K OLED, the X95J and X90J full-array LED series TVs, each run on the groundbreaking Cognitive Processor XR for enhanced picture and sound.
Additional features: XR Motion Clarity, XR 4K Upscaling, XR Triluminos Pro, XR Contrast (specific to each), immersive audio with either Acoustic Multi-Audio or Acoustic Surface Audio+, 4K/120Hz, easy connectivity to most devices, including Apple® AirPlay® 2 and HomeKit™, works with Alexa and Google Assistant, HDMI 2.1 compatibility, including 4K 120fps, variable refresh rate, auto low latency mode and e-ARC, support for Dolby Vision® HDR and Dolby Atmos®, Netflix Calibrated Mode, IMAX® Enhanced and DTS.
Working to Help Custom Integrators Succeed
As with all Sony products at the high end, they are easily integrated with other equipment and devices, and into all the major systems. “We offer a really robust protocol, so that our control partners can write drivers for them,” Goldstein explained. “We have probably one of the most complete protocol libraries of anybody.”
As technology advances, offering more features and the ability to customize even more, it’s important to make sure the right level of training is available. “We’re going to offer a lot of training — not just sales-level training, but also very deep technical training to help the dealers understand how to get the most out of these products,” Goldstein said. Nuances such as when to apply more of the internal processing or when to just let it do its job are new with the Cognitive Processor XR. “We want to help our dealers get the best out of all these products, and continue to drive more partnerships around these types of technologies and great products,” Goldstein concluded.