The black mirror hanging on your wall today is nothing short of a window into a new world. With deep colours, sharp images and accuracy to replicate real-world colours, the 65-inch large screen TVs you have today are more immersive than ever before. This has a lot to do with advancements in technologies pioneered by leading TV manufacturers.
There is a lot of processing that takes place for an image on the screen to ensure you get a good viewing experience. You may not notice what this picture processing does with every frame, but your overall experience of enjoying the picture on the screen is attributed to the processing capabilities of the TV.
Sony’s X1 lineup of chips have been powering their TV for years now, with the Flagship X1 Ultimate helming their Flagship OLED TV like the Sony A8H (review) and even their 8K behemoth, the Z8H (review) to name a few. But in 2021, Sony has taken a different approach to picture processing evolving on what the brand has learned.
Sony’s new chip, the Cognitive Processor XR uses a completely new processing method designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear. Since TVs are getting quite large, rather than focusing on the entire screen there are times when we will focus on a particular part of the screen or a particular character. So, the processing will ensure that the focal point of content will look its best on the TV while maintaining the best possible details for everything else on the screen.
According to Sony, “the new processor can cross-analyze an array of elements at once, just as our brains do. By doing so, each element is adjusted to its best final outcome, in conjunction with each other, so everything is synchronized and lifelike – something that conventional AI cannot achieve”. Sony says that “Cognitive Processor XR can also analyze sound position in the signal so the sound matches precisely with what's on the screen”.
Sony recently launched two TVs in India powered by the Cognitive Processor XR - X90J and the A80J. The A80J is Sony’s flagship OLED TV and brings with it a host of features in addition to the XR processor like support for HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, Acoustic Surface Audio+ support for HDMI 2.1, Google TV UI and a lot more.
We had a chance to talk to Nakashima Tomohiro, Deputy Managing Director at Sony India about the launch of the new A80J OLED TV, the new XR processor and how Sony perceives the TV market in India.
Q: The BRAVIA XR is one of Sony's highlighting TV technologies in 2021. Can you elaborate on how this enhances the TV viewing experience especially on an OLED TV? Can you also highlight some key differences/advancements the XR provides over the X1 Ultimate?
A: Yes, Sony has introduced a new era of television – BRAVIA XR powered by XR Cognitive Processor. XR processor thinks like we human do, see and hear like us, and processes it as our brains do. This year XR processor will enhance the picture experience as well as sound which was not the case with X1 ultimate. Contrast, Upscaling and colour reproduction are now closer to the real world, thanks to the XR cognitive processor.
Q: Sony's Acoustic Surface has offered a great experience for sound from a TV. Can you talk about how the experience has evolved with this new generation of TVs?
A: Acoustic Surface Audio+ is one of our flagship sound technology, wherein the sound comes from the screen, without any conventional speakers. This year XR Sound will have Acoustic Surface Audio+ and 3D Surround upscaling, with the help of these all BRAVIA XR models will be able to produce a 5.1.2 channel powerful surround experience. These are calibrated specifically for home entertainment and gaming.
Q: Why still have only 2 HDMI 2.1 ports on the TV and not all 4? Especially considering the competition is offering all 4 HDMI ports with 2.1 functionality.
A: Usage of HDMI 2.1 is largely used for gaming consoles. These two HDMI 2.1 slots are sufficient for regular usage.
Q: A lot of OLED TVs today including the A80J implement some key technology to help prevent the risk of burn-in. Can you elaborate on this and the overall issue of burn-in in OLED TVs?
A: To reduce image retention, our OLED is equipped with unique functions like Panel Refresh, Panel Calibration and Pixel Shift. These functions run automatically according to the television’s condition.
Q: The A80J runs on the new Google TV UI. Can you shed some light on the Google-Sony partnership, especially since Sony is the first to launch the Google TV UI in India?
A: Sony BRAVIA and Google are together working to improve the consumer experience in the television segment. With the help of technology, this partnership has delivered some marquee products with one of the best user experience/user interfaces. In addition, Sony BRAVIA introduced the first televisions in India with Google TV interface, which makes life easier, convenient and most importantly loaded with entertainment.
Q: Can you shed some light on the premium TV market in India from a growth and adoption perspective?
A: Large screen television market is expanding rapidly in the past few years and Sony has been offering products to meet customers’ requirements which are well accepted by the market as well.
Q: The budget segment is very hot especially for people looking for a 55-inch TV in the 50-60K price point. Can you shed some light on how Sony views the budget segment in India? Will we ever see an OLED TV close to the Rs 1L price point launch in India?
A: The budget segment still occupies a large part of India’s television market and we are aware of that, but at the same time, we are also aware that a large number of customers are looking for television which gives the best of Picture, Sound and User Interface experience. As a premium brand, we cannot forget to cater to those customers. As the panel cost is increasing steadily, we are not sure if we can offer OLED at a 1L price point at the moment.