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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has been synonymous with television hardware for as long as we can remember and is often at the forefront of new technologies. That includes 8K, OLED and, what it terms, Full Array LED TVs.

We're looking at its current line-up to help you choose between them. And, while we're not covering all available Sony TVs here - just its highlights - this list should help you choose your next set if you want to go Sony.

Here then are the Sony TVs you should consider in 2021.

What to look for in a new TV

One of the first considerations when buying a new TV is size. How big do you want your TV and how big a TV can you fit in your room? Sony has TVs across a range of sizes, but often has models that only focus on one sizae range - that might be big, like the Z9J or small, like the A9, it's 2020 48-inch OLED. 

Sony has made the move into 8K for those larger sizes, but with native 8K content being rare, most of what you're watching is upscaled. Fortunatley, Sony also offers a full range of 4K TVs, both OLED and LED. It applies the Master Series name to its best TVs, those which are calibrated at the factory to ensure you're getting the best picture quality out of them - and some of the results are stunning from these TVs.

Sony's OLED come in a range of positions, but it also offers what it calls Full Array LED TVs. These are fully backlit, so offer better performance than some cheaper LED TVs on the market.

            Sony 8K televisions

            Sony has a couple of 8K televisions to choose from.

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            Sony Z9J

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 75in, 85in
            • Full Array LED, 7680 x 4320 pixels, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Google TV

            The 2021 flagship model is the Z9J, which employs Cognitive Processor XR technology with artificial intelligence to present Sony's best picture performance yet.

            That means pin-sharp upscaling of Full HD and 4K content - after all, there are few 8K sources around today to make the best use of the native resolution. The processing also improves TV audio, driving the frame-mounted tweeter to give you the impression that sound is coming from the screen rather than separate speaker units. It's a refined version of the same tech found on the ZH8 below.

            This Master Series TV also comes with HDMI 2.1 and support for 4K 120Hz - so will work seamlessly with the PlayStation 5 (and Xbox Series X) for 120fps gaming at the best resolution possible. Additionally, it is future-proofed for when (if) 8K games come along.

            Google TV is on board, along with Google Assistant for voice control. While Netflix Calibrated and IMAX Enhanced certification mean it is suited for top-end movie viewing.

            Pocket-lintSony 4K and 8K HDR TV choices for 2020: ZH8, A9, XH90 and more compared photo 1

            Sony ZH8

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 75in, 85in
            • Full Array LED, 7680 x 4320 pixels, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            Like the Z9J, the Sony ZH8 offers a 75-inch option and is truly something to behold.

            It too uses a local dimming-style backlight, that switches LEDs on and off in zones behind the LED panel to ensure only the correct amount of lighting is used and in the right areas.

            And it also supports multiple HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. While Dolby Atmos audio support extends to its own built-in speakers, and also external soundbars and systems.

            The ZH8 features a vibrating tweeter in the frame of the screen so directs audio from the action, rather than below like many rivals. And the set can be used as the centre speaker in a larger surround setup, to give you a no fuss home cinema experience.

            Perhaps its biggest takeaway though, apart from the excellent 8K images and superb upscaling is its design. Even with the backlight, it is slim and has a narrow bezel to keep your eyes on the content rather than the TV itself.

            If you want to get into 8K, this represents a relatively affordable way to do so.

            SonySony 4K and 8K HDR TV choices for 2020: ZH8, A9, XH90 and more compared photo 2

            Sony ZG9

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 85in, 98in
            • Full Array LED, 7680 x 4320 pixels, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            If you don't want to wait for the Z9J, the ZG9 Master Series 8K TV might be still available.

            Like the newer models, this is a Full Array LED backlit TV, so its backlight can switch off and on in zones, leading to better contrast and black levels.

            It is higher specced than the ZH8, as a Master Series TV, and comes with a price to match. However, it is also the only model available in the gigantic 98-inch screen size.

            It comes with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, as well as HLG for broadcast HDR from the likes of Sky and BT, plus Dolby Atmos support for audio. It runs on Sony's proprietary X-Reality Pro picture engine and has numerous other imaging bells and whistles too, not least in order to intelligently upscale all content, from standard to 4K, to make it looks its best on the huge display.

            Sony 4K OLED televisions

            Sony has a wide range of 4K OLED TVs to choose from across a range of sizes.

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            Sony A90J

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 83in
            • OLED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Google TV

            The top of the line OLED TV for 2021 is the Sony A90J.

            Available in 55, 65 and a new 83-inch screen size, the Master Series OLED features the same Cognitive Processor XR picture tech as the 8K Z9J above.

            However, as it is OLED, it has self-illuminating pixels rather than a backlight so is even more accurate with contrast as it can turn each on or off individually to provide perfect black levels.

            As with some 2020 models, it features a sound system that vibrates the screen itself, sending central channels directly from the centre of the action.

            HDR formats are well-supported, while HDMI 2.1 connectivity means it supports 4K 120Hz for gaming.

            Google Assistant and Chromecast are built in. And there are multiple picture certifications, from the likes of Netflix and IMAX.

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            Sony A80J

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 77in
            • OLED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Google TV

            If your budget doesn't quite stretch to the Master Series OLED above, the A80J is a more affordable option with much of what makes its pricier stablemate still on board.

            Excellent pictures, thanks largely to the same Cognitive Processor XR tech, the TV also features the XR Sound Position system whereby audio comes from the centre of the screen itself.

            It also has the standard array of HDR formats, plus Google Assistant voice control. Gaming is well supported too, with 4K 120Hz on board.

            Indeed, the only main differences between this set and the A90J seems to be the OLED panel and that voice support comes through the remotes, whereas the A90J has a built-in microphone.

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            Sony A9

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 48in
            • OLED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            The A9 was released in 2020 and is unique for one reason - it's a 48-inch OLED TV. There aren't many smaller OLEDs on the market and Sony has separated this out from the similar A8, which comes in a larger range of sizes.

            Despite the smaller size, it's packed full of tech with that 4K OLED display powered by the X1 Ultimate processor, but it misses out on 120Hz support, sadly, so it's not going to be quite as adept with handling the latest consoles.

            It also uses the Acoustic Surface technology to produce the sound, while it runs Android TV and is packed with smart features too.

            SonySony 4K and 8K HDR TV choices for 2020: ZH8, A9, XH90 and more compared photo 1

            Sony A8

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 77in
            • OLED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            Released in 2020, the Sony A8 uses the company's X1 Ultimate picture processor, plus Pixel Contrast Booster tech to enhance colour and contrast in bright areas. As an OLED set, it is also very capable with black level response.

            Acoustic Surface Audio technology turns the screen into a speaker, similar to the newer models above, except perhaps not as refined.

            It is HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG-enabled, while Dolby Atmos is supported for the more immersive sound experience, especially when matched with a suitable soundbar or home cinema solution.

            Netflix Calibrated Mode is once again present, as well as the entire gamut of features afforded by the Android TV platform - including Google Assistant voice control. Amazon's Alexa is also supported if you have a separate Echo or other compatible speaker nearby.

            SonySony 4K and 8K HDR TV choices for 2020: ZH8, A9, XH90 and more compared photo 1

            Sony AG9

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 77in
            • OLED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            This 2019 Master Series set is still one to look out for, thanks to its superb pictures. The Master Series TVs are those that Sony's engineers believe present the best images as "creators intended" and therefore offer the most accurate, cinematic pictures.

            Not only does the AG9 sport the common HDR formats, including HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, it also comes with the Netflix Calibrated mode as newer models that, when activated, ensures supported Netflix content is played using settings determined by those who worked on the shows and movies.

            Google Assistant and Alexa support is built in, the former as part of the Android TV smart platform. While, Dolby Atmos sound is supported, both externally and through streaming services.

            The display has Acoustic Surface Audio+, which means the panel itself vibrates and becomes the main speaker - with two actuators and subwoofers hidden behind.

            Sony 4K LED televisions

            As well as the 8K models and the OLED, there's a range of more approachable LED TVs to choose from.

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            Sony X95J

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 65in, 75in, 85in
            • Full Array LED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Google TV

            If you want a flagship Full Array LED TV but not the 8K resolution, the Sony X95J is coming soon.

            Like the 8K models above, it comes with a backlight system with many individual LEDs that can be switched on and off in zones (or dimmed). This leads to excellent black levels, better colour saturation and greater contrast.

            The TV runs on Sony's 2021 picture processing - its Cognitive Processor XR - which uses AI to ensure images always look their best. In addition, it has Contrast Booster 10 tech on board, amplifying the difference between bright and dark scenes even more.

            Anti-reflection technology helps blot out bright lights spoiling your enjoyment, while X-Wide Angle ensures the viewing angle is almost OLED-like.

            Acoustic Multi-Audio tech uses sound positioning tweeters and a built-in subwoofer to present a soundscape that seems to come from the screen rather than the edges. 4K 120Hz is supported through HDMI 2.1 for gaming.

            Google Assistant and Alexa are supported, with the former available through a built-in microphone.

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            Sony X90J/X94J

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 50in, 55in, 65in, 75in
            • Full Array LED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Google TV

            The Sony X90J and X94J is similar in many ways to the X95J but comes in smaller screen sizes and has a few minor differences. The difference between the X90J and the X94J is the type of stand it comes with.

            For starters, while it does have Google Assistant and voice support, that's through the mic in the included remote rather than the TV itself.

            Also, the panel doesn't offer X-Wide Angle nor Anti-reflection. It uses a different version of the Contrast Boosting tech too, and doesn't have as many built-in speakers.

            Still, it does tick all the other boxes, including 4K 120Hz and HDR formats support.

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            Sony X85J

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 43in, 50in, 55in, 65in
            • LED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Google TV

            If you're not bothered by the Full Array backlighting, this LED model will soon be available. It comes with plenty of 2021 bells and whistles too, so worth considering.

            One of those is 4K 120Hz support for 120fps gaming. That means it will work well with a new PlayStation 5, for example.

            Other features include the 4K HDR processor X1, plus sound capabilities built into the frame (at the bottom).

            A light sensor built into the TV can also adjust the picture based on your ambient conditions. And, like most Sony TVs these days. it is fully compatible with Google Assistant and other Google services. Voice control can be used through the remote.

            It is also compatible with Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.

            SonyNew Sony TV pics photo 1

            Sony XH95

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 49in, 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
            • Full Array LED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            Sony's 2020 XH95 TV is still available and comes in a wide variety of screen sizes, from 49in to 85in.

            It features a Full Array backlight, Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, ambient optimisation tech, and an Acoustic Multi-Audio, Sound-from-Picture Reality concept.

            This latter technology uses a bi-amp system, which controls a main speaker and "invisible" tweeter separately, plus a newly balanced additional speaker unit (X-Balanced Speaker) that allows for a lot of air to shift inside a slim housing. Unfortunately, this system can only be found on the 55in, 65in and 75in models.

            As with all Sony TVs, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG are supported, along with Dolby Atmos for sound. It is also compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.

            SonySony 4K and 8K HDR TV choices for 2020: ZH8, A9, XH90 and more compared photo 1

            Sony XH90

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
            • Full Array LED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            Also still available, the Sony XH90 is a very capable 4K HDR TV.

            It sports all the HDR formats you'd expect - HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG - plus Dolby Atmos for sound, but is also a set designed to cater for next generation gaming when it arrives.

            The TV is capable of playing 4K 120fps content, ideal for top level PlayStation 5 gaming.

            It also comes with Netflix Calibrated Mode and Acoustic Multi-Audio with X-Balanced Speaker sound (on 65in and above), but doesn't seemingly have the ambient optimisation tech of the slightly better specced XH95.

            Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit are all supported.

            SonySony 4K and 8K HDR TV choices for 2020: ZH8, A9, XH90 and more compared photo 1

            Sony XH80/81

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            • Available now
            • Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 85in
            • LED, 3840 x 2160 pixel, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Atmos, Android TV

            The most affordable TV on our list is the 2020 Sony XH80/81. Like the forthcoming X85J, is edge-lit rather than Full Array, which means the backlight has some local dimming capabilities but not on the same level.

            The XH80 and the XH81 are the same TV, but with the 80 coming in a wider array of sizes with a different stand.

            However, it still sports many of the same pictures and streaming features of the rest of the 2020 range. It is Android TV smart-enabled, for example, so comes with Google Assistant voice control and is also capable of hooking up to external Alexa devices. And it has AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support.

            The Android TV functionality also means it has Chromecast built-in, so you can send content from many different apps straight to your screen.

            And, with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on board, it can get top notch HDR and audio performance.

            Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 9 February 2018.
            Sections TV