Sony is joining the Mini LED TV bandwagon in 2022

Image: Sony

Sony makes arguably the best OLED TVs you can buy. They outperform LG’s own OLED sets in terms of picture quality despite both companies using very similar panels from LG Display. That’s because Sony applies its own image processing to everything you see on screen. Even when the company embraces new display technology, it relies on decades of TV hardware expertise to fine-tune everything.

And now that Sony has a good command of OLED, it’s time for a new challenge: Mini LED. As part of its 2022 TV lineup, which also includes one of the world’s first-ever QD-OLED TVs, Sony is introducing its first Mini LED LCD TVs. The Z9K series will offer 8K resolution in 75-inch and 85-inch screen sizes, while the X95K will stick to 4K with 65-, 75-, and 85-inch models.

Like mini LED TVs from other manufacturers, Sony will offer much more precise local dimming than previous models thanks to backlight LEDs that shrink in size and increase in quantity. This produces improved contrast, higher peak brightness, better display uniformity and black levels closer to OLED. But even with Mini LED’s many strengths, you’ll occasionally encounter blooming, which occurs when there’s a visible halo around bright objects (or text) on a dark screen. Sony says it’s put a ton of work into reducing blooming using its “XR Backlight Master Drive” algorithms, which dynamically control the backlight to avoid blooming – without affecting the brightness of your content.

Sony says its mini LED TVs include anti-blooming measures.
Image: Sony

This year, Sony says it has also worked to improve image depth on its TVs, applying different treatments to nearby objects and the background. And all high-end Sony TVs continue to feature the company’s very impressive Acoustic Multi-Audio speakers, meaning you might be able to skip a soundbar; the Z9K has an 85 watt sound system, while the X95K is slightly less at 60 watts.

All of Sony’s Mini LED models support 4K gaming at 120Hz, automatic tone mapping when used with a PS5, and automatic low latency mode. And Sony is finally bringing variable refresh rate support to these TVs at launch out of the box – no future firmware updates required. Hopefully this is a sign that VRR support is approaching on the PS5 console as well. Sony is sticking with Google TV as built-in software with the option of hands-free voice commands, and there’s also support for Apple AirPlay 2.

TCL led the Mini LED trend among TV makers, but since then Samsung, LG and now Sony have switched to the same backlight technique as they look to bridge the gap between traditional LCD and OLED TVs. Mini LEDs can achieve significantly higher peak brightness than OLED sets, although they still fall short of their infinite contrast.

Pricing for the 2022 Sony Bravia TVs and the also-announced Bravia Cam will be released in the coming months.


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