Sony’s new TVs are better than smart. At least one presentation suggests that the processor that processes the image and sound on the devices uses cognitive intelligence to do its job. As the company points out, this is smarter than “conventional artificial intelligence”.
It is not new that TV sets process the image with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and make it beautiful, all well known manufacturers have mastered this trick. However, according to Sony, it can “individually identify and explore image elements such as color, contrasts and details”. The new Sony chip, dubbed the XR, is “like the human brain, capable of simultaneously analyzing multiple organs in parallel.”
For example, according to Sony, the chip can identify any object in an image that an observer focuses on and highlights its details in a way that makes this object particularly distinctive. In an example video, it should be a climber on a rock wall.
In addition, the XR processor analyzes the soundtrack of the currently running image and uses it to create 3D surround sound. Depending on the screen technology, Sony uses different methods to create sound. Models with an OLED display up to 83 inches A90J use the screen as a speaker to vibrate the device. Its name is Sound Surface Audio + in Sony’s vocabulary.
On other TV sets, i.e. those with LED displays, regular speakers provide audio. Depending on the model, a different number of them can be installed in different places in the home and create a spatial sound.
Notably, this year saw a wide range of new TV sets from Sony to Virtual CES. Above is the Z9J from the master series, which is the Japanese manufacturer’s current maximum of 8K resolution and up to 85 inches. However, at the bottom end, the company shows the W800, which is 32 inches long and looks smaller by today’s standards.
What all new Sony TVs have in common is that they use Google TV as their user interface and access services and applications. It can be used to control Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant and homekit-enabled devices, and to transfer music and videos from iPhones and iPods via Apple AirPlay 2.
Only models with the new XR processor (Z9J, A90J, A85J, X95J and X90J) will be able to access Sony’s new streaming service, the Provia Core. Available via “Current Premium Titles and Choice of Popular Classics from SPE (Sony Pictures Entertainment)”. The company promises streaming rates of up to 80 megabytes per second, which should enable image quality similar to Ultra HD Blu-rays. An internet connection that can do this is definitely a prerequisite.
Depending on the model, you will receive vouchers for ten films upon purchase from the library of 300 films, and access to 100 more free of charge for 24 months. It can’t be consistent with Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, but who watches the gift horse’s mouth?
Like the competition, Sony is stepping back with more details. In addition to accurate technical data, the company has not yet provided any information on availability or pricing. They will be “announced later”.