We usually start a piece like this by explaining that the brand in question just announced its new TV range at CES, but Sony made the highly unusual decision not to announce any TVs at all at CES 2023.
Sony will instead announce its new TVs at a special event “later in the spring”. We have reached out to the company to request more information on this and will update this page once we receive a response.
Those planning to buy a new TV this year are probably desperate to know what Sony has in store and how the new models will compare to the new sets already announced by the likes of LG, Samsung and Panasonic. Fortunately, we can use our extensive experience covering and testing Sony TVs, as well as our knowledge of current TV technology trends, to make some key predictions.
So, without further ado, here’s what we think Sony’s 2023 TV lineup will look like.
More Sony QD OLED TVs, and possibly at lower prices
Sony’s 2022 A95K will forever be the very first QD-OLED TV we’ve tested, despite being a panel technology developed by Samsung. A year on, the A95K remains one of, if not the, best TV money can buy, and it seems almost inconceivable that Sony would drop the technology so quickly, despite the introduction of rival OLED panel technology – more on that below.
The only problem with the Sony A95K is that it’s very expensive – much more so than the Samsung S95B, the only other QD-OLED TV currently available (although there are also QD-OLED monitors). Will Sony launch a more affordable QD-OLED model in 2023? We can’t say for sure, but it certainly seems possible.
Sony has always been keen to maintain its status as a premium brand and it won’t get into a price war with Samsung, but the huge price difference between its A95K and Samsung’s S95B is problematic, even though our testing proves that the A95K is certainly the better TV in general.
For that reason, we believe the replacement for the A95K, presumably called A95L, will remain a very premium QD-OLED model, but a step-down model, perhaps called A85L, will fit underneath to make the technology available for a wider audience.
What will be the differences between these two potential QD-OLED models? We’d expect both to have Samsung Display’s latest panels, which Samsung Electronics describes as having ‘OLED HyperEfficient EL’ material, but perhaps the main differentiator for image quality is that the A95L has a heat sink and the A85L doesn’t. This should theoretically allow the flagship model to get significantly brighter, perhaps peaking at over 2000 nits, but the step-down TV, thanks to the QD OLED panel, should still be a lot brighter than traditional OLED TVs.
Assuming Sony is indeed launching two QD-OLED models this year, the other key difference will likely be sound. Both will benefit from the company’s Acoustic Surface Audio technology, where actuators vibrate the screen to create sound, but we expect the flagship model to have larger accompanying woofers for extra bass, a more powerful output overall and maybe even an extra actuator for better localization of sound.
The final, obvious difference between these two theoretical QD OLED TVs will be the design. Sony likes to be bold with the designs of its flagship TVs, as evidenced by the donkey shape of the 2017 A1 and the counterweight lip of the current A95K, but it also likes to balance that with a relatively traditional design for its step-down model. We expect it to continue this year, although we’re not even going to guess what the new flagship OLED might look like.
A 77-inch Sony QD OLED seems inevitable, but there won’t be anything smaller than 55 inches
Samsung Display, which currently manufactures all of the QD-OLED panels currently used for TVs, recently announced that it is now producing a 77-inch panel. Samsung Electronics has dutifully announced that it will be launching 77-inch QD OLED TVs this year, and we don’t see Sony resisting doing the same. Assuming Sony does indeed stick with QD-OLED for at least one model, a 77-inch version seems practically final.
This 77-inch QD OLED TV would sit alongside the already established 55 and 65-inch QD OLEDs, but a smaller model is almost certainly out of the question. 34-inch QD-OLED monitors already exist, but this isn’t the size TV manufacturers are really interested in. Sony and others would jump at the chance to launch 48- or 42-inch QD-OLED TVs, but our understanding is that QD-OLED panels in these sizes don’t yet exist.
Will Sony produce an OLED TV with Micro Lens Array technology?
This is where things get interesting. At CES 2023, LG announced its new G3 model, which it says will be much brighter than the G2 it replaces, and up to 70% brighter than ‘traditional’ OLED TVs. The key to this apparent massive increase in brightness is believed to be the introduction of Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology, which essentially consists of an ultra-thin layer of tiny lenses that better focus the light from the panel’s OLEDs, resulting in in a brighter performance without the need to drive the organic panel elements more than before.
In a sense, MLA is LG’s answer to Samsung’s QD-OLED, with each brand choosing its technology champion in the OLED TV war. However, Sony is the only brand that already has both QD-OLED and ‘standard’ OLED models in its range, and that creates a bit of a conundrum: is it embracing both technologies, even though they appear to be competing?
Our prediction is that there will be a Micro Lens Array model in Sony’s TV line-up for 2023, and it will fit below the QD-OLED models. Why below? Because while the two technologies can theoretically get equally bright, QD-OLED should be able to reproduce bolder, more vibrant colors, especially in the brightest areas of the image, thanks to the use of Quantum Dots.
However, this vision of the future is far from clear and it will be absolutely fascinating to see how Sony positions the two technologies in relation to each other, assuming it does indeed embrace both.
Smaller and more affordable ‘standard OLED TVs’
Neither QD-OLED nor Micro Lens Array technology is available at sizes below 55in, so that leaves the ‘standard’ OLED to pick up some slack at the 48 and 42in sizes. In 2022, Sony’s smaller OLED, the A90K, was very much positioned as a flagship proposition, and we expect the company to launch an equally high-quality successor in 2023.
However, we predict there will also be a more affordable smaller OLED in Sony’s 2023 lineup. LG’s 42-inch C2 model has proved insanely popular, especially with gamers looking for premium performance in a smaller space, and we’d be surprised if Sony didn’t offer a competing model, even if it wasn’t priced as aggressively as LG’s C2.
Could Sony stop making 8K TVs?
2022 was another year without native 8K content and 2023 has started with no suggestion of such content coming. LG’s lineup includes an 8K OLED and Samsung, as always, is launching 8K QLEDs that will likely be very aggressively priced. However, Chinese brand TCL is turning away from 8K, stating that “it’s not what people expected” (via Flat panelsHD (opens in new tab)).
Which way is Sony going? We can’t say for sure, but we wouldn’t be hugely surprised if the generally pragmatic brand decided to take a year off from 8K TV production with a view to resuming if and when it becomes widely available .
There will still be plenty of LCD TVs from Sony in 2023, some with Mini LED backlighting
Sony’s 2022 8K TV, the Z9K, is an LCD model with a mini-LED backlight, but just because Sony may or may not give up on 8K doesn’t mean it’s going to ditch LCD or mini-LED technology . On the contrary, we expect Sony to have a lot of LCD models in its TV range for 2023, and Mini LED to appear quite a lot.
In 2022, the only 4K Mini LED model in Sony’s range was the nice premium X95K, but Samsung has introduced Mini LED backlighting in much cheaper models. Again, Sony isn’t going to get into a price war, but it seems perfectly possible that Mini LED backlighting will be introduced in one of the brand’s upper mid-range models.
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