Sony TVs 2018: every Sony Bravia TV model and series number explained. There’s a whole new batch of TVs, including plenty of 4K HDR sets. Here’s what they all mean and everything else you need to know before buying one.
Below is the entire Sony Bravia TV line up for 2018. The company showed off some of its goods in January at CES 2018 – I’m disproportionately excited about the Sony AF8 OLED and Sony XF90 / X900F – but now here is the rest of the range.
Before getting into the details, I’d like to point out the very welcome fact that almost all of the range will offer HDR. Even non-4K ones. They will support HDR10 out of the box, and the top models (ZD9, A1, AF8, XE90) will be getting Dolby Vision via an online software update.
So now everyone can have HDR, undeniably a more obviously impactful development than 4K, without necessarily shelling out for an expensive model. Sony did this in 2017 – as far as I know, they are the only manufacturer to do so. It’s a brilliant move, especially for gamers who have a HDR-toting PS4 Slim but not the 4K PS4 Pro.
Speaking of HDR, all of Sony’s 2018 (and 2017) TVs will be able to handle Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). There’s hardly anything to watch in HLG right now, but it can’t hurt to future-proof your TV.
Also, 3D is gone. Sony made a point of saying none of its 2017 models supported 3D, and in 2018 there’s not even been a mention of it. It’s not a surprise; demand for wearing extra specs in your living room has gone off a cliff.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some 2018 TVs. Prices haven’t been confirmed, but I expect to get that info closer to the April/May launch window. I’ll leave my 2017 coverage at the bottom, since many of those models are still available.
Sony Bravia 2018 TVs – Ultra HD / 4K models
Sony ZD9 (Z9D in the US) – 65, 75 and 100 inches
- Sony KD-65ZD9 / XBR-65Z9D
- Sony KD-75ZD9 / XBR-75Z9D
- Sony KD-100ZD9 / XBR-100Z9D
This is technically not a 2018 model. It was released late into 2016 and in 2018 it maintains its position as Sony’s flagship LCD model. That’s because it’s stunning. It’s one of the few LCD models out there that uses full-array local dimming, which means much better lighting precision and uniformity over the common edge-lit LCDs.
Personally, I reckon there might be a successor in the works, and I’m half-expecting it to be announced towards the end of 2018.
Sony A1 OLED (A1E in the US) – 55, 65 and 77 inches
- Sony KD-55A1 / XBR-55A1E
- Sony KD-65A1 / XBR-65A1E
- Sony-KD77A1 / XBR-77A1E
Not only is this Sony’s first 4K OLED TV – this thing has no speakers but instead has some fancy tech that shakes the screen to make sound. It has to be seen and heard to be believed. This was one of the best TVs in 2017, and it’s so good that Sony has decided to keep it in circulation in 2018.
Sony AF8 OLED (Sony A8F in the US) – 55 and 65 inches
- Sony KD-55AF8 / Sony XBR-55A8F
- Sony KD-65AF8 / Sony XBR-65A8F
This was the first Sony TV to be introduced in 2018, although technically speaking it’s not entirely new. That’s because it’s a sort of remake of the amazing A1 OLED.
Not everyone loved the A-frame and 5-degree lean on the A1, so Sony made an alternative with a regular plinth, and it stands upright. Alright, technically there’s still a minor tilt for safety reasons, but now it’s no more than 2 degrees. Either way, not having a big, folded stand at the back means this thing is easier to wall-mount, if that’s what you need.
Picture and sound quality is identical to the A1 – the key difference is in the design. As far as I can tell, the only reason this model sits ‘below’ the A1 in the Sony Bravia hierarchy is that it ships with a rubber remote, versus the A1’s aluminium and rubber one. Oh and there’s not been any word on a 77-inch AF8 yet.
Sony XF90 (Sony X900F in the US) – 49, 55, 65 and 75 inches
- Sony KD-49XF9005 / Sony XBR-49X900F
- Sony KD-55XF9005 / Sony XBR-55X900F
- Sony KD-65XF9005 / Sony XBR-65X900F
- Sony KD-75XF9005 / Sony XBR-75X900F
Now this is a curious one. As OLED TVs are taking up more of the ‘premium’ slots, LCD TVs are sliding towards the mid-range. That seems to be everyone’s strategy in 2018. But that doesn’t mean LCDs are getting worse – in fact, Sony is bringing its top tech down the range.
The XF90 is the spiritual successor to last year’s XE90, as well as the XE93 and XE94. Essentially, it’s a lot of higher-end tech crammed into a model that won’t cost the earth. It’s the only full-array local dimming model this year. It uses the same X1 Extreme processor found in the ZD9, A1 and AF8, and it’s a 100Hz panel too. It will run on Nougat, the latest version of Android TV, and there will be built-in Youview too. And since it uses the same chip as the higher-up models, it is also eligible for the upcoming Dolby Vision update.
Sony XF85 (Sony X850F) – 43, 49, 55, 65, 75, and 85 inches
- Sony KD-43XF85 / Sony XBR-43X850F
- Sony KD-49XF85 / Sony XBR-49X850F
- Sony KD-55XF85 / Sony XBR-55X850F
- Sony KD-65XF85 / Sony XBR-65X850F
- Sony KD-75XF85 / Sony XBR-75X850F
- Sony KD-85XF85 / Sony XBR-85X850F
This is the LCD model Sony expects to sell the most, in part because it comes in the most sizes: 43, 49, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches. The entire range benefits from a 100Hz panel, so you’ll have good motion no matter which size you go for. The 43-inch one (Sony KD-43XF85) should do particularly well when it comes to bargain TV hunting for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Most of these will be edge-lit. The 85-inch version will be direct-lit, since edge lighting gets worse the bigger the TV – but it will not have the full-array local dimming of the XF90. We also lose the XF90’s superior X1 Extreme processor.
Oh, the aluminium chassis comes in two colours: silver for the smaller four sizes, black for the two larger ones.
Sony XF80 (Sony X800F) – 43, 49 and 55 inches
- Sony KD-43XF8096 / Sony XBR-43X800F
- Sony KD-49XF8096 / Sony XBR-43X800F
- Sony KD-55XF8096 / Sony XBR-43X800F
This is what you get if you take away the XF85’s aluminium chassis, and swap the 100Hz panel for a 50Hz one. So basically the build quality isn’t as nice, and motion isn’t as good. If you’re not fussed about those things, this is a more affordable way to get Android TV and a Triluminos picture (Sony’s term for a larger colour palette not available on lower models).
Sony XF75 / X750F? Sony XF70 / X700F? The above are all the 4K TVs Sony has unveiled, although I’m going to speculate about what else there may be on the way. Last year, the Sony XE70 was announced after the initial batch unveiling. It wasn’t a particularly advanced model but it still did an excellent job for the money. I’d be surprised if Sony doesn’t follow that up with an equivalent XF model. Nothing has been confirmed, however.
Sony Bravia 2018 TVs – Full HD and HD-ready models
Looking for smaller, cheaper TVs for the bedroom? Then you might want to consider a cheaper, smaller model in 1080p or 720p. Sony hasn’t officially unveiled any new basic models for 2018 so far, but they’ve confirmed the WE6 and RE4 from 2017 will continue to be sold.
- Sony WE66 – 40 and 49 inches
- Sony WE61 – 32 inches
- Sony RE4 – 32 and 40 inches
Sony WE66, WE61: The WE6 series is a bit of an odd one. It’s divided into WE66 and WE61. Basically the WE66 describes the 49 and 40 inch models, which are Full HD at 1080p. The WE61 is 32 inches and is HD ready.
This series maintains the smart functionality (and HDR streaming capabilities) but loses out on the Triluminos display.
Sony RE4: I never thought I’d see a no-frills TV feature HDR, but here it is. The RE4 is a straight-up HD TV with no internet or streaming capabilities. But it does play nicely with your PS4’s HDR games.
And that’s it for the Sony 2018 models we know about so far. I’ll be updating this page when I hear more. Meanwhile, check out my coverage of the 2017 models below, many of which are still being sold.
Sony Bravia 2017 TVs – Ultra HD / 4K models
- A1 OLED – 77, 65 and 55 inches
- ZD9 – 100, 75 and 65 inches (late 2016 model, continues into 2017)
- XE94 – 75 inches
- XE93 – 65 and 55 inches
- XE90 – 75, 65, 55 and 49 inches
- XE85 – 75, 65, and 55 inches
- XE80 – 55, 49 and 43 inches
Sony Bravia 2017 TVs – Full HD and HD-ready models
- WE75 – 49 and 43 inches
- WE66 – 49 and 40 inches
- WE61 – 32 inches
- RE4 – 40 and 32 inches
Sony XE94, XE93: These are 2017’s top new LCD models, although still technically behind the ZD9. The XE94 and XE93 pack very similar tech, with one key difference: the XE94 uses a full-array backlight while the XE93 uses edge lighting.
Both feature an upgraded take on last year’s Slim Backlight Drive tech, which used two sequential light guide plates, providing twice as much light control as you get with typical single light guide plate systems. Now there are more separate lighting zones, which help with local dimming control. These models also have the 4K HDR X1 Extreme picture processing chip that helped make Sony’s ZD9 TVs so outstanding.
X-tended Dynamic Range Pro is processing that promises to improve contrast – an increasingly important thing due to the use of High Dynamic Range. All of that, on top of Sony’s wide colour gamut Triluminos display tech, which means a greater range of colours.
On the smart TV front, Sony continues to use Android TV. That means you can use Cast-compatible apps without buying a separate Google Chromecast, and it will also play nicely with Google Home.
Sony XE90: This takes us down to upper-midrange territory, and the number of display sizes available tells me that Sony expect this to be a popular option. It offers most of what the XE93 offers, minus the Slim Backlight Drive+ tech and Dolby Vision compatibility. It also features a step down in processing, using the 4K HDR Processor X1 (not the Extreme one as above). This model also stands out for being the only step-down model to have direct LED backlighting, as opposed to edge lighting.
Sony XE85: We’re now approaching Sony’s entry-level 4K HDR TVs. The XE85 is much like the XE90, except it also loses out on X-tended Dynamic Range Pro. It’s still 4K and HDR, but it doesn’t have the advantage of beefed up contrast.
Sony XE80: The bottom rung of Sony’s 4K HDR ladder. The XE80 takes much from the XE85, except for the 4K HDR Processor X1 chip. It will instead use the older 4K Processor X1, which was top-of-the-line a couple of years ago.
And that’s it for the 4K Sony Bravia TVs for 2017 – although personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see a ZD9 sequel (Sony ZE10?) later in the year. For now, let’s look at non-4K TVs, because the HDTV market is still thriving.
The Sony WE75
Sony WE75: This is the top dog of Sony’s non-4K range. It still uses Triluminos display tech, so even if you don’t get the sharpness of 4K you’ll still get some lovely colours. It holds on to the Android TV smart operating system too.
The big thing separating this 1080p TV from its predecessors is HDR compatibility. You’ll be able to enjoy HDR without 4K on streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon. Sony also wants to target the gamers – those with 4K TVs are more likely to buy a PS4 Pro or Xbox One S, both of which do 4K and HDR, but the regular old PS4 and the PS4 Slim offer HDR too.
There’s no 4K Blu-ray, though. 4K movies require HDCP 2.2 (a form of copy protection) and these non-4K HDR TVs don’t have it. Also, don’t expect the sort of blinding HDR you get with UHD Premium TVs – Sony doesn’t go in for numbers, but I’m certain these models don’t reach the 1000 nits of high-end models. I reckon we’re looking at about 300 nits of brightness.