Sony’s new TVs take Mini-LED to the max: Here’s what you should know

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Sony launched its new TV and soundbar lineup April 17 with the tagline “Cinema is coming home.” But a month earlier, they invited me to travel far from home—from the East Coast to Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif.—for a behind-the-screens preview of the philosophy and technology that went into the 2024 models. 

Ecto-1. Johnny 5. BRAVIA 9. Our two-day tour of the lot showcased applied science of the past and present. Movie props and filmmakers giving Sony engineers props. Classic characters and new naming conventions. I found myself in JEOPARDY! and on a holodeck. It was a soup-to-nuts, lens-to-living room look at mastering monitors, home theater setups, and the push to narrow the gap between creators and consumers.

Sony's new line of soundbars and televisions displayed on white steps with a red curtain in the background.

Seeing what we’re not seeing  

Sony’s new TVs include four models and two important acronyms: BRAVIA and HDR. The “Best Resolution Audio Visual Integrated Architecture” brand has been part of Sony’s televisions for almost 20 years but is now the unifying label for the BRAVIA 3, 7, 8, and 9 screens, as well as the BRAVIA Theater Bar 8 and Theater Bar 9. For anyone used to Sony’s sets like the X95L, X90L, etc., X no longer marks the spot except on the SKU. (The A80L is also gone—no more separate LED and OLED series—but that didn’t fit the last sentence’s wordplay as well.) 

The BRAVIA 9 is now the Mini-LED flagship, with the most expanded, authentic contrast, while the BRAVIA 8 is an OLED alternative. The BRAVIA 7 is a more approachable Mini-LED, while the BRAVIA 3 is an entry-level LED. Is making shopping simpler than the previous system the rename of the game? Debatable, and it doesn’t help that the flagship A95L will remain on the market. At the very least, the new monikers make it clear that the BRAVIA 9 is the set Sony considers the true peak of this year’s innovations—peak brightness particularly.

On to that second acronym. The ability to turn off every diode independently allows OLED screens unbeatable black levels and contrast, given a low-light environment to show its best. But when it comes to HDR, or High Dynamic Range, the peak brightness levels achievable by a Mini-LED screen allow for more control over fine highlights and luminance that can stand up to rooms with more natural light. 

Sony’s brightest 4K TV to date (50% brighter with 325% more dimming zones), the BRAVIA 9’s High Peak Luminance sets out to narrow the gap with OLED’s pixel-level control while improving the ability to perform accurately wherever people want (or need) to set up their TV, not just in an optimized home theater or demo den. Sony hosted its product reveal throughout the studio lot, and invited directors and cinematographers to speak to us, to reinforce the part the company plays in every stage of the cinema signal chain—from professional Venice cameras like those used on Top Gun: Maverick to sound design to color-grading monitors. And it’s Sony’s belief in the ability of HDR to preserve the detail and intent of every frame that explains why the first, foundational screen we saw was one none of us will ever buy.

The Sony BRAVIA 9's backlight panel
Tony Ware

Shining a light on backlighting

The HX3110 is an if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it 31-inch 4K reference monitor with a dual-layer LCD panel capable of color grading up to 4,000 nits. To date, most films are mastered to 1,000 nits because of the limitations of previous monitors. With the NX3110, even the smallest highlights can be displayed without clipping, and 2,000/1,000 nits settings allow filmmakers to ensure details translate to any current display scenarios. And the gradients on display were compelling. But it’s that 4,000 nits future that informed the development of the BRAVIA 9’s local dimming and backlight processing. 

Handing out sunglasses, our hosts had us turn to the other side of the darkened room, draped in blackout curtains. On one table was a BRAVIA 9 without its LCD panel, with an intact TV on the floor in front of it. To the side were two sets from a competitor in an identical arrangement. Can the BRAVIA 9 reach the brightness levels or shading of a tens of thousands of dollars professional monitor without clipping? No, but it did demo the “XR Backlight Master Drive” and newly developed IC (LED Driver) system’s response time and object recognition, as well as show off the color volume and specular highlights, which emulated some of the HX3110’s vivid reproduction admirably. The naked backlight, well, illuminated the level of definition 22-bit channel control can produce. And a granular grasp of each component and current also means 20% less power consumption, according to Sony.

This will also come into play in one of Sony’s new partnerships. The BRAVIA 7, 8, and 9 will all feature Prime Video Calibrated Mode, a feature announced at the event by B.A. Winston, VP of technology for Amazon Prime Video, that auto-adjusts picture settings for the content streaming (movies, TV, live sports, etc.), screen type, and the light conditions in the room. (Prime Video joins similar processing for Netflix and the Sony Pictures Core app.) IMAX Enhanced, Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR10 support—plus 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, Auto Tone Mapping, and other “Perfect for PS5” features for gamers—make sure all the picture mode boxes are checked.

As for the BRAVIA 8 OLED, it’s 10% brighter while being 30% slimmer than 2023’s A80L. The BRAVIA 7 is 790% brighter than last year’s full-array LED X90L. But it’s the BRAVIA 9 that’s an upgrade from every angle—including the viewing angle, which exhibited low off-axis desaturation. I look forward to testing one to bring all the shadowy details into the light.

Two televisions displaying their LED capabilities.

BRAVIA TV models and prices, once available 


  • 85″ Class (84.6″ diag): $5,499.99 USD MSRP
  • 75″ Class (74.5″ diag): $3,999.99 USD MSRP
  • 65″ Class (64.5″ diag): $3,299.99 USD MSRP 


  • 77″ Class (76.7″ diag): $3,899.99 USD MSRP 
  • 65″ Class (64.5″ diag): $2,799.99 USD MSRP  
  • 55″ Class (54.6″ diag): $1,999.99 USD MSRP 


  • 85″ Class (84.6″ diag): $3,499.99 USD MSRP
  • 75″ Class (74.5″ diag): $2,799.99 USD MSRP
  • 65″ Class (64.5″ diag): $2,299.99 USD MSRP
  • 55″ Class (54.6″ diag): $1,899.99 USD MSRP


  • 85″ Class (84.6″ diag): $1,799.99 USD MSRP
  • 75″ Class (74.5″ diag): $1,299.99 USD MSRP
  • 65″ Class (64.5″ diag): $999.99 USD MSRP 
  • 55″ Class (54.6″ diag): $849.99 USD MSRP
  • 50″ Class (49.5″ diag): $699.99 USD MSRP 
  • 43″ Class (42.5″ diag): $599.99 USD MSRP

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