Here's what Sony needs to do to continue its winning TV and AV streak in 2024

Sony Bravia 8 in a modern living room with beige furniture and a wooden coffee table
(Image credit: Sony)

It's hard to deny the fact that Sony practically dominated 2023 when it came to TV releases. We reviewed a total of five Sony sets last year, and each and every one of them earned the full five stars in our TV reviews thanks to how well they excelled across the picture, sound and features categories. It's a rare flush that other manufacturers cannot often claim. 

However, that was last year, and now all eyes are on Sony to see if it can deliver the goods once again this year. After unveiling its new series of Bravia TVs, which includes two new Mini LED models and an OLED that succeeds the Product of the Year Award-winning A80L, the pressure is on for Sony to deliver.

So what can it do to ensure success? Can it capture lightning in a bottle for two years running? It certainly seems to think so, as the Bravia 9 and Bravia 8 sets are shaping up to be a very interesting pair, with the former using Sony's newly developed next-generation Mini LED backlighting system and the latter holding on to standard OLED screen technology.

Contrast is key

Sony Bravia TV mounted on a wall with a sci fi explosion on screen, with the Bravia quad wireless speakers placed around the room

(Image credit: Sony)

A consistent pattern across Sony's 2023 TV range was the impressive handling of contrast across all models. Whether that was the flagship A95L QD-OLED TV or the more affordable X85L LCD TV, they all provided Sony's signature striking picture presentation. 

Each TV delivered a picture that oozed with three-dimensional depth and stellar solidity and crispness, meaning edges around subjects on the screen were nicely defined and they appeared to almost pop off the panel. This is by far my favourite attribute of Sony's TVs from last year, and it's something I hope it continues to provide on the upcoming Bravia TVs. 

The early signs are promising, especially as the Bravia 9's new Mini LED backlighting system is set to deliver greatly enhanced black depths thanks to the whopping 325 per cent increase in number of dimming zones. It's also expected to be 150 per cent brighter than the X95L Mini LED TV it's replacing, with enhanced peak brightness in highlights. This is all pointing in the right direction as far as contrast is concerned in my books, however, I'll wait to see the TV in person before I pass judgement. 

But keep it natural


(Image credit: Future / Netflix, Our Planet II)

While I appreciate how striking the Sony sets of yesteryear were, it's also crucial that balance and authenticity are considered as well. Ultimately, this is a key factor that bagged the A80L's Product of the Year win at the last What Hi-Fi? Awards.

The soon-to-be-phased-out A80L delivered this in boatloads, with a balanced, nuanced and subtle picture that spent as much time digging out visual intricacies as it did highlighting bigger and bolder aspects of its picture. It managed to walk the line between dynamism and subtly incredibly well, which made for an authentic and engaging viewing experience that few could rival. 

The Bravia 8, Sony's new standard OLED TV, looks to continue the spirit of the A80L, albeit with a few tweaks under the hood. Sony claims a modest 10 per cent boost in brightness, and its updated XR Processor has a few new tricks up its sleeve when it comes to picture processing. 

Sony states that there is enhanced recognition for facial features and foliage which should enhance detail and colours for both. The enhancement in face recognition is set to work on front-facing, side-facing and even animated faces too, meaning all content should get a boost. 

Faces and foliage are often some of the most intricate things on screen, and ensuring they come across as natural and authentic should be a top priority for TV manufacturers. Considering Sony's track record, I have faith that we could see an even greater level of authenticity this year, but only time will tell. 

Sounds good too 

Sony Bravia 9 rear with a crosshatch plastic design, two feet at either end and dual speakers at the top edge

(Image credit: Sony)

More often than not, we spend our time treading familiar ground when it comes to built-in TV sound. The LG C3 and G3 TVs of yesteryear both earned three out of five in the sound department, as did Samsung's S95C. The Sony A95L, on the other hand, was one of just two TVs to earn the full five marks for sound, while all of its other TVs earned an admirable four out of five.

As we often say, a Dolby Atmos soundbar or an AVR and surround sound speaker package will always trump the built-in speakers of any set. But that doesn't detract from the fact that Sony's flagship TV sounded genuinely good, to the point where we decided we could comfortably use it without an external audio device. 

Good TV speakers aren't to be taken for granted though, so Sony best consider that with its new Bravia range. Thankfully it appears to have done just that, as the Bravia 9's sonic spec sheet is rather impressive at first glance. With a Dolby Atmos-certified 2.2.2 channel system with a total power output of 70W, the Bravia 9 could well be a maestro, thanks to the inclusion of upward-firing beam tweeters.

We're also huge fans of Sony's actuator system that vibrates the OLED screen in order to create sound, hence the A95L earning top marks. While that system does make a return for 2024 alongside a few small updates in the Bravia 8, Sony is adapting that idea for its Mini LED sets. Due to the structure of the Mini LED display system, Sony can't vibrate the screen itself, so it's made a clever alternative. 

It includes side-mounted frame tweeters within the Bravia 9 that (as the name might suggest) vibrate the frame of the TV to create sound. Accompanied by the new upward-firing beam tweeters, the Bravia 9 should hopefully deliver some top-notch directional sound; and Sony is already touting its proficiency at matching sound effects to the position of subjects on screen.  

Success for Sony in 2024?

While it's certainly far too early to even begin drawing conclusions as to how these new TVs perform, the early signs are promising. We've got hands-on reviews for the new models now for a more in-depth look, but if we're talking purely about specs on paper, it seems like Sony is going in the right direction.

It appears to have recognised each of its strengths from last year's models and built upon them, meaning we could hypothetically see improvements on already excellent TVs. I'm certainly excited to see what Sony has to offer, and more importantly, I'm eager to see if it can deliver on its new promise to "bring the cinema home". 


Read the latest news about Sony's new Bravia range

And read our hands on review of the Bravia 9 QLED TV

And check out our picks for the best TVs

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.