Sony is an important presence across all areas of the AV and hi-fi worlds, from TVs and headphones to portable music players, and even content. So of course, as we kick off the new year it’s one of the brands we are watching carefully for what’s to come next.
We have CES 2024 just around the corner, but Sony has a tendency to launch products throughout the year at some of its own events too. So what’s likely to appear? Here are a few educated guesses, and a couple from our wishlist too…
New flagship TV tech
Sony has produced some of the best TVs you can buy for a few years running now – 2023’s flagship OLED, the A95L, received the full five stars from us a few months ago, while the excellent mid-range A80L OLED won our coveted Product of the Year Award for the whole TV category in 2023.
Despite its OLEDs so often stealing the limelight, Mini LED technology has been a growing focus for Sony too. In fact, the Mini LED X95L model was officially considered to be a joint flagship set alongside the A95L – and crucially came with a much more affordable price tag.
However, the brightness capabilities of Mini LED TVs could well to be tipping the scales in its favour in 2024 – or at least, Sony’s own take on it. During a visit to the company’s Yokohama offices, Sony showed us its new Mini LED prototype backlighting technology earmarked for it flagship sets, something our TV and AV editor Tom Parsons thinks could happen as soon as this year.
This is being pushed along by the fact that Sony believes that movies will soon be mastered to brightness levels beyond the peak brightness range that OLED can manage. And in fact, Sony is having a helping hand in making that happen.
As part of the same trip, Sony also showed us its BVM-HX3110 grading monitor, which offers a peak brightness of an incredible 4000 nits (in a 10 per cent window).
As one of the industry’s leading grading monitors, this capability encourages content creators to explore the possibility of mastering their content to brighter levels. As this happens, you’ll need a TV with similar capabilities to see the director’s true intention, and quite simply, Mini LED offers that flexibility where OLED does not.
Ditching OLED for a flagship Mini LED TV in 2024 would certainly be a bold move, but it looks like Sony could be prepared to make it.
Sony’s best noise-cancelling headphones yet?
It’s been two years since the release of the WH-1000XM5 over-ear headphones, and if previous form is anything to go by, that would suggest that we are due to see the latest flagship headphones in the company’s ever-popular noise-cancelling range.
Sony has done better than Sonos in keeping any details for the new headphones under wraps so we can only speculate as to what might be included.
Considering they are our most recommended noise-cancelling headphones, we don’t have a huge wishlist, but tweaked sound, best-in-class noise cancellation and even better battery life would be welcome – plus a further refined design wouldn't go amiss either.
Sony vs Sonos?
Sony produces a lot of Bluetooth speakers, covering off everything from small portable options to big and flashy party speakers. But something we haven’t seen Sony really capitalise on in its speaker range is a home-focused wi-fi speaker.
There were the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 speakers released in 2021, but not only did they receive a relatively lukewarm response at launch, they’re now also looking a little long in the tooth, making them prime candidates for an upgrade.
Considering, too, Sony’s growing 360 Reality Audio format, could a challenger for the likes of Sonos’ Era 300 perhaps be in the offing? A premium spatial audio speaker that really delivers on sound quality feels like it would be a solid fit for the brand’s line up after a big focus on Bluetooth more recently. Is 2024 the year?
More hi-fi please
Since we’re touching on sound quality, could 2024 be the year we see some more hi-fi products come out of Sony HQ? In 2023 we got an entry-level high-res audio player in the shape of the NW-A306, and it’s only been two years since the higher end of that category got two new additions too – the NW-WM1ZM2 being one of them.
However, the PS-HX500 turntable is now eight years old, the PS-LX310BT Bluetooth deck is four years old, and the TA-ZH1ES headphone amp is seven years old – all of which reviewed well when they came through the What Hi-Fi? testing rooms. Considering the success it’s having in its TV endeavours, we’d love to see Sony put a renewed focus on the hi-fi side of its business too.
The PS5 goes Pro
For AV-focused gamers, rumours of a PS5 Pro are gathering pace, with a potential September launch date. In some ways, it’s overdue – the PS4 Pro launched three years after the PS4 and we’re coming up to four years since the launch of the PS5. But what could it bring?
TV manufacturer TCL predicted the PS5 Pro could offer native 8K gaming with a 120Hz refresh rate, but that seems like a bit of a stretch to us at this stage. Put that on the PS6 wishlist. Instead, perhaps it will bring true 4K that has the power to ensure there is no loss of resolution when on-screen play cranks up a gear. Here’s hoping.
Our pick of the best Sony headphones
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