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BRAVIA CORE: the hi-res future of movie streaming

Sony
(Image credit: Sony )

It’s not a huge stretch to say that, one day, all video streaming services will be like Sony’s BRAVIA CORE. Announced back at CES 2021, BRAVIA CORE is a high-bitrate movie streaming platform and the only one around that offers the kind of quality that you can get from disc.

That should mean enough information per second for top quality picture and sound, the likes of which other popular video streaming services simply cannot reach. The catch? It’s only available to Sony BRAVIA XR TV customers, just in case you need another reason to buy one.

BRAVIA CORE stream quality

Sony

(Image credit: Sony)

CORE stands for ‘centre of real entertainment’ and the technology that Sony employs to deliver that promise is called Pure Stream which offers streaming bitrates from 30-80Mbps. 

To put that in context, 4K Blu-ray discs are at around 82Mbps while the most popular streaming service suggests a 25Mbps minimum internet connection for its 4K content. BRAVIA CORE recommends at least 43Mbps but can take you all the way up to those 4K BD levels if your broadband is up to it.

Using optical discs for watching films is a pain. It means buying a 4K Blu-ray player in the first place and, worse still, it means shelling out on the fairly expensive 4K Blu-rays discs for each and every movie. The average cost of a 4K Blu-ray of just one film is far in excess of a month’s subscription to an all-you-can-eat video streaming service, offering the potential of thousands of films per month, rather than just one.

Until BRAVIA CORE, though, discs, or high-res local files, have been the only way to get that top quality picture and sound that your TV and speakers no doubt deserve. BRAVIA CORE is the first time we’ve seen something that has the quality that might just provide a genuine alternative. It also leaves bandwidth for 8K film delivery – something that doesn’t seem feasible with the current limits on most other streaming services.

Guaranteed BRAVIA CORE movie catalogue

Sony

(Image credit: Sony)

BRAVIA CORE hosts hundreds of new and classic Sony Pictures films and includes what Sony claims is the largest IMAX Enhanced movie collection too, with over 100 titles remastered at the high quality IMAX standard and with immersive DTS sound.

The catalogue grows and changes all the time but, at present, it includes 4K HDR versions of films like Venom, Peter Rabbit 2, Ghostbusters, Blade Runner 2049 and Jumanji: The Next Level.

Like the Blu-ray discs it could well replace, CORE brings access to plenty of movie extras too such as exclusive behind the scenes content, deleted scenes and bloopers, interviews and music clips from your favourite movies.

As one of the major five Hollywood studios you can be confident of plenty of access to premium and box office titles heading into the future. In a world where film rights are bought and sold to third-party streaming platforms, it’s reassuring to know that you won’t have the rug pulled from under you, content-wise. If it’s made by Sony Pictures you can rightly expect to have access to it on your Sony BRAVIA XR TVs through CORE.

How do you get BRAVIA CORE?

Sony

(Image credit: Sony)

BRAVIA CORE is only available on certain Sony TVs, namely the Sony BRAVIA XR TVs from 2021 which feature the company’s XR Cognitive Processors. The Sony Z9J 8K TV and the A90J OLED TVs bring the best access with 24 months of BRAVIA CORE included. You get 10 credits which grant the rights to 10 films from the library of over 500 Sony Pictures titles during and after two years with CORE.

Those with the Sony A80J, and A84J OLED TVs get five credits and 12 months’ access, as do those purchasing X95J, X90J and X94J LCD TVs.

Beyond those PAYG films, there’s also unlimited access to over 100 films to stream for free throughout your time with BRAVIA CORE. The catalogue is updated each quarter with plenty of seasonal selections added in for Halloween, Christmas and other times of year, and the great news is that even when your time with CORE ends, you still get to keep the films you paid for with the credits.

It’s hard to tell whether Sony will extend access to CORE in the future, whether there will be options to purchase more credits or, indeed, if Sony will roll out CORE to non-Sony customers. Currently there are no plans around that at all. This is something of controlled and soft launch but doubtless the industry is watching.

There’s been a huge push to lossless and hi-res streams in the music streaming world and we see no good reasons why CORE shouldn’t be the one to light the way on the video side. If the demand for high quality content is even a fraction of what there appears to be in audio, then it’s a cert to succeed. There have been no 4K Blu-ray player launches from the major manufacturers over the last two years and it feels like they’re waiting to see if a service like CORE can fill that gap and create the new standard for high quality streaming now and into the future.

From a true movie lover’s point of view, it’s an excellent reason to buy a Sony TV, if the sound, vision and design elements that we credit in our Sony TV reviews are not already enough. We shall be watching CORE with great interest as, we imagine, will everybody else.

If you'd like to read more about Sony BRAVIA CORE then subscribe to the company’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds, as well following all of the Sony TV and sound news, reviews, advice and features here on What Hi-Fi? too.

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