From TVs, headphones and wireless speakers, Sony is involved in many different aspects of the home video and audio experience.
While Sony has thrown up a few unexpected products in recent years, there’s a very consistent timetable on which they run that makes it easier to predict what’s coming. Though again, Sony does throw a few unexpected curveballs from time-to-time.
Here is what we’re expecting Sony to come up with in 2023.
WF-1000XM5 true wireless
You can set your watch to it. Sony’s flagship true wireless/over-ears are on a two-year cycle. 2022 saw the WH-1000XM5 launch, which should mean that the WF-1000XM5 aren’t too far behind.
Despite the 5 in the title, these would actually be the fourth model in the WF-1000 range and the design for each one has evolved. Would we expect the design to be significantly different from the WF-1000XM4? Only in terms of minor improvements to the fit/comfort, but we can’t see a drastic change happening. We could be wrong, but Sony appears to have hit on a design that works for them.
We tend to look at previous Sony products as a head-up for what’s coming, and in the case of the 1000XM5, that would be the LinkBuds S. It sported a similar design to the WF-1000XM4 but compact and lighter and we could see these changes being made for the upcoming true wireless. With the WH-1000XM5 over-ears there was an attempt to improve the high frequency performance and again, we could see that happening with these earphones.
Otherwise, there may be a greater emphasis on services such as the Endel subscription-based service that the LinkBuds series supports. Normally you’d start to see leaks for Sony’s headphones starting to emerge around CES, but the company has been getting good at keeping its secrets for longer. Don’t expect too much to leak about these headphones until they’re close to coming out.
New TVs are expected every year from Sony. But like with their headphones, they are on a timetable and Sony doesn’t necessarily refresh its entire line all at once. Some of their TVs can last for as long as two years.
For instance, the A90J and A80J are still available 18 months after their release and will likely be replaced in 2023. We have a feeling that Sony won’t be replacing the A95K QD-OLED just yet and keeping it on the market for a while longer. Though again that’s big speculation on our part.
We’d expect improvements to Sony’s Cognitive processor XR to draw more improvements in terms of colour fidelity and tone-mapping. There is also the new Mediatek chip to take into account, as that will be boosting HDMI 2.1 and Dolby Vision support, we might (might) see Sony step into the Dolby Vision Gaming side of the market. Sony isn’t the type of company that jumps on new technology straight away though, so we’ll have to wait and see.
360 Reality Audio everywhere
The last few years has seen Sony make a concerted attempt to increase the profile of their 3D audio technology. First it was in a few of their headphones, then it was in some wireless speakers and now it’s made its way to their soundbars. 360 Reality Audio is becoming a bigger part of the Sony’s messaging with sound, and you can expect to hear more in the coming year.
In what form that would take, we don’t know. Having attended a presentation in Amsterdam, the company is making it clear that it sees 360 Reality Audio as a vital part of its message about audio; the 360 Reality Audio mapping tech looks to improve the sense of space and height with Dolby Atmos soundtracks (and it does work exceedingly well). It’s also launched on other products, such as a pair of Audio Technica true wireless earphones and Sennheiser soundbars.
2023 would mark two years since Sony released their custom SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 wireless speakers, so we could see more speakers join that line-up. We’re unlikely to see more soundbars or speaker systems with the technology given Sony has announced several of them already. We are interested in what happens next, as 2023 may prove to be a big step forward for spatial audio.