Sony TV model numbers: Every Bravia TV series explained


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Bamboozled by all those similar-sounding Sony TV model numbers? Here's how to decipher them yourself

Given that we’ve reviewed many TVs from different manufacturers over a number of years, deciphering TV model numbers has become second nature to us. However, we understand how the many different television model numbers – even from the same brand – can be totally bewildering to the uninitiated. No TV company has thus far followed in mobile phone companies’ footsteps by sticking to a simpler model designation (think Apple iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7), but a more complex labelling system is probably needed to account for various screen sizes and features in the television world. In this article, we will break down the nomenclature used by Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony for its Bravia televisions.

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Sony TV model numbers explained

It’s easier to explain with an example, so we’ve chosen to dissect the KD-55XD9305 which is Sony’s hero model for 2016. The “KD” prefix indicates that we’re dealing with a Sony Bravia television. In years gone by, this prefix took the form of “KLV” or “KDL” which referred to models with pure analogue tuner or LCD with digital tuner respectively, and the Japanese firm is still using “KDL” for its 1080p sets. It’ll be interesting to see whether a future Sony OLED TV – if it ever comes to fruition – will carry a new prefix.

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The two (or three) digits immediately following the “KD” prefix tell you the diagonal screen size of the TV in inches. In the case of the KD-55XD9305, 55 means that it’s a 55-inch set. As far as we’re aware, the highest such number found on a Sony TV is the KD-100ZD9, which translates to a mammoth 100 inches (we’re still saving up for the £60,000 price tag). Note that although we’ve written a hyphen between “KD” and the screen size number, many retailers have a habit of omitting the hyphen. Some will also add a “BU” suffix to the model number (e.g. KD55XD9305BU), which signifies the 3-pin-plug UK version. Don’t worry, all these naming conventions will refer to the same TV.

Image of Sony Bravia KD55XD8005 55 inch Android 4K HDR Ultra HD Smart TV with TRILUMINOS Display, PlayStation Now and Google Cast (2016 Model) - Black

Sony Bravia KD55XD8005 55 inch Android 4K HDR Ultra HD Smart TV with TRILUMINOS Display, PlayStation Now and Google Cast (2016 Model) – Black

£749.00 Buy now

The letter right after the screen size number gives some clue about the dominant feature of the TV. For example, the character “X” in KD-55XD9305 suggests it’s a 4K Ultra HD screen, a designation that has stayed on since the introduction of Sony’s first 4K TV, the KD-84X9005, in late 2012. “R” is reserved for entry-level models (e.g. KDL-40RD453); “S” for curved Bravias (such as KD-55SD8505); “W” for higher-end 1080p sets (KDL-40WD653); and “Z” for uber-premium flagships (we absolutely loved the KD-65ZD9).

^Yes, this is an official Sony TV press shot

The next character identifies the model year, but it used to take up a different position (the suffix to be precise) within the model number. “D” earmarks a 2016 model; “C”, 2015; “B”, 2014; and “A” 2013, but it’s KD-55XD9305, KD-55X9305C, KD-55X9005B and KD-55X9005A respectively. While we’re not entirely sure why Sony moved the model year designation forward, it will certainly prevent unscrupulous retailers from passing off last year’s model as a current one by dropping the final character. We recall plenty of confusion during early 2014 – it was difficult to tell whether a KD-55X9005 listed for sale was an outgoing 2013 model (KD-55X9005A) or a newer 2014 model (KD-55X9005B).

Onto the final four digits. The first two dictates the rank of the TV within the year’s Bravia hierarchy: as a rule of thumb, the higher these two numbers, the more feature-laden (and expensive) the display should be. To illustrate, the XD8505 is a 2016 4K TV featuring less-contrasty IPS LCD panel and frame dimming; the XD9305 steps it up with VA-type LCD panel (deeper blacks) and pseudo-local dimming; and the XD9405 outdoes both with a full-array local dimming (FALD) backlight system.

If present, the third and fourth numbers in the final four digits designate slight variation – mainly cosmetic – within the same model range. For instance, the Sony KD-55XD8577 sports a silver finish, whereas the KD-55XD8599 is black. The larger Sony KD-75XD8505 features Motionflow XR 800Hz rather than the Motionflow XR 1000Hz implemented on the KD-55XD8577 and KD-55XD8599.

There are a few outlying model numbers which are shorter, such as the Sony KD-65ZD9, though we can still decode it per usual. KD says that it’s a Bravia television; 65 indicates a 65-inch screen; Z signifies a top-tier flagship model; D identifies the model year as 2016; and the single-digit 9 means that there’s no variation in styling or features for this TV. Many reviews also tend to use a shorter label (e.g. XD85) to broadly describe all the different screen sizes within the same model series.

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