Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sony's stellar LED TV better than 4K? - Review of the Sony XBR-65HX950

(Credit: Sony Electronics)

CNET - Forget that 84-inch 4K monstrosity grabbing all the headlines. If you've been holding out for the best Sony TV of 2012, this is probably it.

Yes, the XBR-HX950 is smaller and lower-resolution, and yes, it's still extremely expensive at a beginning list price of $3,500. But I expect it to have better picture quality than the 84-incher, along with just about every other LED TV.

Before I get into the reasons why, allow me to indulge in a (recent) history lesson. Last year the Sony XBR-HX929 was hands-down the best-performing LED TV on the market until the Sharp Elite came along. Due largely to their use of full-array local dimming the two sets were quite a bit better than the next-best alternative (Sony's own NX720) and also cost a lot more. Compared with the Elite, however, the XBR-HX929 is a relative bargain -- its 55-inch size currently sells for around $2,000 less than the smallest Elite, a 60-inch model.

At CES in January, Sony's TV announcements conspicuously omitted mention of a successor to the XBR-HX929, which the company continued to describe as "current" -- until now. The XBR-HX950 previewed here replaces the HX929, and according to Sony offers some improvements. We expect it to beat the 2012 HX850 in picture quality, at least equal the HX929, and perhaps challenge the 2011 Elite (Sharp has yet to announce any successor).