Sony hasn’t been doing so well with their TV business lately although other TV manufacturers are struggling too. But Sony remains as a highly recognizable brand that is associated with high-quality products. The company is also willing to reverse their misfortunes by releasing a set of HDTVs equipped with a powerful new innovation in display technology. The Sony KDL-55W900A is the flagship 1080p model that uses this new tech. But is it enough to tackle today’s 2013 displays? Read ahead to find out.
TVs priced above $2,000 need to have an eye-catching design or else consumers will flock to alternatives. The KDL-55W900A plays it safe by having the same design as the cheaper sub-$2,000 KDL-55W802A. That isn’t to say that the design of the Sony KDL-55W900A is bad. The display’s “Quartz-cut” bezel is a design you won’t find in any other non-Sony product. Basically, the edge of the bezel glows to a blue-green hue when light shines on it. The bezel itself is impressively thin as well which is becoming a popular way to portray a minimalistic and premium design. Although the display panel of the KDL-55W900A looks the same as the KDL-55W802A, Sony has decided to equip the former with a chrome-finished circular base. It definitely makes the TV as a whole more elegant. The circular shape of the base also makes the TV stand out more.
The Sony KDL-55W900A is one of the first Sony displays to tout its highly hyped TRILUMINOS display technology. But this new technology is more than just a fancy marketing gimmick. The display uses a special backlighting technique that relies on quantum dots to better reproduce colors. It is the kind of technology that can really impress the average individual because the reds, greens and blues really impress. The improvement over normal displays in terms of color quality can easily be noticed if you watch vibrant scenes such as fireworks displays.
On the back-end, the X-Reality PRO picture engine featured in several other high-end BRAVIA displays works its magic in improving the contrast and visuals in general. Like the TRILUMINOS tech, these enhancements apply to any type of content which is great because you will enjoy your favorite movies, video games or any type of content you witness online.
Sony has also implemented one of the most advanced motion clarity technologies in the KDL-55W900A. Called Motionflow XR 960, this technology combines a 240 Hz refresh rate with an enhanced backlight strobing technology to effectively reduce blur and judder while keeping the image exceptionally bright. If you are a huge fan of the “soap opera effect” but don’t like the brightness reduction, Motionflow XR 960 should work well.
3D looks like it is on its way out due to low adoption but it hasn’t stopped Sony from adding 3D support to the Sony KDL-55W900A. While there are some noticeable artifacts in some 3D scenes, there are a couple of good things about the 3D implementation. First, 4 pairs of active 3D glasses are included so an entire family can enjoy latest 3D movies. Second, the display supports Sony’s proprietary SimulView technology which is used by a small but growing number of 2-player PlayStation 3 games. Each player has to wear a pair of SimulView glasses in order to see their own screen eliminating the need for a split-screen view.
As a “Smart” TV, the KDL-55W900A is pretty versatile with some great features. It has built-in Wi-Fi so you can immediately connect to the Internet via wireless router. Then you can use the Sony Entertainment Network interface and choose from a fairly wide selection of apps available including Facebook, Twitter and various other online streaming services. If you plan on getting the optional CMU-BR100 or CMU-BR200 camera accessory, you can download the Skype app too and start a video conference.
Smartphone integration is also a key experience in TVs these days and the Sony KDL-55W900A more than delivers. If you have an MHL-enabled smartphone or tablet, you can use an MHL cable to directly connect the mobile device to the TV’s HDMI port. This will mirror the screen’s display on to the TV so you enjoy your favorite apps or games on the big screen or play back any photos, videos or other multimedia files. Devices that support Miracast are capable of wireless screen mirroring. Finally, recent Sony Xperia models with MHL can touch the included one-touch remote accessory for instant screen mirroring.
Screen mirroring is limited to a select number of Android devices. But your iOS device or Android tablet or smartphone can still be useful if you get the free TV SideView app. Instead of mirroring the screen, your device’s screen will serve as an extension where you can retrieve more information about the content you are viewing. It also lets you use the touchscreen device as a remote control. The built-in tweeting capability also allows you to share what you are watching right now to your Twitter followers.
The connectivity features can be most useful for those that don’t have a PlayStation 3 or any home theater component that is incapable of networking. But if you are familiar with the PS3 interface, you should feel at home with the KDL-55W900A as it resembles the Xross Media Bar interface. If you ever need help, you can check out the onscreen user manual (iManual).
The TRILUMINOS is truly a breakthrough in TV technology and the color accuracy really shows. But paying $2,999 for that kind of technology is a bit too pricey for you get and there is no 47-inch option if you are hoping for a budget TRILUMINOS model. But the good news is that several online stores currently sell this for a more modest $2,300. Compared to non-TRILUMINOS displays, the Sony KDL-55W900A is still a bit pricey but you won’t be able to find cheaper HDTVs that have this level of color accuracy. Otherwise, go for the KDL-55W802A because the feature set is virtually the same minus the TRILUMINOS screen and one-touch remote accessory.
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