Choosing an HDTV isn’t particularly a simple task even if you narrowed the selection down to your preferred brand. Sony is a great company to consider if you are after display technology and many of the company’s best models are LED displays. But like other TV manufacturers, Sony has given each TV a confusing name. Picking a TV is all about figuring out which features matter. Some TVs, for instance feature 3D technology while others have emphasized online features, performance boosts and other extras. But if you are looking for 65-inch TV, selecting a model is much easier as there are fewer options to pick from. In fact, the Sony KDL-65W850A is the only Sony 65-inch 1080p released in 2013 and is therefore the cheapest model to consider.
Although Sony’s other 65-inch displays feature superior display tech, the KDL-65W850A features the same design as the flagship model. This matters a lot if you are looking for a TV that really looks different from the competition. The circular chrome stand really makes the TV stand out and almost looks as if the panel is floating about the stand. The rest of the design features are what you would normally expect from a high-class model – a beautifully thin bezel and thin profile. The Sony logo on the bottom of the panel stands out too as it is placed on a rectangular metallic panel although some might see it as an eyesore.
The Sony KDL-65W850A features 4 HDMI ports and all the other standard ports for hooking out other home theater equipment. 3 USB 2.0 ports can be found as well which is a little bit excessive. An RS-232C input is also present for custom installations.
If it weren’t for the existence of 4K TVs, the KDL-65W850A can already be viewed as a flagship model in terms of features and technologies. Wireless LAN is built into the TV so the TV can connect directly to the Internet through the wireless router without any wires or dongles. Through the Sony Entertainment Network, you can install apps to your TV which basically serve as TV-optimized interfaces for popular services. These services include Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, Pandora, Flixster, Hulu Plus and several others. As long as you are ok with the idea of navigating through the interface using the included remote control, the Sony Entertainment Network could make you independent from a separate component such as a HTPC or gaming console. The Opera Internet browser app allows you to access virtually any other website. Of course, an HTPC is recommended if you enjoy doing other things online like gaming. Since the Sony KDL-65W850A is 3D TV, you can also stream 3D content or play them back locally if you have a 3D Blu-ray player other component offering such functionality. 4 pairs of passive 3D glasses are included with the TV.
The remote control isn’t the only peripheral that you can use to operate the TV if you have an iOS or Android-powered smartphone or tablet. By installing the free TV SideView app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store, you can use your mobile device as a touchscreen remote as well as a program guide getting schedules and discovering new content. If your mobile device supports Miracast, it is also possible to broadcast content from the device to the TV. MHL-enabled smartphones can also do this although you will need an MHL cable as it isn’t included with the TV.
If you prefer storing your movies, pictures and music in USB flash drives, you can utilize any of the TV’s 3 USB ports to play the content back. All the major file systems are supported including exFAT and the supported file formats is quite broad. MKV support is unfortunately absent though.
If you are after “Smart TV” features and 3D functionality alone, you can find a cheaper and smaller Sony TVs. But the main highlight of the KDL-65W850A is the Triluminos display. Triluminos is a relatively new proprietary technology that focuses on color and it puts ordinary 1080p displays to shame. Boasting more colors, visuals look a lot more lifelike. Sony’s X-Reality PRO engine takes a backseat but still contributes in improving the overall picture quality. If you are after the deepest of black levels, the increasingly rare plasma TVs will remain king and upcoming OLEDs could beat the Sony KDL-65W850A in that area.
Sony also offers the W900A model which also features a Triluminos display although it currently lacks a 65-inch model. But there is no need to worry about that model unless refresh rate is really important. Sony’s Motionflow XR 480 technology is on the midrange level but it still reduces blurring which can improve the viewing experience when watching sports programming and action movies. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between Motionflow XR 480 and Motionflow XR 960 featured in the W900A.
Audio quality is also pretty decent for a 65-inch TV as it features a pair of 10-watt tweeters along with a woofer and assist woofer to provide some bass. There is also a sound mode that virtualizes a 5.1-channel surround sound environment which can improve the movie experience. A sound bar can still make a world of difference but casual TV viewers can pass.
4K displays and possibly OLED panels are the future but at present, these displays command exorbitant prices. Enthusiasts will definitely appreciate all those extra pixels but the majority of the content still remains at 1080p and the Triluminos display makes the 1080p content look far better and will surely impress the average TV viewer. Aside from the price advantage, large 1080p displays like the KDL-65W850A consume far less power since fewer pixels are pushed so even in a long-term perspective, you will enjoy some savings. 1080p TVs won’t be dying anytime soon so the Sony KDL-65W850A is still a great TV at under $3,000. It has the aesthetics of Sony’s flagship X850A series along with all the cool features found in many other Sony models.
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