A 70-inch HDTV for under $2,500? That sounds too good to be true especially since there are TVs that are considerably smaller but priced higher. There are a few legit reasons behind this though. The TV in question – the Sony KDL-70R520A actually has a midrange feature set. Plus, 1080p is no longer the top resolution of an LED TV. In short, consumers can finally rejoice as they can finally purchase their very own 70-inch TV at a far lower price than TVs released many years back. Of course, a TV this massive requires a lot of space too but that probably won’t be a problem if this TV is used in a business environment (think presentations). But the real question is, what compromises had to be made for such a cheap, yet huge TV?
Department stores and TV showrooms normally feature a couple of 55-inch or 65-inch TVs that really steal the spotlight. While a 70-inch TV doesn’t sound like a big size increase on paper, you haven’t really seen a 70-inch TV until you really see one in person. The Sony KDL-70R520A is simply gargantuan in size and as a result, it needs to be supported by a much wider stand. The stand is slightly more than half the width of the panel and it aids in giving the TV that premium look.
Speaking of premium look, the KDL-70R520A is a real beauty with a thin bezel so you can really appreciate the massive size of the screen. The Sony logo is placed on the bottom on a long and thin silver band. This band isn’t as distracting as the small rectangular plate placed on Sony’s flagship TV models. But even when setting these gorgeous looks aside, the first impression that anyone will get out of the Sony KDL-70R520A is just how big it is and that is enough for this TV to be the centerpiece of the home theater system.
Like its smaller midrange siblings, the KDL-70R520A features a total of 4 HDMI ports – 2 HDMI ports on the back and 2 more on the side. Aside from the 2 USB ports, the other inputs are pretty standard from the common component input arrangement to the dated analog audio inputs and composite video inputs.
The built-in wireless LAN serves as the main feature of the Sony KDL-70R520A. It is actually quite a surprise since in previous years, midrange models would only feature an Ethernet port. This means that you can leave your wireless router in its usual location and the KDL-70R520A should still be able to connect to the router so the TV can take advantage of all the extra features.
The Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) serves as the main hub for all the Internet features. The interface is pretty straightforward and the way you access online services is pretty similar to launching apps on a smartphone or tablet. There is a decent variety of key apps including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vimeo, Pandora and many others. Many of these apps offer a nice experience with support for Full HD video. 1080p is highly recommended since lower resolutions tend to look too scaled on large screens.
Opera also made a special Internet browser app for Sony TVs like the Sony KDL-70R520A so you can browse other websites. Connecting a PC or laptop to the TV via HDMI is still recommended though if you want to do some serious multitasking although you will also need a wireless keyboard so you can access the Internet or use your favorite computer apps from your couch.
Being a midrange model, the TV SideView mobile app for iOS and Android devices isn’t compatible with the KDL-70R520A. However, there is some degree of compatibility with Android devices. All the Android device needs is either Miracast support or MHL support and each method has its own pros and cons. Miracast is a wireless technology and it allows you to simply mirror your device’s screen to the TV. This can be useful if you want to beam content such as a YouTube video to the screen without firing up the TV’s own YouTube app. MHL connectivity requires a special MHL cable that you need to purchase separately. You will be limited to the length of the cable but you can enjoy a more reliable mirroring experience while simultaneously charging the device.
It is possible to add TV SideView support to the Sony KDL-70R520A by connecting a home theater component that supports TV SideView such as certain Sony Blu-ray player models. Don’t forget about the 2 USB ports on the side of the display too. With USB play, the KDL-70R520A can handle a number of file formats including AVI, MP3, MP4, JPEG and several others.
Because this 70-inch display has a maximum resolution of 1080p, the pixel density ends up being very low. That could be a concern for laptop and mobile device owners that know the benefits of high pixel density but remember that the KDL-70R520A is a TV. With a 70-inch screen, the ideal viewing distance ranges from about 8.75 to 14.75 feet. With that distance, you won’t notice any pixelation. Instead, you will notice how rich the colors are and how detailed dark scenes can get. When comparing this TV to the dozens of other models outside the price range, the Sony KDL-70R520A doesn’t really excel in any areas. Sony’s new Triluminos displays are pricey but provide more colors for a better overall picture. Sony’s large 4K displays look stunning even if you look at the visuals up close. Plasma and OLED displays still have better deep blacks. That being said, the KDL-70R520A is still not a bad performer thanks to the edge LED backlighting and the TV’s noise reduction algorithms.
Motionflow XR 240 is also featured in the Sony KDL-70R520A. It may not be as sophisticated as higher-end Motionflow XR technologies but those upgrading from a 60 Hz refresh rate TV will appreciate the smoother 120 Hz as it reduces blurring that occurs frequently on sports programming.
Middle-of-the-road specs don’t really matter if you absolutely need a 70-inch TV for under $2,500. Sony made the right choices on what features this large TV should retain. The Sony KDL-70R520A is large, well-made, has great picture quality and doesn’t cost a fortune.
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