If CES 2013 is any indication, it looks like TV manufacturers are done with the 3D hyping antics and want to push the real deal in display tech which is Ultra HD or 4K resolution. A 4K Ultra HD TV basically has a 3840 x 2160 resolution which results to 4 times the total amount of pixels HD or 1080p has. This leads to unprecedented detail that you can really appreciate on an 80-inch display. However, there are two main problems that these 4K displays currently face – cost and content. It is pretty senseless to pay more than $25,000 for a display during a time where the TV and movie industry hasn’t even embraced 4K resolutions. But Sony is offering a somewhat affordable route if you are into the futureproofing sort of thing. The Sony XBR-65X900A costs $6,999 which is at least well below the 5-figure amount and it looks prepared to compete against upcoming 65-inch 4K displays from companies like Samsung.
Spending $6,999 on something should put you on luxury territory where the materials look and feel premium. But Sony threw a curve ball with the XBR-65X900A by equipping the massive 65-inch display with two front-facing speakers positioned on the sides of the display. This makes the TV really wide and it actually looks nice with the circular chrome bass supporting the whole thing. It may not have that extra thin bezel that a lot of 1080p displays have but the front speakers highlight the futuristic nature of this product.
Higher resolutions are all about extra detail and that is exactly what you will get with the Sony XBR-65X900A. Whether you load up a high-res pic taken by a DSLR camera or one of the few 4K sample videos, you will notice how detailed the visuals look. One of the drawbacks of having a high-resolution display can be noticed if you have lots of low-resolution content but the X-Reality PRO Picture Engine fixes up the quality issues by upscaling lower resolution content so they look better on the 65-inch screen. Your Blu-ray player and other home theater components do not even need to support 4K displays since the engine handles the algorithms.
The Sony display also has an additional trick up its sleeve. This trick comes in the form of the TRILUMINOS display technology. In a nutshell, this technology literally pushes the boundaries of color accuracy. Using quantum dots, the red, blues and greens look gorgeous and the sceneries really pop out. It is the kind of technology where you can really notice the difference compared to other modern LED displays and even plasma displays.
If you don’t have a 5.1-speaker system, you may not need to get one if you are planning to get the XBR-65X900A. The loudspeakers on the sides of the display pump out 65 watts of power so you can enjoy higher volume levels with minimal distortion. You can also switch on the S-Force Front Surround 3D feature if you want a 5.1-channel surround sound effect. These speakers don’t compromise the thinness of the display thanks to the Magnetic Fluid Speaker technology.
Sony isn’t hyping up the 3D features compared to previous flagship models but the feature still deserves a mention. 4 pairs of passive 3D glasses are included in the package so you can enjoy 3D visuals at any resolution including 4K. The large 65-inch screen means that there still can be a lot of room for split-screen 2-player games. But each player can have its own full separate screen if the game supports Sony’s SimulView technology and you have the special SimulView glasses sold separately. These special glasses do not need batteries.
The Sony XBR-65X900A is one of the few Sony displays to feature the Motionflow XR 960. This advanced version of Motionflow utilizes the same 120 Hz refresh rate that other Sony displays have but the added backlight strobing keeps the display bright while reducing judder and blur.
The built-in Wi-Fi features give this 4K display a lot more functionality if you have an Internet connection. Initially, you can access several popular online streaming services like NetFlix, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube. The extensive TV app selection lets you access other sites as well including Facebook. The Skype app is a special app since it makes use of a special webcam you have to purchase separately so you can enjoy video calls on the big 4K display. Having an Android smartphone lets you even do more if it supports certain features. Miracast-enabled smartphones are capable of mirroring the screen to the display wirelessly so you can easily show off any type of smartphone content. You can also do this through MHL cable as well as long the smartphone supports the MHL standard. Finally, recent Xperia smartphones like the Xperia Z can use NFC to touch the included one-touch remote to quickly mirror the screen.
iPhones and iPads won’t be able to do this without an Apple TV or special AV receiver but they are still capable of interacting with the display. All you need to do is download the free TV SideView app and launch it so you can use the mobile device as a remote and use the screen as a secondary display to view some extra information on the content currently shown on TV. The TV SideView app is available for Android devices as well.
Because of the price tag, the XBR-65X900A will remain as a niche product for the unforeseeable future. There are some impressive 65-inch displays that fall in the $1,500 to $3,000 range so you are basically buying the equivalent of two 65-inch flagship-class TVs. This makes it quite hard to recommend the Sony XBR-65X900A for average individuals that simply want a large display. But seeing the display in person might change your mind if you really care about things like color accuracy, highly detailed imagery and above average sound quality. It is best to see just how good 4K resolution really is so you can determine if you are willing to pay the premium and get the added bragging rights. Also don’t forget that there is a 55-inch version of this 4K display too selling for $5,000.
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