A 4K TV can easily be viewed as a flagship model because of the high price tag and simple fact that 1080p TVs will still be around for the foreseeable future. The very first ultra-high resolution displays were priced in the 5-digit level limiting their appeal. Currently, there are not only more 4K displays being priced down to earth but companies are also releasing multiple 4K models at different price points. These different models aren’t just about size differences either. Sony recently introduced the Sony XBR-65X850A which is billed as a more affordable version of the Sony XBR-65X900A. The main difference between the two models is immediately recognizable and for a lot of people, the XBR-65X850A could be worth the $500 savings.
The Sony XBR-65X850A is a looker and it isn’t really because of the panel. 65-inch screens look impressive in general because of their size and the thin bezel helps a lot. The bezel of the XBR-65X850A isn’t even the thinnest bezel featured in a display of this size but it is the stand that steals the show. The circular silver stand looks pretty stylish and is sure to wow visitors. It shares the same design language as the Sony’s other 4K displays as well as the W900A displays.
Plenty of connection terminals are featured in the Sony XBR-65X850A although it is the 4 HDMI ports that really matter the most. Unlike the HDMI ports of the past, the HDMI port version is 2.0 offering full compatibility for the next generation 4K video formats. There are also 3 USB ports although you will most likely need only one for plugging in a flash drive. Other available ports that you won’t find in low-end and midrange TVs include a RS-232C input and RF connection input.
Wireless LAN is slowly becoming a standard feature in TVs priced over $1,500 and possibly even lesser so it should be no surprise for the XBR-65X850A to have this built-in functionality too. Router and TV placement is no longer an issue and the connection process is simple. To access the Internet, you will have to bring up the Sony Entertainment Network which uses a tile-based interface where each tile represents an app. Picking the Facebook icon, for instance, takes you to the Facebook app which is better optimized for the big screen. Several other apps are available as well including YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Crackle and dozens of others. Many of the apps have something to do with video and/or audio streaming which should make sense but there are a couple of other apps that further reduce the need of connecting a separate computer. The Skype app allows you to video chat with your Skype buddies but you need to buy the $119 Sony CMU-BR200 Skype Camera. The Opera app serves as the TVs primary Web browser in case you need to visit other websites that do not have any corresponding TV apps.
Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t just about Internet access; it is also about letting other devices in the home network interact with the TV. As long as you have an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or practically any Android mobile device, you can use that device as an extension for the Sony XBR-65X850A by simply getting the free TV SideView app. When running and linked to the TV, the app can obtain additional information regarding the program you are currently watching. It also has a program guide where you can check the schedules of your favorite shows. This app features a universal remote as well and the onscreen buttons resemble the layout of the physical remote control.
3D may not be the reason to get the XBR-65X850A but this TV comes with the extra functionality anyway. 4 pairs of passive 3D glasses are included so others can join in on the immersion too. PlayStation 3 and possibly PlayStation 4 owners can also take advantage of the TV’s SimulView feature which basically splits the 3D into 2 separate full screens viewed at different angles. Games that work with SimulView allow 2-player gaming without dividing the screen real estate.
There are a lot of impressive 1080p displays right now that cost a fraction of the Sony XBR-65X850A’s price including Sony’s own KDL-65W850A but comparing that with a 4K display is like comparing a first generation iPad with any iPad with a Retina display. The pixel count is quadrupled resulting to extremely fine detail. Combined with Sony’s Triluminos display technology, colors really pop out most especially the reds. Dynamic Edge LED backlighting also boosts the contrast by intelligently illuminating the appropriate areas of the screen to produce a more natural and balanced picture.
Viewing 4K content is highly recommended if you want to see what the XBR-65X850A is truly capable of but the format is still young. The newly released Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gaming consoles both support 4K but only time will tell when the games will support the format. 1080p is still the main resolution of movies too although the 4K pacing may accelerate in 2014. But early adopters shouldn’t have to worry because of the TV’s 4K X-Reality Picture PRO processor. This processor handles the upscaling algorithms so 1080p content look far better on the 4K screen. This technology works the same way previous technologies did when DVD quality content was upscaled to 1080p. Even 3D movies look better on the Sony XBR-65X850A than on Sony’s 1080p displays.
Blurring produced by high-speed action sequences and sports channels can ruin the experience no matter how big the TV is but that is where the Motionflow XR 960 comes in. The 960 is an advanced form of Sony’s Motionflow XR technology and it does a decent job in making the motion much smoother.
The audio quality of this TV is average and if you want that resolved without buying a separate speaker system, you will have to go with the more expensive XBR-65X900A. The XBR-65X900A has speakers on the sides which boost the audio fidelity but makes the TV much wider as a result.
The Sony XBR-65X850A made its debut with a $6,499 price tag but you should be able to get one right now for under $5,000. The XBR-65X850A isn’t Sony’s cheapest TV since there is a 55-inch variant but going for a larger model like the 65-inch version is a better choice so you can really appreciate the ultra-high resolution. The Sony XBR-65X850A is an excellent display if you can afford it and the Triluminos display gives this TV a leg up over other competing models.
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