Rated 5 out of 5 by MarkTom1 A Huge Leap Forward
I bought the 65" so this information would be the same.
Editorial Comment: About 3 weeks ago I bought the Sony XBR65X950B 4k TV. I decided to wait to write a review until I had a chance to more fully experience what it has to offer. I find it very frustrating when people write reviews when they don't even own the product, or they have some vendetta against the company, or they are jealous of someone that can afford such a product, and give the TV a poor rating on that basis. It's funny #not really# how politics can even get into a product review. This should be a forum to talk about a product you own and your experiences and opinions about that product. I own the Sony XBR65X950B. End of editorial.
Prior to buying this TV I had the Samsung UN65HU9000FXZA, Samsung's flagship 4k TV. It had a defect so I sent it back. In the interim Sony released the XBR65X950B. Since I had the Samsung for about 3 weeks I am able to do a fairly decent comparison between the 2 TVs. In a nutshell I thought the Samsung was very good, at times simply amazing. Black levels were good. Color was good. Up converting was good. Sound was decent. 3D was good. Off angle was OK, though I think more of an issue due to the curved screen. Note: To get local stations I have my TV's hooked up to an antennae in my attic. If you have good reception, over-the-air TV video quality is far superior to DirecTV or cable. The local signal is uncompressed. When watching prime time broadcasts the quality is simply stunning. It looks like film. This was the case with both the Samsung and the Sony.
My thoughts on the Sony XBR65X950B
General Comments: Though the Samsung is a very good 4k TV #B+#, the Sony is amazing #A+#, as it should be for such a ridiculous price. In short, it is a much better TV than the Samsung. The black levels are mind bogglingly deep, deeper than the blacks I have seen on any other TV... period. The picture is very bright and sharp. I could not be happier with the Sony...in general. I have a couple quibbles but they are not deal breakers:
• The standard remote does everything it needs to do, but it looks kind of cheap for such an expensive TV. It is not back lit, which I find frustrating. I have an Oppo blu-ray player and it is back lit and I use that feature all the time...since I almost always watch TV in a darkened room.
• Poor documentation. The Sony comes with virtually no documentation. It has a booklet which basically covers setup and safety issues. When I went to the Sony website I could not find anything that would explain the various picture settings like Cinemotion, and the many other features #there are a lot#. When I talked to Sony they said they didn't have any information available yet, and I should look at the documentation for the previous model, the 900A. I found this all unbelievable. The onboard manual is cumbersome and the information is nonspecific to the point of being useless. So, I turned almost all of these features off, as suggested in reviews I have read on the previous Sony models. I did leave Cinemotion and local dimming turned on. When Thomas J. Norton does one of his amazingly thorough reviews on this TV in Sound & Vision magazine I may end up turning some of them back on. At this point I can find nothing on the web that helps in this regard.
The black levels are stunning, deep, rich, which results in amazing contrast when you have a good source such as prime time broadcast television or a nicely mastered blu-ray. Important to note is that the Sony is able to display the subtle shades of black#gray# and the ability to see those shades in the shadows. I have NO complaints on the black level. In a word, amazing. Note: Bear in mind that I have NOT had my Sony calibrated yet because they recommend 150 hours be logged beforehand. The calibration will happen later this month.
Colors & Brightness
Aside from the striking black levels, the main thing you'll notice is how bright the colors are. When watching a program from a good source the colors just pop off the screen. The picture is so good that you forget to watch the show because you are so dazzled by the crisp, clear, bright, colorful picture. For example, I was watching a blu-ray the other night, a very touching coming of age movie called "The Way, Way Back" with Steve Carell. It's an indie film. I literally went back to watch different sections of the movie over again because I was so distracted by the incredibly clear picture that I forgot to pay attention to the story.
I have watched some 4k clips on You tube but other than that everything I have seen is up converted broadcast television and blu-rays. The few 4k clips I've seen are absolutely beautiful. Much to my surprise, the up converted broadcast television and blu-rays were amazingly bright, sharp and detailed; i.e. a huge step up from 1080p. Interesting to note, I could see little or no difference between the up converted 4k video and the You tube 4k clips. This is not meant to be negative in any way. Both sources were absolutely amazing. There are upper limits to how clear something can be. I believe Sony is approaching that limit. As obvious as it might seem I must point out that the quality of the 4k clips, the up converted broadcast television and the up converted blu-ray is TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON THE SOURCE QUALITY; i.e. if you are watching a poorly mastered blu-ray that is being up converted to 4k on your Sony, it's going to look bad, possibly more so than it would on a 1080p TV, since the imperfections will essentially be magnified on a 4k TV. On the other hand, if you are watching something that is expertly mastered; e.g. most Pixar movies, the up converted picture you see on the Sony XBR65X950B is going to be shockingly clear. You will be amazed. I can hardly wait to see a 4k movie when the Sony media player comes out later this month. It should be a sight to behold.
To be very honest I don't really care much about off angle viewing. If I spend $8000 for a TV, I am going to be sitting directly in front of it. However, for those of you that don't have such an ideal setup I will make a few comments on off angle viewing. Much to my surprise it's actually pretty good. In fact it's better than on most TVs. The only TV I have seen to this point that can match the Sony is the Sharp Elite, which they no longer make. I can't really give you specific angle percentages and I'm not sure how useful that would be anyway, but I can tell you the picture remains true until you go significantly off to the side, and then the picture does not degrade to the point of being unwatchable. It simply is slightly washed out. So, as long as you plan to sit in front of your Sony or slightly to the side, you don't have anything to worry about.
I really haven't used the touch pad remote much other than on You Tube, where it works pretty well. It's good for browsing the dozens of included apps, as it allows you to scroll through them. The IR remote is very good, though as I mentioned before I am disappointed that it is not back lit and it doesn't seem worthy of being paired with an $8000 TV. None the less, I find the remote to be highly functional and laid out in a logical fashion.
I have limited experience using the browser, which are always a bit cumbersome on a TV. I have, however, taken a look at several of the included apps. I found them easy to access and responsive. There are literally dozens of apps on the Sony, but you do have the option of adding apps to a Favorites screen, which is very helpful.
The speakers are amazingly good considering other TV's I've had, including the Samsung 9000 mentioned above. They certainly won't replace your receiver or a good sound bar, but they do a very nice job.
I'm not a big fan of 3D but I do have a few 3D movies. I haven't taken the time to really explore much in this area yet. One thing I did note is the 2D to 3D mode is actually not bad. I was a little surprised by that since I have had that feature on previous TVs and not been very impressed. This appears to be a step up.
The Sony XBR65X950B, with full array local dimming, is an amazing TV but you'd expect nothing less considering Sony's reputation, and the huge price tag. I am very impressed with it and I will be anxious to see how it looks after calibration, though it's difficult for me to imagine how it could look much better. The Samsung 9000 is a very good 4k TV but the Sony is an amazing TV. I would compare it to a Honda Civic #a very good car# and a Lexus #a much more up scale car#. It's the difference between buying something that is good and buying something that is spectacular. For me, I can skimp on the brand of paper towels I buy, but when it comes to TV's, I want the best. The Sony XBR65X950B is the BEST.
July 6, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by bjorg Amazing colors with non-uniform black levels
I have had the 85X950b for a bit over a week now. The colors are simply superb and really draw you in. However, when the screen fades to black or you change sources, you can easily tell that my TV has a lot of clouding on the screen, which is due to non-uniform brightness of the LEDs. My previous non-Sony TV did not have this issue and I'm very disappointed that Sony did not see it fit to properly calibrate the LEDs for uniformity. If clouding is not something that bothers you then this will not be an issue for you. Everything else on this model is otherwise simply outstanding!
August 7, 2014