on October 9, 2012
Ok, please bear with me .. I love TV's and the latest gadgets .. I am not a professional and my review is more from a personal point of view.
My TV arrived yesterday, replacing the Panasonic VT50 65".. While the VT50 was a stunning display, it was only that way with HD content and in the dark. When in the dark, that tv blew me away, however during the day and watching older TV shows.. I was just not impressed. I was looking for a TV that I look at any time and feel really good about.
This one really does the trick, even though it is 10" smaller .. I am so pleased with my decision to swap TVs spending the same amount of money.
I have never owned a Sony before, the Samsung 8000 was too gimmicky for me.. (I am not going to start talking to my TV or hand gesturing in front of it.. not to mention all the reviews posted)
This model to me is the perfect for my home. I LOVE the display.. bright, crisp.. just a joy to look at.
A few things that I tried to find out about this TV (before my purchase) that I could not locate anywhere are as follows: (hope it helps)
*You can use the following model of 3D Glasses: TDG-BR750, BR250, BR200, BR100, BR50, Playstation 3D Glasses.
*Minimal Glare (compared to VT50)
*Quality sturdy stand, swivels and tilts
*Wireless function works very well and is easy to set up.
Bottom line.. I am much happier with this purchase!! While the VT50 has such a high rating, It was not a tv for me.. It has great reviews but if you look at the amount of used units offered by Amazon, I think I am not alone. (I mentioned the VT50 in my review, because many people out there seem to want to know how it compares to this model)
I will be adding to this post as I try out more features such as 3D etc..
Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.. I am happy to reply.
edit same day as post 8:09pm
I have had a chance to give 3D a thorough test, watching Hugo and the Avengers. I am still impressed!
The Colors, Black Level, and clarity are fantastic.. In my opinion 3D is more enjoyable on this TV than what I remember from the movies.
I also tested 2D to 3D conversion, it creates a bit of depth and enhances the viewing experience. Even in daylight, the 2D to 3D conversion worked nicely.
on January 9, 2013
There are so many things to like about this TV. In many ways, the perfect TV as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately, the vertical banding on the two units I have received so far (that's correct, I am on my second one at this point) is just way too noticeable for me to ignore, especially considering this model's "premier" status.
There is no doubt that other than the banding issue, this is a clear 5-star TV. But the banding is so noticeable and distracting that I have no choice but to lower the rating all the way down to 2 stars (debating 2 or 3 stars, 2.5 is not an option). I frankly find it to be an inexcusable compromise on a $5000+ TV set (and yet still contemplating keeping this TV because I like it so much in every other way). I know, I it doesn't make much sense, but that's where this TV leaves me.
Here are some of the highlights:
* Exceptional black levels and contrast, the best I have seen. Yes, there is a little bit of blooming if you really want to nit-pick, but I'll happily take that when accompanied by the most amazing inky blacks I have ever seen on a TV (maybe OLEDs are better, but I haven't seen them). To my eye, this TV has better black levels than Elite or any of the Plasmas. Full array LED with local diming and the OptiContrast panel really shine here.
* Very nice and bright colors. Overall picture is extremely pleasing to the eye (the included "Scenes" provide a good selection of settings to match the content you are watching).
* Pretty decent "Smart TV" features including Internet content options (Netflix, Amazon Instant/Prime Video, Hulu, Sony, etc.), network remote features (iOS, Android apps), Skype, and basic browsing capability (not sure who really uses that)
* Motion flow XR 960 does a very good job with minimizing any kind of motion blur. You simply don't have to worry about watching sports on this TV.
* No problems in a bright room. The TV is bright enough to handle daytime TV watching without issues and glare is for the most part kept in check.
* This may seem odd to most, but aesthetics of a TV are very important to me as it tends to be a main focal point of any room due to location and size. And this TV does not disappoint. A nice silver frame and edge-to-edge glass result in a modern, clean, and attractive look. Nothing tacky here (rose gold frames, etc. that you may see on other brands). As others have noted, the stand is the only semi-tacky item, but it's a non-issue for me as I intend to wall-mount the TV (if I keep it). The TV is not particularly thin, but that's to be expected with a full-array LED panel.
As already mentioned, there is only a single real negative to this TV for me (banding), but it's a pretty major one. Others have noted the price, but I don't feel like this TV is overpriced. There simply isn't a large available selection of premium TVs with full array LED and local dimming. And the ones that are available are no less costly than the Sony. Sony also eliminated a few features compared to last year's HX929, most notably the Presence Sensor, but nothing that I really miss. Also somewhat surprisingly, they switched to a less capable and cheaper looking (and feeling) remote compared to last year's HX929. Again, not a real deal-breaker as most people buying a high-end TV like this are most likely using their universal remotes.
Another minor gripe is lack of options for turning off the front status LED (the Sony logo can be turned off however). This was also an issue on last year's HX929 and hopefully something that Sony addresses with an update at some point.
As far as banding goes, I simply don't know enough about the nitty-gritty of LED technology (as related to LCD backlighting) or the manufacturing process of these TVs to know what technical challenges exist and why controlling banding is so difficult. But given how common the problem is with many makes and models of TV, it must be a fairly difficult problem to solve (just search for banding problems with Samsung ES8000 as an example). That said, my 2011 55" HX929 does not have this problem. And with the higher price point and advanced technologies that Sony put in the HX950, I expect nothing less from this TV.
In case you think I am pixel-peeping and looking for the problem on test patterns, rest assured that I am not going out of my way to look for this problem, it simply finds me. It is that noticeable in every day viewing, particularly if you are viewing the TV from any sort of angle (the banding is a little less noticeable when viewed from dead-center, but fully noticeable with as little as a 20 degree angle). It is severe enough to be noticeable even in many static scenes, not just panning shots across lighter colored backgrounds. I will try to post some pictures from both the 55" HX929 and the 65" HX950 later on.
I am now debating keeping this TV or perhaps going ahead with yet another replacement (I am sure Amazon would not be thrilled, although they are always amazing to deal with). I am simply torn between this TV's many pluses and its single, yet significant, minus.
I have posted 4 pictures to show banding on the HX950. Two pictures are from my second HX950 (1st one had even worse banding), and the other two are from my 55" HX929 which doesn't display any significant banding that I can see. I took these pictures using each TV's built-in input selection screen to avoid any source-related issues and to compare the performance of both TVs on the same image. Keep in mind that banding is sometimes more noticeable depending on the image being displayed and the small photos are masking some of the problems (e.g. the less pronounced bands away from the center of the TV are more difficult to see in these pictures). But hopefully they give you at least a feel for what the problem looks like and if it's something that you would be concerned with as you make your decision about this TV.
on October 3, 2012
I am giving this television 5 stars even though I am currently waiting on a replacement unit from Amazon because of several bright red pixels in the middle of the screen. Like always, Amazon was top notch with delivery, customer service, and response...handing this issue quickly and with no drama. The new replacement TV is expected to arrive tomorrow and this time when I power it up at delivery, I will open to Sony Home menu (full graphic screen) which obviously shows the pixel flaws. Yes packing it back up will be a hassle but well worth the final result.
This picture is by the far the best I have ever seen on an LCD and I have seen many. Currently we have 4 other Sony XBR LCD TV's of different ages and sizes and there is no comparison to this new model. This XBR55HX950 will replace a Pioneer Elite Pro 530HD rear projection TV (nearly 10 years old and still kicking); which says a lot because the Pioneer is fabulous but getting dated and many possible replacements have come and gone once compared beside this TV.
In general, after quick calibration and tweaking the XBR55HX950 picture is approaching the level of our dedicated home theater(OPPO BDP-95 BluRay, Anthem Statement D2 processor, JVC Reference Series projector, Stewart 110" Studiotek 130 G3 screen). This Sony's white levels, black levels, and contrast are stunning and gone are the common LCD dragged jerky motion images...this TV is fast and smooth displaying motion. The black is so black that in a completely dark room, the screen light showing black between commercials is virtually undetectable. We are displaying Blu-Rays with the Sony BDPS790 which is a great player and very convenient with the HDMI link control. I cannot comment on 3D performance, as we did not buy this TV for 3D as I consider it too gimmicky and fake looking irregardless of how it is presented. I may borrow some glasses from a friend so our children can check it out, but that is not a priority. Also, regarding our children they already have figured out the menu system, switching between sources, playing Netflix, and playing Blu-Rays...they are tech savvy for 6 and 7 years old.
The color depth and edge detail is spot on and sharp looking with displayed images so real and natural. Our children were watching a movie with a bright white Maltese dog via Netflix streaming and they even commented on how white this dog was and how its hair was so real looking...a difficulty for LCD's displaying white. It does take a little tweaking of the settings and there are quite a few settings but I like Sony's menu system. I do still feel that with more involved TV menus Sony should adapt the format of a webpage explorer bar [like their website]with main features across the top, multiple drop downs, and use the Return button for Back.
The networking setup, Netflix, Amazon Prime videos, and DLNA worked flawless and all our videos [AVCHD), pictures, and music came through from our QNAP NAS Twonky Server with no issues. The file interface could certainly be improved with features such as Play All, Select particular videos to play or pictures to display, and image thumbnails (think about something like the excellent PC and tablet interface for SONOS for those who know it). The OPPO has a little better interface in this direction. The i-Manual is great...it is about time this convenient feature is there for quick reference of features particular for those not so technically experienced and it can be updated as the firmware changes.
To sum things up, I highly recommend this television, but if you need something bigger perhaps wait for the 65" model which will be coming out soon.
UPDATED 10/10/2012: The new replacement TV arrived on 10/4 as scheduled and the display was perfect. After spending more time with the TV, we love it even more. I have tested the built in speakers and to those who do not know about these thin TV's; do not expect full sound. Even after tweaking all the settings, the sound is weak and metallic. Most will be using processors or external speakers; so even though this is not deal breaker for such a great TV...plan on supplementing the sound to be in line with the great picture. One other annoyance is getting out of Netflix or Amazon video back to...cable for instance. The Input button on the remote give an error when it is pressed and will not return to HDMI or Components inputs.
on September 28, 2012
Got mine yesterday, quick initial review... Phenomenal!! Did very little tweaking on setup as of yet, but let me tell you such a superb picture we were blown away. It bought our high definition viewing experience to a new level. Easy network setup. Amazon delivery was excellent, brought inside, and tested before leaving. We have not tried the 3D yet.
I will update my review after playing with it over the weekend. But so far, extremely satisfied.
After a couple of weeks with the TV, we just love it. Yes, the 3D is excellent. We had not really expected to like or use 3D at home, but we have found it much better than going to a theater. I highly recommend this unit.
The online content is easy to get to, with several sources to choose from, amazon prime, Netflix, sony entertainment, etc. I am running wireless N, via a cable modem, and have had only one bad day of streaming. (due to the cable company).
The picture in general is the best we have ever seen, my wife (who normally is eh, a new TV), is quite impressed with this TV, ... buy and enjoy. Bob
Glasses almost forgot glasses, after researching we setteled on the "PlayStation 3 3D Glasses" and I also hightly recommend them, as made for gaming, more forgiving if laying down, and or moving your head. :)
(they also fit nicely over my normal eyeglasses), usb rechargable (quick), and fairly long lasting battery life, have not went dead on me yet.
on December 20, 2012
Thought I'd share my experience thus far with my XBR65HX950. Sony is definitely not the Sony I grew up on. They now assemble their flagship TVs in Mexico and boy does it show. I'm on the exchange merry-go-round and I'm on set number 4 right now. Every single set has significant banding issues. I can't imagine I'll find one without it so I'll call Sony and see what they can do, I'm done hauling a 65" TV back and forth....it's not that much fun believe it or not. I'm holding out hope that Sony can deliver one without significant banding, because aside from the banding, it's a very impressive set with an amazing picture. For $5k though you shouldn't have to watch football through cloudy black bars.
on November 20, 2012
There are several reviews on Amazon with conflicting opinions. I believe that has more to do with each person's individual tastes/ set up. For me, this TV is absolutely perfect. The color reproduction is extremely accurate, the motion handling is nearly perfect and does not create and weird SOE (soap opera effect).
Fist off let me tell you about my set up. My tv room is extremely dark room, darker than a typical movie theater, so there is no ambient light which can cause glare. The TV is basically a giant black mirror when powered off, but when it is turned on, ANY and ALL reflections are eliminated. Now your room probably isn't as dark as mine, and if there are any bright lights your tv is going to show reflections. There is an anti-glare coating but it probably won't help you.
I personally do not care for the stand, but I do plan on wall mounting it anyway so it's not a deal breaker. I honestly don't see how it is a huge issue for people, get some black felt and cover it up or paint it black. Cheap and easy solution right there
Now let's get to the actual performance of the TV. Here are my settings, I use them for everything. Set it and forget it. These settings provide a natural skin and color tone. It may be too cool for you, and I do plan to update this review with some warm settings when I recalibrate it.
Scene Mode: General
Picture Mode: Standard
Back-light: 1( again its a super dark room, you might need to be higher)
Picture: Max (but reduce to 85 or even 60 for 3D content to help with crosstalk)
Color Temperature: Neutral
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
Dot Noise Reduction: Off
Reality Creation: Manual with Resolution 20 and Noise Filtering Min OR Off, based on preference.
Smooth Gradation: Medium
CineMotion: Auto 1
Black Corrector: Off
Advanced Contrast Enhancer: OFF for 2D content. LOW for 3D content to help with 3D pop AND reduce crosstalk!
LED Dynamic Control: Standard
Auto Light Limiter: Off
Clear White: Off (or Low if you don't mind bluish whites in some cases)
Live Color: Off
White Balance: Defaults EXCEPT set G-Gain to -6 to reduce the overly greenish yellow skin tones on people on TV. Does not affect green intensity.
Detail Enhancer: Medium
Edge Enhancer: Off
Skin Naturalizer: Off
Display Area: FULL PIXEL change it to this as soon as you get your TV!
ALL ECO SETTINGS OFF
HDMI Dynamic Range: Auto
Color Matrix: Auto
I mostly watch blurays and play games on it. Both of which look amazing, now tv broadcasts can vary wildly. I find that certain channels/shows look better/worse than others. ESPN, Discovery/History channels look very good. Fox sports, honestly, kinda looks like crap. I suspect it is because of the high contrast and excellent picture that this set is capable of, the TV may bring out the natural flaws in the source. Garbage in, garbage out so they say. I'm not saying that you will be disappointed in your general TV viewing, but you wont be wowed by it.
For me, this isn't a huge issue. My general TV viewing is done in another room, not in my home theater. I really only bought this TV to watch blurays and play games on and if that is what you plan on doing, then this is the TV for you.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
After downloading a software update, I noticed that TV broadcasts have improved. Most channels now look good, though no where near as good as bluray. There is still some blurring but it is something I can live with.
I am still working on some settings for Warm viewing, I gave the Dark Knight a run through and I found that blooming can be a little bit of an issue with my above posted settings. After applying my Warm 2 settings, I found that blooming is almost eliminated. It's still there, but you really have to look for it.
My next update will be about 3d. I am still waiting on the glasses.
I received my 3d glasses, the PlayStation branded glasses, the other day so i decided to give Prometheus a watch. I saw Prometheus in IMAX and I originally thought that the 3d was very subtle and well done, on the XBR the 3d is much better and really "pops" at you. Now i all honestly, I do typically hate 3d, it usually gives me headaches it and makes movies unwatchable because of picture quality loss. I experienced none of this while watching Prometheus. The image does get a little darker because of the glasses, but I did not notice any loss of detail or dip in quality in the picture. Best off all, i could tilt my head, lie on my side and the picture never degraded. AWESOME! I am actually very impressed by this TV's 3d capabilities.
That being said, I did try and watch some non 3d content( Adventure Time) in Forced 3d mode. And I immediately noticed some crosstalk and had a headache within a few minutes. There are some options which may or may not help with the crosstalk, but I did not play around too much with that as my head was getting ready to explode.
Next update will be about the Warm settings I promised or gaming.
God Frakking Dangit! OK. SO after some serious game playing and movie watching sessions, I started to notice some DSE (dirty screen effect). For example, while playing Borderlands 2. When i slowly moved the analog stick, I would start to see blotches on the screen. Basically my awesome picture would deteriorate. Even in blurays, I started to see the same thing. TV sports,like hockey and football became unwatchable.
I'm not sure if my tv always had this and just didn't notice it, or if it started to wear out(the tv is less than a month old at this point). Either way it will be exchanged.
Good news, bad news.
Fist bad, I received my 3rd TV and it has a single dead pixel.
The Good news is that the blur surrounding everything is much better on this TV.
I have not decided what i will do with this set. I may keep it depending on how noticeable the dead pixel is or if i am done with the 950 all together.
For those keeping track, this will be my 3rd set.
1st set - 2 dead pixels
2nd set - motion blur and DSE
3rd Set- 1 dead pixel less blur and DSE
on March 20, 2013
The Sony arrived yesterday and I had it up and running in no time. The picture quality is stunning to say the least. The full-array LED backlight allows incredible contrast and inky blacks with no cloud effect from corners. Color rendition is flawless right out of the box. The Samsung 55 inch side lit LED it replaces (which was going bad after only 3.5 years with bad panel) did have a very nice picture when new but the Bravia XBR has it beat. Yeah its a big wad of cash to spend on a TV but if you watch a lot like I do (mostly sports and Blu Ray movies) you will love it. Another big selling point for me was well known high reliability of Sony XBR sets. I'll post updates as time progresses.
on December 31, 2012
The blacks are "black hole" black, even in a completely darkened room! Calculating the contrast ratio would melt a super computer. The picture is excellent by any measure. My daughter started playing Zelda: Skyward Sword over again because it looks like a new game on the Sony. We do have a Wii U hooked up to it, though, and the HD graphics are insane on the new Wii U games. Mario looks fantastic and Zombie U blew us away.
This is our fourth TV purchase over the holidays. We picked up, unpacked, repacked and drove back three Samsung 60" edge-lit's from BestBuy before we took a chance on buying from Amazon. All 3 Samsungs had horrible flashlight effects in the corners and terrible clouding all over (one had a inch-long row of stuck-on pixels).
Everyone who comes into our home is floored by this television (we have a in-wall saltwater fishtank that goes unnoticed now). We love this television. :)
on December 28, 2013
Well, sadily I am not at all happy with this extremely expensive purchase. Easily the most expensive item yet and it was completely regretible. First off, this TV looks no better than my 6 year old Samsung. Second of all, my older TV does not have bandling. What is banding you ask? I did not know what it as either until I purchased this Sony TV. Banding is a problem with the screen where large bands that run from top to bottom appear darker than the rest of the screen. This TV came with two bands about 2 and 3 inches wide on the right side of the screen. They are very visible when the picture is clear such as a blue sky or white background image. It is less obvious with complex picture scenes, but once you see it these bands are hard to ignore. In all my TV buying years I have never seen anything like this on a new TV purchase and would never have imagined it on a high-end TV purchase. Not sure what else to say except seriously reconsider this TV.
on November 28, 2012
I was in the market for a large LCD TV. After researching options, my first thoughts were the 70" Sharp but after spending a little time watching the screen during a football game, I knew this TV was not going to work (AND Sharp is on the doorstep of bankruptcy which is not encouraging when considering a major purchase like this one). I also looked at the Elite (also another Sharp product), but in my opinion, the image was superior on the Sony. I also considered the Samsung 8000 (and I have an older Samsung 52" which looks great), but this TV did not 'wow' me when I looked at it in a few stores.
I am not a TV guru, but I will give some opinions on the quality of the image:
- Black levels are amazing. So much so that when the TV is on and displaying no image (ie no input from the HDMI source), you can't tell the TV is on except if you leave option to allow the SONY logo to illuminate (which I do as I have already had a situation where the kids switched off the blu-ray and left the TV on and I only noticed because the SONY logo was illuminated).
- Football looks great without judder. This was my number one concern and I was focused on Plasma specifically for this reason but I am still worried about screen burn in (and I have kids so there will be times when the TV will be left on with a still image).
- It seems like the best image comes when there are no image enhancers activated (frankly, it doesn't seem like all of the picture bells and whistles actually do a whole lot) - this doesn't matter as the basic settings seem to deliver the best picture.
- The sound from the TV seems pretty good, but we listen through the surround, so I can't really comment on how the speakers really stand up. Does anyone buying a 65" TV really expect to listen to it without external speakers anyway?
- The 3D works very well. It was irritating to have to purchase separate 3D glasses when you spend $5k for a TV, but it works like a champ.
- I can see how viewing angle could be a problem for some people. 45 degrees from center is about right in terms of having no image degradation, but this will never be an issue in my set-up and I think it would be awkward to sit that close and to the side of the TV for this to be an issue for most people.
- The image is ultra-sharp. I don't know what all of the fuss about 4K is about because even at 65", 1080p just looks SO GOOD!
- The TV itself is very good looking and practical. The best feature is a continuous sheet of glass on the front of the TV. This means you can actually CLEAN the screen without worry. (I have kids and some bad experience with stuff somehow getting on the screen)
- The TV is heavy. No doubt due to the glass front and metal trim, but it's not super easy to move around and you definitely want a very sturdy wall mount if that's the way you go.
- You will either love or hate the silver stand. I think it looks cool, but it is very inconvenient for placing a center channel speaker in front of the stand (you can't).
- The SONY internet connectivity seems like a waste of time. Doesn't everyone have a Roku or Apple TV these days? The SONY is not the best interface for this.
The TV met all of my main expectations - A high quality, judder free image that looks just as good off as it does on. It was probably too expensive, but I'm 100% satisfied with the picture quality and I don't have to worry about burn in.