LCD TV REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 29, 2008 0 comments
Price: $5,000 At A Glance: State-of-the-art black level and shadow detail • Superior color and HD resolution • 480i video processing could be better • Poor off-axis viewing

XBR Goes LED

LCD flat panels now dominate the television marketplace. But despite their popularity, they have been notably inferior to the best plasma sets in the depth of their blacks and the quality of their shadow detail.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 01, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,800 At A Glance: Edge LED backlighting • Excellent color and resolution • Non-uniform black level

Light My LEDs

Not too long ago, LED backlighting was a feature in only a few premium flat-panel LCD sets. Now you can find it everywhere, including six series in Sony’s 2010 lineup of BRAVIA LCD HDTVs. The top three—the LX900, HX900, and HX800 series—are either 3D capable out of the box (the XBR-LX900) or 3D ready.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 27, 2008 0 comments
Everything but the secret sauce.

Sony has gone LCD in a big way. The company dropped its rear-projection sets last fall, and it’s been years since a plasma display sported a Sony badge. At its 2008 line show in February, the company announced 17 new sets. When they’re all in stores this fall, the Sony LCD model count will be 50-strong.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 23, 2011 0 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Solid 2D performance • 2D-to-3D conversion • Visible ghosting in 3D • Extensive Internet features

Order of LEDs on the Side

The movement to replace the traditional fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting for LCD displays with LEDs has become a flood. Sony’s 2011 lineup is dominated by LED-lit LCDs. While the line-topping XBR-HX929 sets have full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, the remainder position their LEDs just beyond the edges of the screen. Aside from lower power consumption compared with CCFL blacklights, LED backlights of either type offer another benefit: They can adjust rapidly in accordance with the changing signal. Edge-lit LED backlights have two primary advantages to manufacturers over the full-array approach that has made them the more widely used. One is lower cost; the other is the ability, at least in some HDTVs, to shrink the depth of the panel to something that seems to approach that of a credit card.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Despite the market penetration of LCD flat panels—they significantly outsell plasmas—LCD technology has two serious shortcomings. Off-axis viewing is one—we’ll get to that a bit later. The other is how they handle blacks and deep shadow detail. But a new design technique, LED backlighting with local dimming, promises to change all that. (See sidebar on page 37.) Both the Sony and the Samsung use it.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 02, 2010 1 comments
Price: $3,600 At A Glance: LED backlighting with local dimming • Excellent color, resolution, and contrast • 2D-to-3D conversion • Compromised off-axis performance

3D for You and LED Too

HDTV makers are launching new 3D sets as fast at they can design and build them, and Sony’s 3D plans are as ambitious as any. The company has four new lines of LED 3DTVs. The BRAVIA XBR52HX909, at 52 inches wide, and a 46-inch sister model are its top offerings in these sizes. These are the only Sony 3D sets with LED dynamic backlighting—or LED local dimming. Local dimming is the best technology yet developed to produce dark, rich blacks from an LCD set.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 03, 2011 0 comments
Price: $3,600 At A Glance: Excellent color and resolution • 2D-to-3D conversion mode • Middling shadow detail and off-axis performance

LCD With a Side of LEDs

When I looked over Sony’s press release at the January 2010 CES, I was a bit confused. There are 10 different 3D sets in Sony’s current lineup. The XBR-LX900 line under review here includes 60- and 52-inch models with LED edge lighting, an integrated 3D sensor, and ships with two pairs of 3D glasses in the box. Other 3D HDTVs in Sony’s other lines include either full-array LED lighting with local dimming or Dynamic Edge LED edge lighting. Sony includes the 3D sensor and glasses with some sets, while they’re extra-cost options with others. Sony offers 3D HDTVs in screen sizes ranging from 40 to 60 inches, but not every 3D line offers all of them.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2011 11 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,800 At A Glance: Exceptional black levels • Outstanding detail and color • Head-tilt 3D ghosting

With the growing popularity of LED backlighting for LCD HDTVs, it’s easy to forget that not all such backlighting is created equal. LEDs can be configured to provide either backlighting or edge lighting. In either case, the lighting can be steady, with image brightness dependent only on the pixels of the LCD imaging panel, which darkens the picture as the source requires. Or the lighting can be dynamic, in which the set can dim the backlighting or edge lighting from instant to instant, as needed, assisting the LCD pixels in adjusting for the optimum light output.

Tom Norton Posted: Apr 05, 2013 5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $25,000
At A Glance
: Stunning resolution • Superb color • Glorious 2D and 3D performance

With 4K-resolution Ultra HD the latest and greatest star in the consumer electronics galaxy, we ink- and pixel-stained wretches of the press were all champing at the bit to lay hands on one. But at a massive 84 inches diagonal, 216 pounds with its floor stand, priced high enough to put you in a nice new car as long as your tastes aren’t too posh, and still limited in availability, Sony’s new 4K flagship made the company understandably reluctant to ship review samples to all the usual suspects.

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jan 27, 2007 0 comments
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when a 46-inch LCD was a rarity, and a $3,800 asking price a bargain. As prices continue to plunge in this category, a $3,800 46-inch LCD finds itself occupying high-end territory. If a manufacturer wants to compete in this space, they had better be prepared to meet high-end expectations in features, performance, and style. The question before us now is, does Sony's KDL-46XBR2 do just that?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 29, 2008 0 comments

When I reviewed Sony's <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/408sonykdl52/">KDL-52XBR4</A> LCD TV in April 2008, I was very impressed for the most part. With excellent color and exceptional detail on HD material, my only reservations were a slightly soft appearance on SD content and a black level that remained a bit elevated on real-world programs. (The black level mysteriously dropped on certain test patterns, even with all dynamic settings disabled.) Also, its list price of $4000 was pretty steep.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 11, 2008 0 comments

The Sony XBR4 series of LCD TVs is very well-regarded among reviewers and consumers alike. I've had the opportunity to closely examine the 46-inch member of this line, and I found it to be a stellar performer in most respects, as did Tom Norton in his <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/907sonyxbr4/">review</A>. The KDL-52XBR4 is no different, bringing excellent picture quality to a 52-inch, 1920x1080 screen.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 14, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,400 At A Glance: Great detail and color • Lower black level than most conventional LCDs • Integrated Internet TV • Menu system not my fave • Some off-axis discoloration

The Right Stuff

I’m old enough to remember when Sony introduced its first XBR models, which were top-of-the-line CRT TVs. Since then, the company has continued to use XBR in the model designation of its flagship flat panels, adding a number to indicate each new generation.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2012 4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,600 At A Glance: Deep, uniform blacks • Superb out-of-the-box color and crisp detail • Head-tilt 3D crosstalk

The most popular, current approach to designing an LCD HDTV with LED lighting is to position the LEDs around the periphery of the screen and rely on diffusors to spread the light out uniformly. Sometimes (but not always) the brightness of the LEDs is also altered dynamically to help the LCD pixels create deep blacks, where needed.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 07, 2013 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,300 At A Glance: Rich black level and good shadow detail • New color technology • Bright, punchy 3D

The new KDL-55W900A is Sony’s newest, top-of-the-line, non-XBR set. All of the XBRs, going forward, will be Ultra HD (4K) sets, but the KDL-55W900A, as all of the KDL designs, is firmly in the standard HD, 1920 x 1080 camp. It’s an edge-lit design with local dimming, but its marquee feature has nothing to do with contrast and black levels. Color is the plot here, and Triluminos, a term Sony has used in the past (see sidebar), promises a wider color gamut.

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