4K TV Reviews

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 22, 2015  |  4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,200 (updated 2/2/16, price was $6,499 when reviewed)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
First-rate blacks and shadow detail
Superb resolution—in both 4K and 1080p Full HD
Impressive sense of image depth—even in 2D
Best 3D seen anywhere
Minus
Image degrades significantly off center
Annoying remote control
Glitchy voice- and gesture-control features

THE VERDICT
This is the first consumer Ultra HDTV out of the gate offering more than just four times the resolution of 1080p HD. While it will require more UHD program material to fully judge its ability to provide 10-bit color, a wider color gamut, and higher dynamic range than today’s content, this Samsung is still a strong candidate for the best LCD set launched to date.

Ultra HD remains very much a work in progress. Source material is still scarce, and while some is available through various forms of downloading and streaming, the promised delivery of Ultra HD on Blu-ray (the route most likely to offer the best UHD quality) is still months away. Furthermore, the UHD sets that have appeared to date offer little more than enhanced resolution—resolution that isn’t really significant unless you see it on the biggest screen you can afford and sit closer than some folks prefer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a UHD set isn’t desirable...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 07, 2016  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent blacks and shadow detail
First-rate resolution
Compelling high dynamic range
Minus
HDR limited to HDR10
No 3D

THE VERDICT
In some important respects, Samsung’s new top-of-the-line TV improves upon the company’s previous flagship, and at a lower price.

When we last reviewed one of Samsung’s so-called SUHD sets, Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR) was not yet available on Blu-ray. But the arrival of such discs—together with UHD Bluray players like Samsung’s own UBD-K8500—has changed the game.

The 4K resolution of Ultra HD sets is all well and good, but HDR is the most eye-popping feature of UHD. Not all 4K sets, however, incorporate HDR, and those that do don’t necessarily perform at the same level. HDR still can’t be done well cheaply; at present, the displays that do it best are their respective makers’ premier offerings. The Samsung KS9800 series definitely belongs in that company—and among the three models within that family, the 65-incher we’re discussing here is the smallest.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 14, 2014  |  5 comments
2D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $40,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color
Superb resolution
Near state-of-the-art black level and shadow detail
Huge, bright picture
Minus
Price

THE VERDICT
The UN85S9AF is a hyper-expensive flagship for Samsung, and more of a technology demonstration than a product for the masses. But the money, as they say in Hollywood, is up there on the screen to see.

I once joked about the humongous 100-inch-plus HDTVs many manufacturers trot out at trade shows, suggesting that the best way to get them into your house was to place the TV where you thought it should go on the slab of your house under construction, then build the house around it. Samsung’s new 85-inch (diagonal) Ultra HD isn’t that big, but it’s close.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 27, 2016  |  2 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Inexpensive (with discounting) for a 75-incher
HDR compatible
Accurate and extended color
Minus
Limited contrast
Backlight artifacts
Highlights in HDR programs lack detail

THE VERDICT
Sharp’s heavily discounted 75-inch TV offers accurate color and decent HDR performance, but its best feature is its big screen at an affordable price.

The arrival of a hulking 75-inch Ultra HDTV on your doorstep would be something you’d ideally want to coincide with a worthy media spectacle—the Super Bowl, for instance. In my case, however, the delivery of the Sharp Aquos LC-75N8000U synced up perfectly with the broadcast of the first Presidential debate. Lucky me: I got to witness what perhaps were the two most unpopular candidates in history assail each other’s character at near-life-size.

Rob Sabin  |  Oct 12, 2015  |  5 comments
As we reported last week, Vizio was in New York City on October 6 to formally introduce its much anticipated Reference Series Ultra HDTVs. Editor-in-chief Rob Sabin and video tech editor Tom Norton got a hands-on session with the big 120-inch RS120. Here's what they found.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 14, 2019  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Unsurpassed contrast
Superb color and resolution
Viewable from any angle
Minus
Complicated picture adjustments
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Sony's new XBR-65A9G OLED TV is undoubtedly pricey, but we'd be hard-pressed to name a flat-panel Ultra HD TV that provides better overall performance.

Sony's XBR-A9G, the latest OLED entry in the company's Master Series TV lineup, follows fast on the heels of its previous A9F. While the differences from that model are minor, the A9G's list of upgrades include a different (and arguably improved) stand, a better remote control, and a few performance tweaks. The A9G lineup also includes a 77-inch model, but the 65-inch XBR-65A9G is the featured attraction here.

Tom Norton  |  Apr 05, 2013  |  6 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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 21, 2014  |  4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Exceptional blacks and shadow detail
Excellent color and resolution
Impressive sound with optional subwoofer
Minus
Price
Small screen for 4K

THE VERDICT
Short of sitting very close, you’ll need a screen bigger than 55 inches to see the full benefits of 4K resolution. But the XBR-55X900B is, nevertheless, a champion in all respects, including one we didn’t anticipate: state-of-the-art edge-lit local dimming.

The XBR-55X900B is the smallest set in Sony’s X900B series, which also includes the 65-inch XBR-65X900B ($5,000) and the 79-inch XBR-79X900B ($9,000). Fifty-five inches is a relatively small size for achieving the maximum benefits of 4K resolution. But it’s also perhaps today’s most popular size for the principal home HDTV, so there’s no denying its market importance for Ultra HD as well.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 13, 2017  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent contrast
Superb color and resolution
Looks good from every angle
Unique panel-based sound system
Minus
No color management system
Some white clipping

THE VERDICT
While it might appear that OLED UHDTVs are popping up everywhere, the most visible supplier to date has been LG. But Sony, by acquiring OLED panels from LG and adding its own electronics, processing, styling, and unique features, has jumped into the fray, landing firmly on both feet with a solid performer.

Sony’s new OLEDs (the 65-incher reviewed here has a 55-inch sibling, and a 77-incher will be available by press time) haven’t yet taken pride of place at the top of Sony’s TV lineup. That honor belongs to the Z9D (Sound & Vision, January 2017 and soundandvision.com), now spruced up with the imminent addition (as I write) of Dolby Vision for 2017. But you might think of the OLEDs as stepping stones to Sony’s future in self-emissive displays—the spectacular, commercially oriented, and wall-sized CLEDIS LED display Sony demonstrated at the 2017 CES comes to mind. But that’s the future. Sony’s OLEDs are now. As of today, Sony’s OLED implementation uses a panel supplied by LG (but with Sony’s own secret processing sauce). At its press-time street price of about $4,000 in the 65-inch version, it was roughly comparable, if not a touch less expensive, than LG’s own like-sized C7P model.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 29, 2020  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Unsurpassed contrast
Superior color and resolution
Wide viewing angle
Minus
Complicated menu system
No HDMI 2.1

THE VERDICT
Sony's latest OLED measures up to the best, including the company's 2019 Top Pick of the Year-winning Master Series model, and comes in at notably lower price.

We previously reviewed Sony's XBR-65A9G OLED, a member of the company's Master Series Ultra HDTV family. While that set is still available and remains a first-class option, the only advantages it appears to offer over the new XBR-65A8H OLED reviewed here are slightly more sophisticated sound features plus an ability to serve as a center channel in an outboard multichannel audio setup. The XBR-65A8H, meanwhile, is priced considerably lower than its Master Series predecessor at $2,800.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 11, 2013  |  21 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $7,000
At A Glance
: Four times the native resolution of standard HD • Advanced color technology • State-of-the-art 3D

With the introduction of its new 2013 XBR sets, Sony has shown that it’s serious about bringing Ultra HD, popularly referred to as 4K, to consumers at prices that, while still high, are less seizure-inducing than the $25,000 sticker on its 84-inch XBR-84X900 (Home Theater, June 2013).

Technically, 4K is shorthand for a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels—the professional 4K format. Consumer 4K sets, on the other hand, have a resolution of 3840 x 2160, exactly four times the pixel count of full HD 1080p. Regardless of the industry’s plan to refer to such sets as Ultra HD, 4K has already crept into the lexicon as the popular term for 3840 x 2160 home video.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 28, 2017  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Extensive streaming options
Strong contrast with full-array local dimming
Accurate out-of-box color
Minus
Average LCD off-axis picture uniformity
HDR highlights a notch below the top TVs
Android TV interface can be confusing

THE VERDICT
The impressive performance delivered by Sony’s midrange UHDTV makes it a compelling choice for budget buyers upgrading to HDR.

Here’s the top Sony TV news for 2017: The company started selling its first big-screen OLED models. With an elegant “One Slate” design and an ability to emit sound from actuators positioned directly behind the glass screen, Sony’s A1E line (November 2017 and soundandvision.com) is destined to give LG’s OLEDs some competition. But when you consider that a 65-inch model costs about $4,000 after discounts, the Sony OLEDs are pricey. Fortunately, there are plenty of other Sony Ultra HDTVs to choose from, including the midrange X900E series, which lists for $2,000 for the 65-inch model and will run you about $1,800 on the street.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 19, 2018  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent shadow detail
Superb color and resolution
Punchy HDR
Minus
Mediocre off-axis performance
Some blooming

THE VERDICT
The new Sony XBR-65X900F is no OLED-killer, but it offers OLED-like benefits at a reasonable price.

OLED ULTRA HDTVS grab most of today’s headlines. And although prices for OLED sets have dropped dramatically over the last year, they still command a high premium. Even flagship LCD sets— Sony’s Z9D line, for example—remain beyond the price reach of many consumers. Sony’s new X900F LCD TVs, which are available in screen sizes all the way up to 85 inches, provide a more reasonable alternative. Choose the 65-inch X900F under review here and you’ll leave the store with a far smaller dent on your credit line than you would when buying an OLED or a flagship LCD.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 03, 2016  |  2 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive edge-lit local dimming
Respectable off-axis viewing
Bright, punchy HDR
Minus
Often redundant menus
Tight remote control layout

THE VERDICT
Full-array local dimming remains the gold standard for LCD Ultra HDTVs, but Sony has now upped the ante with the best edge-lit set we’ve seen.

The last time I reviewed one of Sony’s 4K sets, it had large speaker enclosures attached permanently to the sides of the screen, with a separate “subwoofer” firing out the back. This made for an inconveniently wide design, and with the introduction of Sony’s new 2016 models, those audio “wings” are now history.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 15, 2016  |  11 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
State-of-the-art local dimming
Class-leading HDR brightness
Above average off-center viewing
Minus
Price

THE VERDICT
With the top manufacturers jostling for a view from the top of the Ultra HD pyramid, Sony has taken an express elevator and is racing fast for the checkered flag. But enough with the mixed metaphors. If this TV isn’t today’s best LCD UHD/HDR set (and perhaps the best of any type), it’s not for lack of trying. Sony has given us their best technology here, and it shows.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016, Sony demonstrated a prototype of a future LCD TV design incorporating what the company called Backlight Master Drive. We found it dazzling, as did most of the show-goers with whom we spoke. Nevertheless, we all looked at it as a “show car”—something that might appear in a store near you in a couple of years, if ever.

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