Best 55" TV
Sony XBR55HX950 (XBR-55HX950) Review
Bravia 55 inch LED Smart TV
by Jack Burden, Senior Editor
Sony's newest latest and greatest HDTV with a "reasonable" price has difficult-to-produce full array local dimming. When Sony introduced its first full array local dimming LED backlit TV a couple of years ago it received one of our best picture ratings - especially for an LED TV due to very good black levels and localized contrast. This new Sony will surpass that unit and Sony will have one of the best viable local-dimming TVs on the market.
Picture Quality Characteristics
As with the HX850 model, the HX950 has the OptiContrast panel front face which does a nice job of absorbing inbound light from ambient sources. It's also a much clearer finish than the semi-matte screen finishes found on the HX750 and all of the mid-tier Samsung models. This gives you more picture depth and better off-center viewing angles. Colors are also more vibrant - especially from side angles.
This set also implements the Intelligent peak LED backlighting which will automatically control contrast. These changes are based on a combination of room light conditions and on screen images. Sony has long been one of the best if not the best TV manufacturer when it comes to upconversion and scaling technologies. Following is their statement about related technologies associated with the XBR-55HX950: "The HX950 picture engine employs multi-frame analysis to help create missing resolution, and Sony’s Super Bit Mapping technology incorporates 14 bit up-scaling, processing and pixel mapping to smooth gradation and improve the quality of low-tone pictures. Sony’s MotionFlow™ XR technology helps to reduce blur caused by quick camera movements, enhancing sharpness and creating a clearer picture during fast–action sports, movies and games."
These included pixel mapping and smoothing technologies are what separates Sony's top end TVs from some other manufacturers like Panasonic. They always have a smoother picture image with little background noise.
- Smart TV Internet Suite (Sony Entertainment Network or Similar) which we have thoroughly reviewed
- Remote Apps for iPhone/Smartphone
Bang for the Buck
This top of the line (except for the new Sony 4K UDTV TV) unit sells for $3999 to $4499. It's not inexpensive but you get a great technological piece of equipment for the price. It will also last for years unless you plan on splurging on an OLED or 4K TV sometimes soon. Competition wise, there is not much to compare with. LG has a full array local dimming model 55LM9600. Samsung's current top of the line model not counting OLED is the 55ES8000 which sells for much less since it is not full array local dimming.
|Jack Burden joined the review staff of CEAG Inc. in May 2003 after finishing his graduate work at Harvard University. He has been reporting on consumer electronics and conducting product reviews for more than seven years... Read more about Jack|