Sony Launches New 4K TVs at Last

Sony is about to roll out its 2014 range of 4K or UHD TVs just in time for HD coverage of the Commonwealth Games on Sky Sports.

While Australia and the rest of the world were shipped the 55-, 65- and 79-inch displays ahead of the Soccer World Cup, Sony’s absence here was conspicuous by Samsung, LG and Panasonic having its 2014 UHD models on sale for FIFA’s kick-off.

But the wait may have been worth it: not only have top overseas websites hailed Sony’s 3rd generation 4K TV as the benchmark for the technology but the displays will sell for less here than in Australia.

That’s extraordinary, given Sony NZ prices traditionally have been hundreds of dollars higher than Sony Oz.

The KD65X9000B has a RRP of $6500 (compared to $7K in Oz) and the flagship KD65X9500B, $8000.

The latter also is selling for $2K below last year’s stunning 65-inch flagship.

As well as having different speaker technology, the X9500B has X-tended Dynamic Range Pro, which Sony says is up to three times brighter than 1080p LED TVs; the X9000B has X-tended Dynamic Range for twice the brightness.

Here’s the blurb:

Sony’s exclusive X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology utilises full array local dimming to produce contrast beyond comparison. Bright whites and dark blacks are controlled with fine detail. You’ll get the peak brightness that LED TVs are known for as well as deeper blacks previously only associated with plasma TVs. Keeping the light areas bright while keeping blacks truly black is called widening dynamic range. 

And the critics agree. I hope to give one or both TVs a test drive shortly — watch for upcoming reviews of Samsung’s Curved UHD TV and LG’s smallest UHD TV — but in the meantime here’s what some of the better review sites are saying (model numbers differ in the US and UK):

The Sony KD-55X9005B is a seriously talented performer which handles every type of mainstream content you throw at it with aplomb, be it Blu-ray movies, live sports broadcast or video games. In terms of LCD-making pedigree, brand image and marketing power, the closest competitor to Sony is none other than Samsung, but this year, the Bravia X90B betters the South Korean manufacturer’s corresponding 4K models – curved or flat – in almost every picture quality aspect that’s important to potential buyers. — HDTVtest.

The Sony XBR-X900B series provides the best picture quality of any 4K TV we’ve tested so far, competing well against the better plasmas. It also pumped out best sound of any TV we’ve heard, bar none. Its prominent speakers and high-end finish makes a unique luxury TV statement. Its feature set is comprehensive, its connectivity forward-looking, and its optional subwoofer a cool, useful extra. The high resolution doesn’t provide a major boost in image quality, especially with non-4K content. The 3D image suffers from substantial crosstalk. The Bottom Line: If you can stand its speakers, Sony’s XBR-X900B will reward you with the best combination of audio and video quality you’ve ever seen (or heard). — C|

If you have this kind of money to spare, not blowing it on a Sony 65X9005B seems almost criminal. With its 4K resolution and spectacular audio taken into account it’s pound for pound the best all-round performing TV we’ve tested to date – and yes, we’re including some pretty illustrious HD plasma competition in this comment. Its only serious rival so far this year – bearing in mind that we’ve yet to see the latest offerings from Panasonic and LG – is the Samsung UE65HU8500. Samsung’s set will win some hearts thanks to its slim-bezelled and curved design, and its pictures are also brilliant. It’s easier to get the best out of the Sony’s images, though, and Sony’s audio is way ahead of its Korean rival. — Trusted Reviews.

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