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post #1 of 33 Old 10-25-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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After my recent visit to Consumer Reports TV testing lab, a number of AVS members expressed interest in the contents of the actual reviews. Normally these reviews require a paid membership for access. However, the publication granted AVS permission to publish the contents of one review—special thanks to Jim Willcox, Consumer Reports Senior Editor/Electronics, for making this happen.

 

The review CR chose to share is an interesting one, Sony's XBR-55X900A UHD TV.

 

There is some skepticism about the value of UHD resolution at smaller screen sizes. The lack of 4K/UHD content is one issue, and the limits of human vision are another. UHD advocates tout the ability of such screens to show full-resolution 1080p passive 3D. However, this review includes a revelation about the Sony's passive 1080p 3D performance—it only displays 540p of vertical resolution. Another oddball limitation uncovered by the CR lab—4K photos would not display at full resolution when played via USB connection.

 

The review starts with a graphical summary, including the iconic dots that visually represent a rating between poor and excellent and a few photos of the TV itself. The review's main body translates the lab tests into easily understood prose. Each review includes the optimal settings that the lab settled on—for a given firmware version—based on the lab's testing and measurement process. At the end of the review, readers will find tables that list specifications for the TV. The testing lab measured and collected all of the listed information, rather than relying on manufacturer's provided specs. While the lab does generate graphs and chromaticity charts in-house, those charts are not published as part of the review. It is the publication's style to translate such information into text. 

 

So without further ado, here is Consumer Reports review of the Sony XBR-55X900A UHD TV. Content reprinted with permission—please remember that it is copyrighted.

 

 

 

 

Reviews & Recommended Settings - Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A

tester image

CR's Take

This pricey 55-inch 3D-capable LCD TV from Sony-- the company's smallest Ultra HD model--has a unique look, with large, front-firing speaker panels flanking the sides of the set, which is perched atop a silver circular base. Like other Ultra HD TVs, this TV has a 3840x2160 screen resolution, with four times as many pixels as a regular 1080p set. Not surprisingly, this set is capable of displaying great detail with native 4K (Ultra HD) content, which was supplied by the manufacturer. (So far, little native Ultra HD content is commercially available, although Sony now offers a $700 Ultra HD media player loaded with 4K films and video shorts.) But the TV also has excellent high-definition picture quality, with impressive black levels for an LCD set, and very good sound, perhaps the best of any tested model so far this year. The set has a lot of features, including a dynamic edge LED backlight with local dimming, built-in Wi-Fi, and Sony's smart TV platform with a full Web browser, apps, and access to streaming movies and TV shows from several services. This model also has both wired MHL and wireless Miracast technologies for mirroring content from a smart phone or tablet on the TV. (An optional MHL Cable is required for this feature to work.) The remote control has NFC technology, so you can simply tap a Sony Xperia smart phone or tablet to the remote to view that device's content on the TV. On our tested model, however, we noticed two quirks: After a firmware update, the TV no longer displayed photos played via the TVs USB port in full Ultra HD resolution, and when in the 3D mode the vertical resolution was cut in half. It's possible that these issues may be addressed in a subsequent firmware update.

Highs

• Ultra HD capable
• Superior, beyond HD image clarity with native Ultra HD content
• Excellent HD image detail 
• Excellent color accuracy 
• Very good deep black levels 
• Low ghosting in 3D mode 
• Comes with four pairs of 3D glasses

Lows

• Limited viewing angle 
• Screen surface more mirror-like than most 
• 3D ghosting varies with vertical viewing angle 
• Image resolution in 3D mode is half 1080p HD

Detailed test results

This Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A is an Ultra HD television (also called a 4K set) with 3840x2160 pixel resolution, four times that of a 1080p HDTV. This means it not only functions as a regular HDTV, but it can also display higher-resolution Ultra HD video. Unfortunately there is no commercially available Ultra HD content at this time so we evaluated Ultra HD image quality using the high-resolution video clips supplied by the manufacturer. To evaluate the Sony's overall performance we ran the TV through all our standard HDTV tests, most of which remain valid regardless of the video type unless otherwise noted. Some comments about Sony's picture performance using actual Ultra HD content are also provided.

PICTURE QUALITY. Using regular HD content from cable or a Blu-ray, this TV's high-definition picture quality was excellent. It did a top-notch job displaying the finest detail. Color accuracy was excellent, so colors looked very natural and lifelike. Contrast--the difference between the darkest blacks and brightest whites--was good, so images showed some depth and dimension. In this respect, the TV was similar to most of the models we test. The brightness level was good, making it a suitable choice for most rooms. Thanks to Sony's "LED Dynamic Control," the TV had deep black levels, just shy of the best sets, without producing any noticeable local dimming artifacts. In scenes with subtly shaded light-to-dark areas, such as a sky during sunset, the TV did an excellent job producing a smooth transition without distinct, coarse bands. Film mode operation for HD film-based content was excellent, with no visible jaggies along the edges of objects during motion scenes. Deinterlacing on the other hand was only fair, with jaggies visible when converting 1080i video content to the display's native resolution.


VIEWING ANGLE. This Sony has a moderate viewing angle overall, decent, but not quite as good as the better-performing LCD sets we've tested. The optimal seating position for best picture quality is directly in front of the TV. If your family is seated in chairs off to the side of the TV, they'll see decent but compromised image quality.

When we moved off to the sides the horizontal viewing angle was good; the picture showed a slight loss of color so flesh tones looked a bit washed out, along with a moderate color shift. Black levels brightened significantly, making dark scenes look hazy. When viewing the image from above or below eye level to the screen, the vertical viewing angle was very good. The picture showed minimal change in color, contrast, and black level.

ULTRA HD PERFORMANCE. Using the Ultra HD video clips supplied by the manufacturer we were able to make some judgments about the Sony's Ultra HD performance (The demo content is a mix of high-quality video clips from movies, sporting events, and other scenes, played back via the TV's HDMI input via Sony's standalone media box). The high pixel density on this display clearly adds a new level of image detail and a smoothness to edge definition that is best appreciated when viewed up close to the screen.Most of the supplied Ultra HD content was captured with a 4K studio camera and the image detail and clarity was stunning, clearly beyond anything we've seen in the HD format. The detail was so good that freeze frames on Ultra HD videos were essentially high-resolution 8 megapixel photo stills. On Ultra HD movie content (as opposed to video) the improvement in detail over HD was less dramatic but still there. In an A/B comparison between an HD Blu-ray and UHD version of the same "Total Recall" clip, the image quality was close, but the Ultra HD version had a visible though subtle bump-up in detail. But that said, the Blu-ray version was very good, and probably good enough even for picky viewers, and if you sit back to a typical viewing distance it will be difficult to tell the difference. We believe most viewers will have a hard time seeing the additional detail when viewing from even 7 feet back since the benefits of Ultra HD's extra resolution are best appreciated on larger screen sizes or when sitting very close to the screen. Unfortunately, the TV does not make use of the extra pixels when viewing images from a flash drive via its USB port, so photos were presented in HD resolution (about 2 megapixels). Also, 3D content was presented at half HD resolution (540p), like all other passive HD sets, instead of making use of Ultra HD's double vertical resolution to present a full 1080p image to each eye.

MOTION BLUR. With Motionflow turned on, this Sony TV has good motion performance, with some blurring on our motion tests.This feature is designed to reduce motion blur, a shortcoming of most LCD TVs. With the feature turned off, motion performance was only fair, with significant blurring on our motion tests.

SCREEN REFLECTIVITY. The screen surface on this LCD TV has one of the shinier mirror-like surfaces we've seen, which makes it very susceptible to reflections from a nearby lamp or window. The screen is dark so it does a good job reducing glare from ambient light and maintains contrast even in a bright room.

3D PERFORMANCE. The overall 3D effect was only good, a notch below the better 3D displays. 3D images showed effective depth, with minimal levels of ghosting (left eye/right eye crosstalk) on our 3D test patterns and on a wide variety of 3D program content. There was an increase in ghosting when we viewed 3D images from above or below eye level, which got worse as you move closer to the TV. Images conveyed half 1080p, or 540 lines of resolution to each eye; there was visible loss of vertical detail when compared to models capable of 3D at full 1080p. 3D image content showed visible jaggies and moire on fine detail due to the absence of half of the lines. In 3D mode, the picture was brighter than some other sets, a plus.

SOUND QUALITY. This TV has very good sound, better than most models we've tested. It has a wide volume range, allowing the TV to play loud with no noticeable distortion. At more typical listening volume levels the TV has a full-bodied sound and has deep bass with good impact. All told, the overall sound quality is above average on this TV which should more than please the pickier TV listeners out there.

EASE OF USE. Overall, we found the set easy to use. Setting up the TV for the first time was straightforward, as was access to features and controls you'll probably adjust only once. Ease of access to features you typically use more often was very good. Also, the remote is very good, and the on-screen menu is easy to navigate.

Remote has a dedicated button to access Internet features, and to access 3D. The remote's major function buttons were sufficiently large and have high-contrast labeling, making them easier to see and navigate.

STAND ASSEMBLY. Mounting the TV to the included support stand is easy, though the stand requires the assembly of two parts before mounting.

INTERNET FEATURES. This TV provides basic Internet functionality with a limited selection of applications. Movie streaming services include: Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Sony Video Unlimited. It also supports an optional Web cam for access to video conferencing applications such as Skype. This top of the line set also comes with a smaller, secondary remote which has NFC (Near Field Communication) built-in and allows you to, with one touch, mirror the screen of your compatible Xperia Smartphone or table on the TV's screen, including any videos, music, photos, and apps.

CONNECTIONS. This TV includes four HDMI inputs, one composite input, one shared connection between the component and composite inputs (which means you can only use one type or the other at a time), optical digital audio out, three USB ports, an Ethernet port, and built-in Wi-Fi. Wireless connectivity includes: DLNA network file sharing, and near field communication (NFC) file sharing. HDMI and analog cable connections made to the rear-facing panel will protrude beyond the panel's slim depth.

INCLUDED IN THE BOX. The TV comes with: a printed user manual, an electronic manual in the TV's menu, two remotes with batteries, and four pairs of 3D glasses.

OPTIMIZED PICTURE SETTINGS. Our expert TV testers recommend the following settings for the Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A to get your image looking like the rated picture quality we saw in our lab.

Accessing the picture controls is simple; press the menu button on your remote and navigate to the picture settings menu where you'll see most of the controls. To find some other controls you may additionally have to enter the "advanced settings" or the "picture options" sub menus (name may vary depending on model). Don't worry about making any "mistakes." You can always reset the picture settings to factory default if necessary. Consult your user manual for additional guidance.

PICTURE SETTINGS.
Picture Mode: Custom
Contrast (Picture): 90
Brightness: 50
Color: 54
Tint: R1
Sharpness: 50
Color Temperature: Warm2
Backlight: 7
Aspect Ratio: Full (Dipslay Area = +1)
Miscellaneous: Motionflow = Clear, CineMotion = Auto, LED Dynamic Control = Low (All remaining settings set to OFF, or 0)

TV FIRMWARE. All TVs are evaluated using the latest firmware version available at the time of testing.
Firmware version for Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A is: PKG3.208AAA



ABOUT CR's OPTIMIZED PICTURE SETTINGS: Our fine-tuned picture adjustments are made with the support of special test patterns and reference videos to yield best image fidelity, and a professionally calibrated reference HDTV is used for comparison. Whether you are watching movies on Blu-ray or sports from your cable box these settings will ensure you are seeing the programs in the best quality this display can offer, short of a professional calibration. To optimize the image we typically turn off (or turn down) the settings from features that can often degrade performance, including; power saving modes (which often dim the image), sharpness, noise reduction (also known as DNR, a feature that can degrade image detail), and "motion smoothing", if present (an effect that can give movies a soap opera, video-like appearance). Optimal settings for your TV may vary a bit from ours due to slight variations between similar TV samples, or the firmware version of the TV's software.

ABOUT CR'S TV VIEWING CONDITIONS: Our picture settings are optimized for a dimmer home viewing environment. If the settings we recommend don't suit your taste or your environment, use the picture controls to achieve an image you consider "just right."

ABOUT FIRMWARE VERSION: Our test results and picture settings are valid for the version of firmware indicated. If your TV's firmware differs from the one shown you either have an older or a newer version of firmware. Manufacturers may periodically upgrade the TV's firmware to enhance operation, fix bugs, or add features. Firmware upgrades may be downloadable directly to your TV via a wired or wireless network (if internet capable), USB port, or memory card, depending on your TV's capability. You can check your TV's firmware version, or upgrade to the latest firmware by pressing the menu button on your remote and navigating to the appropriate submenu, typically under settings. Consult the user manual or manufacturer's website if further guidance is needed.

About - Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A
The Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A is a 55-inch LCD HDTV with a native resolution of 3840x2160. This TV has a 3D mode that requires the use of special glasses to see three-dimensional images. It has LED backlighting, a more energy-efficient type of backlighting. It also has a feature called local dimming (which can dim sections of the backlight while others remain brightly lit), which has the potential to improve black levels and contrast. Rather than the basic 60Hz, it has a faster 960Hz frame rate, a feature designed to reduce motion blur.

This model is Internet-enabled and can access online content, including streaming movie and TV services. It has an Ethernet jack for a wired connection to your home network via a cable. This TV is also Wi-Fi capable, so you can connect it to your home network wirelessly. It is DLNA certified, so you can view digital photos stored on a compatible computer, phone, or other mobile device also connected to your home network.

There are 5 HD-capable inputs: 4 HDMI and 1 component-video, which doubles as a composite-video input. It also has 3 USB ports, which may be used to play media--photos, videos, and music--stored on a flash drive or memory card reader on the TV.

The Sony Bravia XBR-55X900A measures 30.75 inches high by 57.625 inches wide by 16 inches deep, including its base. The panel itself is 4 inches thick including any protrusions, and the screen has a mirror-like finish. The bezel framing the screen is gloss black

The warranty on this TV covers parts/labor for 18/18 months, respectively. Other screen sizes in this model line include: Bravia XBR-65X900A (65")
About This Brand

Sony is one of the most recognized brands of LCD TVs. Its Bravia line encompasses models at various feature and price levels, ranging from mass-market-oriented LCD TVs designed to sell in Walmarts, up to its high-end XBR-series LED-based Smart 3D LCD TVs. The company  also continues to sell high-quality LCoS-based home-theater front projectors.

Specs
infoNative resolution 3840x2160
infoOverall height (in.) 30.75
infoOverall width (in.) 57.625
infoOverall depth (in.) 16
infoOther sizes in brand line Bravia XBR-65X900A (65")
infoScreen shape (aspect ratio) 16:9
infoScreen finish Mirror-like
infoDigital Tuner (Off-air ATSC and Cable QAM) 1
infoPanel size without base HxWxD (in.) 29.5 x 57.625 x 4
infoWeight including base (lb.) 76
infoSwivel/tilt base No/No
infoBezel finish/color Gloss black
infoWarranty (months): parts/labor/in-home 18/18/No
Features
infoFrame rate (Hz) 960, 60
infoWi-Fi Built-in
info3D-capable Yes
info3D type Passive
infoNumber of 3D glasses included 4
infoInternet-enabled Yes
infoStreaming video services Amazon Instant Video, hulu Plus, Netflix, Sony Video Unlimited
infoWeb browser Yes
infoFLASH support No
infoWeb camera capable Optional
infoDLNA-certified Yes
infoPIP (no. of tuners) Yes (1)
Connections
infoHDMI inputs 4
infoComponent-video 0
infoComponent/Composite-video shared inputs 1
infoComposite-video 1
infoUSB port 3
infoVGA input No
infoEthernet port Yes
infoDigital-audio output Optical
infoHeadphone jack (3.5mm audio jack) Yes
infoMemory-card reader No
infoOther connections HDMI1 has ARC, HDMI2 has MHL, remote IR in, serial control

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post #2 of 33 Old 10-25-2013, 08:39 PM
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Good review, but I would like to see all of their measurements. I'll be waiting on UHD myself - especially with the current offering having a "mirror" glossy screen.
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post #3 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 04:59 AM
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Half resolution of 1080p in 3d on this 4K set is appalling. Specially for the price and being a 4K set. Sony should be ashamed for taking a step back in the 3d department. No 4k content and crappy 3d? blah...mad.gif

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post #4 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 06:02 AM
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Agreed. I hate it when a display giant takes the easy way out to rush a product to market. Stop letting the accountants run the company, they don't watch TV anyway.
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post #5 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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This ends up being free advertisement for Sony. I'd have preferred to see an actually good panel digested (Panasonic's premier plasma panel), but I suppose beggars can't be choosers. smile.gif
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post #6 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRaven72 View Post

Half resolution of 1080p in 3d on this 4K set is appalling. Specially for the price and being a 4K set. Sony should be ashamed for taking a step back in the 3d department. No 4k content and crappy 3d? blah...mad.gif

HUGE +1

Good lord Sony what the heck are you doing? UHD set with half resolution for 1080 3D? Thats suppose to be the whole advantage of passive 3D?? Im disgusted. Thanks Consumer Electronics for pointing this out. I hate to admit now that I drooled over this set as a possible replacement to my living room flat panel. NO thanks Sony. Ill stick to my Kuro.
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post #7 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 01:48 PM
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Sorry, I don't buy the 540p bit for a second. The TV is passive so it does indeed create an unavoidable jagged moiré type effect on diagonal edges, which is more pronounced on the 55" version owing to the difficulty of lining up the film-type patterned retarder over 8 million pixels with such a small pitch. But it sounds to me as if these Consumer Reports people have simply compared moving content, recoiled in horror at the jaggies and have not done any objective tests with resolution patterns.

Considering that the set has 2160 lines of vertical information, 540 to each eye would be a QUARTER of the available resolution and would be practically unwatchable.

Like I said, you can't get away from some jaggies because it's still passive even with 1080p delivered to each eye, as our eyes simply can't 'rebuild' the two alternate images with smoothly gradated lines given the gaps in the FPR. This can certainly give the impression that it's 'missing' resolution, but I can I can tell you right now that the 3D is stupendously good on this TV. It's the best 3D I've ever seen, be it active, passive, plasma, LED, digital cinema 3D or 15/70 IMAX 3D.
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post #8 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 01:48 PM
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it bothers me that plasma reviews still include comments on image retention but led reviews hardly ever talk about screen uniformity. there was about half a sentence that mentioned there were no dimming artifacts, but when I viewed this tv in store it had some pretty bad uniformity typical of edgelit LED's.

no wonder plasma is dieing and the average joe thinks LED is amazing

as far as CR's review, aside from the above omission, it does look like it'd be convenient and informative for comparing different models

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post

Sorry, I don't buy the 540p bit for a second. The TV is passive so it does indeed create an unavoidable jagged moiré type effect on diagonal edges, which is more pronounced on the 55" version owing to the difficulty of lining up the film-type patterned retarder over 8 million pixels with such a small pitch. But it sounds to me as if these Consumer Reports people have simply compared moving content, recoiled in horror at the jaggies and have not done any objective tests with resolution patterns.

Considering that the set has 2160 lines of vertical information, 540 to each eye would be a QUARTER of the available resolution and would be practically unwatchable.

Like I said, you can't get away from some jaggies because it's still passive even with 1080p delivered to each eye, as our eyes simply can't 'rebuild' the two alternate images with smoothly gradated lines given the gaps in the FPR. This can certainly give the impression that it's 'missing' resolution, but I can I can tell you right now that the 3D is stupendously good on this TV. It's the best 3D I've ever seen, be it active, passive, plasma, LED, digital cinema 3D or 15/70 IMAX 3D.

I guarantee you, Consumer Reports performed objective tests to arrive at that conclusion, including measuring resolution patterns. Take a look at my article where I visit the lab. The whole point of how they test TVs is to be thorough and objective.

As for the quality of the 3D, my 1080p Vizio does a most outstanding job. I'd even make the exact same claims you just did. But the vertical resolution is still 540p.


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post #10 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 02:09 PM
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540 on a 1080 set does look great. But 540 on a 2160 panel would look ridiculous.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post

540 on a 1080 set does look great. But 540 on a 2160 panel would look ridiculous.

Actually it would look the same. It's paying that price for no improvement in performance over 1080p that would be ridiculous, seeing how full-resolution passive 1080p 3D was supposed to be a significant selling point for smaller UHDTVs (under 80").


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post #12 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 02:30 PM
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Well, darn it. I suppose the FPR would only let through whatever resolution it's 'rated' for, and a Sony engineer did apparently admit to someone in the X9 thread that they had great difficulty getting it right on the 55". What if they had to use a 'traditional' 540p FPR?

I hope that CR get a hold of the 65" X9, see if it does actually utilise the 1080p res as promised.

In any case, the 3D on the 55" X9 is still the best I've ever seen, even if Sony have been telling porky pies about the resolution.
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post #13 of 33 Old 10-26-2013, 06:17 PM
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Ill save my money until my current tv dies...
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post #14 of 33 Old 10-27-2013, 03:48 AM
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I'll keep my Sharp 70" elite. I have and outsanding image and its blacks are incredible.

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post #15 of 33 Old 10-27-2013, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post

Well, darn it. I suppose the FPR would only let through whatever resolution it's 'rated' for, and a Sony engineer did apparently admit to someone in the X9 thread that they had great difficulty getting it right on the 55". What if they had to use a 'traditional' 540p FPR?

I hope that CR get a hold of the 65" X9, see if it does actually utilise the 1080p res as promised.

In any case, the 3D on the 55" X9 is still the best I've ever seen, even if Sony have been telling porky pies about the resolution.

Maybe Consumers Reports finding are exclusive to the Sony XBR-55X900A and not the Sony XBR-65X900A. It would be interesting to know.

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post #16 of 33 Old 10-27-2013, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Maybe Consumers Reports finding are exclusive to the Sony XBR-55X900A and not the Sony XBR-65X900A. It would be interesting to know.

Consumer Reports considers the findings for any given screen size exclusive to that screen size, because panels can vary within a given line.


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post #17 of 33 Old 10-27-2013, 06:31 AM
 
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That thing sure needs a go in the makeup department.
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post #18 of 33 Old 10-27-2013, 06:49 AM
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It's specific to the 55".  The 65" is ABSOLUTELY 3D passive 1080p.  I have a 540 passive TV and the difference is immediately visible.

 

The problem with consumer reports in this review is that they don't make it clear enough that what they find on the 55" might not be the same as on the 65".  Yes they review size specific models, but they're NOT BEING CLEAR ENOUGH.

 

And it's a 55" (and only 55") issue.  They hack the 3D passive resolution down on the 55".

 

Here's as close as I can verify things.  Recently it's reported from a Sony engineer (3rd hand on the xbr x900 forum) that the 55" has had it's FPR resolution reduced because of the reduced viewing angle of such tight lines.  I believe that's the only thing he could have meant by making the "lines" more visible.  The only conclusion is that the FPR is the same distance above the LCD array at both sizes, causing this trouble. I personally don't know if they reduced it to 540 or 720 (I'm guessing either are possible).  And I'm not sure I trust CR to determine the difference.

 

Here's what the sony guy said:

Quote:
 "These TVs are packing 4x the pixel density of a Full HD TV of the same size. This decreases the pitch (spacing) between each pixel creating a challenge when the retarder is placed on the LCD. The smaller the set gets the smaller the pitch becomes making this challenge even more difficult. As such, trade offs had to be made to optimize the picture quality of the 55” for 3D and those faint lines are a result of some of these trade offs. Without those faint lines we would be giving up a lot in terms of vertical viewing angle in 3D and crosstalk between the left and right eyes."

 

Again, I can only guess that this is because the FPR (specifically the "film" aspect of the PR) is applied at the same height over the LCD array as with the 1080p TVs.  This would explain the reduced vertical viewing angle on the 65", and why they decided not to go 1080 on the 55".


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post #19 of 33 Old 10-27-2013, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tgm1024 View Post

It's specific to the 55".  The 65" is ABSOLUTELY 3D passive 1080p.  I have a 540 passive TV and the difference is immediately visible.

The problem with consumer reports in this review is that they don't make it clear enough that what they find on the 55" might not be the same as on the 65".  Yes they review size specific models, but they're NOT BEING CLEAR ENOUGH.

And it's a 55" (and only 55") issue.  They hack the 3D passive resolution down on the 55".

Here's as close as I can verify things.  Recently it's reported from a Sony engineer (3rd hand on the xbr x900 forum) that the 55" has had it's FPR resolution reduced because of the reduced viewing angle of such tight lines.  I believe that's the only thing he could have meant by making the "lines" more visible.  The only conclusion is that the FPR is the same distance above the LCD array at both sizes, causing this trouble. I personally don't know if they reduced it to 540 or 720 (I'm guessing either are possible).  And I'm not sure I trust CR to determine the difference.

Here's what the sony guy said:

Again, I can only guess that this is because the FPR (specifically the "film" aspect of the PR) is applied at the same height over the LCD array as with the 1080p TVs.  This would explain the reduced vertical viewing angle on the 65", and why they decided not to go 1080 on the 55".

I have to wonder if that is not referring to some overlap of FPR bands between rows... I think they have to overlap slightly to ensure that the you have some vertical play (if they were perfectly lined up to cover only the line behind them, there would be no room for vertical offset and still get blocking of that row) when he refers to the thin bands.
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Sorry, I don't buy the 540p bit for a second. The TV is passive so it does indeed create an unavoidable jagged moiré type effect on diagonal edges, which is more pronounced on the 55" version owing to the difficulty of lining up the film-type patterned retarder over 8 million pixels with such a small pitch. But it sounds to me as if these Consumer Reports people have simply compared moving content, recoiled in horror at the jaggies and have not done any objective tests with resolution patterns.

Considering that the set has 2160 lines of vertical information, 540 to each eye would be a QUARTER of the available resolution and would be practically unwatchable.

Like I said, you can't get away from some jaggies because it's still passive even with 1080p delivered to each eye, as our eyes simply can't 'rebuild' the two alternate images with smoothly gradated lines given the gaps in the FPR. This can certainly give the impression that it's 'missing' resolution, but I can I can tell you right now that the 3D is stupendously good on this TV. It's the best 3D I've ever seen, be it active, passive, plasma, LED, digital cinema 3D or 15/70 IMAX 3D.

Note they do qualify the statement with "after a firmware update" making it sound very much like in the previous firmware version they showed all 1080 lines. It may be that you saw this TV on an earlier firmware that did not limit to 540 lines.

The idea that this may be fixed in a future firmware update never sites well with me.

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post #20 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 12:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Devedander View Post


I have to wonder if that is not referring to some overlap of FPR bands between rows... I think they have to overlap slightly to ensure that the you have some vertical play (if they were perfectly lined up to cover only the line behind them, there would be no room for vertical offset and still get blocking of that row) when he refers to the thin bands.
Note they do qualify the statement with "after a firmware update" making it sound very much like in the previous firmware version they showed all 1080 lines. It may be that you saw this TV on an earlier firmware that did not limit to 540 lines.

The idea that this may be fixed in a future firmware update never sites well with me.

All that statement means is that the condition persists with the latest firmware—it does not imply some prior, lost functionality. The film-pattern retarder on the 55" is likely to be the root cause of the decrease in potential resolution, which is not something that firmware could ever fix.


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post #21 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
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I have to wonder if that is not referring to some overlap of FPR bands between rows... I think they have to overlap slightly to ensure that the you have some vertical play (if they were perfectly lined up to cover only the line behind them, there would be no room for vertical offset and still get blocking of that row) when he refers to the thin bands.
Note they do qualify the statement with "after a firmware update" making it sound very much like in the previous firmware version they showed all 1080 lines. It may be that you saw this TV on an earlier firmware that did not limit to 540 lines.

The idea that this may be fixed in a future firmware update never sites well with me.

All that statement means is that the condition persists with the latest firmware—it does not imply some prior, lost functionality. The film-pattern retarder on the 55" is likely to be the root cause of the decrease in potential resolution, which is not something that firmware could ever fix.

 

Correct.  The FPR is a physical attribute of the panel, not software.


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post #22 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 05:44 AM
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Having just tried a couple of test patterns on the 65", I can confirm that it DOES pass the full 1080p resolution in 3D. (tested with the Luma Multiburst in Spears & Munsil v2 and the 1080 deinterlacing pattern in DVE)

To be honest, this explains a lot about the 55" and why it's got a highly visible (to me. anyway) line structure in normal use and noticeable jaggies in 3D mode. I still love my 55" to bits but Sony have been very, very naughty by not 'fessing up about the 540p 3D.
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post #23 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 05:52 AM
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Hi, all. Thanks for the interesting discussion regarding this Sony set. I'll weigh in later with some comments about the Sony Ultra HD we tested, but we just bought the 65-inch version as well and testing is underway. This is one of the things that really makes us different—we're on track to buy and actually test about 300 TVs. We don't just test one size and assume all others will perform the same, as many competitors do. It is one way to get credit for "reviewing" more sets than you actually evaluate, but we've found that there are often variations within the same series, often related to screen size because a manufacturer may source a different-sized panel from another vendor.

Also, if we find that the 65-inch model is able to do 1080p in 3D, we'll note that in both the CR's Takes and the Detailed Test results. We'll also go back and amend those paragraphs for the 55-inch model to let people know this was an anomaly with this specific set, but not the larger model. To me the real point is that we discovered this flaw during our testing and reported it very early on. By the way, it was using resolution test patterns created by Claudio, not just eyeballing it as someone suggested. Anyway, more later. We don't often (ever?) peel back the cover and reveal so much about our testing process, so I hope this is interesting.--Jim
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post #24 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 06:12 AM
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Nice! BUT!

This on-going trend to make tv's slimmer and with smaller bezels placed on tiny tiny table-top stands mean there's no bloody way anyone can place a decent center speaker in front of it without covering part of the picture. It's insane. No manufacturer takes this into consideration it seems. Everyone can't, or won't, wall-mount their tv's and I'm definitely not gonna place my speaker in the cabinet beneath. NO. It needs to be placed ontop the cabinet itself, right in front of the tv. Simple as that. But this is no longer a possibility with all these new designs, including the Sony, as good as they may look. Who has a center speaker less than 4 cm tall? Very few, I reckon. Gosh... I hate this new trend... it's not home-theater friendly. I miss the days when the tv's picture was placed a considerable way up from the table-top stand... this is why I'll stick to my 4 year-old Samsung LCD a while longer. I know there are tricks one can take but I want simplicity. Wish they would offer alternative table top stands for this purpose.

Sorry for bitching, but I couldn't help myself.

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post #25 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 07:36 AM
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Nice! BUT!

This on-going trend to make tv's slimmer and with smaller bezels placed on tiny tiny table-top stands mean there's no bloody way anyone can place a decent center speaker in front of it without covering part of the picture. It's insane. No manufacturer takes this into consideration it seems. Everyone can't, or won't, wall-mount their tv's and I'm definitely not gonna place my speaker in the cabinet beneath. NO. It needs to be placed ontop the cabinet itself, right in front of the tv. Simple as that. But this is no longer a possibility with all these new designs, including the Sony, as good as they may look. Who has a center speaker less than 4 cm tall? Very few, I reckon. Gosh... I hate this new trend... it's not home-theater friendly. I miss the days when the tv's picture was placed a considerable way up from the table-top stand... this is why I'll stick to my 4 year-old Samsung LCD a while longer. I know there are tricks one can take but I want simplicity. Wish they would offer alternative table top stands for this purpose.

Sorry for bitching, but I couldn't help myself.

 

Easy.....breathe dude.....You're not aware of a bunch of products.

 

1. There are sound platforms that you can sit your existing TV on.  They're called "audio platforms" or "sound bases", etc.  Here's an example one from BA, but you can find far cheaper ones in the sound-bar category.  The major manufacturers (Panasonic & Sony I think IIRC) have their own as well.

 

2. There are alternative table top stands.  They use the same bolt-on mechanism you use to mount to a wall.

3. There are also things called "TV risers" which act like little tables that look great.  The term is also used sometimes to describe the table top stands that bolt on the back that I mention in #2.

 

Here are some of the pictures of risers and stands from a google search of "tabletop tv stands" (no quotes).  A couple of these don't apply, but are included because of the screen capture I took:

 

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post #26 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 06:01 PM
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According to the review, they didn't professionally calibrate the set, which is reasonable considering that most consumers won't. They stated they used a calibration disc, which means they calibrated by eye (probably using Spears & Munsil).

But if that model is anything like my Sony XBR929, it seems to me that they set the backlighting way too high, which is going to have a major negative impact on black levels (although this set is edge lit and the 929 is full back lit).

One thing I was glad to see in this review is that they didn't seem to use a consumer panel because most consumers have no idea what a good picture is supposed to look like. That's been a big problem with their electronics reviews in the past.

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Worst purchasing mistake of my life. And I compounded it by not getting rid of it sooner, but each time I thought the out-of-warranty repair would be less expensive than buying another car.
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post #27 of 33 Old 10-28-2013, 09:32 PM
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All that statement means is that the condition persists with the latest firmware—it does not imply some prior, lost functionality. The film-pattern retarder on the 55" is likely to be the root cause of the decrease in potential resolution, which is not something that firmware could ever fix.
Quote:
After a firmware update, the TV no longer displayed photos played via the TVs USB port in full Ultra HD resolution, and when in the 3D mode the vertical resolution was cut in half.

Their wording really makes it sound like it did before...

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post #28 of 33 Old 10-29-2013, 03:07 AM
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We believe most viewers will have a hard time seeing the additional detail when viewing from even 7 feet back since the benefits of Ultra HD's extra resolution are best appreciated on larger screen sizes or when sitting very close to the screen.

Showing once again physics can not be overcomed: UHD makes sense only at viewing distances 2.5 PH or less and with immaculate content

Unfortunately, the TV does not make use of the extra pixels when viewing images from a flash drive via its USB port, so photos were presented in HD resolution (about 2 megapixels)

Now this is incredible: UHD TV which can't even display 4K still photos ??? mad.gif

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post #29 of 33 Old 10-29-2013, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Their wording really makes it sound like it did before...

I see what you are saying, the sentence refers to both issues. I suspect that USB-based 4K playback of photos is the functionality that was lost on the firmware update.

 

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After a firmware update, the TV no longer displayed photos played via the TVs USB port in full Ultra HD resolution, and when in the 3D mode the vertical resolution was cut in half.

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post #30 of 33 Old 10-29-2013, 08:54 AM
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I may just be blowing smoke, but I wonder if a software fix could up the 3D images to 1080p.
1080P TV sets with 3D passive only shows 3D at 540 any way. that was why I went with the
3D sony HX850 active glasses shutter effect full 1080P.

my HT
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