Sony Flagship XBR TVs and 4K Media Player: Not All TVs Are the Same

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If you’ve ever shopped for a TV, then you undoubtedly know that not all televisions are the same. This is also true of flagship TVs. However, many of them share the same principles and design philosophies; combining the best technologies a manufacturer has to offer in one television, or line of televisions, with the goal of creating a top-tier video experience that would satisfy even the most discerning videophiles. But flagship TVs aren’t just for HDTV aficionados; they’re for anyone who wants the best viewing experience available.

"Flagship TVs aren’t just for HDTV aficionados; they’re for anyone who wants the best viewing experience available."

When choosing between the TV elite, there are many things you should consider, as these TVs tend to be family-room staples, and not hastily replaced every year on a whim. Unless, of course, your budget and craving for technology allows you to simultaneously keep up with the Joneses and be the envy of your neighbors. For the non-yearly upgrade crowd, of which I am a card-carrying member, you want to choose a TV that incorporates the latest and greatest features, and one that will not leave you with an inferiority complex when a new model inevitably comes out, in what seems to be the following week—OK, perhaps not that often, but it certainly feels that way at times.

There is more to consider here than just features though; you also want to purchase a TV that you can trust to deliver the HD goods in pristine fashion, Sony is such a manufacturer. Don’t just take my word for it; the company’s industry heritage and track record pretty much speak for themselves. Sony is a high-definition pioneer whose expertise is firmly planted and deeply rooted. Its XBR line is widely considered to be among the best displays the TV market has to offer. And when mated with Sony’s 4K media player, these TVs are sure to be crowd pleasers. Combining top technologies to produce a flagship product is one thing; doing so when you’re an industry leader in those technologies is another. A marriage of technology and expertise such as this is a powerful force that I would welcome into my home theater any day of the week.

Sony XBR 850, 900, and X950 Series 4K TVs

In this overview, we are going to take a close look at Sony’s XBR X850, X900, and X950 line of 4K flagship TVs. We’re also going to discuss Sony’s FMP-X10 4K Ultra HD Media Player. After all, if you truly want to impress your family and friends, you need to feed your new television all the high-definition content it can handle; and with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160, these pixel-chomping monsters can handle plenty of it without breaking a sweat—if TVs could sweat, that is.

Sony’s XBR X850 series televisions are available in 49, 55, 65, and 70"-class varieties. Whether you rent a studio apartment or have an expansive multimedia room, Sony clearly envisioned these TVs as being able to accommodate a wide range of viewing spaces. Your room’s square footage shouldn’t affect the quality of the image on your screen. Under the hood, these TVs pack some pretty impressive features. One of those features is Motionflow XR 240 technology, which utilizes the TV’s native 120 Hz refresh rate to reduce motion blur on fast-moving content like action movies and sporting events.



 

Aside from the aforementioned UHD 3840 x 2160 resolution, the XBR 850 series incorporates Sony’s 4K X-Reality PRO Picture Engine, which is designed to upscale all of your video sources to conform to the display’s native resolution. While standard-definition 480i content simply does not have enough pixels to perfectly match the TV, this processing engine allows the on-screen image to be displayed in optimal form. If given a choice, we would all prefer true high-definition on-screen images but, when it’s not available, it’s good to know that your HDTV’s internal processing capabilities can help close the gap.



 

Internet connectivity, you ask? Sony has you covered there, too. With built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, you’re well on your way to enjoying integrated streaming content from premium providers such as Netflix via Sony’s Entertainment Network (SEN). Smartphone and tablet users will welcome built-in Wi-Fi Direct support, which enables wireless content sharing with compatible devices. If you don’t need to interface your portable devices wirelessly, Mobile High-Definition Link support is also available. When used with an MHL cable and compatible device, you can mirror the screen of your smartphone or tablet for viewing on your TV’s larger screen, with the added advantage of simultaneously charging your portable device. This is a great feature for those who keep a large multimedia library stored on their smart devices.

For your external device connections like Blu-ray players, gaming systems, thumb drives, and cables boxes, these TVs feature 4 HDMI and 3 USB 2.0 inputs. This series of smart TVs also features 3D technology and includes two pairs of glasses to get you started. Having a great picture is good but, in most cases, you’re going to need sound too. Dual 10W speakers are onboard for your listening pleasure, as well as digital optical and HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) support for external speaker system connections.

Sony’s step-up XBR X900 series TVs are endowed with 55, 65, and expansive 79-inch-class screen sizes. These models offer even greater motion-handling capability, combining a 240 Hz refresh rate and Sony MotionFlow XR 960 technology. Luckily, the same great 4K picture processing is onboard for enjoying your less-than-HD video sources. Internet connectivity, smartphone and tablet interaction, 3D viewing, and external-device connectivity also make return appearances. While the XBR X850 series produces a respectable 20W of total audio, sound reproduction has received a notable upgrade in the X900 series. In fact, Sony paid so much attention to sound quality in this series that these TVs feature Sony’s Wedge Design, a cosmetic design that allows them to place speakers on each side of the screen and pack an impressive 65W, 2.2-channel speaker system in the TV’s cabinet.



 

If you’re after an ultra-large display and enhanced black-level performance, you should check out Sony’s 65" and projector-rivaling 85-inch-class X950 series XBR TVs. The processing and connectivity features we have come to love from the X850 and X900 series aren’t forgotten here, while adding Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology. This technology utilizes full-array, local-dimming backlighting to produce vivid bright and dark image details, contributing to the TV’s overall image contrast. As plasma TV loyalists will tell you, optimal black-level performance plays an important role in color saturation and accurately producing shadow detail.



 

On the audio side of things, while this series doesn’t feature the Wedge Design showcased in the X900 series, it does offer a built-in 2.1-channel speaker system; with the 65 and 85" models delivering 30 and 40 watts of power, respectively. This internal speaker array consists of a tweeter, woofer, and subwoofer array for dynamic audio impact. If you’re not ready to part ways with your soundbar, you can easily connect external audio systems.

Sony 4K Media Player

As we patiently wait for 4K content to flood the market (some of us are waiting more patiently than others), Sony offers a device that allows you to display your 4K TV at its best, right now. The FMP-X10 4K Ultra HD Media Player is a content juggernaut. What does a 4K media player do? Good question. This device houses 50 preloaded 4K titles and features an internal 1TB hard drive. These titles include documentaries, short films, and music videos. If you want to expand your viewing options even further, integrated Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi and Ethernet allows you to rent or buy additional 4K content from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K service. Furthermore, NetFlix subscribers can use this media player to access NetFlix’s 4K streaming content for watching on compatible TVs, like the HEVC-codec-enabled X850, X900, and X950 series TVs we discussed in this overview.



 

This media player connects conveniently to your TV via HDMI and even includes an HDMI cable for streamlined installation. It also features Sony’s TRILUMINOS technology, a technology commonly seen on Sony HDTVs like the ones discussed here. This technology is designed to produce detailed colors and natural-looking skin tones for a life-like visual experience.

A Flagship You Can Be Proud of

As technology has advanced through the years, we now have many ways in which we can consume the content we love, including on our beloved portable devices. However, there are still plenty of occasions when you want to be completely immersed in an image, or comfortably enjoy a movie or sporting event with your family, friends, and those neighbors you haven’t yet alienated due to TV envy. While portable devices are great, they’re limited when it comes to screen size, and thankfully so—good luck fitting a 55" smartphone into your pocket. At B&H, we can help you choose the best 4K TV for your present and future viewing needs. With these three impressive and feature-packed series options from Sony, you can rest assured that your new flagship TV won’t become irrelevant before you’ve had the chance to program your remote control. I can’t guarantee that will stop you from wanting a new one though; and if that happens, we’ll be here to help you navigate the TV waters.

  Sony XBR X850 Series Sony XBR X900 Series Sony XBR X950 Series
Display
Actual Screen Sizes (Diagonal) 48.5", 54.6", 64.5", 69.5" 54.6", 64.5", 78.6" 64.5", 84.6"
Panel Type LED LCD
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Pixel Resolution 3840 x 2160
Dynamic Contrast Ratio 1000000 : 1 
Refresh Rate 120 Hz 240 Hz 240 Hz
Viewing Angle  89° H x 89° V
Viewing Angle 70" Model 88° H x 88° V N/A
Viewing Angle 85" Model N/A 88° H x 88° V
Video
Video System ATSC, CATV, Clear QAM, NTSC
HDTV Compatibility 3840/24 p
3840/25 p 
3840/30 p 
4096/24 p 
3840/60 p 
1080/24 p (HDMI only) 
1080/60 i 
1080/60 p 
480/60 i 
480/60 p 
720/60 p 
1080/30 p (HDMI only) 
720/30 p (HDMI only) 
720/24 p (HDMI only)  
TV Tuner Yes
3D Yes
Speaker
Sound Stereo
Subwoofer No
Power 20 W
Power 85" Model N/AN 40 W
Orientation Bottom Side Bottom
Dolby Digital Yes
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs 1x 1/8" (3.5mm) Mini Audio Out (Side)
2x RCA Stereo (L/R) Audio In (Rear) 
1x RCA Component Video In (Rear) 
3x USB 2.0 Audio/Video/Photo In (Side) 
2x RCA Composite Video In (Rear) 
4x HDMI Audio/Video In (Side) 
1x Ethernet LAN In/Out (Rear) 
1x RF Antenna In (Side) 
1x RS-232C Control In (Side) 
1x TOSLINK Audio Out (Rear)  
Convenience
Picture Modes Cinema, Custom, Game, Graphics, Photo, Sports, Standard, Vivid
Sound Modes Cinema 
Game 
Music 
Sport  
Media Player 3GPP
AVCHD 
AVI 
JPEG 
LPCM 
MKV 
MOV 
MP3 
MP4 
MPEG1 
MPEG2PS 
MPEG2TS 
MPO 
WAV 
WEBM 
WMA 
WMV 
Xvid  
Digital Media Slot None
Wi-Fi Built-in
Menu Language English, Spanish, French
Remote Control Yes
Remote
Battery Type 2 x AAA
General
Power Requirements 110-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption
Maximum 50" Model 199 W N/A
Standby 50" Model 0.3 W N/A
Maximum 55" Model 257 W 260 W N/A
Standby 55" Model 0.3 W 0.3 W N/A
Maximum 65" Model 285 W 314 W 369 W
Standby 65" Model 0.3 W 0.3 W 0.3W
Maximum 70" Model 305 W N/A
Standby 70" Model 0.3 W N/A
Maximum 79" Model N/A 408 W N/A
Standby 79" Model N/A 0.3 W N/A
Maximum 85" Model N/A 525 W
Standby 85" Model N/A Not Specified By Manufacturer
Dimensions
50" Model (without stand) 43.1 x 26.3 x 2.6" / 109.5 x 66.8 x 6.6 cm N/A
50" Model (with stand) 43.1 x 27.8 x 8.9" / 109.5 x 70.6 x 22.6 cm N/A
55" Model (without stand) 48.6 x 29.3 x 2.6" / 123.4 x 74.4 x 6.6 cm 58.9 x 29.6 x 4.7" / 149.6 x 75.2 x 11.9 cm N/A
55" Model (with stand) 48.6 x 31.0 x 11.3" / 123.4 x 78.7 x 28.7 cm 58.9 x 31.3 x 12.6" / 149.6 x 79.5 x 32.0 cm N/A
65" Model (without stand) 57.1 x 34.1 x 2.6" / 145.0 x 86.6 x 6.6 cm  67.6 x 34.6 x 4.0" / 171.7 x 87.9 x 10.2 cm  58.8 x 35.4 x 4.3" / 149.4 x 89.9 x 10.9 cm 
65" Model (with stand) 57.1 x 35.9 x 11.3" / 145.0 x 91.2 x 28.7 cm 67.6 x 36.1 x 12.6" / 171.7 x 91.7 x 32.0 cm 58.9 x 37.5 x 13.8" / 149.6 x 95.3 x 35.1 cm 
70" Model (without stand) 62.0 x 37.0 x 3.9" / 157.5 x 94.0 x 9.9 cm  N/A
70" Model (with stand) 62.0 x 38.8 x 14.4" / 157.5 x 98.6 x 36.6 cm  N/A
79" Model (without stand) N/A 80.0 x 41.5 x 4.4" / 203.2 x 105.4 x 11.2 cm N/A
79" Model (with stand) N/A 80.0 x 43.8 x 17.5" / 203.2 x 111.2 x 44.4 cm N/A
85" Model (without stand) N/A 77.0 x 45.4 x 4.1" / 195.6 x 115.3 x 10.4 cm 
85" Model (with stand) N/A 77.1 x 47.9 x 17.9" / 195.8 x 121.7 x 45.5 cm 
Weight
50" Model (without stand) 39.9 lb / 18.10 kg  N/A
50" Model (with stand) 41 lb / 18.60 kg  N/A
55" Model (without stand) 51.8 lb / 23.50 kg  82.4 lb / 37.38 kg N/A
55" Model (with stand) 53.1 lb / 24.09 kg  84 lb / 38.10 kg N/A
65" Model (without stand) 72.1 lb / 32.70 kg 101.2 lb / 45.90 kg 92.6 lb / 42.00 kg
65" Model (with stand) 73.4 lb / 33.29 kg  102.7 lb / 46.58 kg  96.7 lb / 43.86 kg
70" Model (without stand) 94.8 lb / 43.00 kg N/A
70" Model (with stand) 97 lb / 44.00 kg N/A
79" Model (without stand) N/A 131.5 lb / 59.65 kg  N/A
79" Model (with stand) N/A 134.2 lb / 60.87 kg N/A
85" Model (without stand) N/A 156 lb / 70.76 kg 
85" Model (with stand) N/A 162.5 lb / 73.71 kg


Sony FMP-X10 4K Ultra HD Media Player
General
Resolution Up to 3840 x 2160 / 60 p
Hard Drive Capacity 1TB
Wi-Fi Yes, 802.11 a/b/g/n
Supported Formats XAVC S
AVC (H.264)
HEVC (H.265)
Dolby Digital Plus
Inputs/Outputs 2 x USB 2.0
1 x Ethernet
1 x HDMI
Firmware Upgradeable Yes, USB and Network
LED Hard Drive, Power
Dimensions (WxHxD) 9.8 x 2 x 9.8" (250 x 50 x 250mm)