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Christmas Gift Guide

Hands on with Sony's 2014 4K TVs

The Sony X850

Audio

The speakers

2013 versus 2014

Optional sub

House of Cards in 4K

When 4K is not 4K

House of Cards Season 2

Press Play

The Sony XBR85X950B is the company's flagship television in 2014. It offers 85 inches of full-array, local-dimming glory. Based on our hands-on with this and the smaller 65-inch, these could be the TVs to beat for picture quality this year.

Read more about Sony's 4K range and Netflix 4K here.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

Sony pulled out four TVs for a comparison which included (left-to-right) the 65-inch Panasonic ZT60, the 65-inch Sony X950, the 65-inch Samsung UH9000 and the 55-inch X900. Based on the extensive demos it appeared that the X950 had the greatest dynamic range from blacks to whites, but until we get the TV in the lab we can't say for sure!

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The third 4K TV Sony had on display was the X850 which lacks the local dimming of the other two models in the line.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

The X900 features dedicated stereo speakers, and Sony pitted it directly against the HU8550, which has downward-firing speakers. No prizes for guessing which sounded better.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

The TV incorporates front-facing Magnetic Fluid speakers and a separate fabric tweeter.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

The Sony incorporates a dedicated cross-over network for the speaker array

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

The speakers have changed subtly and the 2014 TV (right) now incorporates a transmission line-type wedge at the bottom for better bass response.

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If you want more bass you can supplement it with the optional $299 wireless subwoofer.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

The most high-profile 4K content at the moment is "House of Cards," but you'll need a 2014 4K TV to see it.

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Though both may bear the 4K logo only the second season of "House of Cards" is in 4K resolution. Until something changes, the version of Season 1 online is apparently 1080p only.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

We only saw a short segment of the show in 4K, but dingy office scenes aren't the best flag bearers for the possibilities of 4K resolution.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET

True to its "Play" philosophy for 2014, no demonstration of the technology would be complete without showing footage from its own 4K cameras. In this case, the FDR-AX100 Handycam.

Read more about Sony's 4K range and Netflix 4K here.

Caption by / Photo by ​David Katzmaier/CNET
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