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Sony's best 2012 LED TV stays edge-lit, not full-array

The flagship Sony HX850 series lacks the full-array dimming of last year's XBR929 series, relying on an edge-lit LED configuration instead.

Sony's HX850 series will be the company's best TV for far. Sony

LAS VEGAS--Much like Samsung this year, the best LCD-based TV Sony announced at CES is a non-full-array model, relying on edge-lit LEDs to produce its picture.

That's the bad news for videophiles expecting a full-array follow-up to the excellent XBR-HX929. The good news for said videophiles? Judging from the picture quality of the NX720 from 2011, Sony knows how to eke great black levels and minimal blooming from an edge-lit configuration.

It's curious that Sony didn't name the HX850, a TV its press release identifies as a "flagship," with the traditional "XBR" moniker. I'm guessing we'll hear about an XBR later in the year; in the meantime the HX850 is king of the line.

Aside from the backlight the HX850 offers improved video processing, dubbed "X-Reality PRO Engine with 3D Super Resolution" and "Motionflow XR 960 technology," over the step-down HX750. In case you're curious, the PRO version "optimizes video sources by utilizing a vast database of signal patterns and comparing incoming signals with ideal scenes to display unprecedented detail and astonishing color," according to the company. We just hope it preserves the integrity of the source material, or can be easily turned off.

Other step-ups include a thin bezel twist to the company's beautiful Monolithic styling, a move Sony calls "virtually frameless."

The HX850 shares the same connected TV features with the step-down HX750, so check out that post for details.

Sony KDL-HX850 series features:

  • Edge-lit LED TV with local dimming
  • X-Reality PRO Engine with 3D Super Resolution
  • Motionflow XR 960
  • Active 3D compatible
  • Thin bezel with Monolithic design and Gorilla Glass
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Sony Entertainment Network and apps access
  • Skype-ready

Sony KDL-HX850 series models:

  • KDL-55HX850 55-inch, available Q1, $TBD
  • KDL-46HX850 47-inch, available Q1, $TBD
Now playing: Watch this: Take a First Look at Sony's Bravia HX850 3D TV