The Good The Sony XBR-HX929 series produces deeper black levels than any current LCD or plasma TV, giving excellent overall picture quality. It evinces accurate shadow detail and color; offers plenty of video processing options; and can properly handle 1080p/24 sources. It has a beautiful, thin-profile exterior design with Gorilla Glass, and its Internet suite includes numerous streaming services and widgets as well as built-in Wi-Fi. Its 3D image shows minimal crosstalk.
The Bad The extremely expensive XBR-HX929 shows some blooming artifacts, and its picture deteriorates more noticeably than usual when seen from off-angle. Its menu and Internet service design is lackluster, and Sony does not include 3D glasses. When displaying 3D, the image flickers when dejudder is turned off, and it deteriorates rapidly when you tilt your head.
The Bottom Line One of the best-performing LED-based LCDs we've ever tested, the expensive local-dimming Sony XBR-HX929 competes well with the top plasmas.
Sony Bravia XBR-HX929
The first so-called LED TVs were local-dimming models, where the LEDs behind the screen could be dimmed or brightened in different areas to correspond to darker or brighter areas of the picture. The result was excellent contrast, on a level no other LCD-based TV could muster. Since 2007 when these TVs debuted, they've remained uncommon and expensive while so-called edge-lit models have populated store shelves and living rooms with abandon.
The XBR-HX929, Sony's most expensive and, we're willing to guess, best-performing TV of 2011, is also the company's only local dimmer. It boasts that excellent contrast by way of inky black levels not found on any TV aside from the oft-citedplasma, and improves upon the color accuracy of its predecessor XBR. In short, it represents the pinnacle of LCD picture quality, so if you're shopping in the extreme upper end of the TV market and were only going to consider plasma, the XBR-HX929 might change your mind.
Editors' note, June 12, 2012: The rating on this review has been modified from 8.0 to 7.5 to reflect a change in our ratings process to incorporate value. The XBR-HX929 is a current member of Sony's 2012 product line even though it was first sold in 2011. Numerous reviews of high-end TVs have been published since the initial publication of this review that may render obsolete some of the comparative statements herein, but we're not updating this review beyond the ratings. For current comparisons, check out the reviews on our Best TVs lists.
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