The Good Produces extremely deep black levels; video processing properly handles 1080p/24 material; relatively accurate color with linear grayscale; 3D compatible; 2D-to-3D conversion system works better than expected; numerous streaming video services; Excellent design with stylish monolithic exterior; energy-efficient.
The Bad Extremely expensive; exhibits more blooming than competing local dimming LED models; black areas tinged bluer; subpar off-angle viewing; 3D exhibited ghost images along edges (crosstalk); does not include 3D glasses or IR emitter.
The Bottom Line Although its black levels challenge the best ever, some other picture-related aspects of the Sony XBR-HX909 series don't live up to the high price.
Sony Bravia XBR-HX909
The last Sony TV we reviewed with superb picture quality was the ultra-expensive KDL-55XBR8 from 2008, which also and not coincidentally featured the company's last example of a full-array local dimming LED backlight. That TV's spiritual successor, equipped with a similar backlight, is the ultra-expensive XBR-HX909 series, but all told, its picture quality fares less favorably against the competition. It does deliver deliciously deep black levels but they come with too many compromises, including issues with blooming and color accuracy, for a TV at this price level.
If you extend your investment to include a pair or more of 3D glasses, an IR emitter, 3D content, and a device to play it, the Sony XBR-HX909 will deliver that third dimension to your brain. Many other 2010 TVs at this level are also 3D-compatible, and compared to the two we've tested, the HX909's 3D image quality falls squarely in the middle. Its other notable attributes, including best-in-class design and oodles of streaming video, will appeal to many of the buyers able to afford it, but those seeking the best-available home theater picture quality will probably want to look elsewhere.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 52-inch Sony XBR-52HX909, but this review also applies to the 46-inch XBR-46HX909. Both sizes have identical specs and, according to the manufacturer, should provide very similar picture quality.