The Good The Sony XBR-HX950 series produces deeper black levels than any current LCD or plasma TV, giving excellent overall picture quality. It evinces accurate color, offers plenty of video-processing options, and can properly handle 1080p/24 sources. It also 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-HX950 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 Although it's priced higher and performs worse than the best plasmas, the Sony XBR-HX950 is still one of the top-performing LED TVs ever.
Top LED picture of 2012, tough to love
If you forget, for a joyless, mercifully brief moment, the existence ofand a few , , and LCDs, the Sony XBR-HX950 is the most expensive major-label TV of the year. It costs more than any 2012 TV set in its size class, and offers fewer gimmicky extras -- no voice and gesture recognition, no "invisible" bezel, no touch-pad remote -- than any other top-of-the-line 2012 TV.
What it does offer is local dimming from its full-array LED backlight at a price that still undercuts the Elite dramatically. That backlight enables the HX950 to outperform all other LED-based LCD TVs we've reviewed this year, upsetting the previous champ, . Unfortunately for Sony, the picture quality difference between the two isn't worth the $1,000 price difference at 55 inches. I'd only recommend the HX950 to well-heeled TV buyers who don't want plasma, can't quite afford the Elite, and want to buy the 65-inch size. That's a select group, but at least they can console themselves in owning the best, , local-dimming LED TV to bear the Sony name.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 55-inch Sony XBR-HX950 series, but this review also applies to the 65-inch size in the series. The two models have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
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