Sony's R550 LED TV plays nice with DirecTV, NFC

Yes, it can display images, but the Sony R550 series also plays well with DirecTV and NFC-equipped phones and tablets.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

LAS VEGAS--Sony's TV range for 2013 is smaller, some would say "more focused," than in years past, but the company is still including select innovations in even its midrange KDL-R550A series.

This TV plays well with others, namely satellite provider DirecTV and any (non-Apple, thank you very much) tablets and smartphones with near-field communication (NFC) capability. Its RVU (I looked, but I have no idea what that stands for) compliance means "DirecTV customers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can access their set-top box, DVR, and on-demand services right from the KDL-R550A TV without the need for additional equipment." Sony assured me that DirecTV doesn't charge an additional fee, monthly or otherwise, for the TV to access the box.

Meanwhile, NFC means you can easily "pair" your smartphone or tablet with the TV to perform all sorts of futuristic entertainment acrobatics. The TV can mirror any content on the phone's screen, for example, with the exception of some rights-protected material, via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Sony also offers a mobile app called TV Side View that serves as a "second-screen" hub, integrating IMDb, Twitter, and the like. The app recognizes what you're watching via communication with the TV and can serve up relevant information or a canned tweet like "OMG 'Homeland' FTW!" for example.

Beyond those fancy extras is a full helping of Smart TV, including the Sony Entertainment Network of course, and the company says the interface has been improved (it needed it).

Like Sony's 4K models, the R550A has passive 3D (two pairs of glasses included). It comes in screen sizes of 50, 60, and 70 inches. It also has an edge-lit LED backlight and no local dimming. I also have to assume there's at least a 120Hz refresh rate, but couldn't yet confirm those or other details.

Sony also announced a KDL-R520A series that is the same, minus 3D.