Sony XBR goes over edge with full-array local dimming
The Sony XBR-HX900 series of LED-based LCD TVs offers local dimming in a full array, as opposed to edge-lit, design.
David KatzmaierEditorial 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.
ExpertiseA 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.
LAS VEGAS--Among the numerous permutations of LED backlighting, we've consistently experienced the best results with the variety known as local dimming, which typically uses a full array of LEDs arranged behind the screen, not just along the edge. Those LEDs can dim or illuminate as necessary depending on program content, and as a result can achieve excellent contrast, black levels, and overall picture quality.
The excellent KDL-55XBR8 from 2008 was the company's last attempt at the technology. Sony skipped LED entirely in 2009 (with one unimpressive exception), but for CES 2010 it announced no fewer than five series of LCD TVs with LED backlights.
Among those five, only the XBR-HX900 series has local dimming with a full array of LEDs behind the screen, not arranged along the edge, so we expect this set to receive the most interest from videophiles. We'll have to wait for a review sample before we can see how it performs, but we're expecting good things.
Otherwise the HX900 is quite similar to the step-down KDL-HX800 in the company's lineup, although Sony does tout an ambient light sensor that we doubt will interest videophiles at all.
Sony XBR-HX900 features:
Full-array LED backlight with local dimming
240Hz refresh rate
Bravia Video interactive suite with Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, NPR, Yahoo Widgets and more
Optional-in Wi-Fi connection
Sony XBR-HX900 series models:
Sony Bravia XBR-52HX900: 52-inch, available summer 2010, price TBD
Sony Bravia XBR-46HX900: 46-inch, available summer 2010, price TBD