Sony 84-inch 4K TV review

Sony 84-inch 4K TV review

T3 4
  • The Sony KD-84X9005 4K TV sports four times the resolution of almost any other panel you can buy. We went in for a closer look...

    Sony 84-inch 4K TV review

    Love

    • Astonishing 4K image clarity
    • X-Reality PRO upscaling
    • Sharp
    • artefact-free 3D

    Hate

    • Stratospheric price point
    • Uneven LED edge-lighting
    • Not everything can be upscaled

    Sony has thrown down the gauntlet to rivals and content providers alike with the launch of its first 4K resolution TV. The 84-inch Sony KD-84X9005 is no wall flower, being both expansive and expensive in equal measure. With a UK street price of £25,000 small wonder distribution is initially being restricted to high-end high-street emporium Harrods.

    We first caught sight of this gigantic gogglebox at IFA, and were suitably awe-struck. Now we’ve had the set in for a more in-depth analysis, and can confirm the finished version is as good as first hoped - but there are caveats.

    The only current 4K competition comes in the shape of the Toshiba 55ZL2, although there are regular Full HD super-sized screens available from Sharp, Samsung and Panasonic.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Features

    Resolution aside, this TV mirrors the feature set of Sony’s HX8 fleet (including the Sony 55HX853) . It’s net-connected, offering access to the usual broad selection of streaming TV services, including catch-up and movie rentals. This is also the first Sony LED to be released (outside of China) to support Passive 3D.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Design

    This 4K debutant may cost a packet, but there’s been no scrimping on build quality. It’s a beautifully finished panel. The most notable elements of the design are the detachable stereo speakers, which can be angled or removed completely.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Specs

    Connectivity comprises four HDMI inputs, Scart, component, phono stereo, PC, two USB inputs and Ethernet. Wi-Fi is built-in, supported by Wi-Fi Direct for local connections. Only two of the HDMI are 4K enabled.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Performance

    OK, here’s the headline: Sony’s first 4K TV offers the best image ever seen on a consumer set. It is, at its best, simply astonishing. Shout it loud and shout it clear.

    But there’s plenty of devil (literally) in the detail. With native 4K (3840 x 2160 resolution), the screen sparkles like the Hope diamond, but with some content it looks no different to a vanilla-flavoured HD TV. For this audition, we accessed its 4K performance using specially prepared content played out from a PC; naturally image density and fine detail are astounding.

    Of course, buyers will be limited to 2K source material, and here performance is much more unpredictable. Thanks to the new three-chip 4K X-Reality PRO combo, newly minted Blu-ray movies can look luscious. The set’s processor is able to exploit untapped high frequency information in the source material, producing an image akin to quad HD.

    However, content without latent high frequency cues looks much the same as regular Full HD, just scaled to fit the panel. That said, this 4K screen delivers the best 3D we’ve seen outside of a commercial theatre.

    When it comes to traditional picture attributes the screen scores reasonably well. Black levels are deep, but betray some uniformity problems with edge-lighting.

    Motion resolution powered by the XR 800 Hz Motionflow processor, on the other hand, is splendid. One area which does disappoint though is the GUI. Sony should have implemented a 4K user interface, but instead has shoe-horned in an off-the- shelf user interface that doesn’t scale particularly well.

    The TV’s audio performance deserves trumpeting. Those high performance stereo speakers, which pack 10 drivers and 50w of amplification, deliver theatrical-grade cinematics.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Verdict

    Sony has set the bar supremely high with this first 4K 84-incher. The size suits the tech well and hints at a future of super-resolution viewing.

    Admittedly, there’s no 4K content around just yet, but up-rezzed Blu-ray looks nearly as good and a 4K upgrade to the PS3’s PlayMemories Studio package is on the cards; JPEGs at 4K resolution are gorgeous at this screen size. Pro photographers will love what this set can do.

    Obviously, the set’s price tag will preclude ordinary mortals joining the picture party, but the Sony KD-84X9005 will doubtless find eager buyers amongst oligarchs and celebrities. The rest of us just need to bide our time, and wait patiently for all those extra pixels to trickle down.
     
    Sony KD-84X9005 release date: December 2012

    Sony KD-84X9005 price: £25,000

  • The Sony KD-84X9005 84-inch 4K TV offer four times the picture resolution of current HD screens. We get a look at the future of television

    Sony 84-inch 4K TV review

    Love

    • Astonishing 4K image clarity
    • X-Reality PRO upscaling
    • Sharp
    • artefact-free 3D

    Hate

    • Stratospheric price point
    • Uneven LED edge-lighting
    • Not everything can be upscaled

    Sony stole headlines at this year’s IFA techquake with the unveiling of its first 4K TV, the 84-inch KD-84X9005. New president and CEO Kaz Hirai declared the giant screen "a breakthrough television product.” He wasn’t kidding. Offering four times the picture resolution of current Full HD screens, the 4K Sony KD-84X9005 is several steps up the evolutionary ladder.  

    The KD-84X9005 is an impressive TV technology statement from Sony. The only current competition for its ultra- sharp 8.29 megapixel images is the Quad HD Toshiba 55ZL2. However, LG, Samsung and Sharp all showed rival 84-inch 4K screens at IFA, albeit in prototype form.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Features

    Intriguingly, this 4K debutant is also the first Passive 3D TV we’ve seen from Sony. The brand has a range of conventional 3D passive models currently on sale in China, following a deal inked with LG Display (obviously also the source of the KD-84X9005’s panel).

    The TV is fully internet enabled too, with unfettered access to the Sony Entertainment Network. In terms of general feature functionality, the screen apes the HX8 series, which means it wants for little.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Design

    Immaculately finished with a textured bezel and metallic trim, it’s as elegant as it is huge. The most obvious difference between the KD-84X9005 and its high-street stablemates is the sound system; the stereo speakers stand away from the sleek frame. Alternatively, they can be removed completely if you need to wall mount the screen. 

    Sony KD-84X9005: Specs

    Backside connectivity may look much like any other TV (four HDMI inputs, two USBs, Scart, component), but there’s a subtle difference. Two of HDMI inputs can accept a 4K video input (something Toshiba’s ZL2 can’t), this makes the screen usable with 4K sources, as and when they become available.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Performance

    The picture quality of the KD-84X9005 is literally astonishing. The 3840 x 2160 pixel panel produces images without any visible grid structure, making this a particularly attractive display for photographers; the set achieves 52ppi (pixels per inch). Of course, native 4K sources are a little thin on the ground, which means the TV is destined to spent a lot of time upscaling Full HD.

    Thankfully, its new 4K X-Reality PRO picture engine does a fabulous job. An on-chip database of algorithms is available to make the most of any signal type, and it proves particularly effective with Blu-ray discs that have residual high frequency information in the encode.

     


    Indeed, the level of fine detail that can be extracted makes the image difficult to distinguish from native 4K. Upscaled footage from The Amazing Spider-Man appeared to reach well beyond HD.

    The screen’s 3D performance is also stunning. The extra clarity of the Passive FPR panel allows Full 3D to be displayed without any sacrifice in detail. There are no jaggies and only minimal light loss though the lightweight glasses.

    The set’s audio performance is more kin to a hi-fi system than flatpanel. The so-called 10 Unit Live Speaker system has been designed to image mid-screen and is forward facing; power output is rated at 50w, twice that of lesser sets.

    Sony KD-84X9005: Verdict

    Sony’s first 4K consumer TV is a technical tour de force. It delivers images closer in clarity to digital cinema than conventional hi-def, with hitherto unseen levels of fine detail and gradation. Even the lack of a native 4K source doesn’t impair its performance – the quality of the set’s Blu-ray upscaling is breathtaking.

    Of course, groundbreaking tech like this doesn’t come cheap, so start saving those pennies. The good news is that 4K bandwagon is finally rolling. We can’t wait to see where it takes us.

    Sony KD-84X9005 availability: December 2012

    Sony KD-84X9005 price: €25,000

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