Monday, October 28, 2013

Sony X900A vs X850A (XBR-65X900A vs XBR-65X850A; XBR-55X900A vs XBR-55X850A)

Both the X900A and the X850A have a 4K resolution (3840 by 2160), so the pixels they have are approximately four times more than in the Full HD sets, which leads to a lot more clearer image that can reveal subtle details, often omitted by their lower resolution counterparts. It needs to be said that these two Ultra HD series were released in 2013, so they don't have built-in HEVC decoder, meaning they lack support for 4K streaming. If you wish to be able to stream content in 4K, you will have to use an external device. In terms of the video signal they can accept, they are restricted up to 3840x2160/30p out of the box. That said, once you have installed a software update, 3840x2160/60p signal is also supported, albeit 8-bit 4:2:0. Another thing worth mentioning is that only 1 out of the 4 HDMI ports is HDCP 2.2 compliant.

The X900A has a distinct advantage when it comes to the sound it can produce. At 65 Watts, it has more than double of the total audio power output of the X850A, which is only 30 Watts. Due to the front-facing speakers, the higher-end series can also deliver a lot clearer sound, with no distortions. In contrast, the speakers on the X850A are down firing. The Magnetic Fluid Speaker technology is exclusive to the X900A and it further increases the distance between the audio quality of the two series, as it allows for faithful reproduction of high-fidelity sound. The speaker configuration on the top-tier is 2.2 and it has the S-Force Front Surround 3D, which simulates 5.1 sound. On the other had, the tier-two device has 2.1 channel speakers, and it doesn't simulate 5.1 sound, although it does have the basic S-Force Front Surround.

The picture quality is identical on either of them, as they both employ the Triluminous Color technology, which goal is to deliver pure colors and expanded color gamut. However, their anti-reflective properties differ. The X900A utilizes the OptiContrast Panel, whereas the X850A uses the Deep Black panel. While both of them are aimed at minimizing reflections from external light sources, as well as to reducing backlight diffusion, the OptiContrast panel replaces the air gap between the front glass and the panel with a resin layer, which eliminates internal reflections, so the image is sharper, in addition to being brighter and more contrasted. In order for the contrast ratio to be further improved, local dimming is also used by both. The presence of the 4K X-Reality PRO chip on either one of them means the upscaled content looks equally good (but obviously not as good as native 4k material).

As the MotionFlow XR 960 video processing can be found on both, coupled with a panel with 120Hz native refresh rate, neither of them should have any trouble with fast motion, so they are equally suited for sports and action films. The X900A is equipped with the passive 3D, which works with polarized 3D glasses, while the X850A has the active variant of the technology that relies on active shutter glasses. The difference is that the former is less susceptible to flicker (if not completely free of it) as well as to crosstalk.

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