Wednesday, May 21, 2014

XBR-65X850B vs XBR-65X850A; XBR-55X850B vs XBR-55X850A (Sony X850B vs X850A)

As part of the 2014 line-up of UHD TVs, the X850B supports the current UHD standards, most notably: the latest HEVC compression, which is essential for 4K streaming. The X850A is a 2013 series, so, unlike its successor, it has no integrated HEVC decoder, meaning you will need an external player if you want to use 4K streaming services. The X850B supports HDMI 2.0, so it can accept 3840x2160/60p signals, albeit 8-bit 4:2:0, out of the box. The X850A is initially limited up to 3840x2160/30p. However, you can install a software update that provides support for 3840x2160/60p feeds, but you should keep in mind that not all HDMI ports are HDCP 2.2 compliant.

The X850B lacks the Deep Black Panel of its predecessor, so this year's series is less able to reduce the diffusion of the backlight and the ambient light induced on-screen reflections, thus the image is slightly less contrasted and colors are not quite as vibrant as on the X850A in bright environments. The X850B employs frame dimming, whereas the last year's range uses local dimming. The latter provides more granular control over different areas of the picture (as much as the edge-lit panel allows for), thus it's able to improve the black level response while keeping the bright areas intact, unlike the method used on the X850B, which dims the entire frame.

There are some significant differences in terms of the audio. The X850A has two subwoofers as well as an assist woofer. The speaker configuration is 2.1 and the total audio power is 30 Watts. On the other hand, the X850B entirely omits the subwoofers, but the speakers are full-range. The on-board audio is in 2.0 channel configuration and the total audio power output is 20 Watts. In both series the speakers are down firing.

Despite the native refresh rate being 120Hz on both, the X850A has a Motionflow XR 960 rating, while its successor is rated at Motionflow XR 240, which results in some of the menu options for the Motionflow being omitted from the X850B, namely: Clear Plus and Impulse. However, there are still plenty to choose from: Smooth, Standard, Clear, and True Cinema, so you can control how smooth the motion should appear. Frame blinking is also employed by both series in order for the hold type of motion blur to be reduced.

In addition to the already supported b/g/n Wi-Fi standards by the last year's series, the X850B also provides support for the 802.11a standard, which uses the 5GHz frequency, so it's less prone to interference from other electronic devices, but its range is relatively short. The Wi-Fi Direct and Screen mirroring functions operate in the 2.4GHz frequency band in both series.

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