SonyX930DSony officially unveiled Tuesday its 2016 XBR LED LCD TV lineup of 4K UHD TVs, featuring three model series – the X850D, X930D and X940D – and four screen sizes – 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches — all capable of supporting high dynamic range (HDR).

The new lines expand on last year’s offerings with improved processing from the company’s powerful X1 processor, introduced last year as a key component in helping the sets produce images with HDR and a wide color gamut. All three series include: 4 HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2 inputs supporting HDR; a wider color gamut than Rec. 709; and improvements in peak brightness.

The X850D, X930D and X940D 4K HDR Ultra HD TVs will be available for pre-sale on February 16th and will be available in March and April at authorized Sony dealers including: Amazon, Best Buy, Value Electronics and others.

All three XBR model series will be able to accept and recognize HDR10 metadata and display it at the peak capability of each model. Sony is distinguishing this on the products and packaging with a proprietary “4K HDR” logo. However, Sony will not use at launch the UHD Alliance’s recently announced Ultra HD Premium logo on any models, whether they are capable or not.

“The UHD Alliance logo really doesn’t work for our lens-to-living room strategy,” explained Sunil Nayyar, Sony Home Entertainment & Sound (HES) TV product management director. “The UHD Alliance is primarily a flat-panel television alliance. But we don’t have such alliances in projectors, cameras etc. What we needed was one logo for all of these, otherwise we confuse customers about their various 4K UHD and HDR capabilities.”

Read more on the 2016 Sony XBR LED LCD TVs after the jump.

At the top of the line is the XBR X930D, which will come in 55- and 65-inch models. A similarly featured 75-inch flagship model, with full-array backlighting and higher peak brightness performance, will be called the X940D. Gone from the lineup this year are models with powerful front-facing side-mounted speaker arrays, that produced sound-bar-quality built-in audio but extended the width and appearance of last year’s 930C and 940C models.

All three of the aforementioned series this year incorporate 4K HDR support for enhanced contrast and color. The sets all use Sony’s Triluminos Display color processing technology and add the 4K X1 processor that enables Sony to produce very high peak brightness elements in a picture by taking power and light from dark areas of the same screen and re-directing it where it is needed.

The result is an image with localized areas of peak brightness that shows details within the brightest areas and darkest blacks on the same screen at the same time without enveloping detail in bright white or shadows.

Unfortunately, Sony is deliberately not releasing performance numbers for things like peak brightness, black level, bit-depth, and color gamut on its TVs to help consumers comparison shop online or on paper. Phil Jones, Sony product information manager, said the reason for the policy is to drive shoppers into stores to get a demonstration (and a Sony directed sales pitch) in order to actually see the superior picture performance for themselves.

Sony is working with specialty A/V dealers around the country and Best Buy stores to install “experience zones” that are set up to give consumers comparisons of HDR, wide color gamut, peak brightness and other variables in order to see for themselves the performance dynamics of the TVs.

Android TV Returns

All of the 2016 XBR TV sets also return Sony’s use of the Android TV smart TV platform with Voice Search, Google Cast and a wider selection of apps, games and content from Google Play.

This year, Sony’s Android TV platform allows Home Automation control directly from the TV, via the Logitech Harmony Hub. Multiple brands of supporting Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as lights, thermostats, Blu-ray players, security cameras other home entertainment devices can be controlled and automated by the TV’s remote.

The smart TV platform has also been enhanced to find programming faster using an unobtrusive content bar that quickly calls up favorite movies and TV programs. Viewers can call up the content bar on screen and keep watching their program, while scanning through live TV selections, videos on demand, downloaded TV shows and other fare. The bar can be customized to show most frequently viewed content.

The TVs will also stream PlayStation 3-level games without the need of a console. PlayStation Now allows streaming PlayStation games, which viewers can play using a pair of DualShock4 controllers with the TV.

Backlighting Improvements

To better present new HDR content, the 75-inch XBR-75X940D (pictured at top) uses Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range Pro HDR full-array LED local dimming backlight technology. (Sony will not release the number of LED zones in the TV).

The 55-inch and 65-inch X930D models don’t have full-array backlit panels, but do include Sony’s new Slim Backlit Drive technology with the aforementioned X-tended Dynamic Range Pro system previously found only in the X940 series.

Sony explained that by precisely balancing the light output across the screen, dimming some areas and boosting others, “X-tended Dynamic Range Pro reveals a brightness range three times that of a conventional LED-backlit TV.” When combined with an HDR signal this is said to create greater brilliance by enhancing HDR “with finely-gradated bands of color and more vibrant hues.”

All three series offer this year’s flavor of Sony’s Triluminos display technology that employs super-secret technologies to produce what the company believes to be a superior picture to rivals like Samsung’s SUHD TVs, LG’s OLED TVs and Color Prime LCD TVs and others. Three years ago Sony used quantum dot technology in the Triluminos approach, although it said it has since dispensed with this approach in favor of its own technology.

To handle motion blur in all three series, Sony is using its “Motionflow XR 960” technology. This typically uses a 120Hz native LED LCD panel with Sony’s approach to backlight blinking and other techniques to smooth out the image. As a rule, Sony’s motion compensation systems have generally been among the better performing systems on the market.

Sony executives told HD Guru that they have also made improvements this year in off-angle viewing, enabling viewing a quality image from a wider angle (Sony lists 89 degrees to the left and right) off center, before contrast and color performance begin to fade. We witnessed the improvement in a brief showroom demo of an X930D model arranged for the press earlier this month, and while not to the level of OLED technology, it did provide a high quality image from a wider range than did last year’s equivalent model.

No X900 or X910 Replacements Yet

Not introduced yet this year are replacements for the ultra-thin X900C and X910C series models that emerged last summer providing some of the industry’s thinnest panels and a virtually frameless bezel design. Instead, Sony has added thinner panel designs to the X930D models. The panel depth on the XBR-55X930D model measures 1 7/16 inches deep and the XBR-75X940D model measures 2 1/8 inches deep compared to 4.9mm (0.192 inches) deep for last year’s 55-inch 900C models.

Sony said the X930C models were designed to mount close on the wall like a picture frame, while the flush finish with no raised bezel provides a near invisible edge.

Entry 4K XBR Series TVs Slated For Summer

In addition to the above-mentioned XBR models, Sony plans to offer three step-down and entry XBR 4K UHD TV lines beginning in June, sources said. Those lines will include the X800D, the X750D and the X700D series. The X800D models include: the 43-inch XBR43X800D ($849 Unilateral Pricing Policy) and 49-inch XBR49X800D ($999 UPP); the X750D series will include: the 65-inch XBR-65X750D ($1,799 UPP) and the X700D series will include: the 49-inch XBR-49X700D ($899 UPP) and the 55-inch XBR-55X700D ($1,199 UPP). Features in each line will be announced later.

W600D, W650D HD Model Series Coming This Spring

Sony said that later this spring it will introduce two series of HD resolution LED LCD TV models including: the 32W600D, 40W650D, and 48W650D series. Screen sizes will run 32- to 48-inches and all use Sony’s X-Reality Pro up-0conversion processing. Prices are as follows: 48-inch 48W650D, ($549UPP, $699 preorder); 40-inch 40W650D ($449 UPP, $599 preorder); and 32-inch 32W600D ($299UPP, $349 preorder).

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The 75-inch XBR-75X940D will carry a ($6,499 UPP, $7,999.99 suggested retail price).
Delivery will begin in mid April, but sources said supply constraints on the model are expected through May. Key features will include:

• 4K HDR support for HDR 10 metadata

• Full-array LED dimming and boosting with X-tended Dynamic Range Pro

• Triluminos Display wide color gamut support

• 4K X1 processor

• 3D support using active shutter glasses technology

• Android TV with Google Cast, voice search & Play Store apps

• Motionflow XR 960 motion compensation

• Mounts close to the wall

• Gold accent bezel and thin design

• Hidden cable routing


The X930D series features the 55-inch XBR-55X930D ($2,299 UPP, $3,299.99 suggested retail) and the 65-inch XBR-65X930D ($3,499 UPP, $4,999.99 suggested retail).

Key features will include:

• 4K HDR support for HDR10 metadata

• Edge LED (Slim Backlight Drive) with X-tended Dynamic Range Pro dimming

• Triluminos Display wide color gamut support

• 4K X1 processor

• 3D support using active shutter glasses technology

• Android TV with Google Cast, voice search & Play Store apps

• Motionflow XR 960 motion compensation

• Mounts close to the wall


At the base of Sony’s XBR 4KHDR offerings is the XBR-X850D line. The X850D will come in 55- ($1,599, $2,499.99 suggested retail), 65- ($2,599 UPP, $3,499.99 suggested retail), 75-inch ($3,999 UPP, $4,999.99 suggested retail) and 85-inch ($7,999 UPP, $9,999.99 suggested retail) versions. All will have edge-lit LEDs with frame dimming. Supplies on the 65-inch model are expected to be tight for the first month of introduction, sources said.

Key features include:

• 4K HDR support for HDR 10 metadata

• Triluminos Display

• 4K Processor X1

•Motionflow XR 960

• Silver accented thin-bezel design.

By Greg Tarr


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