Plasma TVs reap the lion’s share of accolades at S+V. A few LCDs have managed to squeak through, most of them pricey models with a full-array LED backlight —Sony’s 2011 Editor’s Choice award-winning XBR-55HX929, for example. But this year we’re all hopped up about an edge-lit Sony LCD, the KDL-55HX850.
What differentiates the 55HX850 from other edge-lit models we’ve tested is its picture uniformity. When you look at mostly black images, or movies with with black letterbox bars, dark portions of the screen appear a solid shade of black, not a mottled sheet of gray and black blobs. Sony’s TV also has a sleek, bezel-free front, and its TDG-BR750 3D glasses (a $100/pair option) are among the most comfortable active shutter eyewear available.
The Sony’s excellent contrast/black depth in this case is matched by accurate color — a good thing, too, because the set’s fairly limited picture menu lacks color-management system adjustments. And its 3D performance ranks it among the better sets we’ve seen in that category, with strong depth, little crosstalk, and a relatively bright picture. With Panasonic’s Video POY-winning VT-50 plasma priced the same as the 55HX850, it’s clear that Sony’s TV has serious competition. But if you’re set on buying an LCD, you’d be hard-pressed to do better.
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