This is flat-out the most exciting big-screen TV released this year. With stunning design and advanced picture processing, this 4K debutant impresses in all areas
Awesome 4K picture quality
Highly effective upscaling
Best in class 3D
Drop dead gorgeous design
Superb audio system
Solid Smart TV
Cheapo remote control
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The Sony KD-65X9005A is more than just another svelte Internet-enabled TV. Along with the lookalike 55-inch KD-55X9005A, this 65-inch flatscreen is the first 4K Ultra HD format TV that genuinely has an eye on your living space.
Sony's opening 4K gambit, the 84-inch KD-84X9005 may have been first out of the gate, but priced at £25,000 it was never anything other than a rich man's plaything. This new model, priced at £6,000, is a far more realistic (!) proposition.
Make no mistake, the KD-65X9005A is a breed apart from the massed ranks of Full HD widescreens which clamber for space in high street electrical stores and supermarkets. With a resolution of 3840 x 2160, it's able to deliver images four times as detailed as routine 1080p models. This is comparable (give or take some pixels) to the kind of image density you'll see at a cutting-edge movie theatre.
There's more to this set than just Ultra High Definition of course. It's also equipped with a best in class sound system and all the usual Smart TV functionality.
Not that this big screen needs technology to turn heads. As a piece of minimalistic design it's downright stunning. As part of its 4K proposition, Sony has brought TV audio back into the limelight. The set features forward facing stereo speakers which sandwich the display, sculpted into a single sheet of edge-to-edge glass. The result is a sleek, shiny black shard which measures 168.2cm across. The panel itself sits atop a circular chromed stand. For a 65-inch screen, it wears its size extremely well and doesn't feel at all imposing. The screen is just 40.5cm deep
Back panel connectivity comprises four HDMI inputs, three USBs, SCART, component/composite video, Ethernet, a digital optical audio output and CI slot. Wi-Fi is built in. However unlike some Full HD rivals, the set offers only a single tuner (you can choose from Freeview HD or generic satellite). Still you do get two remote controls. A simplified one-touch zapper and a routine IR doofer. Given the premium build of this TV the latter seems particularly lightweight and inappropriate.
The panel itself features Dynamic Edge-LED backlighting, which offers remarkable consistency given the size of the display.
Specification-wise, the KD-65X9005A apes the rest of Sony's 2013 Smart TV line-up. A revised horizontal user interface offers thumbnails for key IPTV services along with an app shortcut to the whole shebang. These appear within a grid, which quickly descends into something of a jumble.
Services include BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, LoveFilm, Netflix, Qello, YuppTV, Crackle, YouTube, Blinkkx, DailyMotion, The Sony Entertainment TV channel, plus plenty of others that you'll never feel the need to look at. The TV also supports Skype, although you'll need to invest in a separate webcam, it's not built-into the frame (just as well, it would ruin those clean designer lines).
The TV offers decent multimedia support, both from its local USB media reader and across a network. All key codecs and containers are catered for, including MKV, AVI, WMV, MPG, MOV, MKV, MP3 and WMA.
Naturally the set is 3D compatible too. It uses Passive technology and comes with four pairs of lightweight polarising glasses. However, this isn't the same Passive 3D we've seen elsewhere in the LCD market. Utilising the inherent resolution of the 4K display, this set's passive images are delivered with full 1080 line clarity. The result is a 3D viewing experience unlike anything outside a commercial theatre.
Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.
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