Review: Sony Bravia KD-55X9005 4K

Review: Sony Bravia KD-55X9005 4K


At the presentation of the new range of Sony LCD TV, which I have already spoken in this article , I was favorably impressed by the image quality of all the displays presented. I had already noticed the high quality of this new series of Sony TV in Las Vegas, on the occasion of International CES 2014. For this reason, I arrived at the event with Sony colorimeter to follow, as soon as possible in order to test the actual performance of these new TV.

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In the long afternoon in Milan, I did some preliminary measure to four TV, three full HD resolution and only one in 4K resolution. With this article I leave from this last television: the KD-55X9005, which is at the top of the Sony production, with the exception of the line X95 is available but only with the cut from 85 “: The new X9, in addition to cutting 55 “that I could measure, is also available with a diagonal of 65” and 79 “.

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The model 55 “is not yet final, but very close (for performance, construction and menus) that the model is expected to arrive in stores later. Instead, the model with a diagonal of 65” that was present in the same location, it was still a pre-sample, which is why I decided to ignore it and devote more time to other models. Unfortunately, the presentation was not present no sample line X85: The new range of “average” TV Sony 4K that I hope to analyze as soon as possible.

Features, functions and menu

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The new line of flat-X9000 Sony’s 4K resolution is a clear evolution of the previous line, the X900 presented last January 2013. Now the frame has a trapezoidal profile, with the base deeper than the top. This peculiarity door with two undeniable advantages: the center of gravity is much lower, with a significant increase of stability that allows the use of less deep pedestals. In addition there is more volume available for the acoustic load of the speakers.

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The new profile is also used to tilt slightly backwards the front panel, so as to work better polarizing filters inserted in the display and increase not only the perception of contrast but also the uniformity. The speakers are always at the sides, flush with the front panel. Now, however, are more traditional configuration, with tweeters higher and the two woofers lower, loaded into reflex with rear duct.

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The other big change is the LCD panel, completely different characteristics and perhaps also as a back-light unit.Disappears also the X-pol polarizing filter for stereoscopic vision that had created some justified concerns not only the vision in 2D but also on the effective resolution of stereoscopic vision. The new LCD panels used by the X9000 series are faster and allow stereoscopic vision with active glasses.

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They change the menu of content management and the internal DSP, which will be discussed when we have a sample in the laboratory. For this preview, I focused on the vision of images and the use of instruments, the video quality of the new TV.

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The menu for calibration of the parameters of the images is the classic Sony, simple and intuitive enough, although not for all entries. I will try to investigate the operation of the main and the secondary voices and less intuitive (such as “bright white” and “black correction”) in the final test on the sample.

LAB: measures in default mode

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I made ​​field measurements with a colorimeter x-rite i1 Display Pro (EODIS3), selected and profiled, protecting the measurement area with a black sweatshirt and using pattern with area equal to 2% and the rest of the area with constant luminance equal to 50% of the intensity of the gray scale, so as to eliminate any type of dynamic modulation of the backlight unit. As software I used HCFR More info at this address . I started the measurements starting directly from the “personal” tab, selecting the white balance “Warm 2” and after turning off all the circuits of image processing, such as noise reduction, dynamic backlight, dynamic contrast and other gadgets. And while we’re at, also via Motionflow and Reality Creation.

The maximum luminance level is very high and is worth 420 cd / m² brightness to 50 (default) and contrast to maximum and can go up further by selecting a different color temperature. Under these conditions, the black level is very low and is worth just 0,121 candles per square meter. The native contrast ratio is 3.483:1 and is equal tothe highest value I have ever measured in an LCD display 4K resolution.

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Up here we can observe three different color gamut, obtained in three different conditions. The first, on the left, is in the default condition, selecting the color temperature “Warm 1”, with slight cold rulers, and with two of the three secondary colors toned significantly (magenta and cyan deflected toward the blue and the yellow little towards green ). At the center is the situation with balance “Warm 2” and less of my calibration which I’ll discuss in the next section. As you can see, not only the white point becomes perfect but also deflections of the secondary colors vanish almost completely. In other words, this is why the Sony TV you can do without the controls for the color.Further to the right is the gamut obtained net of calibration, but with the “Brilliant Color” at the most. In the default color temperature “Warm 1”, the Delta E uv worst is that of the blue and has a value of 5. Nearby better conditions (in the center, with the calibration), the value is always worse than the blue, but with halved value of 2.5.

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As per tradition, Sony, whose products are very good even without engaging in a calibration, the white balance is already very good, with a slight dominant cold (despite how “Warm 2”). The various steps of the gray scale are characterized by a very low Delta E (magenta curve), with the worst values ​​that slightly exceed the value 4.

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Also in terms of default (only with the contrast at maximum), with preset white balance “Warm 2”, the gamma curve is simply SPET-CT-CO-LA-RE, with a mean value that is exactly 2.22 to guarantee a correct reproduction of the nuances of the entire gray scale. Never happened to me, in the default condition, to measure a performance like that. Great job, Sony!

LAB: measurements after calibration

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With a few more minutes I have tried also with a quick calibration. Sony, contrary to what is possible with its projectors in TV does not allow fine adjustment of chromaticity coordinates (hue, saturation, and level) but only allows the calibration of the three RGB components for the white balance, the selection of curves pre-set range and color gamut presets. Something you can get it from the control of the color, but it is to be used very carefully.On the other hand it must be admitted that a color control is not necessary because the performance that can be achieved with these few checks are already excellent. Furthermore, the backlight has a light spectrum with more constant characteristics compared to those of a discharge lamp present in a projector; in other words, after the first calibration, an LCD TV should guarantee the same performance for a long, long time. For the calibration, always with backlight on full, I set the “brightness” at 49, I set the “contrast” to the fullest and control of color saturation in the default position. The control of the gamma curve I left it to zero and the white balance are party mode “Warm 2”. Under these conditions, the luminance drops to 408 cd / m² and the black level rises to 0,127 cd / sqm. In native contrast ratio of 3.224:1 then drops to and remains so high in absolute.

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With these settings, I calibrated the individual RGB components of the white balance of highlights and low lights (in this order) with slight adjustments that you see in the image above, the top of the page, to get a result that does not I have no difficulty to define EXCELLENT, all in less than 5 minutes!

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With the calibration of the three RGB components for the white balance, gamma remains “nailed” to the mean value of 2.19 with no surprises. Lights on low, below 10% of light intensity, the high native contrast ratio of the panel chosen by Sony allows to modulate the curve in an exemplary manner, with the values ​​of the range that fall below 2 only in the first two percentage points of the gray scale. A performance like that, until yesterday, I had seen only in plasma display technology but they have – I remind you – a native contrast ratio that can be up to more than an order of magnitude higher.

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The color gamut is very accurate, both for the primary colors for the secondary ones: just leave everything in the default condition and only calibrate the white balance. I also noted the intermediate saturation points of all primary and secondary colors, with steps of 25%, with excellent results and a delta E which, in the worst case (color “cyan”) comes to 2.4 while all other colors keeps well below 2.

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Although the time available was limited, I found the performance of intermediate color saturation with more resolution, although limited only to the red component. At the top left you can see the point of saturation of the red gamut, with the 21-step measurement (in steps of 5%). The high-resolution file is available by clicking here(2400×1800 pixels, 1MB). To the right are the two graphs: upper and lower saturation to that of Delta E, both withexcellent results.

Review Conclusions

For what I have witnessed this first contact with the 4K Bravia TV line X9 to the year 2014, there is no doubt that we are facing a very high quality video, probably at the top of the current LCD manufacturing. After this preliminary analysis, conducted on a specimen is not yet final, my satisfaction is already very high and I can not wait to receive a final sample for an even more thorough.

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At the moment, waiting for the arrival on the market and in my lab all the main products in 4K resolution, I can only say that this is a Sony product already mature, with excellent performance in terms of default, without even engaging in calibration operations. With a simple adjustment, the benefits are excellent. In addition, Sony has at least two technological advantages over the competition: the circuit scaling called “Reality Creation” and that for the increase of shades called “Alcohol uniform.”

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To emphasize the richness of the nuances of the Sony TV, I used the classic ramp luminance, which contains all 220 shades of consumer video formats, the black level is at 16/255 to white, which is equivalent to the level 235/255. Although in the picture to the left there is a little moire, magnifying the image will not be hard to notice, at the far left of the image to the default appearance of the bands (and it is right that there are) that identify the various steps gray scale; right, activating the circuit “smooth gradation” (a real requantization), the bands disappear completely!

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The two circuits Sony exclusive (“Reality Creation” and “Alcohol Uniform”) are exploitable with full HD material and allow you to enjoy the high quality of this display even in everyday life. To this ggiunge not only the intrinsic quality of the LCD panel used but also a factory calibration that is of very high quality. The thing I liked the most, as well as to the correctness of color and the naturalness of reproduction in any situation, is the modulation of the gamma curve in the first few steps of the gray scale, nothing short of exemplary, considering the limitations of native contrast ratio that are part of the LCD technology.  Credit :