Sony X930D and X940D HDTV Review
Models: XBR55X930D, XBR65X930D & XBR75X940D
By: HDTV Professor
Capably producing extremely high-end picture quality and clarity, the X930D/X940D features an impressive mix of 4K, HDR and dynamic backlight technology. The latest and greatest from Sony's Bravia line, this ridiculously thin (1.4" wide) HDTV stacks up quite favorably against models priced $500+ more. Spearheaded by its new, and much more intelligent, backlight technology - the Slim Backlight Drive - the X930D delivers a breathtaking precision of colors balanced against a fluidly darker and constantly-optimized contrast.
Slim Backlight Drive
Engineered to bridge the gap between the slim edge-lit LEDs and the more exact direct-lit FALD with local dimming, the Slim Backlight Drive delivers in spades. To get this done, Sony got plenty creative... they sandwiched two rows of edge-anchored LED modules around the perimeter of the panel. Then, individual light guide plates for each LED module were used to manage the illumination within each grid. The result? Better grid control over typical edge-lit LEDs and the opportunity to dramatically reduce the total width of the LED. With respect to the picture, deeper and more contrasting blacks in darker/night scenes and dramatically better contrast versus color/brighter objects.
"UHD Premium" Certified
Even though last year's X93 series qualified for the cert (Sony didn't request accreditation), the X930D/40D proudly boasts its qualification. Managed by the independent Ultra-High Definition (UHD) Alliance, the "UHD Premium" designation is the current cream of the crop for consumer HDTVs. The minimum qualification specs are: 90% DCI-P3 gamut, 10-bit panel and a upper range brightness (black) tier of 1000/0.05 nits.
X930D VS X940D
We lumped 'em together in this review because of their inherent similarities. The key differences are that the X940D is equipped with a complete array of LED backlighting (slight improvement in our tests) and ships in a 75" display (the X930D is 55" or 65").
There are also subtle differences in their 4K TV hardware. The X940D includes the very highest-end components. The end result is a nominal improvement and really only impacts the larger resolution TVs (75" and higher).
Sleek is in and, thanks to the new Slim Backlight Drive, the X930D's chassis was given a complete overhaul over its predecessors. Along with its eye-catching and sleek silver frame, its 11 mm bezel imparts an artistic and clean feel. Another big aesthetic difference versus previous models are the internal side speakers. For years, Sony opted for the speaker extensions on each side, adding a few extra inches to the overall length. The X930D/40D internalizes all sound. As you might imagine, that shift caused the acoustics and sound radius to change a bit. So, while you may not get the same level of sound coverage by default, the gain in space is the positive trade-off. Plus, a fair percentage of folks in the market for this type of HDTV have one or an entire set of home speakers to make the matter moot. For us, we dig the added horizontal space and would rather be in full control of the surround sound, etc.
As with all their higher-end HDTVs, the X930D/40D ships with the Sony Android TV operating system. Its evolution into an extremely user-friendly and highly customizable UI makes it fun AND easy to use. Pay-per-view movies are still relatively expensive, but they're so darn easy to access, you're likely to give in on a slow weeknight night :). With over-the-top and on demand making major inroads over the past few years, expect Android TV to get even more interactive in the near future, letting you take full advantage of the theatre-like 4k resolution.
In the $1,750-$2,000 price range, this has to be our favorite model to-date. The balance between sleek, functional and powerful is a delicate one and the X930D/40D really hits the mark. On top of all their grandfathered picture quality tech, the Slim Backlight Drive takes this model to the next level of clarity and contrast...all in a thinner and more aesthetically pleasing package. We've already recommended this unit to a handful of friends/clients and haven't heard anything but re-affirming feedback thus far.
(width x height x depth)
48.9" x 30.4" x 10.4" (with stand)
XBR55X930D: 65 in
XBR75X940D: 75 in
Motionflow XR 960 (Effective)
Component + Stereo: 1
RF Connection Input: 1
Analog Stereo: 1