Rated 5 out of 5 by davidg Love - With Three Small Gripes
I just bought this TV a few days ago, and since receiving it and using it, I can honestly say I love it.
The Picture - The colors are bright, motion is smooth, blacks are deep, and I have yet to see an artifact that isn't the result of Internet streaming. The 4K is very impressive. There isn't a ton of 4K content out there, but from what I have been able to watch on this unit (a few Netflix shows), this TV handles 4K wonderfully. I don't know that the 4K picture is necessarily better than competing units from Samsung or LG (after all, they all are the same resolution), but the 4K on this unit is top of the line. Combine that with the beautiful color, even lighting (even though it's side lit), and great contrast, and you have what I think is one of the best 4K pictures on the market. The upscaling works pretty well, but it's still upscaling, so don't expect upscaled 4K pictures to look like native 4K pictures. For backgrounds and normal surfaces, it works very well, but for fine detail, you can't fill in what isn't there in the initial data stream - the TV can't put hairs on someone's head, for example. Still, everything is crisp and clean, and, at least to me, noticeably better than 1080p, even with upscaling. Absolutely no complaints about the picture - I love it.
The Industrial Design - This unit is very slim, especially given the technology packed in, and, as pictured, the bezel is pencil-thin. The TV is minimalist in design, elegant, slim, light, and all around one of the most beautiful and unobtrusive TVs I have ever encountered. It's just as sleek as pictured. It will look great in any room, and the design should never become dated. It's a great fit for any room.
The Menus - The menus on this unit are fairly intuitive and easy to use. It's even better than the menu on the PS3 (I'll be doing a PS4 next - even sooner if 3D BluRay support is added, hint, hint if anyone from Sony engineering is reading this). You'll be able to pick up the menu navigation on this unit quickly, and everything is well organized and relatively intuitive. It's actually quite like the AppleTV menu system, if not better. And I'm a HUGE Apple fan.
The Simulated 3D - Okay, so, I had no idea this feature even existed when I bought this TV, and only happened upon it while playing around with the menus (it's not hard to find - in fact, there's a 3D button on the regular remote, and accessible from the options menu on the touch remote). I was skeptical when I saw this feature, but was actually quite surprised when I turned it on. It REALLY works well. Is it as good as a native 3D picture? No, of course not. But all I can say is wow, does it work well. My girlfriend, who didn't really care about getting a 3D TV and is ambivalent about 3D movies, texted me the night we got it and wrote "simulated 3D is fun!" She's right, it really is. She and I have watched World Cup matches on the unit, and it works brilliantly. Still not as good as ESPN 3D was (hint, hint if anyone from ESPN is reading), but it works very well. We both thought it made the games much more engaging, and we're both big soccer fans. I've also watched (parts) of Lethal Weapon and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in simulated 3D, and was equally impressed. The technology adds depth to movies, and when things fly at you, they actually fly at you in 3D. The algorithms handling this do a great job. Simulated 3D is a great plus for 3D fans (like myself) since content providers seem to be pulling back on the pace of 3D production. This adds a lot of 3D functionality to the unit. One small gripe: you can't use simulated 3D from built-in apps (like Netflix on the TV). Not sure why, but I suspect the processors in the TV are busy with the streaming and there's not enough power to convert to 3D simultaneously. I assume it works from apps from streaming boxes or media players external to the TV since it works on stuff from cable, but have not tried it.
The 3D: Not much to say beyond what was said above other than the 3D is great. Works beautifully. I love the fact that it's passive (though apparently active on the 70"+ models). Passive means cheap glasses (Sony's are like $10, and I think you could take home glasses from theaters and they would work) that don't need charging and are light and silent. And the Sony passive 3D glasses look nice and are easy to store.
The Remotes - The remotes are good. The regular remote is fine, and for a regular remote, is good. Logically laid out, light, etc. The cool thing is the touch remote. It works very well and is very intuitive to those of us nowadays who are used to touch interfaces like phones and tablets. Combined with the great menus, it's a great way to interface with the TV. Much simpler and more fluid than traditional remotes. Both remotes take AAA batteries, so nothing proprietary there. One small gripe: the iPhone app remote is only okay. It would be great if it could pull up a keyboard to type in letters when you're typing in a field. Like when you sign in to Netflix or something (like on AppleTV with the Remote app, hint, hint).
The Internet Connectivity and Apps - Very easy to set up. There are tons of Apps. Netflix is awesome, and I love that there's 4K support in the app. Also, I LOVE that there is Amazon Prime functionality. This obviates the need for purchasing a Fire TV or other box. I've been wanting to get this on my TV for some time.
The Setup - Setup is super easy. Installation of the TV is a breeze. The instructions call for two people out of an abundance of caution, but you can do it with one, at least if you're putting on the legs. I laid the TV over our coffee table, screen up, and laid on the ground to screw in the legs (like working on a car). Took no time. The TV is light enough to be carried by one person. One delivery person carried it up six flights for us (sorry, if you're reading this, man), and I set it up myself. You may need two for VESA mounting. Initial software setup is easy and intuitive, too. Took no time to do.
The Cost - Okay, so $2000 for a TV nowadays may seem like quite a bit (which is why my girlfriend objected to a 4K and 3D TV). That said, this TV is actually a GREAT value for something with this kind of technology that is so future-proof. First of all, my girlfriend didn't really object to the $2000 price tag; she objected to the cost of other 4K+3D TVs, and maybe for good reason, but vis-a-vis other 4K+3D sets on the market, this is a bargain. And not only is it a bargain, I think it's one of the best sets out there. Keep in mind this is a very well designed TV with the resolution and features that will keep it future-proof for years. And honestly, $2000 for a top-of-the-line TV has never been that bad, and Sony makes better 4K TVs than this (though not in this size). For a reasonable price, I got exactly what I wanted feature-wise, size-wise, and usability-wise. And, if it holds up as well as my other Sony stuff, this TV will be with me for a long time (we still have a launch day PS3 in the family that works great). If you want a TV that is future-proof, good looking, has a lot of great content and features available, and affordable, you cannot beat this TV. I was ready to spend the $2300 it was initially listed for, so when it was priced at just $2000 when released, I was more than happy to buy (especially because at the time Sony had 36 month no interest financing). Great value.
The Height (or lack thereof) - The industrial design of the unit is great but for ONE thing: the height. The bottom of the screen (not the bottom of the bezel, but the actual screen) is about 3" from whatever surface you set it on if you're using the legs that come with it. I have no idea how this happened, and Sony should offer longer legs (hint, hint if someone from Sony engineering is reading this). Why? Because you can't put a sound bar in front of it! Even Sony's own sound bars! I was going to drop $1300 Sony's HT-ST7 7.1 surround sound sound bar, but won't now because it would block the bottom part of my screen. I guess I'll either have to track down a sound bar that fits or get a 5.1 or 7.1 with wireless speakers. This is a dumb oversight; make your stuff compatible and functional with your other stuff, Sony.
Video Unlimited - From what I can tell, Sony's video rental/purchase service does not sell 4K content if done via the TV. You can apparently do this from the sold-seperatly 4K box, but not the TV itself. This is stupid. I like 4K, but I'm not willing to drop an extra $500 on a box to pay Sony to watch 4K content when they could do it in-app. How do I know they can do it from the TV itself without the box? The built in Netflix app streams 4K. If a third party can do it, so can Sony.
Cable Box Interface - The least of all my gripes. First, you can't apparently control the power of your cable box from the Sony remotes. Second, and more importantly, the guide feature is lacking. It is slow, and for some reason always starts at the bottom of the guide rather than the channel you're on. I know the data for TV listings comes over the Internet and not directly from the box, but it's still a bit slow. And it takes forever to scroll through channels if you don't know which channels have which number since it takes a few seconds for the TV station names to populate. And the remote won't natively control the cable box menu, apparently; rather, it "blasts" your commands to the TV via a separate IR blaster to the box. Stick to changing channels via your cable remote. However, the TV does learn your most watched channels if you turn on the feature (which it will apparently ask you about automatically), which could make the Sony remotes useful for frequented channels.
July 9, 2014