Sony XBR65X930C 4K Ultra HD TV Review

Sony XBR930C

65″ XBR-X930C 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV

Last year Sony made a huge impression on the HDTV industry with their top premium models (950B and 900B). These two displays to this day have provided some of the best 4K images available. In fact, the XBR950B was rated HDTVs and More’ top HDTV pick for 2014.

Sony’s top tier models for 2015 are now available and consist of the XBR 940C and 930C. Industry experts, enthusiasts, as well as tech savvy consumers will have high expectations for these two new models considering the outstanding performance of last year’s top offerings.

Design/Features

Visual wise, the 930C appears cosmetically identical to last year’s 900B, and for the most part it is. The overall dimensions are about the same with the later being slightly larger. On the flip side, the 930C is a few pounds heavier. The side mounted speaker’s size and layout is the same, which consist of two tweeters, two midrange drivers and two woofers. The 930C features a 90-watt speaker system vs. last year’s 65-watt audio system.Sony XBR930C stand view

This television also features a wedge shaped design which is thicker at the bottom and provides more room for the speaker array and helps maximize audio performance. The wedge shape also gives the set a lower center of gravity for better stability. The TV is supported by two adjustable dark chrome A-frame style feet, and has a “narrow  position” footprint spacing of 23-3/8″ in width, which will be useful when placing the TV on a cabinet with a width span that is less than the display’s panel.

The 65″ screen is the glossy type made from clear acrylic-plexiglass (plastic), which in my opinion allows for better picture quality in the form of transparency, clarity and provides an increased vibrant picture presentation that allows images to pop from the screen, in comparison to displays with a matt finish which can often make picture images appear a bit dull and flat.

XBR930 side view

XBR930C Side View

The X930C uses Dynamic Edge-Lit LED backlighting with local dimming for increased picture contrast and black level reproduction.

What’s New?

To improve picture performance for the 930C, Sony has introduced an all new processing engine – the X1. This new processor improves on color accuracy, contrast and clarity of standard HD and UHD video.  This new processor also allows for better 4K upscaling implemented by Sony’s X-Reality Pro Picture Engine. This display produces very good upscaling of all non UHD video content to near 4K quality.

The X1 also improves on Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range for brighter whites and deeper blacks for outstanding contrast reproduction. Sony’s TRILUMINOS technology also benefits from the X-1, delivering a wider range of color reproduction as well as dynamic color correction for a more accurate color palette.

Sony has introduced Google’s Android operating system to all of its 2015 models, for a better smart TV experience. This OS lets you do a lot of things you’re used to doing on your tablet or smartphone. Simply log into your Google ID to access a huge collection of apps, games and content from Google Play. This operating system will also make it easy to stream video content, function as a gaming device and provide enhanced features like voice-enabled searching through a remote control equipped with a microphone.

And speaking of gaming devices, the 930C features Playstaion Now game streaming, which enables you to stream PS3 games directly to this TV without the use of a gaming console. The only additional equipment required is a DUALSHOCK 4 controller (sold separately) which connects to one of the TV’s USB ports.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

The X930C is compatible with HDR content when it becomes available. Essentially, HDR can provide a higher level of contrast between light and dark images on the screen to create a much more realistic image, which greatly improves picture quality.

Remotes

Two remote controls are provided with this set – a touchpad device which operates via Bluetooth and features a built-in microphone for voice control of select Android TV functions. The other remote is a standard IR type.

The latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard is built-in to this set for a faster Wi-Fi experience when connected to your homes wireless network.

3D viewing is still an available feature with this display using active 3D technology and is supplied with two pairs of glasses.

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant)
  • 1 Component video input
  • 1 Composite video input
  • 3 USB inputs
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
  • 1 Digital optical audio output
  • 1 Stereo minijack output
Xbr930c top view

Stand feet shown in inner position

Performance

As I mentioned earlier in this review, the quality of last year’s equivalent model – the 900B – delivered some of the best picture images to date. So how does the new 930C compare? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do a side-by-side comparison between these displays; however, going off of memory alone, the 930C’s picture quality appears to be very similar to the 900B.

Overall, I thought picture quality of the XBR65X930C was excellent. The set delivered a very wide color gamut that was well saturated with eye catching rich and vibrant colors, which is due in part to Sony’s TRILUMINOS technology which really adds to this sets color reproduction.

Images were presented with crystal-clear clarity, and with an abundance of fine detail which gave the 4K images I viewed a very realistic quality. Image depth was what I’ve come to expect from such a fine display as the 930C, which provided excellent image depth of field in wide open distance shots that were full of clarity and detail for a more life-like visual presentation.

I’ve become a big fan of Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range technology which really enhanced the contrast performance on this display bringing out very good peak brightness and deeper black levels in many of the images I viewed. In addition, overall black level and shadow detail performance was very good, delivering substantially deep and very dark blacks while allowing the detail of objects in dark scenes to be plainly visible.

Screen uniformity appeared to be good on this set as I didn’t detect any light bleed or clouding when viewing a black screen.

I took some time to scrutinize some fast action video footage of a soccer game on this TV to evaluate its Motionflow XR 1440 motion blur reduction technology, and in the end, I didn’t detect any motion blur artifacts.

Side angle picture image dimming and color saturation loss is a common anomaly with all LED displays, and the X930C was no exception to this well known design fault; however, to my eyes these deficiencies had a minimal effect on this TV even at very wide viewing angles.

Sound quality of the side mounted speakers on this display had very good audio performance when compared to the typical mediocre sound of most flat panel TVs. The panel’s six driver array produced a decent stereo image along with good high and midrange sound definition. Adequate bass output, on the other hand, was definitely lacking from the TV’s small woofers. Adding a sound bar with a stand-alone subwoofer will bring out the “low-end” bass frequencies that are absent from the sets built-in speakers.

Conclusion

The XBR930C is a worthy successor to the excellent XBR900B. It delivers enhanced top-notch picture quality via its new X1 processing engine, is loaded with number of great features including a new Android OS, and has the capability to display HDR content as it becomes available to consumers.

The 65″ version of the 930C is a bit on the expensive side, but those who are looking for an extensive feature suite and best in class picture performance, will find the price of admission on this premium 4K UHD TV a worthy investment.

HDTVs and More recommended.

To see and learn more about the Android TV OS used in the XBR65X930C, watch the video presentation below…

 

You may also be interested in these reviews:

Sony XBR65X850C 4K Ultra HD TV Review

Sony XBR65X810C 4K Ultra HD TV Review

Samsung UN65JU7100 4K Ultra HD TV Review

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7 comments

  • Thanks for the excellent review. I was wondering if you had any strong thoughts as to how the Samsung JS9000 compares to the Somy XBR-930c? Seems like the major differences are a curved screen on the Samsung model and enhanced speaker system on the Sony; wasn’t sure if there were other subtle differences with picture quality, color range, HDR/contrast ability, etc. Thanks as always for the great work!

    • Hi Jon,
      Thank you for your compliments regarding this review, much appreciated. I officially can’t comment on how these two excellent displays would compare in the area of picture quality, since I wasn’t able to do a direct comparison between the to; and their major differences are pretty much as you stated in your comments. I will say that both of these displays produce excellent image quality, and I would personally be happy with either set.

      The picture quality areas I will speculate on which the Sony XBR930C my have an advantage is with black level reproduction and 4K upscaling. Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range technology which extends contrast range may give the 930C deeper black level reproduction. Sony’s 4K upscaling capability is known to provide some of, if not the best upscaling in the industry. Again, this is only my speculative opinion and may not necessarily hold true without doing a direct comparison.

      Other than that, I believe the image quality of the Sony XBR930C and Samsung JS9000 will probably be on par with one another, especially since they both have new and improved video processors which aid in overall better picture quality performance. They both also feature enhanced color reproduction technologies which production a wider color gamut, and HDR capability for better contrast including stellar peak whites.

      • Well I would of thought so also but the Sony 930c is more on par with the JS9500 even though it’s a FALD set

        Sony X930C vs Samsung JS9500

        The Sony X930C and Samsung JS9500 are very similar. They both are great TVs, so do not overthink the comparison. Here are the main notable differences between the two.

        The JS9500 has better local dimming
        The X930C has better native contrast (The best contrast of any 4k tv reviewed so far) 5005 : 1
        The X930C can get brighter overall (418 cd/m2 vs 320 cd/m2). For peak luminosity, the JS9500 is better (727 cd/m2 vs 658 cd/m2)
        The JS9500 has a slightly wider color gamut (2%) 67% OF THE REC 2020 VS 65% OF THE REC 2020
        The black uniformity is better on the X930C
        The JS9500 is curved
        The JS9500’s input lag is 14 ms lower
        The X930C supports 1080p @ 120fps
        The X930C supports 4k @ 30fps @ 4:4:4 only
        The JS9500 supports 4k @ 60fps @ 4:4:4
        Better motion control on the X930C
        But really, both are excellent choices. Also, don’t forget that you can use our tool present on the second tab of our reviews to compare any TVs.

  • How did the built-in speakers sound?
    I was told that it doesn’t hang on a wall very well, giving it an odd appearance since it is wedge shaped. What is your opinion?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jim,
      The sound quality of the built-in speakers is very good. Check out the “Performance” section of the review, this is where I critique the 930C’s audio quality.

      The wedge shape of this TV really doesn’t interfere with wall mounting. Let me explain: if you take a look at the back of the TV from a side angle, (see photo above) you will notice the lower part of the panel where the wall-mount bracket would attach to the back of the set is almost flat and curves slightly inward at the top. To compensate for this, Sony provides wall-mount attachments that insert into the two upper mounting holes that will allow the TV to align parallel with the wall when secured to the wall mount.

      Hope this helps and thanks for your comments.

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