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Best HDTV of The Month

October 30, 2011 – 2:41 pm No Comment | 7,557 views

December 2012

If you are looking for the best in HDTV, we suggest you do check out our top 5 best rated HDTV of the month. Their rating are based on consumer reviews at Amazon.com. …

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Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810

Submitted by on December 21, 2011 – 6:18 pm10 Comments | 2,525 views

Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810

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10 Comments »

  • Matt says:

    Customer Rating Best Edge LED of 2010, 2011-01-18
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    This TV was an upgrade to a TV that I loved (Sony 40XBR2 – Circa 2006 model.) I knew I wanted a bigger screen, 3D and wanted something that felt like an upgrade. This TV did not disappoint.

    I considered buying the Samsung 55UNC8000 but after the overwhelming issues with the processing and power cycle, I kept away. I also looked at the LG LX9500 but heard of spotty quality control issues with LG. Not to mention that my current 2010 LG, has been a massive pain with its random power issues (blinking red light and TV shutoff common with LG’s. Just Google “LG blinking red light”.) Then when the Toshiba 55WX800 came out with its rock bottom pricing of $1600, I jumped all over it only to be sorely disappointed in the quality. It felt like an entry level model and I was really looking for an upgrade. A lot of people seem to like the TV enough, so maybe I just got a severely bum model? In any case, watching the 2010 HDTV Shootout really sealed the deal for me on this. Sony’s NX810 rivaled LG’s LX9500 (both also trumped Sharp’s offering and the Samsung 55UNC800) for the top set in picture quality, colors and black levels. What put Sony over the edge is the far superior 3D experience.

    I paid $2,249.00 for this TV from Amazon.com and it included the 3D starter kit and a free Playstation 3. It also came with 3 3D blu-ray movies (Alice in Wonderland 3D, Bolt 3D and Michael Jackson’s This is It 3D. The later two are in the form of vouchers in the box.) and 4 download’able 3D PS3 games. Since I am selling my PS3, this TV ends up costing me around 2K which is a stellar value. The Toshiba seemed like a steal at $1600 and I’d happily pay an extra $400 for this model any day.

    A note about delivery from CEVA. I ordered this from Amazon on Friday and CEVA delivered it the following Monday at lunchtime with a smile. One business-day later with no issues or damage is a nearly flawless delivery process if you ask me. 🙂

    Here are my pros/cons for the 55NX810:

    Pros
    – Design. The monolithic design is without question the best look LCD available. It’s no wonder Sony is moving all their new 2011 models to this new standard “look”. It’s sleek, modern and very minimalistic.
    – Black Levels. Some of the deepest I’ve ever seen (including plasma.) Panasonic’s VT25 series is no doubt the best for black levels, you you’d be hard pressed to find an LCD or other plasma with better blacks.
    – Motion processing. It’s a Sony. Enough said, you get the world renowned Bravia PRO engine . It really makes viewing feel like a completely new experience.
    – 3D. Best 3D image available on the market today. Also does regular 2D to 3D TV conversion which is okay. You really just want to watch 3D content in 3D anyway.
    – Absolutely NO clouding/flashlighting whatsoever! The dynamic local dimming works like a charm! I was VERY worried about this because everyone kept telling me that “every LED has this issue”. Well let me tell you, they’re wrong. I am as picky as they come and I looked and looked and looked for this and couldn’t find any of it whatsoever.

    Cons
    – Stand feels wobbly. I know I listed that in my Toshiba review, but I’m afraid to say this one feels very unstable as well. Likely a bi-product of the slim, minimal design and slim pedestal.
    – Price. Although I got a stellar deal from Amazon, the MSRP’s on Sony TV’s are still a hefty premium. But if you have the money, you might as well buy the best.

    Since people always comment on picture quality (aka: POQ) of high-end displays and never publish their actual settings, I’ve included mine below. Personally, this annoys me because many of these people never say that they’re looking at (for example) VIVID picture setting or something. So NO WONDER it looks so saturated and like a box of melted Crayola’s! Anyway, these settings are a modified version of professionally calibrated THX settings for the Sony 55NX810. I also used the Blu-ray WOW and Blu-ray DVE disks and tweaked a couple things to help the black level, colors, dimming and motion control suit my personal taste, but otherwise they’re pretty close to the THX rep’s final settings. THX calibrations generally mean minimal video processing and everything set to “off”. Personally, I find the “low” settings to be much better looking and seem to fair better in the WOW/DVE calibrations.

    Mode: Custom
    Backlight: 4 (THX says 3, but this is largely personal preference)
    Picture: 77 (THX says 76)
    Brightness: 48 (THX says 50)
    Color: 54 (THX says 52)
    Hue: 0
    Color Temp: Warm 1 (THX says Warm 2)
    Sharpness: 2 (THX says 0)
    Motionflow: Standard (THX says off)
    CineMotion: Auto 2 (THX says off)

    Advanced Settings
    Black Corrector: Low (THX says off)
    Adv. Contrast Enhancer: Low (THX says off)
    Gamma: 0
    LED Dynamic Control: Standard (THX says off)
    Auto Light Limiter: Off
    Clear White: Low (THX says off)
    Live Color: Low for Gaming, Off for Movies (THX says off)

    White Balance
    R-Gain: -4 (THX says -8)
    G-Gain: 0
    B-Gain: -7 (THX says -11)
    R-Bias +1 or 0 (THX says +5)
    G-Bias 0
    B-Boas 0 (THX says +6)

  • J. Rose says:

    Customer Rating Critical buyers read this., 2010-12-08
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    I have a 2 year old Sony 52″ LCD that is absolutely fantastic so I must say that I am a fan of Sony. HOWEVER, when going to get this TV (3D) I scrutinized all the TVs on the market. Panasonic has a good 3d tv. I can’t knock it too much other than to say that the new Sony Monolithic design is a little nicer looking and the menus are much easier to use. As for picture quality I would say they are equal, however you should look at both before you buy.
    Now, in regards to the Sony models available, this is by far the best they have for the price. The LX and HX series TVs are almost identical with the exception of some motion sensor that turns off the tv when you are not in the room. That is definiely not worth the $600 more.

    The GREATs are :
    -Design-monolithic design is nice and clean looking. Solid flat glass front is slick.Would look extremely nice on a wall.
    -Size. Overall this TV is very thin. Maybe an inch to inch 1/4. Inputs are recessed and side facing so you could literally hang this flat on a wall.
    -Internet widgets and Streaming TV. These types of TV services (like netflix and Amazon Video on demand) are going to change the way you watch TV and with their access built right into this TV, it is going to take your movie watching experience to a whole new level of ease. I rented one movie already from Amazon and the picture was incredible. You would think that streamed movies would be low quality however this is not the case. HD movie was superb blu-ray quality.
    3D Quality- I have never been a big lover of 3D until now. This new 3d they have is really cool. Kids love it too. For me the glasses are difficult to wear for a whole movie, but not impossible. If you are watching a good movie you will forget you have them on. If you are watching something boring (see my review on Dinosaurs Alive) then you will be itching to take them off.

    The NOT SO greats are :
    -Sound. Other people have mentioned it and it is true. The sound is a little tingy. Not outrageously so, but if you have a TV with better speakers you will notice a slight difference. I believe part of the issue is that the speakers are on the bottom of the TV (for the monolithic design to work). Is this a deal breaker? No. But something to be aware of if you are highly critical. (UPDATE) I have had the TV for a month now and will definitely get a sound system. Speakers on TV are just not cutting it)
    -Input/Outputs. This is just a fact of new TVs I have found, but Sony has reduced the number of “older” style inputs on all their new TVs. Not an issue if you are going all HDMI, however if you still have some older equipment that uses component or composite inputs there is only ONE of each of these and get a load of this….. NO S-Video. I was kinda shocked at that. So if you are using an older device, you will have to use the composite video instead of S-video which will not look as great. This could almost be a deal breaker because this limits what you can use with your TV and really it is a little too soon to start phasing these inputs out already. I know all new Sonys are like this however did not check that feature out on the Panasonics.
    -Brightness. Others have mentioned this too and it is true that the TV appears to be “less bright” than older LCDs, however I think this may be a energy conservation thing. You can fiddle with the settings to get a brighter picture and when I say less bright I am comparing to my older LCD TV. This does not mean this Tv is dim. It is not dim. Just less bright than my older LCD.
    -3D Glasses- these are outrageously expensive. They list for $149 EACH. I searched the interent and found a one day sale for $99 which is still too much. Cant find them now for under $125.

    Overall this is an excellent TV. I would buy this again. I lucked out and got the starter package which included 2 pairs of glasses and the 3d sync for free so this was a good investment for my family. Hope this helps you all.

  • Chad says:

    Customer Rating Excellent, 2010-11-24
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    Received this set yesterday. Exceeds all expectations upgrading from a still very nice 2 year old touch of color 52 inch Samsung.

    Image is wonderful, deep blacks and smooth refresh rates. Haven’t had the chance to play with the 2d-3d conversion or any proper 3d at all.

    User interface is brilliant compared to the Samsung set i’ve been using. Very responsive and quick menus.

    Pictures do not do this tv justice. You really have to see it in your living room to appreciate how beautiful the design aethetics are. Full glass front, no plastic bezel. Solid feeling in every aspect. Easy to put together.

    Not currently mounted but it looks to be easy enough if needed.

  • Customer Rating Gorgeous Television, 2010-12-13
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    We bought this Sony Bravia NX810 to replace an older Hitachi 1080i HD-DVI projection TV, one which never failed to dominate and totally overpower any room in which we put it, because the cabinet was so huge. Even moving it from one house to another required partial disassembly, and both pieces were mega-heavy. Three factors went into our decision to shop for a new set: We didn’t want to move the old one again, save to load it onto a donation truck. Second, although still functional, we were noticing some loss of contrast and fuzziness that no amount of convergence adjustment or cleaning could fix.

    Finally, Amazon’s holiday ‘Cyber-Week’ discount pricing and combination bundle deals (3D accessory kit w/Alice 3D AND a 160GB 3D-capable PS3, both free) were way too good to pass up.

    So in my usual meticulous way I checked out all the offers of comparably-sized sets on Amazon, as well as reviews online, and I even made a trip to our local Costco to check out their display sets, so I could see for myself the difference between regular LCD, edge-lit LED LCD, plasma, and DLP televisions. Of all of them, it seemed to me the Sony KDL-55NX810 blew the rest away, with only a few of the plasma models coming even close. Between the Samsung and the Sony 3D set-ups there in the store, I felt the latter had the superior 3D effects and shutter glasses, plus overall the Sony looked to be the better quality.

    Unlike some folks who bought through Amazon, we had no problem with the Pilot freight shipping. They arrived right within the scheduled time, unboxed the TV, attached it to its base and put it on the cabinet we already had set and ready for it. I had done some prep work, and have a highly customized home theater set-up, so for testing I just took our older Sony blu-ray player and hooked it directly into the TV with an HDMI cable. Having read here about some of the problems of dead sets on arrival or display issues, I’d decided it was only prudent to ensure proper functioning BEFORE the installers left. There were no problems or issues in the TV itself; later I’d find some oddities with the HDMI connections which I now suspect were either cable and/or hand-shaking issues.

    Pros:
    – Beautiful, sharp, bright picture, with a high degree of customization possible for personal preference, room conditions, and even decent automatic adjustments based on what the TV thinks you’re watching
    – 3D was even better than what I sampled in the store, although it does take a little getting used to. Very nice with video games, and good with movies. (We don’t have DirecTV, so I can’t comment on their 3D programming.)
    – Surprisingly wide viewing angles without any distortion or drop-off.
    – Integration with other Sony equipment is seamless, so much so that I sometimes have to check to remember whether I’m controlling the TV, or the PS3, or our older no-feature Sony blu-ray player. The TV can even turn on/off and control the volume of our home theater receiver through the HDMI line.
    – No problem getting the TV to connect to our home wireless-N network, and the signal is strong enough to stream Netflix without interruption or quality down-stepping. Nice feature about the NX810 is it has wireless and wired Ethernet built right in.
    – The provided Sony remote control is pretty nice and well laid out, but has no learning capabilities. (I suspect my spouse is getting me a new universal remote for Christmas…).

    Cons:
    – Some HDMI set-up issues for us. Our Denon receiver is supposed to be able to route full HDMI signals to the TV, and to support the latest HDMI standards (including 3D), but it doesn’t — TV says there’s no signal. So I connected all our equipment directly to the TV instead, and that helped, and I can get the receiver to work, but reliably only after I added an optical cable to serve as audio return — which isn’t supposed to be necessary either. I’ve ordered a better/newer HDMI cable to see if this helps. Meanwhile though, the TV does manage to control volume and power on/off for the receiver through the HDMI connection. So I’m still puzzling this one out; if folks have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
    – Didn’t like the motion-flow default settings. As other reviewers mentioned, while it might appeal to some, it tended to make TV shows and movies look weird and soap opera-ish. No other way to describe it, just that it didn’t seem natural.
    – As other reviewers have noted, the built-in speakers are rather weak, tinny, with little bass. You can get better sound out of even a hundred dollar 2.1 computer speaker set. Really Sony? Why not include an inexpensive passive sub-woofer with the TV, and beef-up the built-in audio power and speakers just a little? It’s worth noting however that none of the thin-screen TVs I checked out had what I’d consider home-theater quality sound.
    – Internet video streaming does require a high-speed broadband connection.
    – There just aren’t that many 3D movies out there yet, and a few of the high-demand ones are locked into ridiculously long exclusivity deals. (I’m looking at you Panasonic: Your reportedly year-long “Avatar” lock-in actually made me -less- likely to buy your product, not more, because I found the exclusion deal personally offensive, even though I really want to see that film in 3D again.)
    – The 3D glasses are somewhat on the heavy side, but this is the case with any shutter glasses. When watching 3D movies, you might want to take breaks, at least until you get used to wearing them for extended periods.

    Recommendations:
    – Do have the location ready for when the installers arrive, that way you can have them set up the TV and you can really check to make sure the TV is working right. Don’t let them leave until you’re certain you’re satisfied with the TV. Fact is though, no matter where you buy it, there can be problems during shipping and/or delivery.
    – Try to buy big-ticket items like this from stores and vendors with a no-hassle returns policy. Amazon’s is great, with 30 days to decide whether you like the TV or not, or to uncover product defects.
    – If you don’t have an existing home theater audio set-up, I do recommend getting one of those powered TV speaker cabinet-stands they sell, or else a nice 2.1 Harmon-Kardin (or comparable) computer speaker set and hook those up to the TV, either through the audio out in the back or use the headphone jack.
    – If you have kids or rambunctious pets, absolutely do ensure the TV is either attached to the wall using a VESA-standard mount, or that the table-top mount is fastened/screwed to the supporting cabinet. It’s an important safety measure.
    – Check your HDMI cables. Although older cables will usually work, there can be performance and feature issues with old or low speed ones. It’s essential to use a high speed cable between your 3D blu-ray player and the TV. (Hint: Use the cable that comes with the 3D accessory kit for the 3D blu-ray to TV connection. It’s guaranteed to work.)
    – Make sure to go through all the papers and fliers that come with the TV — we discovered among them a number of unadvertised special promotion items, including several free PS3 3D games (free for download, enter a scratch-off code) and two bonus 3D blu-ray discs (Bolt (yay!) and Michael Jackson (meh)) just for registering our set online with Sony, plus subscription offers for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more.

    Would we recommend this TV to a friend? Yes, definitely.

    On edit, August 18 2011: Well, we’ve had the set for eight months now, and continue to be very happy with it. Nearly all of the audio problems I reported before were apparently HDMI cable-related, but here’s the thing: I was always using the correctly rated cables. It’s just that some work between one device and another, but move them to a different device and they don’t. Or just never properly at all. Anyway, if you get audio cut-out problems or failure for devices to be recognized, my recommendation now is always “get another HDMI cable.”

  • Customer Rating More of what you need to know. Less of what you don’t., 2011-01-01
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    If you’re reading this, you have probably done a lot of research already and I will try not to tell you things that you already know.

    SONY KDL55NX810 55″ 3D HDTV
    – Monolithic design refers to TV’s black granite finish and the single pane of glass that stretches over the screen and bezel all the way to the edge of the TV for a clean finish and elegant look. For me, that means you don’t have to clean the dust out from those tiny little corners!
    – While SONY has a very intuitive INITIAL SETUP sequence to make set up as simple as possible, there’s a plethora of other system/video/audio settings beyond the initial set up that people should look at before talking about bad the sound and other things are before they have properly configured their set. This is a very advanced TV.
    – USB supports 2.0. and video playback of AVCHD/MP4 files using the H.264 video codec only. AVI/MKV/WMV, etc – not suppoted. Not yet, anyway.
    – DLNA supported, for sharing pictures, movies, music, and other digital content.
    – The SONY logo lights up! It can be turned off. The light is soft and won’t affect TV viewing for most people.

    PICTURE QUALITY
    – All you need to know is that the picture quality is amazing.
    – Full range of adjustments from color temperature, sharpness, LED intensity – the videophiles will be pleased.
    – The only problem you might experience is when using the Light Sensor technology with the TV inside a cabinet at night. I experienced some flickering caused by the Light Sensor technology trying to compensate for the brightness of the room, but in fact, it was detecting the light coming from the TV itself and everytime a bright scene appeared on the TV, the Light Sensor mode would reduce the brightness of the TV until a dark scene and then raise the brightness again – very annoying.
    – 3D still presents a little ghosting here and there, but that’s mostly due to Sony’s glasses. I would recommend purchasing the universal glasses from XPAND. Sony glasses serve their purpose, but XPAND glasses will greatly improve your 3D experience.

    SOUND and SPEAKERS
    – Not the greatest, but not as bad as other reviewers make it out to be, either. With a few simple changes in the audio settings, it sounds like a normal TV speaker. 99% of people who buy a flat panel of this size are going to hook it up to a sound system anyway.
    – Built-in EQUALIZER and audio enhancement modes. I thank SONY for adding this feature because you can tailor the sound to your ears’ desires.
    – AUDIO RETURN CHANNEL (ARC). You can set the TV to use the same cable that outputs your signal from the receiver to the TV for sending audio back to the receiver when you are watching broadcast TV. Make sure you buy an HDMI cable that is specifically designed for audio return channel if you intend to use this feature.

    INTERNET CONNECTIVITY and APPS
    – Built-in wireless adapter = no need for an Ethernet cable!
    – Very easy to set up. The TV walks you through it. I connected on the first try.
    – Apps are excellent. Streaming movies works great. Widgets are another story – slow, but most owners probably won’t use them anyway because you can get all your updates easier via iPhone/Droid/Galaxy or personal computer. If you do choose to use them, they are very customizable and you have a wide range to choose from. You can even set them to appear in any area of the screen you choose.
    – SONY starts you off with free online movies from CRACKLE. I’ve watched dozens for free already! Or set up your own AMAZON VOD/NETFLIX/HULU PLUS accounts.

    FINAL WORDS
    – This is my very first flat panel. I waited and passed up much of this technology until I knew I had found a good product that was worth my hard-earned money, and this is it, folks. I am very pleased with my purchase. 5 stars.
    – Everyone that has seen it loves it.
    – The little ones keep asking for more 3D.

  • Customer Rating Near Perfect, 2011-02-27
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    I ended up buying this set after going through 3 defective Samsung 58pnc7000 plasmas in a row over a grueling near 4 month period. I thought I might be “settling” when I got my refund from Samsung and went with the 55nx810 as it is a bit smaller, but it turned out that it is everything I hoped the Samsung would be and more.

    The blacks are incredible on this set, and rival the best plasmas out there, IMO. While maybe not the finest set of adjustments you can make to the picture relative to some competitors, the end result after calibration is absolutely incredible in both 2D and 3D alike and shows maybe major adjustments just were not needed here.

    Sound, as many have already noted is poor, but I don’t use internal tv speakers anyway, so it is irrelevant to me. The widgets and apps are pretty extensive although I use my blu-ray player for that, so again, not much use to me.

    One thing I would be remiss to not mention is the set looks absolutely incredible! The glass screen was a major concern for me as my eyes are particularly sensitive to glare (and that was a major issue with the first Samsung for the 45 minutes it worked before dying – the other 2 never worked), but Sony has done a great job of eliminating it and my eyes have no problem with it at all.

    Motion blur is also nonexistent on this set and colors are spot on accurate after easy calibration. I did notice some clouding on the black background when in 3D mode, but it seems this only happens when the backlight is turned all the way up to max for 3D (to accommodate the darkness of the glasses), and is absent when watching 2D material when dynamic LED control is set to standard and the backlight is turned down for normal viewing.

    Bottom line is Sony has a winner here, and I am very happy that in the end I wound up with what I feel is the better set after all the Samsung problems.

    Edit 3/8/11: For reference, here are my revised settings for both 2D and 3D after further evaluation (and help from an AVS discussion board member)

    For 2D/3D TV and Bluray

    Eco Settings: Ambient Light Sensor = OFF
    Scene = General
    Mode = Custom
    Backlight 3 (automatically set to Max for 3D) *Please note this backlight setting is for a semi-dark to dark room.
    Picture 76
    Brightness 50
    Color 52
    Hue 0
    Color Temp Warm2
    Sharpness Min
    Noise Reduction Off
    MPEG Noise Reduction Off
    Motion flow Off
    CineMotion Auto2 for Blu-ray and set to off for HDTV/Cable

    Advanced Settings

    Black Corrector Off
    Adv. Contrast Enhancer Off
    Gamma 0
    LED Dynamic Control Standard
    Auto Light Limiter Off
    Clear White Off
    Live Color Off

    White Balance Sub Settings

    R-Gain -8 (minus 8)
    G-Gain 0
    B-Gain -11 (minus 11)
    R-Bias +5
    G-Bias -1 (minus 1)
    B-Bias +6

  • D. Mcdermott says:

    Customer Rating New Sony 3D KDL-55NX810, Excellence, 2010-10-13
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    Just received this new Sony and it is everything Sony claims it to be. Absolutely the best picture I have seen in a LCD TV and better than my 3 yr old 46XBR4 that had the fluorescent backlighting. This NX has a dynamic(local dimming) edge lit LED, and the contrast and blacks are excellent. The 3D is stunning with little ghosting, even with 3D set for max effect. I coupled this NX810 with Sony’s new Blu-RAy S770, and the picture is stunning, as good or better than any theater, and better than my previous LCD TV combo. I have noticed that the NX810 could be brighter. I find myself using the ‘vivid” picture setting during the day as the TV display was darker than desired when using standard or custom and lacked bright colors. As such, I can not use the cinema scene setting or theater mode during daylight and some DVDs with lots of ‘dark scenes’ do not show well with simulated 3D during daylight periods

    My one complaint is that the sound is not what you would expect from a $3K new Sony. The sound is a cheap sound(tinny),and did not meet by expectations since it has 3 speakers built-in. I ended up adding on the $359 NX810 optional stand (Bushin)(SU-B550S) that includes a better 2.1 sound system to compensate. This one option proved to be worth every penny as the audio is now full and deep.

    I am still playing with the video settings, but I have noticed that imperfections of the incoming signal are much easier to discern than my previous LCD. In fact on the same broadcast, a bad shimmer in the background, will go away and a brilliant fine detail picture comes on when they shift cameras like in a news broadcast

    This NX has wired Ethernet and wireless connectivity, and the streamed HD video from Amazon is excellent. In order for you to stream Dolby 5.1 audio, you must select ‘audio system’ on speakers to output 5.1 to your surround sound amp or you will only get PCM. The NX has LED edge lighting but with local dimming and it results is great contrast. Not sure if the HX909 full LED array backlighting would result in a much better picture.

    I also am very happy with the 3D effects. Playing a movie made for 3D, gives you great 3D depth effect, almost as good as the theater. Using simulated 3D on my Avatar Blu-Ray disk resulted in good 3D but the depth was not as good as the movie theater. Trying simulated 3D on sports also added depth to many scenes, especially the football if the camera angle was right.

    You can buy this TV with a free bundle (various vendors offer the free bundle) that includes everything you need for 3D (transmitter + 2 glasses), plus the bundle gives you a 3D Alice + HDMI cable. So, with the bundle you get everything the LX900 has AND with better picture since the LX is only edge LED with no local dimming.

    Overall very happy with this purchase. My only complaint is the “tinny” sound-probably because the speakers are on the backside of the TV and directed either backwards or down as compared to my old XBR4 which had great audio quality and had speakers on either side

  • G. de Simone says:

    Customer Rating Disappointing Initial Experience, 2010-12-09
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    I’m writing a review for the second unit that I’ve received from Amazon, since the first one was damaged on arrival. Before getting into the details of the TV itself, the first nasty experience I can report is with Pilot, the company that Amazon contracted for the delivery. They seem to handle products in a rough manner, and Sony certainly didn’t package the TV to handle that kind of abuse. The glass surface that covers the display is pretty but very thin, and as such it shattered easily when the box was mishandled. I would recommend against buying this set unless you can get a different shipping company to deliver it to your home.

    Moving on to the actual unit, here’s the Pros:

    – Stunning design. It is easily the prettiest TV in its price range. It doesn’t have ugly, useless, transparent borders or colored bezels that glow or simply waste space. It is also reasonably thin, but nowhere near the paper-thin stuff you see from Samsung.
    – Great menu navigation. This TV uses the standard cross-bar navigation I have first seen on the PS3, but somehow it works a lot better than on the console, perhaps because there are fewer items to scroll through, and they are easier to understand.
    – Great image quality (minus one nasty problem I’ll discuss later). It doesn’t look any better (or worse) than a comparable set by Samsung or LG, but Sony’s implementation of motion-blur reduction (“motionflow”) appears to be much better than what I’ve seen on Samsung TVs. On other sets, people normally turn this feature off, and it gained the dubious nickname of “soap-opera effect”. On this TV, the feature seems to work as advertised, and it doesn’t get too much in the way (and, it can always be turned off).

    …and here’s the more disappointing aspects of this set:

    – When the TV is on, it shows two dark spots (more like black clouds 1 inch in diameter). The black spots show only over bright images, and you would not notice them over a dark background. This is a defect that seems to be common for this particular model. It’s very disappointing because it appears to be caused by a design problem in the TV itself, and shows poor product design. There are two round “objects” inside the TV (pegs/screws/whatever) that are dangerously close to the panel. The constant vibration that happens when TV is shipped cross-country causes these objects to poke the screen from the back, damaging it. The black spots caused by them have an irregular shape, but are always at the same locations: roughly mid-left and mid-right. In my own unit, you can gently tap the TV from the back to see these two round shapes pressing against the display (no other area of the TV shows any feedback when tapped so delicately). Needless to say, Sony will have to send a repairman to fix it, but one worrisome aspect of this design flaw is that it may be a problem that can be triggered rather easily. If you end up buying this TV as I did, I would recommend to keep the original box and not to stuff it inside your average moving truck on your next move. I would also recommend *against* laying the TV down flat during transportation. Unless one knows exactly how the TV looks like on the inside (and I’m not about to break mine just to find out) it would be hard to guess how easily those two round pegs can shake up and down and damage your display.
    – There is practically no bass coming out of its speakers. If you’re listening to speech, the quality is great but you’ll miss out on movie soundtracks, explosions, etc. Given that the TV is not as thin as many comparable sets by Samsung and LG, I was really hoping Sony was using the extra space to cram a bit more power in the built-in speakers. If you plan to hang your TV on the wall (after all, it looks stunning) you will probably be disappointed unless you hook it up to more powerful speakers, and none of those look quite as good as the TV itself.

    [UPDATE BELOW]

    I’m finally able to update my review, since the repair guy working on behalf of Sony finally fixed the TV. In the process, I got a chance to look at innards of the TV in great detail, which had some surprises. Here’s some useful information:
    – The speakers included with the TV are indeed extremely small, but I was told by the repairman that they are fairly standard for a TV this size. The obvious design tradeoff of making TVs thinner is that there just isn’t any room left for audio components.
    – The built-in WiFi connectivity is given by a tiny device that looks very similar to those installed in desktop PCs. The antennas are placed at the bottom of the bezel, one in the middle of the TV and one towards the bottom-right edge.
    – In what seems like a very silly move, the replacement panel sent by Sony is really not just the panel itself. It is 90% of the TV. The replacement includes the whole front glass (which is not detachable from the panel itself) as well as a logic board. The “repair” involves ripping out components from your old TV and the plastic cover in the back, and slapping them onto the new panel.
    – The repair was “interesting” because the new panel came with its own T-Con board, but this board refused to communicate with the logic boards ripped out of my first set. The repair guy had to swap these T-Con boards too, and I’m not sure if there is a quality difference in the output of the TV using one board design with a display that is different than the one originally installed at the factory.
    – The replacement panel was manufactured by the same company, but it did not have the same product code. No big-name brand was recognizable on the back, but this discrepancy might explain why the included “T-Con” board wasn’t happy and required swapping.
    – It seems pretty silly that Sony chooses to incur labor and bureaucracy costs rather than simply replacing the TV. Keep in mind that the repairmen aren’t Sony employees: they come from a local company that fulfills these support requests on behalf of Sony. The company that was sent to me was called Stereo Component Services (from Boston) and did an excellent job.
    – Finally, the image generated by the replacement panel looks comparable to the first one, sans the nasty black spots. If you end up buying this set I sincerely hope yours will just come in perfect working condition. My TV, after all the work performed on it, is really not the same on the inside as one that is factory assembled, and who’s to say after that “T-Con” board swap that things are working exactly as they should.

    Having played with the TV in working condition for the first time, I have now upgraded my rating from 3 to 4 stars. The reason is that with a display quality comparable to other brands (LGs and Samsung, specifically), the Sony menu system in my opinion beats them hands down. I compared it closely with a new set from LG (which is a great set by all other means) and I came away appreciating the less-cluttered, down-to-the-point approach of the Sony. The LG had giant tacky icons and a slower input selection method, and it was organized in a less logical manner.

  • Cory says:

    Customer Rating Picture is sensitive to viewing angle, very disappointed, 2010-12-23
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    Length:: 0:57 MinsI have a 46″ Samsung LN46A650 which I have owned for two years and been very pleased with, but I was looking to get another TV so I could move that one to another room. I wanted to get one that was bigger and was actually looking to get another Samsung, but then I found the Sony with a $1000 online coupon. When I saw that it was Sony’s top 55″ model and all of the spectacular reviews on Amazon, I thought I had found a major steal. However, when I set it up and turned it on, I was highly disappointed when I noticed how badly the colors change when I change my viewing angle. Depending on which side I am sitting, the colors on the opposite side become washed out. I watch a lot of basketball, and the colors on the court are uneven with the colors on the far side being significantly lighter. At one point, I paused it on the starting lineups using my TiVo, and it showed colors below the players that was supposed to be uniform. However, the colors were clearly showing up in different shades. If I moved from one side of the TV to the other, the effect was reversed. I am not sitting at a steep angle either, just on opposite ends of my sofa. If I view from the center, both sides are more washed out than the center, although not quite as badly. I am not certain if this problem is just inherent of a TV this size or if mine is defective somehow. I don’t see how the effect could be this pronounced, but nobody else has a problem with it or at least mentioned it. For a TV this expensive, I definitely would not expect it to have this problem, especially considering my cheaper two year old TV does not.

  • Adam says:

    Customer Rating Great, 2010-12-09
    This review is from: Sony BRAVIA KDL55NX810
    I love this tv, I also have a Pioneer Elite plasma, and a Samsung B630 lcd and this blows both of them away. Black levels are amazing especially in dark lighting. I didn’t buy it for the 3D, but I am really happy I got the 3D starter kit for it. 3D video games look amazing on it. 3D works well up to 18 feet away(haven’t tried further).

    The 240hz is great for video/movies, and can easily be bypassed and programmed off on video games. No lag whatsoever with fast pace games. I always thought 240 was kind of BS but the tv is infact way smoother with blurays and streaming video than my 120hz Samsung. I see no motion differences with my plasma in all frame rates (24,30,60)

    The internet is kinda lame, yeah it has Netflix but what doesn’t. Most of the widgets are slow and redundant. Get a PS3 or a bluray player and get 1000x better online experience.

    The onscreen menu is perfect, and easy to navigate quickly. Same crossbar sony has been doing for a while but seems way more responsive and quicker than my sony receiver, and bluray player. My only disappointment with the menu is the lack of control you have with picture settings. Most of the modes and features only offer 2-3 settings like high or off, or low, or high, or off. I would like to change the dynamic lighting, contrast, and red balance more than available. The red’s are overwhelming, I can’t seem to tone the reds down without dulling every other color too much. I really shouldn’t say overwhelming, but I notice overly red scenes often and it is the only drawback with the picture quality. I’m no calibrating expert, but I find myself messing with the pic settings constantly because of overly red skin tones etc.

    Contrast is it’s strong point. The brightness can being literally blinding, while the darks blend as black as the glass black bezel. I have never seen a TV able to to that, my plasma doesn’t get bright enough, and my lcds look more like a dark dark gray. The tv runs ice cold too, hardly any heat comes off of it, even after 5-6 hours straight use.

    My only dislikes with the set are minor. The remote is horrible, it lights up but in a way that you only see outlines of the buttons and not what the buttons are labeled. The blue lighting is cool, but turns off after a couple seconds and serves no practical purpose. After a month, I still can’t memorize half of the obscure function buttons and constantly find myself holding my cellphone light up to it when in the dark. The 10degree tilt of the pedestal makes it look kinda ghetto from the side. This is the first tv I have had the desire to hang on the wall and that is solely because of the broken looking lean the pedestal has towards the front.

    I rate this tv a 92/100, a better remote and a better pedestal would have bumped it to a 97. Three points off because there isn’t quite enough picture settings to make this a perfect picture.

    You can’t go wrong with this set

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