First impressions on the Sony XBR-65X850C 4K TV

This is a first set of impressions on my new 4K set, the brand new Sony XBR-65X850C which is part of the 2015 lineup of Sony 4K televisions. I’ve spent the last week and half with the television and I finally think I’ve seen it enough to give you some feedback. The following topics are thrown in no particular order, but at least you’ll be able to hear about the different aspects of the television.

Image Quality

The 65X850C is using a VA panel with direct LED lightning instead of the edge lit models of last year. This is to me a huge improvement and it is obvious in term of image uniformity and almost complete lack of blooming and clouding from the backlight. The result is an image that is almost completely uniform. The only complain is the four corners of the screen that suffer from a certain level of light loss, so when a very bright image is displayed, you’ll notice some darkness in the corners. Nothing too critical, at least way less annoying than clouding.

In term of colour, we are seeing again the strengths of what Sony can do with their television sets and this is coming from someone who is not a Sony fanboy and never had a Sony CRT television. The viewing angle is also pretty good, there is some washing out happening at very wide angles, but typically for angles you will not use most of the time if you have a regular living room.

Finally, the contrasts and dark level are very good, the television uses frame dimming only, but it well done and fast and works really well.

4K Video Playback

I have tested the TV with as much material available from the limited 4K universe right now. 4K playback from the media player included with the TV has been flawless. I did need to reboot once during playback, but other than that, the TV handled the different formats with grace. I would say that I’m very impressed with the set rendering in 4K, it is very efficient and the television really shine when used as its maximum like this.

Upscaling to 4K

The TV of course upscales everything it displays to 4K and it uses a new chip, the X1, to do so. I have thrown at it most of the typical resolutions used and everything has performed very well. The only thing I noticed is pretty obvious : if you give it something that looks bad, it will clearly bad or worse once upscaled. But anything that has any quality in it, even TV series DVD, were rendered efficiently in 4K. The upscaling of 1080p, which is the most important in my mind, has proven very good and just make any HD content shine.

3D Performance

The set makes a return to Active 3D this year and is compatible with the RF glasses from sony (see below). The set does not come with any glasses, so you do need to purchase them separately. I’ve tested a couple of segments in 3D and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. There is barely no crosstalk which is a huge difference to last year models and the level of depth is really good. Even if 3D is really not popular right now, you can feel safe that the set will perform. Sadly it does mean buying new glasses if you have the IR ones or passive glasses.

Android TV 

Sony has decided to invest strongly on Android TV in 2015 by making it the core of their smart TVs. This is Google’s second attempt at conquering your television set after the failed GoogleTV devices. I did own a GoogleTV for less 24 hours as I returned it as soon as possible after so many issues. After a week and a half, I can say that the new Android OS for televisions is in a better direction. The menu system works well and the fact that is in fact what the TV is running in its core and not an afterthought is great. Navigation between Google Play apps, TV inputs and channels is well done. The guide features work well and allow you to easily search live content.

The system also comes with voice search and Google Now (or a simplified version of it), both work in tandem to give you additional information on your television and let you search content easily. It is for now working ok, but it is hard to test as the number of compatible applications is limited, thus limiting content.

This is right now the most limiting thing with the TV : the number of Google Play application is very low and most of them have not really been tested on the TV itself, but mostly on the Android TV Nexus Player.  Netflix and all of the typical Sony branded apps are absent right now, there is not even a web browser. Sony says that an update will provide those during the month of May, I will update as soon as it changes.

Touchpad Remote Control

The television comes with Sony’s touchpad remote control, which allow you to browse the television interface using gestures on something that is similar to a laptop trackpad. It is functional but lacks a couple of important buttons, which in the end makes you go back to the traditional remote (also included) pretty often.

Game Controller

Please note that the television is compatible with the Asus Gamepad made for the Nexus Player. I did try some games with the controller and for now, it’s hard to be satisfied. It’s obvious that the TV has been released too recently and that most games have not been tested on the platform and only on the Nexus Player. Games are slow and not really responsive. Let’s see how it will be after a couple of months of developers targeting the platform for real. The TV is also compatible with Playstation Now, but the application is not available right now. The Dualshock 4 controller is supposed to be compatible with the device, but it is not possible to test this yet.


Please note finally that the new stand, which is in the center this time and uses a different design is functional and does give a good look to the television. I feel the bezel is also smaller this year than on previous models, but anyway the generic appearance of the TV shows a great attention to details by Sony.


I am very satisfied with what I have seen yet on the TV. A couple of elements are still missing though to define the complete experience. Once more apps (including Netflix and Playstation Now) are available, I’ll report back here on the blog. It will also be interesting to see how Android TV evolve over the next couple of months.

If you have any question on the television, feel free to use the commenting system.


27 thoughts on “First impressions on the Sony XBR-65X850C 4K TV”

  1. Can you provide pictures of the model with different items on the screen? Sports, movies, dark movies, reflection off TV, in bright/dark room settings, etc.

    What did you own before? Was it a 2014 Sony? If so, how’s the upscaling compared to it with the new chip?

    Thanks for your review. I am contemplating this unit to replace my 2013 plasma.

    1. Also, how’s the audio? Is a soundbar necessary since it’s downfiring or does the long duct speaker setup that I read about good?

    2. Hi Jason !

      I have a hard time taking pictures that will do justice to the TV, with reflections, etc.. If I do manage to get it right, I’ll share !

      I had a 850B before, I would say the upscale is of the same level of quality. I know the new X1 is supposed to make it better, but it was already very good on the 2014 models.

      Let me know if you have other questions !


      1. did you do a proffesional calibration just bought the 75x850c and would like to know your pro settings if you actually did them or had them done proffesionaly so I would have an easy place to start my own calibrations with by the way thanks for the review

  2. Hi Steve the Geek,

    Thank you for the overview of the TV. I am interested in the 55″ version of this model.

    Just a few Q’s:

    1) Would you say coming from a 40″ 1080p £350 Samsung to this X850C would be pretty mind blowing in terms of picture quality? I’m pretty hyped about 4K and triluminous.

    2) What is the motion like in fast moving scenes? smooth?

    3) How is the 24p performance in Blurays, and have you tried Life of Pi on it yet 😛 ?


    1. Hi James,

      1) I never had a Samsung TV, but the screen is really impressive, my wife did notice the upgrade to 4K from 1080P. And it’s not for 4K content yet of course as there is next to nothing here in Canada, but in general with upscaled content.

      2) I really like the motion engine on the TV and that’s coming from someone who usually turn this off as soon as possible.

      3) 24p is very clean, I watched Empire Strikes Back yesterday and I was just impressed during the whole movie. The scenes during Luke’s training with Yoda are just marvellous, you wouldn’t say it’s a 35 years old movie. No Life of Pi yet!


      1. You mention 24 fps. What brand-model blu ray are using to acheive this with the xbr65x850c? Currently i have samsung bd -f7500 and will not allow me to use this. When I play a blu ray disc, i noticed when there is a fast moving scenes, you can see glitches. I think this has something do with 24 fps.

        1. I have a Sony player, it’s a model from 3 years ago roughly and with the 24fps mode configured is does work well.

          It’s strange that you cannot activate this as the manual from your player clearly states it is possible ?

  3. Steve,

    I’m looking at the last of the 70X850Bs as well as the 65X850C for the same price. I don’t play games or watch much sports. Mostly DirecTV and AppleTV (and hopefully 4K Netflix soon). Based on the performance of both sets (since you’ve owned both), would you recommend going for the larger size of last year’s model or the newer tech in this year’s set at the smaller size?

    1. The 850Bs was edge lit compared to the direct lit 65X850C. If you care about uniformity, I really think that the new ones are better, among other things for movies with dark scenes.

      Android TV is still not perfect but it’s getting better month after month and will continue to do so. I’d go with the more future proof one…

  4. Great blog site – thank you!

    I have an X br-55x850c Sony 4K smart tv and an older onkyo tx-sr605 receiver. I am wondering two things. First, are there some starting picture settings you recommend for the 55x850c? Second, I am not able to get Dolby 5.1 from the Amazon app but can from Netfix through the optical out of the tv – is there a setting I am missing in the app?

  5. Been thinking of getting sony xbr65x850c these last few months. I have been reading many reviews about it and the negative reviews, I pay attention too, I just want make sure before I buy it that I won’t be disappointed. One review said screen uniformilty is an issue. What does that mean? Also shadow detail, having a ghost light when the TV is off. I wish they would show customers at best buy or frys, but they show 24 hour repeat video and that does’nt help me. With all the TVs andthe budget that I want to spend, I always keep coming back to this TV. I know it does’nt come with HDR, but thats fine. If there is a such thing as a perfect TV, will this come close to it and you are happy with it?

    1. The complain I see the most is people complaining about uniformity on both sides. I did see this on my set, but it’s only when brightness is turned on way too high. I don’t see it with my current settings. But some people seem to have more problem that I do, so be aware.

      Please note that the TV now supports HDR through a firmware update. The reality is because it does not have full array local dimming, its more a marketing point than anything, but it does decode HDR video information.

      On my side I’m very happy with the TV, it’s been 6 months now and I wouldn’t go back to my previous model (also a 4K Sony).

  6. You mention 24 fps. What blu ray player do you have to achieve this? On my picture settings, I am using vivid and animation because all the others are not good. But when there is a fast moving scene, I see glitches on the screen. I think the 24 fps might have something to do with this. My blu ray player will not allow me to use this. Any ideas thank you.

  7. I just got the 55-inch version of this model. I got it because I insisted on the Triluminos display, and I’m glad I did. The colors and blacks are great. I think the only way to do better is to spend thousands of dollars on an LG OLED model. For an LCD, it’s about as good as it gets and much better than Samsung’s SUHD models and LG’s IPS panel models.

    The upscaling is also very good even from older content in 480 resolution. However, I was disappointed to see that it doesn’t handle motion in 480i format well. The interlaced format causes the lines to show very badly around the edges of objects, which is a problem that Samsung and LG seem to have resolved. I’ve tried their models and I have a basic Samsung model, and those don’t have that problem.

    Also, when I start Netflix and watch an older show with a 4:3 aspect ratio, it defaults to widescreen and stretches the image. To fix it, I have to back out of the show, switch to another show that is widescreen, and then back out of that and switch back to the one I want to watch. That forces it to read the aspect ratio from the stream again. It’s kind of annoying.

    Another problem I’ve had is that the remote sometimes will suddenly stop responding. To resolve it, I have to swipe or click the touchpad remote (included) to resynch the TV to the remotes, and then I can go back to the regular remote, which is just plain aggravating.

    Other than these issues, this is a great TV. I’ve been very happy with it.

    1. Hi different Brian !

      Thank for your feedback and I agree about the issues you’re leaving with, I have experienced some of that soon in the last weeks. I did not have the remote issues though, but I’m using a Harmony at all time…


  8. Hey Steve, I was wondering if your still happy with the x850c
    I am on the fence about purchasing the 65x850c. I’ve heard there have been a lot of updates to software. Would you still recommend?

    1. Hi Jesse,

      Yes still happy with it, I’ve seen reviews of the new X850D which are less positive than the C series so with the good pricing on the X850C right now, I would go for it without hesitation !


  9. I just want know more about HDR settings. I have been trying to calibrate HDR settings since they added this firmware. Everytime my tv gets an update, I am hoping that the HDR settings will improve. Instead its the same. The redness has improved but not what HDR should look like. Is this because it was not factory made or HDR compatible issue? No matter how many changes or tweaks, something is wrong and its frustrating. My question is what HDR settings are you using for ultra hd movies, Amazon and Netflix? Thanx.

    1. Hi Brian,

      For Ultra HD BD settings are mostly just reducing black levels to get rid of as much of the bleeding I have on both sides of the TV as I can without crushing the blacks… So it’s at 33 instead of 50. Other than that I did not change much.

      This works for the HDMI input I use, but for Netflix I can’t see to get it right either, I don’t get the same result 🙁


  10. Thanx for the info. Can’t wait for sony 4k ultra blu ray player to be released. This will match with this tv model and should improve on some of these issues.
    Right now, I am still using samsung blu ray player bd-f7500.

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