Sony’s Braiva line of 4K ultra HD TVs is already well known among 4K TV fans and tech watchers for its overall quality and feature rich specifications. The Sony XBR79X900B 79-Inch 4K ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV is no exception to this and in fact represents one of the better 2014 Sony models among the Bravia TVs.
Some particularly outstanding features of these TVs include their X-tended Dynamic Range for more active control of LED backlighting zones and the powerful side-mounted speakers that not only give the XBR79X900B and its cousins their distinct appearance but also pack a powerful sonic punch when pumping audio into your living room. These speakers may take away some of the elegance that is more common with most 4K TVs but the’yre worthwhile in terms of overall quality.
Furthermore, when it comes to depth, clarity and sheer color vibrancy of images, the XBR79X900B is truly a high performer in its class even if it doesn’t quite match the now superior (but also much more expensive) OLED and quantum dot features of the newest LG and Samsung SUHD models.
For starters, as we’d already mentioned, Sony has built a number of features into the XBR79X900B to give it a truly interesting and exceptional level of color rendition that shines with vibrancy. With technologies like the obvious and particularly excellent quality of 4K UHD resolution, Triluminous display feature (quantum dots but by another name) and X-tended Dynamic Range PRO, the XBR79X900B delivers a spectrum of color, contrast and brightness that comes very close to that found in LG’s OLED TVs and Samsung’s new SUHD line of TVs in its quality.
Then, there is the already mentioned sound system of the Bravia line and this TV in particular. When it comes to this feature, Sony excels like few others and the “Wedge” speakers offer what Sony calls S-Force PRO Front Surround sound via four 12.5W + 12.5W + 20W + 20W speakers, 2 woofers and two subwoofers. And these are just the main audio features, other details include several different sound modes such as Music, Cinema, Game, Sports and compressed audio, S-Master technology, sound boosters and Dolby Digital, Digital Plus and 5.1 Channel Audio Out sound.
Finally, as is guaranteed to be the case with Sony, these TVs provide some truly powerful connectivity that won’t leave you missing out on anything at all in terms of online and VOD content in either 4K or HD formats. Full HEVC compatibility, HDCP 2.2 compliance and several HDMI 2.0 ports all work together to make sure that no content source is excluded from your reach.
Furthermore, and this is crucial: Having one of Sony’s TVs gives you guaranteed compatibility with Sony’s set-top 4K media player and its vast library of over 500 hours of 4K UHD content.
First of all, if you’re a fan of ultra-slim minimalist 4K TVs, simply stay away from the XBR79X900B. Sony built this bad boy to look and feel robust and they don’t care. Thus, it’s not only far from a razor thin TV like one of Samsung’s SUHDs and it weighs a lot more than is average for a set in this class.
Second, side angle viewing on the 79X900B is not exactly perfect. This is a problem that many LED/LCD 4K TVs suffer from so we can’t exactly blame this model too much but it can be a bit annoying.
Finally, the smart TV interface and its menu aren’t as smooth and intuitive as those of LG or Samsung. In this, Sony had better invest a bit more R&D if they want to keep up with the neighbors. LG in particular excelled at creating an OS that made browsing content smooth and easy in the form of the webOS interface. There’s no reason why Sony can’t pull off the same with their massive market clout and experience.
• Smart TV: Yes
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• Refresh Rate: 120Hz (Native)
• Screen Lighting: full-array LED backlighting with full-array local dimming technology
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes WiFi, Blue Tooth, NFC and Ethernet port
• Remotes: 2 remotes, one a touch pad remote
• Connectivity: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 USB 2.0, MHL port, Subwoofer Out, HDMI PC Input Ethernet, component, Digital Audio out, Composite, Headphone Socket, Common Interface Slot
• Sound: S-Force PRO Front Surround sound via four 12.5W + 12.5W + 20W + 20W speakers, 2 woofers and two subwoofers
• Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million
• Aspect Ratio: 16:9
• TV weight with/without stand: 134.2 lbs/131.5 lbs
• Dimensions: 80 x 41 1/2 x 4 3/8(1 3/8) in inches without stand; With stand: 80 x 43 3/4 x 17 1/2 in (2031 x 1109 x 442 mm) inches
• Processor: quad-Core
For starters, we go back to the sound system that this beast of a TV comes with. This is one avenue in which Sony really knows how to kick ass with its TVs and it literally, visibly shows on the XBR79X900B. Interestingly, if you’re just starting with some lower level audio on the TV, you might even find yourself surprised by how subdued these speakers can be. However, don’t let this fool you. As you stretch the speakers out to really pump the volume or reproduce multi-layered, complex sounds, their sheer scope and power quickly become audible.
Furthermore, the separation between background noises and voices or between different, varied sound layers that these speakers produce is probably the most impressive you’ll see in any 2014 4K TV.
Also, the woofers use a type of magnetic fluid technology that allows for extremely efficient but also realistic sound quality and the 65 watt speaker power is way ahead of the much more typical 20 to 40 watt speakers you’ll find on even many higher-end 4K TV models from other brands.
Next up, we move onto the overall appearance and design of the TV. In the case of the XBR79X900B, it’s definitely a highlight feature, and while some buyers might prefer the more minimalist elegance of Samsung 4K TV design or one of LG’s OLED ultra-thin TVs, the Sony 79X900B truly creates presence in a room with its solid, heavy duty appearance. This model completely three thinness out the window in favor of a TV that projects raw power. However, this doesn’t mean that elegance is lost. The thing is that, oddly, despite its thicker body and massive side speakers, the Sony 79X900B still manages to look oddly refined. There is also a wall-mounting feature that lets you put this hefty TV up on your wall for an even greater impression.
Finally, let’s go over the Sony 4K media player box quickly. This is one of the most interesting features of this TV and this is so because the media player, which normally costs over $700 USD, comes free with X900B and X950B Bravia TVs because of their price tag and the fact that they’re the largest of Sony’s TVs. This media box comes with hundreds of hours of 4K entertainment content ant at least 140 different ultra HD movies! In effect, it’s the largest library of content from any source for any 4K TV that you could get your hands on.
Overall, the 79X900B remains one of the very best TVs on the market in terms of overall picture quality and until the arrival of LG’s OLED line and Samsung’s new SUHD TVs and their HDR compatibility, it was probably the very best that any TV maker could have offered.
Features like Triluminous Display, the X-Reality Pro picture processing engine and the overall quality of the ultra HD resolution work together to create Sony’s best possible display technologies and present some of the truest colors and sharpest contrast you’ll find outside of HDR and OLED.
Furthermore, the upscaling engine on the 79X900B is truly a superb performer and will go a long way towards making all that SD, HD and 1080p HD content you’re likely going to watch on your TV look better than ever. Given the limited scope of native 4K content to be found on the market even now, upscaling engines are a crucial feature of any 4K TV and how well they perform at their job of making HD or SD look like something more than HD or SD is vital to a richer home entertainment experience.
Fortunately, in terms of upscaling, Sony has a stellar reputation and the XBR79X900B in particular shines in this regard. Even a 480p standard definition DVD will be upscaled into an impressively better viewing experience which you will notice right away. If you watch something in native 1080p Full HD, the improvement is even more notable and you can thank the 4K X-Reality PRO engine for these computer generated improvements.
Finally, the sheer size of the XBR79X900B’s screen means that viewing native 4K content becomes a notably beautiful experience. A lot of visual technology experts have lamented the (debatable) fact that 4K isn’t really notably different from Full HD to the naked eye on displays of less than 60 or 55 inches. Well, whether that’s true or not, you won’t have to worry about it with the XBR79X900B’s massive 79 inch screen.
The 79X900B comes with a full host of HDMI 2.0 ports for web, media player and HDCP 2.2 compliant connectivity at a full 60Hz. It also comes with the usual useful series of USB ports and is fully hooked up for internet use through its WiFi, BlueTooth and Ethernet connections. Furthermore, the Smart TV platform gives you out of the box access to the best in online streaming 4K content apps like Movies on Netflix and Amazon.com Instant Video while also featuring full-scale web-browsing and access to hundreds of other content and music apps. Of course, the TV also comes with HEVC video compression decoding enabled.
Finally, there are also more exotic connectivity features like access to the Sony 4K media player set-top box and its vast selection of 4K movies or shows and what Sony calls Social Viewing.
This latter feature allows you to turn on the TV’s Twitter app scrolling feed and find out what others on the web are watching and what their opinions are of any given show that you happen to be viewing.
Off-angle viewing is less than stellar. Though this is something a lot of other top-shelf 4K TVs also suffer from, it could have been improved considering the price you’re going to pay for the XBR79X900B.
Finally, the price itself is a bit on the steep side. Although you’re getting your hands on a truly large, powerful and excellent piece of technology, better TVs are available and this one could easily cost at least $500 less to be an even more worthwhile purchase.
• Excellent visual display
• Best built-in speakers on the 4K TV market
• Full connectivity
• Includes access to the Sony 4K media player
• Exceptional color vibrancy with Triluminous Display
• One really heavy, bulky TV
• Off-angle viewing could use work
• Overly expensive
• Less than intuitive smart TV interface