Sony KD-75X9405C – First Impressions from CES 2015
Anyone who saw our earlier first look the extraordinarily thin Sony 65X9005C and found themselves worrying about where Sony’s trademark massive TV speakers had gone, fear not. They’re back – with high-resolution knobs on – and shouting from the sides of the monumental 75X9405C.
This high-end 4K set would be pretty substantial even if it just comprised its mighty 75-inch screen. But jutting out uncompromisingly are two jet black wings containing the latest version of the six-speaker system Sony has used on its past two generations of top-end 4K TVs.
This new configuration features improved tweeters able to reach higher frequencies, while the bottom woofer speaker on each side now uses the same proprietary magnetic fluid technology as the central mid-drivers to help them deliver a large sound without needing a large enclosure. The result of these speaker improvements is that the 75X9405C is the first TV compatible with the Hi-Res Audio ‘standard’ Sony and a few other brands have been pushing for a couple of years now.
Related: What is Hi-Res Audio?
Sony had a special room on its CES 2015 booth demoing the 75X9405’s sonic abilities, and the results really did sound amazing. Sony’s previous equivalent TVs have outperformed all rivals sonically for the past two years, but the improved speakers here have clearly elevated things to yet another level with more detail in the mix, a much richer tone to trebles, more verticality to the soundstage, and an even more rounded bass tone that blends perfectly with Sony’s new optional wireless subwoofer. This is the first TV we’ve heard that could genuinely be used as a hi-fi as well as a home cinema machine.
The 75X9405C’s wonderfully extravagant speakers are housed in a refined version of the ‘wedge’ design Sony introduced in 2014, though now rather than the TV’s rear starting to widen from the screen’s top edge all the way down, the wedge only kicks in about two-thirds of the way down, where the speakers are situated. This makes for a much less heavy-looking design more in keeping with modern tastes.
Also more in keeping with today’s aesthetic leanings is the Android-based Smart TV platform Sony has introduced across its TV range this year. While this doesn’t look quite as eye-catchingly simple to use as some of the rival smart systems we’re going to see in 2015 it does appear to have been implemented fairly intelligently in that it runs alongside some of Sony’s own best Smart features – like the ‘Discover’ content lists – rather than just replacing them.
While all this sound, design and Smart TV stuff is all well and good, though, what we most want from any Sony high-end 4K TV is dazzling picture quality. And from what we saw at CES 2015 the 75X9405C is well equipped to deliver.
For starters its 75-inch size makes it spectacularly well qualified to benefit from 4K resolution. Naturally you’ll get the maximum benefit of the screen acreage and pixel count if you feed in a native 4K signal, but while we wait for more of those to turn up, the 75X9405C looks set to deliver better upscaling of HD sources than ever before, thanks Sony’s new X1 processing chip. This carries a 4K look-up table that can identify the type of 4K feed coming in and pick the best picture settings to apply.
Also present and correct is Sony’s Triluminos technology for delivering a supposed 20-30% boost in colour gamut over normal LCD TVs, and we were excited to discover that the 75X9405C is lit by a direct LED array with a local dimming system.
Not surprisingly with all this going on the 75C9405C’s picture quality looked hugely impressive during our time on Sony’s stand, as blazingly bold colours joined forces with mostly inky black levels and stunning amounts of noiseless detail with both native 4K and upscaled HD content.
Sony even had a 75X9405C running arguably the CES’s most all-round effective demonstration – featuring footage of the Rio Carnival – of the joys of HDR (high dynamic range) technology. Unfortunately, though, Sony informed us that the HDR-compatible 75X9405C had been specially modified, and couldn’t confirm that the retail versions will also support this next-gen picture format.
Even if HDR turns out not to be on the final 75X9405Cs, though, its pictures look so bright and colourful anyway that, provided it avoids the backlight clouding issues seen on the occasional model from Sony’s previous couple of TV generations, it could well join its X9005A and X9005B predecessors in being one of the hottest TV properties of the year. Rest assured we’ll bring you a full review the moment we get our hands on a finished sample.