Sony's 65-inch TV goes big on features

While some brands are offering the thinnest and slimmest LED TV sets in the market, Sony is going big with a behemoth that impresses with its design and features.

Think of the 65X9300 as an all-in-one TV set. It comes with built-in speakers, a well-tested operating system in the form of Google's Android, and a sharp 4K ultra-high-definition screen, all housed in a superb wedge-shaped frame that deserves the best spot in your living room.

Flanking the screen are speaker arrays, covered by a glossy finish that extends from the screen. This makes the 65-inch TV set a lot bigger than it really is.

The sheer size of it means it needs to be balanced properly. It comes with adjustable feet and owners will need a large enough stand to support this TV set.

The forward-facing speakers deliver a strong audio punch with action movies. It also offers high-resolution audio playback.

New to this year's Sony TV models is the introduction of the Android TV operating system. Given my familiarity with Android, I found this TV set one of the easiest to navigate. If you're an Android user, your existing library of network attached storage devices and apps will work well with this range of TV models.

Once the TV set is connected to your home's network via either a wired or Wi-Fi connection, "throwing" content from any Android phone to the TV screen is a cinch.

The TV interface supports the purchase of movies and music via Google's Play TV and Movies channel, and each time you turn on the TV set, you will see an icon for YouTube recommendations, based on your viewing habits on YouTube.

And because it is Android, you can easily sideload Android APK files to install apps that are not offered in the local app store. The easiest way to do so is to download ES File Explorer, and navigate to websites that offer the APK files you want.

Just remember that this TV set is running Android 5.0, so you will need the latest APK files, especially if you want to stream ultra-high- definition 4K content.

I loaded up Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, and the 4K streaming option appeared.

With Amazon, some 4K content comes with the subscription but most of it will require a top-up of an existing subscription. Netflix charges a little more for 4K streaming. But once you sign up for a 4K plan, you get access to all 4K content on the service.

One issue I had was that Netflix was pre-loaded but disabled. You need to install the latest APK file to activate the Netflix app for it to work. Also note, an outdated file will clash with the pre-installed Netflix app and will not work.

Alas, this is not a one-time thing as future software updates will disable the Netflix app and you will have to activate the app again.

Movies look great on this 4K screen. Even regular high-definition content that is upconverted to the 4K resolution has lavish details and colours.

The one hiccup is with the remote controls. Using a traditional button controller on a TV set that offers multiple options across the length of the screen meant I had to keep pressing the directional buttons. While there is another touch controller, it does not offer the freedom of gesture-control navigation, like those found on Samsung and LG 4K TV sets.


PRICE: $8,999 (65X9300C), $11,999 (75X9400C)
RESOLUTION: 4K Ultra HD Edge Led (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)
CONNECTIVITY: 4 x HDMI, 3 x USB, 1 x Digital Audio Output, Bluetooth




VERDICT: Though the interface is not as smooth, Sony's Android TV packs the biggest library of apps, games and content available on any smart TV platform.

This article was first published on November 11, 2015.
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