Arthur Blenheim on Amazon
2 years ago
01/03/2020, 01:52 AM
Sony's X930D Has a Beautiful Active-3D, HDR, and 4K Combo TV Picture Image
Sony's X930D (55") television has all of the things I want in a television: 3D, HDR (high dynamic range), and Ultra HD (4K). It has a beautiful, bright, clean, and crisp image due to HDR and Sony's attention to color contrast. Some reviews suggest this TV has contrast blooming problems, but I disagree with the general notion. Anyway, the X930D is a television that takes me into the near future. That said, I have a few minor negatives to declare, but they do not detract from the overall beauty that is this active-3D, HDR, and 4K television from Sony.
Before I start, here is a bit of justification: I share a love of cinema as much as anyone, and, because I love cinema, I am happy that TV technology brings 3D into the home. Some people are annoyed with 3D. I am not annoyed, because it is a part of film history, so I accept it. A person can argue that 3D is merely a temporary fad. But, even if it is one, it is still as unique a product to cinema as is the anamorphic lens of Cinemascope, the two versions of Cinerama, Smell-o-Vision, or today's Imax technology. I might as well embrace 3D, and I do. So, being that 3D televisions are hard to find these days, since the last manufacture of a 3D TV is 2016, Sony being one of the last manufacturers of them and that Sony has a long reputation in TVs and in cinema, Sony is a good company from which to buy one. (I write this review in January of 2020.) Some other Americans may not like 3D, but I do.
I am satisfied with my Sony 55" X930D. And, if anyone wants a 3D TV, this is a great one, despite a few caveats. The first caveat is that it utilizes the active system of 3D. I don't want to bore readers with technical details, so I'll just say that passive makes for a more well-rounded 3D television, though active is occasionally superior. Not only are passive glasses practically free, but they tend not to have problems with crosstalk--sometimes called "haloing" or "ghosting." The flaw of any active-3D television is going to be crosstalk, ignoring the cost of the active glasses for this X930D. (I found quality Hewlett-Packard BT500A glasses for $16 each on Ebay.) How drastic the crosstalk problem is depends on the movie. I would suggest most 3D Blurays do not have big problems with crosstalk. For those 3D Blurays that do, (Scorsese's "Hugo" and Zemeckis' "Beowulf," to name two,) one would want a passive-3D TV. Knowing this, I decided a while back to buy two 3D HDR 4K TVs: This active-3D Sony X930D and the passive-3D LG 55" UH8500. (This LG is an LED and not the darker LG OLED.)
The fact that the Sony X930D and my other, LG TV have HDR is very important, because many early 3D TVs were just too dark. (One newer movie that drastically suffers on the early 3D TVs is "Solo: A Star Wars Story." Half the movie looks like it takes place in the dark!) HDR means never having too dark of a 3D image ever again. (Even the not-as-bright HDR OLEDs, of which I own none, are still bright enough in dark scenes.) This is because a TV with HDR has about four times the brightness of a non-HDR TV. That is why HDR is much more important in a television than the higher resolution of 4K, with which most movies have nothing to gain versus standard Bluray, at 1080p HD (2K). (Yes, I said that.)
3D is important film history. Most movies made in 35mm or less simply do not have enough resolution to warrant transferring to 4K--the newer movies, perhaps, but, much of anything made past ten years ago, probably not. This is a main obstacle that expresses why home videos remastered to 4K are so slow coming. Even most new movies don't need 4K. Furthermore, the movies that stand to gain most with 4K releases, (the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, for instance,) those 4Ks are often pushed aside in favor of the 3D version--for dedicated cinema lovers who haven't learned to hate 3D movies, that is.
The fact that manufacturers have dropped 3D TVs is only due to marketing the newer 4K. Let me put it this way: If it weren't for the gimmickry and nonsensical noise of 4K TV marketing, 3D TVs would still be manufactured. All the big-budget films have 3D versions, long after the last 3D TV of 2016. 3D has a committed following that deserves respect. And, this is true whether Americans grasp the facts or not: 4K is less-relevant technology than 3D now, long after Sony, Samsung, and LG dropped 3D TVs in favor of what is no more than their fad of 4K. As laughable as saying so could sound to some, history proves that 3D is here to stay; 3D film has been around for a lot longer than ultra-resolution film; 3D has been around since the mid-1800s, which is almost since the advent of photography! Anyone who says 3D is a passing fad is just wrong. The passing fad might as well be 4K, if it weren't happening now. 3D is not waning at all. Nine of the top-ten moneymakers of all time have 3D versions, and, when video critics have been given a choice between the newer and higher-resolution 4K versus the older 3D versions of movies available as both, 3D has won--hands down. I do not suggest that 3D and 4K do not both have their good uses, but that 3D is usually better at immersion than 4K, where both are available; and, those who already confirm a dislike of 3D are the ones most willing to interpret out of personal bias the marketing move away from 3D TV to mean that 3D (not just the TVs) is either dying or dead, rather than caused by marketing of the less-necessary 4K TV. I am grateful of 3D and 4K being included in both of my HDR TVs (the Sony X930D and my other LG UH8500), because they provide the compatibility of both worlds--a good thing that the obstinate seem gleeful not to understand.
The other Sony X930D caveats pertain to navigation of the Android operating system. The menu system is overloaded with unnecessary things. The remote controller (RMF-TX200U) is weird, with button confusion in a dark viewing environment. I often hit the wrong button. And, the controller's smaller buttons are unintelligible. And, the TV's menu system is so complicated that finding simple things requires serious research time. Surely, it has a lot of applications, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, the new Disney Plus, Hulu, Plex, HBO Go, Showtime, Epix, Pandora, and much more, but, some the time, I can't find what I'm looking for. Furthermore, the controller only operates by line-of-sight to beneath the TV screen, which makes laying a soundbar or center speaker at the foot of the TV screen impossible, because doing so would impede TV control from the remote. One is obliged to mount the TV to a wall or buy an entertainment center where only a center speaker would fit. So, forget about installing a soundbar of any girth. The X930D speakers are weak and practically non-existent, but installing even a small soundbar impedes the remote control, so forget about it. If you're like me, you'll have a tired arm for how often you'll be raising it to change channels or do anything simple. Thank goodness my other, LG 3D TV seems to be radio-controlled, the menu system is a breeze to navigate, and the speakers are exceptionally good for a flat-screen TV. The LG controller, sans a silly pointer option, is the best remote control I've ever had, given the navigation of such a powerful TV. That area is a disappointment for the Sony and a strong suit for the LG.
In terms of the X930D's 3D experience, the best thing can occasionally turn into a bad thing. How? Because, the better the picture image, the more noticeable the crosstalk. And, when there is crosstalk, this Sony makes it very noticeable, because the HDR and 4K really are that good on this TV. But, I can recommend a few 3D Blurays that look phenomenal compared to my other TV, the passive LG I also have. I am a fan of Peter Jackson's episodic actioner, "Mortal Engines," and it looks so beautiful on this TV. Also, I recommend "Black Panther" and the new "Star Wars" movies. These movies glow with what's right about the active-3D system, despite its quirks. (Sony is the only manufacturer I know that actually made both active-3D and passive-3D TVs, its most-recent passive being the X900C.) These films have color palettes that really justify the active-3D system over its passive-3D brother. And, that is why I own one active-3D TV and one passive-3D TV. Some movies actually look better on the active! I know this isn't simple to understand, but it is true.