Sony x950h nits

Sony x950h nits DEFAULT

Sony X950H 4K HDR TV review: Seriously satisfying


  • Very bright
  • Impressive black levels
  • Top-quality motion handling
  • Excellent out-of-box color


  • No variable refresh rate support
  • Unstable tabletop stand

You might not need a TV as excellent as the Sony X950H, but if you see one in person, I’m willing to bet you’re going to want it.

To be honest, if you’re interested in a Sony TV with great picture quality and gamer-friendly features, the Sony X900H, which sits just below the X950H being reviewed here, would be a better choice. However, if you count yourself among the ranks of those for whom only the best picture quality in an LED TV will do, the X950H is where it’s at. If you want the best picture quality Sony makes this year — and indeed one of the best TVs you can buy in 2020 — consider the Sony A8H OLED TV.

For perspective, the X950H is available in 49-, 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch versions for $998, $1198, $1698, $2798, and $3,998 ,respectively (nonsale pricing). The X900H comes in 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch variants priced at $998, $1298, $2198, and $2798, respectively.  This puts a $400 premium on the 65-inch X950H over the X900H.

For those who aren’t aware, I am an unapologetic fan of Sony’s best TVs. The reason: Picture processing. Sony’s stated goal to deliver “creator’s intent” is most certainly a marketing line, but it something at which the company succeeds, and it does so through a picture processing chip that takes an LED TV panel any company could buy off the shelf and transforms it into a work of art.

To be clear, I understand that kind of accuracy is not a priority for many buyers, and it is true that there are many less expensive TVs that would be a more practical choice for most people. The X950H is certainly a niche TV, and Sony makes no apologies for that. Is it right for you? Let’s find out.

Out of the box

Prepare yourself for a rather involved unboxing experience. There is a ton of plastic clinging to the X950H, presumably to protect its gorgeous, glossy design accents. There’s also a glut of paper in the form of product manuals and setup guides, stuff I usually suggest tossing in the recycle bin.

In this case, you may want to hold on to the setup guide if you are stand-mounting the TV — or just watch my X950H unboxing video — because getting the TV’s feet installed is … less than intuitive. On the plus side, there are two options for orienting the feet. One places the feet at the extreme ends of the TV, the other faces them inward for a more narrow footprint (but it looks goofy).

Once the TV is set up, you’ll likely admire its form factor. The X950H doesn’t have an especially thin profile due to its full-array local dimming backlighting system, but its bezels are almost nonexistent. Sure, it’s still a black slab in your room, but it’s a classy one.

Sure, it’s still a black slab in your room, but it’s a classy one.

Depending on the lighting situation in your room, you may notice that the TV’s screen casts off a sort of rainbow effect when it is off or when viewing dark content in a bright room. I believe this is due to a combination of antiglare treatment and a panel layer that improves off-angle picture quality. I’ve seen this on other TV’s, and while I didn’t find it to be problematic for most of my testing period, I was slightly bothered while trying to watch Netflix’s notoriously dark Ozark when sunlight was pouring into the room. I saw less of myself and the room reflected, sure, but I also saw a hazy rainbow.


Studies have shown that most people don’t do any picture settings adjustments when they get their TVs home, and for those who don’t, please know that the X950H’s out-of-the-box “Standard” picture preset is among the least obnoxious I’ve seen from any manufacturer.

If you’re buying this particular TV, however, I’m willing to bet you want the best picture quality possible and, for that I would recommend by starting with the “custom” mode, which offers the best color accuracy right out of the box. You may find the custom mode to be a little dark, so feel free to adjust the backlight setting to get the brightness level where you want it. Otherwise, you won’t have to touch anything else.

That works for SDR content, but you’ll also want to dial in the HDR picture preset that you like best for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. I suggest pulling up the YouTube app, searching for 4K HDR content, and playing back one of the clips that comes up. Go into the picture settings and select the HDR picture mode you like best.

For Dolby Vision adjustments, I suggest playing a Dolby Vision-enabled clip from Netflix. Again, go into the picture settings and select the Dolby Vision preset (bright or dark) that you like best.

One additional note for setup: Sony offers a “light sensor” option that will automatically adjust not only the X950H’s brightness but also its gamma curve based on your room’s lighting situation. I find the feature works extremely well, but it will also darken the picture in dark rooms, so if you prefer the punchiest HDR experience you can get, you’ll want to turn this feature off.


I don’t often talk about a TV’s sound quality because it is almost always poor and in dire need of at least a soundbar for anything other than watching the news. In the case of the X950H, however, it’s worth discussion.

Two added speakers pull off some impressive tricks.

Sony’s sound strategy with the X950H was to place small speakers on each side of the TV, located just below the top, in order to add a sense of directionality and spaciousness to the sound. Working with the two down-firing speakers at the bottom of the TV, these two added speakers pull off some impressive tricks. While I would not characterize the sound as high fidelity, I will say that the sound is far better than most TVs and adds some immersion to action-packed movies.

I’d still suggest getting a better sound system for an experience that sounds as good as it looks, though.

Picture quality

If you’ve spent any amount of time reading TV reviews lately, you’ve probably heard a lot about zones and nits. Zones refers to the number of local dimming zones a TV’s backlighting system has to help control black levels and improve contrast. Typically, more zones are better.

Nits refers to the measurement of peak brightness a TV is capable of and, as you can probably imagine, more is generally considered better.

Sony breaks both rules. Please allow me to nerd out for a moment. Skip the next two paragraphs if you want the bottom line.

Sony doesn’t discuss how many zones its TVs have, nor does it like to talk about its peak brightness measurements, claiming in both cases that the numbers don’t necessarily represent performance. I agree, to a degree, but for grins, I did measure the X950H’s peak brightness in the custom picture mode at about 980 nits (with variance of 10 nits in both directions). For those who don’t know their nits from their mitts, that’s a very respectable number.

As for zones, I didn’t count because I don’t care and it is difficult to do with a Sony TV. Sony has some backlighting magic going on and is really the only TV manufacturer I’m aware of that manages to make zone count almost irrelevant. The fact that it is difficult to count the backlighting zones in the X950H is a testament to that fact.

The bottom line is that the X950H is more than sufficiently bright to deliver an excellent HDR experience.

The bottom line is that the X950H is more than sufficiently bright to deliver an excellent HDR experience while maintaining excellent black levels, all without crushing out low-light details. The backlight control is very good, which means the halos you might see around bright objects on dark backgrounds are minimized quite well. This also translates into very black letterbox bars that don’t turn gray when the action on the screen gets bright, and no excessive screen brightening when closed captions are in use.

Out-of-box color is also very good in the custom mode, and it is surprisingly good in the game mode as well. Typically, game mode tosses color accuracy to the wind, but with the X950H, I was pleasantly surprised to see a warmer color temperature adopted while overall brightness was very high. More on gaming in a moment.

Motion handling is excellent with the X950H, providing smooth, judder-free movie playback, as well as stutter-free motion from 60Hz content on Netflix and YouTube. The X950H’s processing also eliminates any moiré effect one might see in very tight, uniform patterns such as the window screens or the tight patterns on high-rise buildings.

The X950H’s processing really shines when handling low-bit depth content from streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, or Hulu (any of them, really). On other TVs it is not uncommon to see an effect called banding in broad color areas — think a big picture of the sky with subtle changes of the color blue — where it appears there are semi-circular bands of color. The Sony X950H’s processor, however, smooths things out quite successfully.

The X950H has a superbly cinematic picture.

My only picture quality-related complaint is with off-angle viewing. Contrast and color roll off significantly if you aren’t sitting dead center in front of the TV. This is typical of LED TVs with VA-type panels, but Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology had me hoping for better. Ultimately, I’m glad no overall picture quality elements were sacrificed for wide-angle viewing. It is best to just accept that’s how VA LED TVs are and enjoy the superior contrast they provide.

With all picture quality components taken together, what you get with the X950H is a superbly cinematic picture. It is deep, rich, and punchy when called to sparkle. Simply put, it’s one of the best pictures I’ve seen on an LED TV, particularly at its price.

Not for gamers

While the X950H’s 18.3-millisecond input lag is suitable for most casual gaming scenarios, this model lacks the support for variable refresh rate (VRR) that we’re seeing across a broad range of televisions this year. Sony told me that it sees this TV appealing mostly to movie buffs and chose not to arm it with some of the features with which it blessed its X900H, including VRR (via future update) and an ATSC 3.0 tuner.

Android TV experience

Until recently, Android TV was a frustratingly sluggish experience. Fortunately, the system on chip now being used in most 2020 TVs handles Android TV without significant lag or load times. Fans of the Google experience will appreciate the ease of having any previously logged-in apps automatically updated so that repetitive entry of usernames and passwords can be avoided. Signing in to Google also allows YouTube users to keep their viewing history and suggested videos consistent across all devices.

Our take

The Sony X950H offers excellent picture quality, surprisingly good sound, and a solid smart TV experience. Its picture processing improves the viewability of all sources thanks to excellent upscaling and the ability to clean up low bit-depth content. While it isn’t the best choice for gamers, it is an ideal TV for movie buffs. While I am very confident in recommending this TV, I must stop short of an Editor’s Choice award because I think it serves a very niche audience.

Is there a better alternative?

I think the Sony X900H is a practical alternative for those who want excellent Sony picture quality with gamer-friendly features. Samsung’s Q80T is also a strong contender in this price class. We have yet to see what comes from Vizio this year and will update this section accordingly once we’ve had some hands-on time.

How long will it last

A lack of HDMI 2.1 compatibility, for which Sony is taking a lot of heat, gives me some pause when it comes to future-proofing. However, Sony’s solid track record for build quality and the X950H’s excellent picture quality has me believing this TV will be relevant for many years to come.


Sony offers a one-year parts and labor warranty when purchased from an authorized retailer.

Should you buy it?

Hardcore cinephiles will love the X950H, but most folks in the market will probably be looking for better overall value or a TV with more up-to-date features. I say if you are among those who want the best picture they can get from an LED TV right now, the X950H is a solid choice. Those who are less enthusiastic may want to look elsewhere.

Editors' Recommendations



30-second review

We have a feeling that the Sony X950H Series 4K TV (XH95 in the UK and X9500H in Australia) was tailor-made for us. It almost perfectly addresses all the issues we had with the less-than-amazing Sony X950G/XG95, and it does so by offering louder and clearer audio, while adding a number of smart UI changes that make customizing the picture easier than ever.

It's within inches of being one of the best TVs of its year – a title that only gets harder to win as manufacturers pump out better processors and panels every few months. Sadly, it's just kept from that honor by two poor design decisions: lack of HDMI 2.1 ports and a new stand design that can make the display a bit wobbly.

Thankfully, the TV still has eARC for Dolby Atmos passthrough and wall-mounting circumvents the use of the legs entirely, so neither issue is an absolute deal-breaker. 

While there are a number of cheaper TVs out there that achieve similar performance, none have the X1 Ultimate Processor, support for Dolby Vision and the latest version of Android TV. If you want all of the above and don’t mind wall-mounting it, the XH95/X950H is definitely hard to beat. 

Price and release date 

The Sony XH95 Series (Sony XBR-X950H Series in the US) is part of the Sony 2020 TV lineup that was partially unveiled at CES 2020 back in January. It’s not the most premium LCD-LED TV in the lineup, but it is the most premium TV that’s within arm’s reach of the regular TV buyer (read: not millionaires).

To that end, the Sony XH95/X950H starts at an affordable sticker price of $999/£1,199 if you opt for the 49-inch screen size – a good pick if you don’t want to deal with the wobbliness of the 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch versions – and rockets up to $3,999/£3,999 if you opt for the outrageously large 85-inch version.

How does that stack up to other 4K TVs from Samsung and LG? Well, it’s actually right around the same price as the Samsung Q80T and LG Nano 90. We like the Sony a bit more than the LG Nano Series due to its more natural colors, superb motion handling and excellent upscaling, but this year’s Samsung Q80 Series offers some tough competition and is worth checking out if you’re on the fence.


Sony X950H/XH95 Specs

Screen sizes available: 49-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch | 4K: Yes | HDR: Yes (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG) | Panel Technology: LED-LCD | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | 3D: No | Inputs: Four HDMIs (all four HDMI 2.0 but one with eARC), two USBs, RF tuner, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optical digital audio output 

Before we dive too deep into the design, it’s worth pointing out that the TV basically has two variations – one for the 55-, 65- and 75-inch versions, and the other for the 49-inch and 85-inch version. 

The biggest difference between them is that the latter uses last year’s chassis and legs, while the former uses a new design that we’ll describe – and criticize a bit – below. If you plan on buying a 49-inch or 85-inch version, check out our review of the Sony XG95/X950G for what to expect in terms of design and setup, but everything else in this section applies to both TVs.

In terms of what’s similar across all the models are the Full Array LED design that offers nearly OLED-levels of black and reduced haloing, plus the X1 Ultimate Processor that we’ll talk a bit more in the performance section below.

But let’s focus on the chassis and frame of the 55-, 65- and 75-inch models: setting them up is as simple as building the metal legs by using a few screws and then sliding them into place in either a wide-legged or narrow-legged configuration. This design allows people with smaller entertainment centers to still hold the TV – which is handy for folks who don’t want their furniture to dictate which TV they buy.

It’s a great idea, but unfortunately the way Sony executes it makes the TV wobbly on its legs with a fairly high center of gravity. That means it’s easier than most other TVs to tip over, and could be a real problem for folks who have kids running around. If you’re buying it, it’s probably a better and safer idea to wall-mount it instead.

Spin the TV around to the back and you’ll find the inputs and outputs of the screen. That includes four side HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.3 and HDMI-CEC, one of which supports eARC for Dolby Atmos audio passthrough. There’s a pair of USB ports for charging and connecting devices, optical audio out, a 3.5mm audio jack and an ethernet port, too. 

For most folks, the decision to go with HDMI 2.0 instead of the newer and more future-proof HDMI 2.1 isn’t a big deal, but for gamers who want a Variable Refresh Rate-capable TV with [email protected], this TV doesn't have it. Bummer.

Smart TV (Android TV) 

Like previous years, Sony TVs still use Android TV as their primary smart platform.  For some, that's an instant deal-breaker, but honestly Android TV has been making a number of improvements over the years that have brought it closer than ever to LG's webOS and Samsung's Tizen smart platforms.

One of the biggest changes here is that Android TV now has basically every app the other two have including HBO Max and Disney Plus alongside usual staples like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Unfortunately you won't find Apple TV Plus here, but basically every other major streaming app is accounted for.

In terms of speed, Android TV on the X950H/XH95 is pretty fast, especially if you're mostly using it for Netflix. We went from standby mode to streaming in full 4K in Dolby Vision in about 15-20 seconds, and with the right network speeds you should have no problem matching that.

Though, admittedly, the best feature for all the amateur calibrators out there is the improved Picture Settings menu that has visual representations of every single option. Sure, most folks know the difference between brightness, contrast and color saturation, but having a detailed description with an image foolproofs the system.

As you'd expect with Google's Android TV platform, the Sony X950H/XH95 offers Google Assistant and access to the Google Play Store, plus built-in Chromecast. There’s also now support out of the box for Apple Airplay 2, which is great for all the iOS users out there looking for an Apple TV alternative. 

Smarter, faster and easier to use than before, Android TV is slowly but surely inching its way closer to a top spot on our list of the best smart TV platforms.


In terms of performance, Sony TVs have always been able to nail that natural look with impeccable color accuracy without a problem, and this year is no different. 

For most of our tests, we used the TV’s Custom preset which, without tweaking, is almost perfect. It’s basically the ISF preset you’d find on other manufacturers’ sets with slightly subdued brightness, a tinge of warmth and little motion processing. You can basically set it and forget it for almost all forms of content. 

If you want something a bit brighter or more vivid, you can use the Standard picture mode with HDR Remaster for HD/SDR content to get that artificial pop, or crank the settings to their max with the Vivid setting that you’ll see on store shelves.

Because the TV uses the same Sony X1 Ultimate Processor as last year, you probably won’t see a huge difference between this year’s Sony X950H/XH95 and last year’s Sony X950G/XG95, but Sony has included some extra tech to widen viewing angles to every model in the lineup this year instead of just the 75- and 85-inch versions that had it last year. It’s also added a light sensor that can raise the brightness when the TV detects sunlight or bright overhead lights, and will dim automatically when you settle in for a late night movie. 

Speaking of brightness, however, it's worth saying upfront that the X950H/XH95 may not be as bright as some of the other LCD-LED TVs in its price range, especially if you're comparing it against Samsung's QLED series or the Vizio P-Series Quantum X.

Obviously, you get the most out of this set with native 4K/HDR content that takes advantage of full array lighting design and beautiful Triluminous color reproduction tech. With Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG all supported, you should have plenty of options to choose from in terms of content, though you won’t find HDR10+ support here.

That said, because 4K/HDR content isn’t quite ubiquitous yet, you’ll be happy to know that Sony has tweaked its upscaling process even further – not that it really needed it. Like all the other manufacturers, Sony’s using object-based upscaling based on a gigantic image library and some machine learning wizardry. Long story short, HD content looks pretty great, even if you never flick on HDR Remaster – called Live Color in the settings – though we do recommend at least trying it once to see what you’re missing.


The upgrades to Android TV and Sony’s picture performance are great, but the addition of a second amplifier for the two top drivers on the back of the TV is an absolute game-changer. Last year the TV used a single amplifier for all four drivers (bottom left-right and top left-right) and it made dialogue nearly impossible to hear if the TV was placed in a large open room. 

The addition of a second amplifier for the top drivers means dialogue is much, much clearer this time around and while it’s not quite soundbar levels of clarity, it’s a big improvement. (If you really want the best sound experience, we recommend connecting a Dolby Atmos Soundbar or AVR to the HDMI 3 port of the TV for true spatial audio – trust us, it’s worth the investment.)

The other, smaller change that’s new for this year is the change to the almond-shaped X-Balanced Speaker shape for the bottom drivers instead of the ovular one used last year. This helps disperse the sound to give the TV a slightly wider soundstage and seems to boost the overall clarity in the mid-range. Again, don’t expect miracles, these are still two 10w speakers and two 5w speakers up on top, but it’s a noticeable improvement.

The other neat upgrade is to the remote of the TV that has a built-in microphone that can be used for automatic EQ leveling when you setup the TV. You probably aren't missing too much if you skip this step, but considering that it's ultra-convenient to use, we recommend that you don't.

Other panels to ponder… 

If you’re looking for another TV with full array lighting and similar upscaling, check out the Samsung Q80T. It’s a bit brighter than the Sony and more vivid than the Sony is, but doesn’t quite do motion or upscaling as well. We recommend the Samsung TV for folks who are buying a TV for bright living rooms and who love bright, poppy images, while we recommend the Sony TV for people who want something a bit more refined. 

If you’re looking for quality performance at half the cost, we recommend looking at last year’s TCL 6-Series QLED R625 screens that aren’t as bright and have slightly oversaturated images, but offer similar performance for a whole lot less. 

The last options we’ll give, of course, are the LG CX OLED and LG BX OLED that will be available later this year. Yes, they’re more expensive than the Sony TV is and might eventually succumb to very minimal image burn in, but you simply can’t get the pure black levels of an OLED TV on an LED-LCD screen.

Should you buy the Sony X950H/XH95 4K TV?

Buy it if...

You're a serious cinephile 

There's just no getting around it - the Sony X1 Ultimate is a great processor. Sony has painstakingly tuned it to put out the most natural images with the Custom picture setting, and it makes pretty much every piece of film look amazing.  

You're a major sports fanatic

If you're a sports fan, you'll appreciate the TV's 120Hz native refresh rate and seriously good motion processing chops. The fact that it can handle both ultra-fast movement and slow-paced dramas without overprocessing is a testament to the years worth of work Sony has done in this space. 

Don't buy it if...

You're a parent with little ones or an accident-prone person

A wobbly stand is easy to ignore if you’re older and live alone or with a spouse, but if you’re a parent with young ones running around, we’d have some serious concerns about the Sony XH95’s new stand design – especially when the legs are set close together. TVs tip over with surprising regularity so it’s important to take precautions against tragedy by wall-mounting this – and any other TV – if you think there’s any chance someone might come along and knock it over.

You're a gamer who wants a totally future-proof TV set

Sony didn’t do a great job of future-proofing the TV. By using HDMI 2.0 ports instead of HDMI 2.1, the TV won’t support VRR or be capable of handling [email protected] - which is a bummer for gamers getting ready for the next generation of consoles and PC components.

  • Looking for a new screen? Check out our list of the best 4K TVs


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Welcome to T3's Sony XH95/X950H (KD-65XH9505) review. Named the Sony XH95 in the UK or X950H in the US, the brand's flagship 4K LCD TV for 2020 packs in masses of high-end tech to give you dazzling visuals including a direct LED backlighting system with local dimming, Sony’s most powerful X1 Ultimate image processor, the company's wide viewing angle technology, and a powerfully potent new Acoustic Multi-Audio sound system – all tucked into a super sleek design.

Together, these features have launched the set into our list of the best TVs – in its price range, you'll struggle to find a TV that does it better, particularly from LED TVs. There is strong competition from the best OLED TVs, but even those struggle to match it for price for new models.

We've tested the 65-inch Sony KG-65XH9505 version for this review and broken it down into XXX categories: price and features, picture quality, sound quality, design and usability. 

Sony XH95/X950H review: price, release date & features

The Sony KD-65XH9505 costs £1,999 in the UK, or $1,699 in the US under the name KD-65X950H. That’s obviously a chunk of change. It’s still, though, majorly cheaper than 65-inch versions of LG's CX OLED TV, or Samsung’s flagship 4K TV, the recently reviewed Q95T.

The XH95/X950H range was released in spring 2020, and is available in plenty of other sizes, including 49 inches (£1,199/$999), 55 inches (£1,599/$1,199), 75 inches (£2,699/$2,799) and 85 inches (£3,499/$3,999).

The prices also starts to look better and better as you run down the XH95’s feature list. For starters, its LCD panel is direct lit (where the LEDs sit right behind the screen, instead of at the edges), and separate zones of its LEDs can output different levels of light during any given shot. These features always contribute to a superior contrast performance from LCD TVs.

They’re backed up on the XH95, moreover, by Sony’s X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro, which manipulates the way power is distributed around the dimming zones so that dark areas look darker while bright areas look punchier.

There appear to be 60 separate dimming zones in the 65XH9505’s screen. This isn’t a huge amount. Though experience increasingly suggests that it’s not always just the number of dimming zones you have that counts; it’s what you do with them – we saw that with the Samsung Q80T. 

Which brings us to Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor. This is Sony’s most powerful processor to date, and while it doesn’t really expand on 2019’s version, it’s packed with picture-enhancing features and has delivered superb results in the past. 

Key features of X1 Ultimate include Super Bitmapping for removing colour striping from HDR pictures, a database-driven system for upscaling sub-4K content, and Object-Based HDR Remaster for converting standard dynamic range sources to HDR on most of the XH95’s picture presets. 

Sony’s X-Motion Clarity technology, meanwhile, uses the local dimming system to achieve less of a brightness compromise than you’d normally get when tackling TV judder with a black frame insertion system. 

The 65XH9505 carries Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology, too, so you can watch it from almost any angle without pictures losing colour or contrast. Previous versions of this have tended to compromise contrast, though, so it will be interesting to see if Sony’s new flagship 4K TV has tweaked the viewing angle/contrast balance.

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has joined many other brands this year in introducing a new Ambient Optimisation system to some of its TVs, such as raising or lowering the brightness depending on the light levels in your living room. On the XH95, though, this doesn’t just apply to pictures. There’s also a sound optimisation feature that takes account of not just the shape of your room but also room features such as chair and curtain positions.

The picture side of the optimisation system intelligently enhances various elements of the picture to try and make pictures look the same in a bright room as they would in a dark room. 

The XH95’s biggest advances arguably come with its audio system. For starters, two rear-mounted ‘sound positioning tweeters’ contribute to a new Acoustic Multi-Audio feature which seeks to make sounds appear to be coming from the correct part of the screen.

This is backed up by a new X-Balanced Speaker boasting an unusual elongated egg shape and an ultra-refined components to deliver what Sony claims is much more dynamism and distortion-free volume and range than you’d get from regular slim TV speakers.

From here on in, the XH95’s feature story gets more mixed. So, for instance, while it supports the HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR formats, it doesn’t support the HDR10+ format which, like Dolby Vision, adds scene by scene picture info to HDR streams to help compatible TVs do a better job. To be fair, there’s much more Dolby Vision content around than HDR10+ content, but there are TVs out there now that support both formats.

Sony also hasn’t joined many of its rival TV brands this year in offering support for either the Hollywood-approved Filmmaker Mode, or the Dolby Vision IQ system that combines an assessment of room conditions with Dolby Vision’s extra image data to deliver a consistent picture experience in different light levels.

Sony’s argument for not carrying such features is essentially that it believes its own X1 Ultimate processor can deliver pictures so good that they don’t need any ‘help’. And it seems IMAX agrees, for the XH95 has been certified by IMAX as good enough to do full justice to the ultra clean, ultra dynamic IMAX Enhanced picture system that’s available on some 4K Blu-rays and (in the US) Fandango streams.

The XH95 also carries a Netflix Calibrated mode, designed to get the TV looking as close as possible to the quite proscribed mastering setup Netflix uses when making its own content.

The final bit of mixed feature news concerns the XH95’s connections. For while there are four HDMIs, and one of these supports eARC technology for lossless Dolby Atmos passthrough, there’s no support for such (potentially) key next-gen gaming features as for 4K 120 frames-per-second playback, Automatic Low Latency Mode switching or Variable Refresh Rate support – if you're looking for the best gaming TV ready for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, this is not it.

Provided you remember to activate the Game mode manually when you’re gaming, though, it reduces input lag to a pretty respectable 18.5ms.

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony XH95/X950H review: Picture quality

In the ways that really matters, the Sony XH95/X950H’s pictures are pretty glorious.

They’re extremely bright, for starters. The KD-65XH9505's peaks (measured on a white HDR window covering 10% of the screen) of just over 1,000 nits in Standard mode and around 980 nits in Cinema mode sit at the higher end of the LCD TV spectrum (it's way more than the likes of the Panasonic HX800, for example), and are ideally placed to deliver HDR with the sort of dynamism and light range it deserves.

These brightness levels are very consistent, too. In other words, they don’t start dimming down fast like the even brighter peak light levels you get from Samsung’s Q95T. This consistency contributes to a superb sense of stability, with practically none of the distracting ‘jumps’ in overall brightness many LCD TVs show as they adjust their light output to suit changes in picture content. 

The consistency of the 65XH9505’s brightness output plays into its colours, so that they retain as much punch and naturalism during dark scenes as they show during bright scenes. There’s no severe reduction in colour volume or tone slippage during dark scenes like there can be with TVs that manipulate their overall brightness between scenes more aggressively.

Unlike most TVs, the 65XH9505 retains pretty similar colour toning for both of its most sensible (unless you have the set calibrated using the Custom mode) Standard and Cinema picture presets. Which is pretty handy given that Sony’s proclaimed mission with all of its premium TVs is to try and colour match the tones delivered by its own professional mastering studio monitors.

Certainly, colours consistently look balanced, subtle and well matched to the gently warm tone TV and especially film studios tend to prefer. 

The 65XH9505’s gentle picture warmth, crucially, avoids the yellow push that many rival LCD TVs introduce when you try to shift them from their typically quite ‘cool’ (blue-biased) tones. 

Sony’s approach to colour proves especially effective with skin tones, which look consistently more natural across a wide range of content than they do on any other LCD TV we’ve seen to date.

Strong colour performances are generally dependent on good black levels and contrast. So its no great surprise – on one level – to find the 65XH9505 delivering mostly excellent black levels for such a bright LCD TV in this price range. 

Even with notoriously tough-to-show dark HDR movie sequences, it can produce black colours that actually look black, without, as noted before, suffering with lots of distracting light level ‘wobbles’. The 65XH9505’s black levels don’t appear to be nearly as much affected by Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology as they have been before, even though the TV still supports much wider viewing angles than most LCD sets.  

The 65XH9505’s native 4K pictures look refined, natural and textured. And as always with the X1 Ultimate processor, sub-4K images are upscaled superbly, leaving them looking more dense and sharp without making the results look forced or noisy. 

Sharpness levels aren’t as high as those you can get with Samsung’s latest TVs. But you’re never in doubt with the 65XH9505 that you’re watching a 4K TV. And you can ramp up the sense of sharpness quite handily without messing the picture badly via the Reality Creation processor’s Resolution adjustment.

It also helps the 65XH9505’s sense of sharpness that its motion processing is so good. It gently reduces judder and motion blur without taking away the key 24 frames a second effect when watching films, or generating many unwanted side effects.

(Image credit: Sony)

The main area where things get complicated with the 65XH9505’s pictures is with HDR shots that contain a strident mix of very bright and very dark areas. You can at times see quite extended areas of light around the bright objects in such content, though crucially, thanks to Sony’s impressive backlight controls, the blooming is both faint and undefined at its edges – two things that make it much less distracting than it would be otherwise. 

There’s no doubt that Samsung’s top-end TVs suffer much less with this backlight blooming effect. However, they achieve that by dimming down stand-out bright picture elements much more than the 65XH9505 does. In fact, Sony’s set barely dims such bright objects at all.

Which of these approaches to backlight management you prefer will be to some extent a matter of taste. Do you feel you’re more likely to be distracted by the aggressive brightness adjustments on the Samsung sets, or the greater backlight clouding on the Sony set? Your typical viewing environment might play a part in this, since in bright rooms the Sony’s faint clouding will be less noticeable, while the brightness it retains with stand-out bright object will matter more.

All in all, Sony’s backlight control algorithms can be considered pretty remarkable taking into account how relatively few dimming zones it has in relation to its high brightness. There is, though, one situation where Sony’s approach really does come a cropper: when you’re watching a wide aspect ratio film with black bars above and below it the picture. 

Here, the blooming from a bright area in the picture can sometimes spill out into the black bars, at which point it becomes much more noticeable, drawing your eye away from the action you’re supposed to be watching – especially if the bright object causing the blooming in the black bars moves, dragging the area of blooming with it.

The only other small issues we have with the 65XH9505’s pictures are that reds can sometimes look a touch orange, and that sometimes subtle shading details are lost in the very brightest parts of HDR pictures. 

However, where this latter issue is concerned, Sony’s approach to handling HDR actually seems to help the 65XH9505’s HDR pictures look exceptionally dynamic, enabling it inject life into bright highlights of HDR pictures with an extra hit of intensity compared with most rivals. Even rivals that ostensibly boast higher levels of peak brightness.

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony XH95/X950H review: Sound quality

The new audio features Sony has introduced to the 65XH9505 work wonders. The Multi-Audio system, for starters, helps to create a prodigiously large soundstage that casts sound far to the left and right of the screen. It does this, moreover, without making even dense, complex mixes sound incoherent, or treble details sound brittle.

The new speaker design pumps out prodigious amounts of volume without distorting or dropping out, too. On the contrary, the speakers partner the volume with an impressively open and well-rounded mid-range.

Despite the excellent scale of the soundstage, though, voices remain not just locked to the screen, but locked to the part of the screen where the person is talking from.

I wouldn’t say the on-screen sound placement is quite as accurate overall as the ‘Object Tracking Sound’ system in Samsung’s latest TVs. The size, dynamic range and precision of the sound the 65XH9505 makes, though, is more than enough to make the 65XH9505 one of the best-sounding TVs we’ve heard.

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony XH95/X950H review: Design & Usability

The 65XH9505 is a very attractive TV – especially if you position its feet at the screen’s extreme corners, where they become so low profile that you don’t really feel aware of them.

The frame around the screen is narrow too, and the metallic trim that runs around its outer edge ties it neatly into the silvery feet.

The rear is chunky by modern TV standards, but then it does have to house a direct lighting system. In any case, the way the front frame stands proud of the rear hides the depth quite cleverly.

While it’s nice to see Sony providing the option of mounting the feet in narrower positions under the screen, for people wanting to put it on a relatively small bit of furniture, the resulting look to the TV is much less attractive – but the option is great to have anyway. 

It’s a shame, too, to see the 65XH95050 doesn’t get really any cable management system, despite these being a popular feature of many of Sony’s recent TVs.

As usual with Sony TVs, the 65XH9505’s operating system is built around Android TV (generation 9). Personally we don’t see much to celebrate in this; the interface still looks and feels clunky, and remains limited versus some rival platforms in its customisation options and ability to present lots of content options in a friendly, digestible way. It’s still a little more buggy than other platforms too, though mercifully much less so than it used to be.

With Android still struggling to cater for all of the UK’s key terrestrial broadcaster catch up apps, Sony has thankfully turned to YouView to provide a friendly, nicely presented home for the likes of the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and so on.

However, for streaming services more broadly, there's very good support in Android TV, and you can always add one of the best 4K media streamers cheaply if there's anything missing (or if you just want a nicer interface).

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony XH95/X950H review: Verdict

The Sony XH95/X950H isn’t perfect, but it is best-in-class at this price range. It combines barnstorming sound with pictures that, for the vast majority of the time, are truly things of beauty.

It lacks a few features (especially when it comes to gaming) now starting to appear pretty routinely on rival flagship 4K TVs, and its backlighting occasionally makes its presence felt a little too strongly.

But as we say, the latter is a trade off for the dazzling HDR peaks it can products, and if you're not worried about having all the latest gaming tricks, their absence won't bother you.

When it comes to the competition, the Samsung Q90T/Q95T is a stronger TV overall in our opinion, but it comes with a huge price premium over this one, so we think a lot of people will find this more of a sweet spot.

Closer to this in price range is the Samsung Q80T, and for those into gaming, that's the better choice here – it's also excellent for image quality, and is very well-equipped for next-gen console features. Outside of gaming, it's a closer call – though for sports lovers, the Sony's motion handling is a better choice.

The closest OLED to check out is the LG CX, which demands a significantly higher price than the Sony, and can't quite match its brightness, but OLED's ability to handle contrast on a per-pixel basis and with near-infinite nuance in dark areas certainly puts the backlight blooming issues of the Sony in their place. For cinematic movie lovers with darker rooms, it may be a better choice, but the Sony will dazzle more during daylight.

If you like Sony's processing prowess and want the richness of OLED, the Sony A8/A8H is a superb choice. As with the LG CX, you lose a chunk of brightness compared to the XH95 (in fact, this set is less bright than the LG, which it's close to in price), but Sony's nuanced approach to image processing makes it maybe the best performer on the planet for subtle, natural, deep contrast, while still packing plenty of colour and HDR punch. Like the XH95, it's not a good option for gaming, but for movie viewers not worried about bright light washing out the screen, it's one of the best sets available.

Sony X950H TV Review (2020) – Does Sony's Highest-End LCD 4K TV Live Up to the Hype?

Review: Sony 65X950H 4K LED-LCD TV Makes Top Performance Affordable

Sony 65-inch 65X950H Bravia 4K Ultra HDTV was designed to bring the next-level performance from its vaunted Master Series televisions into mid-range price levels and after a thorough review we can confidently say — mission accomplished .

The Sony Bravia XBR 65X950H is a 4K full-array LED-LCD TV seated just below the Master Series line in the company’s 2020 product assortment. The series this year offers a nice wide viewing angle in more screen sizes while offering premium-calber color and brightness performance from high dynamic range (HDR) and standard dynamic range (SDR) content, alike.

The X950H series models pack a slew of picture and sound optimization features, including IMAX Enhanced Certification, to present special IMAX Enhanced content in the home conforming to close to the same stringent quality standards established by IMAX and DTS for professional IMAX theaters. The certification ensures a display’s ability to reproduce the IMAX Cinematic experience for 4K/HDR video along with support for advanced (DTS:X) surround sound (via a forthcoming firmware update) in the home. Due to IMAX’s demanding baseline qualifying criteria for a product to carry the certification, it ensures the set will deliver superior picture and sound performance playing non-IMAX Enhanced content, as well.

Our tests verified that after calibration, the 65X950H conforms with the Ultra HD Alliance’s criteria for a “premium” level 4K television, including covering better than 90% of the UHDA-P3 wide color gamut and better than 1,000 nits of peak HDR brightness.

In this series, Sony offers models in the 49- ($998 UPP), 55- ($1,198 UPP) , 65- ($1,698 UPP), 75- ($2,249.99 UPP) and 85-inch ($3,998 UPP) screen sizes. (Prices and availability are subject to change at any moment. Check the links for the latest information). Smaller versions will have fewer LED local dimming zones than larger models and may omit such features as X-Wide Angle technology, Acoustic Multi Audio and X-Balanced Speakers found in the larger versions of the same model class.

This year, Sony’s excellent X-Wide Angle viewing technology was expanded to the 55- and 65-inch models after being offered in just the 75- and 85-inch screen sizes last year. We can report it works very well at presenting rich, well-saturated colors, wide contrast and brightness uniformity across a much broader viewing range to the left and right of center screen. This makes the set well suited for wall mounting as well as table top placement.

Sony includes in the model class its high-performance X1 Ultimate picture processor, which drives the company’s best-in-class 4K X-Reality Pro upscaling technology, as well as Object-based Super Resolution detail enhancement and HDR Remaster technology that boosts color and contrast for often striking SDR images. Sony also offers one of the best picture noise reduction systems in the business and couples this with Sony’s latest Triluminos Display package of color enhancement technologies to present an acceptably wide gamut of natural-looking colors.

To generate a nice wide contrast performance, the LCD-based set uses full-array direct-lit LED backlight technology with local dimming to produce a bright picture with nice contrast and black level performance for a mid-range 4K LED television. Blacks are generally inky and deep, but not to the degree of Sony’s OLED series sets — like the award-winning A9G or more affordable A8H models. But it does produce fine shadow detail well in most situations and eye-squinting bright specular highlights in HDR10 and Dolby Vision content.

This year Sony expands its Ambient Optimization technology in the X950G series. Beyond the built-in room light level sensor used to measure the room light and adjust optimal picture brightness, Sony now adds a similar system for balancing sound output to the room acoustics.

For calibration experts, Sony continues to offer AutoCal for CalMan from Portrait Displays. This helps to simplify and speed up picture calibration to present the best balance of color, gamma and brightness for the room lighting conditions, when using optional Portrait Displays Calman software, a test pattern generator and a compatible light meter. (This can get quite pricey, so for most a professional calibration is recommended).

Sony adds to the X950H series Netflix Calibrated Mode, which debuted in the Sony Master Series. This works through the Android TV OS in the set to produce picture quality settings to match the look of Netflix’s mastering monitors to ensure the image holds to the filmmaker’s vision and intent when viewing content through the Netflix app.

Sony also offers a Netflix Calibrated mode setting that when activated detects when Netflix is running from the built-in app in the television and treats that content like one of Sony’s own calibrated modes. When activated from the settings menu, Netflix Mode will be persistent, turning on automatically when ever a Netflix program is being streamed through the set’s Android TV platform.

Filmmaker Mode Missing In Name Only

Sony has chosen not to support the new Filmmaker Mode developed by content creators in association with the Ultra HD Alliance, but that’s only because it says its Custom Pro 1 (day) and Custom Pro 2 (night) Picture Modes are baseline reference modes that already deliver the same or very similar results to Filmmaker Mode. When in the Custom Pro 1 and 2 settings, Motion Clearness/Smoothness are set to 1 (minimum) and most of the set’s processing systems are turned off. All of this came about before Filmmaker Maker was established because, as Sony Electronics representatives like to talk about, the division has long maintained a tight working relationship with Sony Pictures in tweaking its televisions to capture the “lens-to-living room” vision, ensuring the artistic intent of the filmmaker. As an aside, the “Cinema” picture mode captures much of the same intent as the Custom Pro reference modes.

For high dynamic range (HDR), Sony continues to support a range of profile options including the HDR10 base line profile, Dolby Vision dynamic-meta data-based HDR, and hybrid log gamma (HLG). The latter is a non-metadata based HDR profile optimized for live on-the-fly HDR broadcasts now and in the future.

Surprisingly, Sony Electronics did not work as closely with its PlayStation division for the X950H series as it did on the forthcoming X900H series due out later in the year. This model class lacks most of the advanced gaming features supported in the new HDMI 2.1 spec. In fact, these sets don’t offer HDMI 2.1 ports at all, but do carry the new enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) feature that was part of the interface’s new feature package. Similarly, the X950H models omit built-in NextGenTV ATSC 3.0 tuning, which Sony is only putting in the step-down X900H series this year. That means that if you want to watch new over-the-air broadcast channels as they go live this year and next, you’ll need to get some form of ATSC 3.0 external tuner when they become available.


The X950H series features a nice looking contemporary design with a thin brushed-metallic gun-metal gray bezel trim surrounding the screen. The supplied base consists of a pair of blade-like chrome feet or claws that enable positioning at either the very edge of the screen or more inward on the frame to better fit on some tabletops or credenzas. Mounted at the edge of the screen, the stand is designed to align with the look of the metallic bezel trim around the LCD panel. This year’s design does not include a full blown cable management system, but clips are supplied to attach cords to the blade-style panel feet.

Smart TV

Sony’s smart TV features this year are powered by the Android 9.0 Pie OS. This year the OS is embedded in the SOC to eliminate some delay for snappier response (60% faster Netflix use, for example). The system provides full customization over the onscreen menu settings for quicker and friendlier access to favorite settings, apps, and more.

For voice control, the company continues to deliver one of the best implementations of Android TV and Google Assistant (which is turned off by default for anyone with privacy concerns). The platform offers an expanded platform of streaming apps, including the new HBO Max app, that are easy to find and browse. In addition to onboard Google Assistant, the X950H supports “works with Amazon Alexa” through an Alexa App to take voice control input through the TV for use with Alexa-compatible smart home devices. Also offered is support for Apple AirPlay 2 along with Apple HomeKit smart home device connectivity and interoperability.

The OS also provides built-in control for compatible connected set-top boxes or DVRs.


Connections are positioned on the left rear of the display facing out from the side of the screen. Sony equips the X950H models with 4 HDMI 2.0b inputs with HDCP 2.3 (no full bandwidth 2.1 capability or advanced gaming features here), but it does offer the new enhanced audio return channel (eARC) HDMI 2.1 feature on the HDMI 3 input. In addition to being backward compatible with ARC, eARC will enable sending larger picture and sound data signals (like advanced 3D audio surround formats) back and forth between the TV and a connected soundbar/AVR while also providing more accurate lip-sync and interoperability between eARC certified devices, among other features.

Other connections include 1 composite video (3.5mm A/V minijack using an adapter cable) and an RF input for an antenna and unencrypted cable signals. The RF reception is for ATSC 1.0 signals only (ATSC 3.0 reception will require an external tuner when available). Also included is a Toslink optical digital audio output, supporting pass-through of Dolby Digital/DTS multichannel or 2-channel audio from connected sources; a stereo minijack output for corded headphones or analog sound components; an Ethernet port for faster broadband connectivity; and 2 USB inputs (one v2.0, one v3.0) for external storage and playback sources. This is a fairly rich package of connectivity options, but sadly without some of the latest HDMI 2.1 gaming features it is not as future-ready as some other televisions in the market.

SDR and HDR Analysis

The X950H Series TVs use full-array LED back lighting with local dimming (FALD). On the 65-inch test sample, we counted approximately 70 LED dimming zones using the FALD pattern on the Spears & Munsil HDR Benchmark disc. Sony’s local dimming system continues to be excellent and maintains consistent levels of darkness without distracting pulses of brightness across the screen in images like star fields in deep space scenes, but Sony continues to have issues with blooming or haloing around bright objects on dark backgrounds. This can produce moments of flash-lighting artifacts occasionally leaking into letter-boxed on-screen border frames, particular on HDR material. Moving star field pattern in the Spears & Munsil Benchmark Disc didn’t present clouds of blooming around clusters of stars as we’ve seen with some other LED-LCD TVs and didn’t seem to crush out any individual stars in the blackness.

We were impressed at how well the X950H handled dark shadow detail, as demonstrated in the opening moments of the night scene from chapter 12/29 of the SD Blu-ray Disc of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows part 2, where Voldemort’s army of dark wizards amasses on a hill top. The swirling anomalous black cloud that sometimes appears on televisions in the background at the top of the frame is gone, replaced by a faint swirling white mist that we believe to be true to the director’s intent. In the scene we can see more fine shadow detail than some lesser displays can bring out.

Sony’s backlight system does a nice job of presenting bright highlights in both HDR and even SDR images. After calibration, we were pleased with how the set handled bright highlights from regular Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content using Sony’s object-based HDR Remaster technology. This is intended to improve color and contrast of SDR content and gives images a more dynamic and real-life HDR quality without significant clipping of detail or the color exaggeration generated by some other faux HDR systems.

As mentioned, the Sony 65X950H handles black level quite well for a LED-LCD display. We measured black at 0.04 nits, which is below the 0.05 nit threshold established for LCD TVs in the UHDA’s Premium UHD TV specification.

The 65X950H also did an overall nice job presenting Dolby Vision Dynamic Metadata HDR. We could see nuances in brightness intensity between different specular highlights in a scene or even the same frame, with nice detail and color in peaks, as revealed in various onscreen background lights in The Rave scene from the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Mission Impossible: Fallout. However, we did see some clearly unintended anomalous pulsing from light to light as the camera follows Tom Cruise walking down a corridor into a washroom.

Peak HDR10 luminance was measured at 1302 nits using a 10% white window pattern with the television in “Vivid” picture mode and the brightness setting at “max.” This is enough to qualify the television as an Ultra HD Premium display by UHDA specifications of 1000 nits or above. However, after calibration with the television set to Custom Pro 1 and color temperature set to Expert 1 (for day time viewing) and brightness at “10” (more realistic real world viewing), we measured peak luminance at 982 nits. This is close enough to the 1,000 premium threshold, but is not among the brightest 4K LED-LCD TVs on the market, like the Sony Master Series 4K Z9F or Samsung’s Q90R (4K) 2019 models.

Nevertheless, we found the set handled HDR specular highlights quite well, preserving color nuances in peak highlights, such as of the sun’s reflection from the water in the ocean horizon sequence at the start of the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc of Blue Planet II. This holds both color and detail in rippling waves inside the bright highlight points. The set also presented nice blacks (or deep shades of gray) while preserving dark shadow detail in both SDR and HDR content.

The yellow-orange color was realistically presented in campfire flames from the Ultra HD Blu-ray of The Revenant, and not white and washed out as it sometimes appears in lesser FALD or edge-lit LED LCD TVs.


The Sony 65X950H delivers a wide range of colors in HDR mode. We measured the UHDA-P3 color gamut at 93.7%, which surpasses the 90% UHDA Premium television threshold. Similarly, the set was relatively accurate in presenting standard dynamic range (SDR) BT.709 gamut coverage out of the box, and an average Delta E 2000 error reading of 1.2 after calibration, which is below the perceptible level of 3.

Wide Angle Viewing, Screen Glare, Uniformity

This year’s 55- and 65-inch X950H models feature Sony’s new X-Wide Angle technology, which we found does a nice job of holding on to visible contrast and color saturation when viewed from the left or right sides of center screen. This is similar in some respects to wide screen enhancement in premium Samsung 8K and 4K TVs, and better than IPS-based LCD TV panels that tend to impact overall screen contrast. The Sony 65X950H had slightly more noticeable screen glare than Samsung QLED TVs of the past couple of years when viewing dark images with some degree of ambient lighting on in the room. But we didn’t find it to be a problem for most situations.

Similarly, the Sony 65X950H review sample had a nice clean screen for an LCD display. We didn’t find any distracting jail bar patterns or distracting vignetting (other than some darkened screen corners on gray screens) to distract the eye when viewing real-world content in pans or live sports. This was the case viewing patterns of 100% full-screen white, 100% gray and 100% black. Similarly, we didn’t see any issues with shifts of color when viewing bright white full-screen patterns off right or left center axis.

Motion Handling and Processing

These models include a native 120 Hz refresh rate LCD panel and generally do a good job at reducing motion artifacts from film-based movie content without having to turn on Sony’s customizable Motionflow smoothing systems. Sony uses a system for motion smoothing in its televisions called X-Motion Clarity that leverages the set’s full array local dimming system and X-tended Dynamic Range Pro systems to dim zones behind moving objects while boosting the brightness behind static portions of the screen to create motion clarity without blinking (darkening) of the picture using black frame insertion techniques or overly sharpening images through frame interpolation that produces the Soap Opera Effect (SOE).

Placing the television in CineMotion (3:2 pulldown) “Auto” optimizes motion resolution for 24p (film-based) content and cleans up some of these motion issues without inducing SOE. We recommend leaving Motionflow off for film-based movie watching to preserve the artistic intent, and activating it when video-based source content, like sports events, is played.

The new object-based Super Resolution system does a nice job at enhancing image detail. Textures in clothing and skin on the characters in Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 take on a realistic 3D quality. The 4K X-Reality PRO system is also very good at upscaling 1080p images to near-4K clarity, while presenting SD DVD movies without introducing additional artifacts or added elements that weren’t present in the original image. The black-and-white images of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night were as clear as I remember them from the original run at the box office. Grayscale was nicely represented with only slight instances of detail crushing. The system does a nice job of minimizing mosquito noise in movies, while preserving the wanted film grain of the original celluloid medium. Upscaled on-screen title overlays were clear and free of block noise.

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The on-board sound in the X950H series has been improved this year with the inclusion of an Acoustic Multi Audio Speaker system with new oval-shaped X-Balanced Speakers and support for Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound. Sony has redesigned the TV cabinet for deeper bass and improved mid-range with a pair of redesigned down-firing speakers and a pair of re-positioned side-firing tweeters that are moved out closer to the edge of the screen frame. The down-firing speakers and tweeters are bi-amped (10 watts x 2 plus 5 watts x 2) to produce improved brightness and detail while helping to better position sound to appear to move across the screen (on the 55-, 65-, and 75-inch models). To optimize frequency response, Sony has developed an auto acoustic calibration feature that adjusts sound levels to ambient room noise collected through the mic built into the TV remote control. The result is nice clean presentation of dialog and a wider sound stage, particularly from Music and Dolby Atmos modes.

In a television speaker package, Dolby Atmos decoding contributes enhanced dynamics of object-based audio surround regardless of the speaker number or layout configuration.

Additionally, the X950H series supports the new eARC HDMI 2.1 feature offering greater bandwidth for advance surround sound formats (like Dolby Atmos) and lossless codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X) and better interoperability between connected eARC-equipped products. The televisions support DTS formats, and output them through the eARC connection.

Unfortunately, the limitations of the cabinet depth and speaker size still produces some degree of boxiness in the overall tone and low-frequency sound effects lack the punch of a full audio system or good quality soundbar. For those with room limitations, or budget considerations the television’s onboard sound will be more than sufficient, but we expect many who opt for a television of this quality and price will look to add on a more immersive home theater package.


As mentioned earlier, Sony opted not to support new HDMI 2.1 gaming features like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) or High Frame Rates (HFR) for forthcoming 4K/120fps gaming in this series, and responsiveness is somewhat slower than competitive sets like LG’s 2020 4K OLEDs. We measured input lag of 21.3 ms for 1080/60 and 4K content. We expect the Sony X900H series coming soon will be better a better performer for game play. But for those gamers who aren’t as obsessed with milliseconds, the X950H’s Game Mode does a nice job presenting video game graphics and colors while preserving fine shadow detail.


Despite the limitations inherent in LCD technologies for deep black presentation, the 2020 Sony Bravia 65X950H is an excellent premium-level 4K Ultra HD television capable of presenting a wide range of content at a high standard of picture quality and at a reasonable price. Being a relatively bright LED-LCD TV, the set is well suited to viewing in rooms with some degree of ambient light. The screen offers a wide viewing angle for placement in larger sized rooms and wall-mounted applications. The screen can get bright enough to handle the latest HDR content sources, although those who prefer pictures with deeper blacks might want to consider one of Sony’s self-emissive 4K OLED TVs, like the A9G or A8H. For an all-around solid performing television, we found the Bravia 65X950H handles both movies and live sports very well. It’s also good for some video gamers, although more advanced competitors and PC gamers might want to wait for the Sony X900H series to bring a higher level of responsiveness for a greater competitive edge.

This is one of the best 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TVs of 2020 and an HD Guru recommended buy.

We therefore award the Sony 65-inch 65X950H five out of five hearts.

The Sony 65X950H sample used for this review was a company loan.

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By Greg Tarr

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X950h nits sony

Sony X950H Bravia – The new Sony allround talent?

Published 06/24/20

Update 09/11/20

The Sony X950H Bravia is the 4K LED LCD flagship of the Japanese manufacturer’s Bravia series this year. To further improve the characteristics of the installed VA panel, Sony also uses its X-Wide Viewing Angle coating and offers Full Array Local Dimming. Its predecessor, the X950G, already scored with its good picture quality and motion handling. Here you can find out if it’s the same with the X950H.


Sony X950H Bravia Prices

Choose a TV size that suits you

49 Inch

123 cm


from $ 998*

55 Inch

139 cm


from $ 1,020*

65 Inch

164 cm


from $ 1,198*

75 Inch

189 cm


from $ 2,398*

85 Inch

215 cm


from $ 3,598*

Elegant design and solid manufacturing

The Sony X950H Bravia impresses with its sophisticated manufacturing and attractive design. The frame as well as the feet are made of aluminium, while the back is completely made of plastic. The cables run behind the feet and can be fixed here with clips. The feet are also adjustable. Because they can be pushed together further towards the centre of the TV, the X950H can also be placed in small spaces. Nevertheless, the feet are stable enough to ensure that the television hardly wobbles at all. The various connections are now located on the side instead of at the bottom as in the model before, making them easier to reach.

Especially the almost continuous screen surface of the X950H is very chic and provides an immersive feeling. Exceptions are the sizes 49 and 85 inches, where a narrow frame is existing and the feet are firmly installed.

Nice image for streaming and gaming

The X950H has a 10 bit VAVertical Alignment, type of LCD Panel panel with deep black and a relatively high contrast. Sony already uses its X-Wide Angle layer on this year’s model from 55 inches to improve the limited viewing angle of the built-in VA panel and it can even significantly minimize reflections and mirroring. However, it is still missing in the 49 inch version. With more than three people in front of the screen, it could still be difficult with the viewing angle. Thanks to Full Array Local Dimming, the contrast is further improved, but the layer means that the TV has to lose some contrast again. Nevertheless, the maximum brightness and black level are very good and ensure that a good picture is produced, especially in bright surroundings. These features and its wide colour gamut make the Sony X950H ideal for HDRHigh Dynamic Range – image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range) content in streaming and gaming. As usual, Sony’s image processing programs deliver a very natural image here.

Very good Motion Handling

There’s hardly anything to criticize in the Sony X9500H’s motion handling. Thanks to a refresh rateHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. of 120 HzHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. and a very short responsetime of only 4ms, there is no motion blur, which is particularly beneficial for sports fans. In standard mode, the image flickers at 120 Hz, but if you turn off the automatically activated Motion Flow, it flickersat 720 Hz, which is not noticeable to the eye. If required the motion interpolationArtificial calculation of more frames than the source material has to offer feature can also be added. A particularly positive feature of the X950H is that no judder can be detected for any resource.

No gaming TV, but some nice features

When looking at the Sony X950H’s features, it’s clearly noticeable that it isn’t designed as a pure gaming TV. Even though the input lag in the available gaming mode is relatively low and it has analogueconnections for gaming with older consoles, relevant modern features like a variable refresh rateHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. and the Auto Low Latency Mode are missing. Unfortunately, an HDMI 2.1 connection is also missing. It’s not quite clear to us why HDMI 2.1 and the mentioned features aren’t available on the Sony X950H, but on the somewhat cheaper Sony X900H.

Above average sound

The X950’s sound quality is surprisingly good. It has separate high-frequency speakers that are designed to adjust the sound even more precisely to the picture. The only exception here is again the 49 inch version, which only comes along with the bass reflex speakers. In addition, the sound can be adjusted to the respective room environment via an acoustic calibration – the so-called Ambient Optimization Feature from Sony. Overall, the sound is relatively balanced, even if the bass leaves something to be desired. For this, the Sony X950H has an HDMI eARC connection and thus enables audio formats, such as Dolby AtmosObject-based surround sound format with 3D-Sound from any direction and DTSMulti-channel-sound-system (Surround Sound) competing with Dolby Digital:X in uncompressed format. Thus, a high-quality surround sound bar or system is recommended.

Modern Smart TV for streaming enthusiasts

The model comes with the latest Android TV version, Android 9.0 Pie. This operating system runs much faster and error-free than previous Sony versions. The interface is clearly structured and the large app selection includes all classic streaming providers. Here, the additional Netflix Calibrated Mode, which is supposed to reproduce the original studio quality of Netflix Originals, is especially noticeable. The included smart remote scores with additional backlighting, which was again saved on the 49 inch variant. There is only a standard remote control here. The smart remote control enables voice control via Google Assistant. Amazon Echo for Alexa and Google Home can also be connected. Furthermore, with Twin Tuner, USBrecording and TimeShift is possible.

Variants of Sony X950H Bravia

Sony X950H Review Part 6: Peak Brightness/Nits Tested in REAL-TIME

Sony XBR-49X950H (USA version)


  • 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LCD Display
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG support
  • Full Array Local Dimming
  • TRILUMINOS™ Display
  • X1™ Ultimate Processor
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Disclosure: We earn money from the affiliate links to products associated with content in this article.

Sony XBR-49X950H Overview

Sony XBR-49X950H was introduced in 2020. It has a LCD screen with 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution and 100 Hz/120 Hz refresh rate. The TV is HDR compatible and can reach 1000 nits of peak brightness. It supports HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and IMAX Enhanced. Its powerful X1™ Ultimate picture processor guarantees a high quality upscaling of any low resolution source to 4K UHD (3840 x 2160).

We give Sony XBR-49X950H TV 91 overall score out of 100. Our ranking system is based on the display specifications, video, audio and other features, connectivity and format support.

In this section we highlight pros and cons of Sony XBR-49X950H.

High Resolution👍
High Refresh Rate👍
LED Type👍
Full-Array Dimming👍
Color Depth👍
Dolby Vision👍
IMAX Enhanced👍
Clear Phase👍
Dolby Atmos👍
DTS Digital Surround👍
Wi-Fi Direct👍
Does Not Work with Alexa👍
Old HDMI 2.1👍
Limited Viewing Angle👎
No HDR10+👎
No AMD Freesync™👎
No NVidia G-Sync👎
No 2K HFR👎

Major Changes from its predecessor

A predecessor of 2020 X950H series is 2019 X950G series. In this section we show major changes from the predecessor.

UPGRADESSony XBR-49X950HSony XBR-55X950G


For this comparison we chose 55" version of the predecessor - model XBR-55X950G. For more detailed comparison between the two please visit Sony XBR-49X950H vs Sony XBR-55X950G where you can also choose different size and country models to compare.

VA Panel

Sony XBR-49X950H has a vertical alignment (VA) panel which is most commonly used in LCD TVs as it provides deeper blacks compared to the IPS panel. However, it is still limited with the viewing angle compared to the IPS panel or OLED display.

Full-Array Local Dimming

The TV has Full-Array Local Dimming technology with multiple zones throughout the display. Individual zones of LEDs can light up independently which enhances black levels, shadow details and decreases level of light bleed in dark parts of the image. This gives higher contrast with increased picture quality which is very important for HDR reproduction. Higher number of zones gives better control over local dimming and less blooming around the bright objects and subtitles.

In this section we present all the features and specifications available for Sony XBR-49X950H.

Series 2X950H
Release Year2020
Bezel ColorBlack
Smart TV
Actual Size (Diagonal)48.5"
Resolution4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate100 Hz/120 Hz
Screen DesignFlat
Display TypeLCD
Panel TypeVA
Backlight TypeLED
LED TypeDirect LED
Backlight DimmingFull Array Local Dimming
Backlight NameFull Array LED
ColorTRILUMINOS™ Display
Viewing Angle
Panel Bit Depth10 bits
Color Depth1.07 Billion
Brightness550 nits
Peak Brightness1000 nits
Contrast Ratio3000∶1
3D Capability
Dolby Vision
Dolby Vision IQ
Advanced HDR by Technicolor®
IMAX Enhanced
High Dynamic RangeX-tended Dynamic Range™ PRO 6x XDR Contrast
AMD Freesync™
NVidia G-Sync
HGIG Compatibility
Picture ProcessorX1™ Ultimate
Frame Interploation TechniqueX-Motion Clarity
Black Frame Insertion
Filmmaker Mode
Dynamic Backlight Control
X-Reality™ PRO 4K
Dual database processing
Object-based Super Resolution
Live Color™ Tech0logy
Precision Color Mapping
Super bit mapping™ 4K HDR
Contrast Enhancement Dynamic Contrast Enhancer
Object-based HDR remaster
Auto Low Latency Mode
Speaker Channels2.0
Speaker TypeBass Reflex Speaker
Speaker Power Rating10 W + 10 W
Clear Phase
Simulated Surround SoundS-Force Front Surround
TV Center Speaker Mode
Dolby Atmos
Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital Plus
DTS Digital Surround
WiSA Ready
Ethernet Input
Ethernet Standard10BASE-T/100BASE-TX
Wi-Fi Direct
Wi-Fi Frequency2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Wi-Fi ProtocolIEEE802.11ac/a/b/g/n
Bluetooth Version4.2
Smartphone ConnectivityChromecast built-in
Google Home
Virtual Assistant Google Assistant
Works with Alexa
HDMI Inputs4
HDMI Version2.1
HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) eARC
HDCP Version2.3
USB Inputs3
USB 3.0 Ports1
RF (Terrestrial / Cable ) Inputs1
IF (Satellite) Inputs
Component Inputs
Composite Inputs1 via A/V 3.5mm input
RCA Audio Outputs
3.5mm headphone Audio Output
Optical Audio Output
RS-232C Remote
CPU Cores4
Storage16 GB
Operating SystemAndroid
Internet BrowserVewd
Content Bar
Voice Command
Light Sensor
Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
Application Store Google Play Store
Auto Calibration with CalMAN
Closed Captions(Analog) Closed Caption
(Digital) Closed Caption
USB HDD Recording
USB Drive Format SupportFAT16 / FAT32 / exFAT / NTFS
Flash Video
Digital Tuner 1
SAT Tuner
Analog TunerNTSC-M
Digital Terrestrial TV SystemATSC
Digital Cable TV SystemClear QAM
Color systemPAL / SECAM / NTSC3.58 / NTSC4.43
FM Radio
Power SupplyAC 120 V, 60 Hz
Power Consumption (Typical)182 W
Power Consumption (In Standby)0.5 W
Dimension Without Stand (W x H x D)1093 x 629 x 69 mm
43 1/8" x 24 7/8" x 2 3/4"
Dimension With Stand (W x H x D)1093 x 699 x 261 mm
43 1/8" x 27 5/8" x 10 3/8"
Stand SizeWidth: 998 mm (39 3/8")
Dimension of Package (W x H x D)1186 x 748 x 185 mm
46 3/4" x 29 1/2" x 7 3/8"
One Connect Box
VESA Wall Mount
VESA Hole Pitch (W x H)200 mm x 200 mm
7-7/8" x 7-7/8"
Weight Without Stand13.3 kg (29.3 lbs)
Weight With Stand14.4 kg (31.8 lbs)
Weight of Package (Gross)19 kg (41.9 lbs)
RemoteStandard Remote

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Sony XH95/ X950H (KD-65XH9505) 4K LCD TV Review

The Sony XH95 is a 65-inch Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) LED LCD TV that Sony claims is designed for movie viewing in dark and bright room environments. Sony never discusses the number of dimming zones on its FALD TVs and it is indeed quite tricky to get an accurate result using a FALD counter, but we counted 63 zones (7x9). The XH95 supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) HDR formats and during a demo at CES back in January, they were claiming image accuracy for SDR and HDR that matches their BVM studio reference monitors.

Looking at the panel uniformity and we have a clean looking panel with a 5% slide. The corners are a little darker and we have a dark area three quarters of the way up the central area of the panel, but this is not visible with normal content. 50% and 100% per cent are also clear of Dirty Screen Effect (DSE) with just the darker corners still visible, and at 50% we can still see a slight darkening at the three-quarter point. With actual TV and film viewing, we were not aware of these issues at all, and DSE was almost non-existent. Only with very fast camera pans over football pitches or similar areas of all one colour, did we see very mild DSE. However, it was so rare to spot that we didn’t think it was a major issue and we mention it just to be complete in our assessment.

 ... the XH95 produces some sublime looking HDR image quality that really takes advantage of the format

Viewing angles are good with the new film added to the panel this year, which retains a decent amount of contrast performance watching direct, but up to around 40 degrees, the XH9505 manages to retain the colour and gamma performance without wash out. As you get wider than this, the image does start to wash out more. With this level of performance, you can have some seating positions in your living room off-axis and not impact too much on image quality. But, as always, watching from directly in front of the TV will always give you the best performance.

The backlight and the local dimming algorithm used by Sony with the XH95 are excellent with their dimming producing some of the best FALD images we have seen, especially with 16:9 content. Blacks are deep with excellent shadow detail and above black performance. For those used to LED LCD TVs with more aggressive dimming, this might at first look like the Sony has lighter blacks, but in fact, there is no black crush at all with the Sony. This improves even more with HDR content looking incredibly dynamic and detailed. I saw demos at CES with this TV against one of the Sony BVM professional grading monitors and the performance was superb, and again in our extensive testing here at AVForums, the performance is incredibly accurate. 

 ... up to around 40 degrees, the XH9505 manages to retain the colour and gamma performance

The one downside with Sony’s approach here with the local dimming algorithm is the fact that scope content black bars are not black, especially with HDR content. We pointed this out in previous reviews of the XG95and ZF9panels which had the same issues when watching in dark surroundings. As a movie purist, I want to watch in dim surroundings with some bias light and the black bars on scope movies should be solid black. With HDR content the black bars are never black and any bright objects that get close to the bars, bleed that light into what should be a solid black bar. When asked about this Sony has replied that its dimming algorithm is designed to bring out just above black shadows and mid-tones of the image to create depth and detail which matches a professional mastering monitor. And in that respect, this is exactly what the XH95 does.

But, with that approach, the side effect is the black bars lighting up with bright objects close by and it is a compromise. Other manufacturers, such as Samsung, manage to keep the black bars much darker with their more aggressive algorithms, but in doing so there is more black crush visible within the image, as well as a vignette effect to the edges of the image. So you have two approaches at solving the problem, with Sony going for more image accuracy and detail retrieval in the blacks without crushing, versus a more aggressive approach which keeps the bars black but introduces crush and detail loss in the darkest areas of the image. The only TV technology that can produce inky black bars and superb above black detail is OLED, but it lacks the pop available with the XH95’s HDR peak brightness performance, so once again it will come down to choosing the approach that suits you and your needs best. 

  It also feels like the audio is coming directly from the centre of the screen

Video processing performance is superb on the Sony XH95 with excellent upscaling that is some of the best in the business. Rather than looking overly sharp and processed, the XH95 upscales with superb sharpness that remains natural looking without any obvious edge enhancements or ringing to fine lines. With 576i, 1080i and 1080p sources, the scaled images look nice and detailed with no artefacts and excellent Jaggie suppression. Motion is also very good indeed with no induced judder with 24fps material that has the correct pulldown applied with MotionFlow off. Plus, Motionflow can work very well with fast-moving sports content without adding in too many artefacts. Indeed, when compared with the competition, Sony’s MotionFlow interpolation is some of the best available with very few artefacts introduced, but there is also plenty of soap opera effect to the higher interpolation settings. Obviously, as image purists, we would recommend that MotionFlow is off for film content, but you are free to experiment with video sources and sports content to find the settings that suit your preference for that particular content.

Full-screen SDR content looks incredibly accurate with very good black levels, excellent just above black shadow details and cinematic colours. Skin tones look sublime with a real lifelike naturalness and colours that are balanced and nuanced. The detail is excellent with images looking sharp and contrast is also very good for an LCD. Motion is also solid with 24fps material looking as it should with no added blur other than that within the content. Moving to SDR films with black bars and in a well-lit room, we didn’t have as many issues with the bars being flooded with light from within the image. In dimmer viewing conditions it is a little more visible from time to time. Image quality, however, remains superb and accurate.

  With HDR content the black bars are never black

Moving to HDR content and again 16:9 material looks sublime with excellent dynamic range and wide natural colours. Nature documentaries in HLG are sublime with superb natural colours, excellent motion and plenty of dynamic range to make images pop. The detail is also superb with excellent sharpness and plenty of depth. Moving again to films with black bars and in both well lit and dim viewing environments we did see issues with the black bars lighting up with bright objects close to the edge of the bars. How much this affects your enjoyment of the XH95 will be personal and, for me, I did find it distracting. The image quality within the black bars are some of the best I have seen from a FALD LCD in 2020 so far, so it is a shame that I find the black bar issues a distraction, your mileage may vary. If in doubt, get a demo in dark surroundings to check for yourself. Given the excellent local dimming, tone mappingand peak brightness on offer, the XH95 produces some sublime looking HDR image quality that really takes advantage of the format.

 ... its dimming algorithm is designed to bring out just above black shadows and mid-tones of the image... And in that respect, this is exactly what the XH95 does.

Gaming wise the XH95 is decent for console gamers not too interested in the features available from HDMI 2.1equipped sets. Input lag is a reasonable 20ms and HDR gaming is nice and dynamic without looking washed out in any way. 

Sound quality has also improved over last year, with the newly re-designed drivers and enclosures providing an audio performance that is detailed, weighty and wide. It also feels like the audio is coming directly from the centre of the screen thanks to the clever positioning of the tweeters on the side of the panel. While it will not compete with an off-board Atmos sound system, the sound quality of the XH95 is very good for a TV.

Finally, Android TV 9 (Pie) is also very good with a fast and stable performance with app selection and OS functions. We didn’t encounter any slow down or crashing in the few weeks of testing for our review.


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