Sony’s new curved LED television is bigger than rival curved screens, but is it any better?

sony debuts 65 inch curved led tv kdl 65s990a angle

Within weeks of LG and Samsung’s curved OLED TV launches comes word that Sony has developed its own curved television. During an event at Lincoln Center in New York today and in anticipation of IFA 2013, Sony announced the 65-inch KDL-65S990A LED television, due to hit stores in October for $4,000. Before getting too excited, though, take special note: We said LED, not OLED. 

At 65-inches, Sony’s KDL-65S990A is the largest curved display on the market. It also bears the distinction of being the “world’s first curved screen LED television.” But, with all the talk of curved OLED TV’s late, it might be easy to mistake this TV as an OLED model, and it most certainly is not that. As an LED TV, it will suffer from the same limitations flat-screen LED TVs do: poor black levels and poor screen uniformity. 

Simply put, LED televisions are just LCD displays with LED backlights. Using LED lights allows for an extremely thin profile, which many consumers find attractive. However, LCD TV’s fail to produce deep, dark blacks, which are critical to a picture’s depth and contrast. Also, LED TV’s tend to exhibit images that are brighter toward the edges than they are in the center, with blooms of light near where the LED bulbs are situated. By contrast, OLED TV’s use organic compounds to produce light. They are capable of the best black levels we’ve seen in a TV, outstanding color accuracy, excellent off-axis viewing and can be made to be as thin as a pencil. 

Still, the TV is curved, and Sony is betting that pairing that with  it’s expertise in engineering outstanding looking televisions is going to make this set a winner. Mike Lucas, senior VP of Sony’s home entertainment and sound division, describes the curve as subtle and claims the TV borrows from  the screen technology found in movie theaters to deliver, “an immersive experience that makes viewers feel as if they are truly part of the action…” If any of that plays out to be true, this move by Sony could turn out to be wildly successful. 

Sony KDL-65S990A curved LED side view

The TV also features an advanced sound system, with 8 forward-facing speakers angled in multiple directions to create a surround sound experience. Two of those speakers are dedicated to surround effects and angled outward while the inward facing speakers take care of  specific sounds, like dialogue, aiming them directly at the listener. 

It’s entirely possible that this curved giant of a TV will surprise us with better-than-expected performance, but without any details on how Sony handled the backlighting technology, it’s impossible to say for sure. For now, we can’t help but point out that Panasonic’s stellar VT60 series plasma costs more than a $1,000 less and offers one of the best pictures we’ve seen all year, bested only by recent OLED TV offerings. Then again, that Panasonic plasma isn’t curved. So, there’s that. 

Movies & TV

The show cost how much?! The priciest original series on Netflix

Netflix has spent big bucks on original series, which might be part of the reason why its subscription pricing is going up. Here's a look at some of the priciest series from the streaming service.
Home Theater

How to wall mount a TV: Tips and tricks to cut down on frustration

This how-to guide includes a video on how to wall mount a TV, along with other tips and tricks about the process. Step by step, we'll take you through what you have to do to successfully get your TV on your wall.
Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for January 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

Ikea’s Symfonisk Sonos speaker coming in August, priced to “reach many people”

If details in a newly released video are true, we could be looking at Ikea's new Symfonisk speaker collaboration with Sonos to be in stores as soon as August. And the price? Within reach of "many people."
Features

Netflix’s rate hike is a good thing. Wait, wait, hear us out

Upset at Netflix for raising its rates? We don't blame you. Nobody likes to pay more for anything -- even if they love that thing. But you really should be thanking the streaming entertainment giant. The hike in prices is a necessary and…
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in February 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for February 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Deals

Save up to $100 on the Sonos Beam, Sub, and Playbar before game day

With the big game less than two weeks off, now is the perfect time to upgrade your home theater. Whether you're hosting a party or kicking back by yourself, Sonos is offering nice deals right now on a few of its top-rated audio devices…
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Don't need sports or local channels? Philo can save you some dough

Philo is a super-affordable live TV streaming service, with an impressive channel list and feature set. With more hardware support and greatly improved TV Everywhere features, the service is now even easier to recommend.