Skip to main content

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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. 

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
Jabra’s best wireless earbuds are 20% off for a limited time
Jabra Elite 10.

Over at Best Buy is one of the headphone deals to consider if you’re looking for a great gift idea. Today, you can buy the Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless In-ear headphones with Dolby Atmos support for $200, meaning you save $50 off the regular price of $250. Packed with great features, this is a great gift for someone or an upgrade for you. Here’s what we know about them.

Why you should buy the Jabra Elite 10
Jabra as a brand features quite prominently in our look at the best wireless earbuds thanks to offering great quality at an equally great price. With the Jabra Elite 10, you get some very useful features like spatial sound with Dolby head tracking. That means a more immersive experience with the earbuds creating a 3D audio environment so that as you move, the sound moves with you.

Read more
The most innovative streaming device of 2023
The Amazon Fire TV Max 4K was the most innovative streaming device of 2023.

Look, we’ll be completely honest here: There’s nothing particularly innovative about streaming devices these days. That’s actually a good thing. There’s nothing to blow up or reinvent from one year to the next, which points to a product category that mostly does what it does pretty well, allowing features along the edge to really differentiate.

That means when we do get new hardware, it mostly looks and acts like the hardware it’s replacing. To wit: A Roku is still a Roku. Chromecast with Google TV hasn’t been updated in a while. Apple TV plods along in that very Apple way with minor changes every couple of years.

Read more
The most innovative headphones and earbuds of 2023
The Hed Unity were the most innovative headphones of 2023.

In 2023, we saw plenty of great new wireless headphones and wireless earbuds emerge, like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, Sony WF-1000XM5, and the new USB-C variant of the Apple AirPods Pro 2.

Each of these products delivers better performance than its predecessors in one or more categories like sound quality, active noise cancellation (ANC), battery life, or spatial audio. But for a product to be considered innovative, it can't just offer incremental improvements. It needs to break new ground by offering us something new or by getting us to think about an existing feature in an entirely new way.

Read more