TV advice: Sony X800H vs. X950H

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by tafkats, Nov 5, 2020.

  1. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    20,171
    Location:
    Sunnydale
    Ratings:
    +34,621
    I'm buying a new TV, and trying to make sense of what the salesman has been telling me. The two options on the table are the Sony X800H ($699) and Sony X950H ($999), both 49 inches.

    Links:
    https://www.sony.com/electronics/televisions/xbr-x800h-series/specifications
    https://www.sony.com/electronics/televisions/xbr-x950h-series/specifications

    As I understand it, the biggest difference is that the X800H is edge-lit, while the X950H is full array. Then some additional differences in color mapping and contrast enhancement that I really don't understand.

    I don't watch a lot of sports or action movies, so things like how it handles high-speed action aren't that important. I also don't do any gaming. I do watch a lot of sci-fi shows that are sometimes dimly lit.

    Trying to figure how much I will notice the difference between the two. Does anybody have experience with this?
  2. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    Salesman?

    Sony?

    49inch?

    Read some current reviews and look for a consensus.

    Last TV I bought was 7 years ago. Then side lit was out of favor. But there are a lot of other considerations.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    I'll weigh in, I have two Sony's currently, a 75in Z9F in my living room and an 65in 850D in my bedroom.

    The 800H, being edge lit means that the LED lighting is on the edges of the panel. There is also direct it, that means the LED lights are covering the entire panel, all the lights remain on when watching the TV. Full array means that the panel still has lights behind the it, but a larger number, and that the LED's split into segments. The individuals segments can vary in brightness.

    What does that mean and what does it do for you?

    Edge lit, the LED's are at the edges of the screen/panel, and there is a reflective surface behind the panel, sort of like a bounce light board, that lets the light reflect and light the panel. There tends to be dimming towards the center of the screen since the center is further from the edge of the screen, and the edges tend to be a little brighter. This also means that if you're watching a scene where there is a mix of light and dark, or watching a movie like Rogue One, where the ships are shown against the dark of space, the blacks tend to shift towards gray. The edge lighting can be controlled, on the 800H, the LED's will become brighter when watching programs that are HDR/Dolby Vision, but thHe brightness will be the same across the entire screen. The LED's can also brighten or dim due to the light sensor as well.

    Direct lit, similar results except the LED's are behind the panel instead of the edge. This results in a more balanced brightness across the entire screen. But the rest would be the same in regards to bright scenes, darks scenes, blacks can wash out towards gray. The following is cut and paste from the above since the results are essentially the same. This also means that if you're watching a scene where there is a mix of light and dark, or watching a movie like Rogue One, where the ships are shown against the dark of space, the blacks tend to shift towards gray. The edge lighting can be controlled, on the 800H, the LED's will become brighter when watching programs that are HDR/Dolby Vision, but the brightness will be the same across the entire screen. The LED's can also brighten or dim due to the light sensor as well.

    Full array, like direct lit means the LED's are behind the panel, but there are more of them. And they are divided into segments or even individual groups. The main difference is that the TV analyzes the picture being displayed. Then depending on the dark and bright areas of the screen, it dims or brightens the LED's in that area. So dark areas are dimly lit, or not at all, the bright areas are lit brighter. There is some spill, but it keeps the blacks looking blacker and the bright areas brighter. An example would be watching letter boxed content. The bars on the edge and direct lit would be a dark gray, on the full array they would be almost black.

    [​IMG]

    Also, the 800H uses the X1 Processor, the 950H uses the X1 Ultimate Processor. Both can display HDR/Dolby Vision, but the X1 Ultimate is a more powerful processor. Both will handle HDR content, but the Ultimate does a better job of it, it has a better color mapping, better at processing 4K and HDR, better color, better at upgrading a picture as well. And it handles the apps better, the interface and menus are the same, but the 950H is faster and smoother than the 800H. The processors affect the color mapping, gamut, etc. The 950H also has better color after calibration than the A8H OLED.

    I'm actually in the process of upgrading one of my TV's, in the bedroom. It has a cluster of 7-8 dead pixels, covered by the extended warranty. The current one is the 65" 850D, I'm upgrading it to the 75" 950H. The picture on the 950H is better than the 800H, but for you it may not be the worth the $300 to you. Since I'm getting what I paid for the 850D 4 years ago, the cost to me is not that much. But to me the difference is noticeable. I was debating on getting the 75" 900H, but then again the difference for is only $100 between the two. I did do some comparisons though. I can get two 65" 800H TV's with what I'm getting towards the new TV. But I decided that if I get the 900H I'll regret it. Overall the 950H can give you an image almost as good as the OLED, but at a lower price. Also, and OLED over time does dim, so that means that a few years from now the OLED may only be 60-70% as bright as new, which means that the colors would look washed later on, the 800H and 950H don't have that problem.

    Since you don't care about gaming, sports, etc, I'm not going into what the differences between the two are.

    Also, the price for the 800H you were quoted is too high, you can get that TV at Best Buy or Amazon for $549, the 950 is $999 at either one.

    Also, if you get either one, I'll tell you what you can do in the settings to make the tv work smoother, and keep the built in advertising/suggestions to a minimum.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
    • popcorn popcorn x 1
  4. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    48,059
    Location:
    Spacetime
    Ratings:
    +50,961
    Are you watching HDR material (like 4K UHD)? If so, full array. The faster processor also makes motion smoother.

    If you don't care about these things, go with the X800H.
  5. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    20,171
    Location:
    Sunnydale
    Ratings:
    +34,621
    I assume not -- most of what I watch is at whatever resolution it streams on Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, etc. So if the content isn't HDR, does edge-lit vs. full array make a difference? (My reference point for the most challenging thing I'm likely to ask it to render is, for instance, Star Trek scenes that take place on Klingon ships.)
  6. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    Most of what Netflix produces is 4K, or HDR/Dolby Vision. But that isn't the only content that will benefit from full array. The full array des local dimming, that's to say that where the screen s dark, the LED's there dim, where the screen is bright, the LED's in that area brighten. The edge lit will brighten and darken, but the all the LED's will do that. So in dark areas you'll get a washed out dark area (grayish). Which if you're watching in a dark room will be more obvious as compared to the full array.

    But again, the 950H having a more powerful processor will give you better picture, color, and does a better job of upscaling content which is not 4K, HDR, or HD. The processor in the 850H is either 8 or 16 times more powerful than the one in the 800H. The big difference in the image processing is that the 800H processes the entire image, while the 950H processing the objects in the image. So if an image on the 800H needs processing, it will process the entire image, depending on the image this can create artifacting or enhance noise. The 950H processes only the parts that need it, which results in less artifacting, sharper images, and better detail as only the parts that benefit from the processing are processed.

    In short, the Klingon ships will looked better on the 950H.

    Here's a simplified way of explaining the difference. The left would be the 950H the right the 800H, it's not exactly how it works, but is a good visual. The 800H would process the entire circle and background, the 950H would process the circle separate from the background.

    [​IMG]

    But if you're good with the performance of the 800H, get the Sonos Beam for the audio. For it's size it has great audio and features.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  7. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    20,171
    Location:
    Sunnydale
    Ratings:
    +34,621
    Oh, I'm definitely getting Sonos either way -- it's going to double as my music system.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    Which Sonos?
  9. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    20,171
    Location:
    Sunnydale
    Ratings:
    +34,621
    Beam, because of the size -- the Arc would stick out past the edges of the TV.
  10. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    Cool, I've got the Beam with the Sub and two of Play SL's in the bedroom, and the PlayBar with a Sub and two of the One SL's in the living room. I'm thinking of upgrading the living room to the Arc, and moving the PlayBar to the bedroom. The Arc has pretty good bass on its own, but I'd lose the voice control in the bedroom, unless I upgrade the bedroom to the One's. Or to keep the cost down, keep the One SL's where they are, and add an Echo Dot to the bedroom. Or keep the Beam in the bedroom, get the Arc for the living room, and give the PlayBar to my sister. The latter is most likely what I would do.
  11. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    I'd like to offer an alternative. I got educated over the last week and made a purchase.

    The other major technology out there is OLED. This doesn't use rear lighting with LEDs and an LCD screen, but rather the screen itself is light emitting diodes (LEDs). The O stands for "organic." I have no idea how they came up with that.

    This way the light is generated by the screen. Each pixel is a 4-way LED that lights white, red, blue, green. As such, when black is projected, no light at all.

    With the LCD/LED and rear light source (array, side-lit etc) the light travels through the LCD making the visible picture. This limits the viewing angle, and even with the best variable light source, there is some bleed through of light to black areas making these not completely black.

    LG is the only company making it. They sell screens to other manufacturers (i.e. Sony, vizio) but it's LG's tech. Samsung is struggling to come out with their own native LED screens and are a couple years away. LG's screens have been out for a few years, so they aren't bleeding edge, but they are more expensive: about 50% more for LG.

    Give them a consideration: in stores, and on the wall, the difference is huge.

    Purchased an LG CX55 to replace the 8yo(!) samsung 46 inch at Costco. Same price everywhere but costco gives you an extended warranty no charge.

    And yeah, the native processing for netflix, amazon prime, and other channels is better than an external box. I have a recent Roku Ultra and it plays nice with the TV (and vice versa) but the same video seen through the TV's channels is better.
  12. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    48,059
    Location:
    Spacetime
    Ratings:
    +50,961
    OLED displays are awesome. The black levels are truly black--you can't beat ZERO light emission. But they are more expensive.

    My friend posted some Black Friday prices he saw at Best Buy: a 65" LG 4K LCD for $700 and a 55" Visio 4K OLED for $900. I almost can't believe these prices.
  13. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    OLED does give a great picture, but there are down sides to them, as I posted above.

    If the LG is a Nanocell, then it's a pretty good TV. Great picture, the smart features are decent, but not as good as on a Sony. The Vizio TV, you couldn't give me one. The smart features on them are kind of wonky. Some of the streaming apps you can run on the TV, others have to be cast from a phone and unless there's been a change, you may have to use the Vizio app to do so. They're also made cheaply. Most TV's have a power board, main board, wifi board, and a T-conn. Some Vizio's combine the main board, wifi, and T-conn into one, which means that if there's an issue or problem with one component then the whole board needs to be replaced, which is more expensive than needing to replace one component on other TV's. Having everything on one board also increases the likelihood of failure due to overheating.
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  14. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    oops, steve didn't read carefully. I did go with LG as I figured they'd have the best driver tech for their own panels.

    It sounds like you're in the biz?
  15. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    The Sony TV's, even with using LG panels still have better video processing and image processing for the OLED panels. Sony uses the same tech and software on their tv's that they use in their studios.
  16. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Messages:
    19,407
    Ratings:
    +19,603
    Meh, I'll just go with this black and white crt with dials and knobs and rabbit ears. My display and sound will be light years better than your fancy space age stuff :dendroica:

    Now how do I hook up this Atari? I wanna play ET :unsure:
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • popcorn popcorn x 1
  17. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    was watching the tennis channel at work on the giant 85" tv in the break area. they were showing classic matches, one with this dude named Agassi in 2004. He had a paunch. But I digress. The picture was vomitous in all its 480 resolution. It needed to be watched on your set.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    8,873
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Ratings:
    +12,416
    I quit playing video games just after Pong went out of style. :ghost: Anyway, one thing you might (or might not) care about is what Sony's record is when it comes to supporting TV's with software updates. I've come to learn that Samsung doesn't support any one series for more than a few years. If you buy a last year's model you might find yourself with a TV with an obsolete set of apps that you can't update. e.g. I have one Samsung that doesn't have the YouTube app available while the other does.
  19. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    39,749
    Location:
    Can't tell you, 'cause I'm undercover!
    Ratings:
    +68,950
    That’s a problem with all of them, really. None of them seem to support the “smart” features for the expected life of the product. And I would avoid buying a product, like a TV (or any “smart” home appliances) on the basis of the apps installed. They often cut support for the apps when a serious security hole is found, rather than pushing out an update. And so long as the device is connected to the internet, your home network is at risk. Better to get a box like a Roku, Fire Stick, Apple TV, etc. because if they cancel support for it, a replacement box is only ~$100 or so.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    20,171
    Location:
    Sunnydale
    Ratings:
    +34,621
    I suspect I will end up using very few Smart TV features, because I have Comcast and most typical Smart TV features are duplicated on Xfinity.
  21. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    39,749
    Location:
    Can't tell you, 'cause I'm undercover!
    Ratings:
    +68,950
    You have my deepest sympathies. (Meanwhile, steve's pumping himself dry because you have Comcast.)
    • popcorn popcorn x 1
  22. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    They are, but you don't get the advantage of HDR, Dolby Vision, NetFlix Calibrated Video when you use the apps through Xfinity's box. And they also run better on the TV for the most part.
  23. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    8,873
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Ratings:
    +12,416
    Echoing TF's comments, Roku, or equivalent that you can plug into an HDMI port is your best long-term answer.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  24. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    Having gone down the new TV rabbit hole this month, I disagree: smart TVs have a considerable edge (Ed's right). Besides, you can't buy a dumb TV any more.

    Comparing the same Netflix content streamed over Roku and using the TV's native Netflix application, the TV wins hands down. Same is true for Prime Video.

    Picture clarity is much higher. 4K UHD content via Netflix on the TV is stunning. The app acknowledges special video and sound processing (Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos) that Roku doesn't offer. The same 4K content via Roku suffers compression artifacts. It may be the Roku needs a wired connection for good 4K, but the TV seems happy with wifi. Both are connected on 5G. I can't be arsed to run ethernet (I need to run a bandwidth test on the Roku). The sound is also much better processed through the TV without Roku in play.

    How long this edge lasts depends on software updates for the TV. This remains to be seen. But if it falls behind I can always upgrade the Roku assuming a better version exists.

    Roku still has some content I haven't found on the TV's available streaming content. It's still connected to access those channels.

    TV:LG 55CX OLED
    soundbar: LG SN11RG
    Roku Ultra

    Edit: I see the roku should support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos as well. I might need to re-initialize it, although it sees the display capabilities already.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
    • Agree Agree x 1
  25. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    Ok. I was stupid.

    Roku was starved for bandwidth. And the TV wasn't doing so well either.

    I did a bandwidth test on the roku (settings, check network) and it was only getting 4Mbps where before the new TV it was getting around 80Mbps. 4 is about the minimum for HD tv, with slow buffering.

    I think the issue is the new OLED TV acts as a RF shield. The Roku mounts behind the TV. The new TV was effectively blocking wifi. The wireless router is about 20ft away (straight line) with a floor separating. This hadn't been a problem before so I didn't expect it to be now. The router is about 5 years old, a fairly decent netgear nighthawk with current firmware.

    The TV itself was experiencing performance issues. Timeouts loading prime video content. Clunky shifts between apps. I was also disappointed in the quality of sound from the new soundbar. Some buzziness and missing mid-tones.

    Worst of all the wife was complaining about her K-dramas not loading quick enough. sigh. They were taking as long as 15 seconds...

    Ran Cat5 ethernet through the wall and basement to the router. Put a switch behind the TV. 1000base to the switch. The switch reports both the TV and Roku are 100base. Speed tests on the Roku were now 88Mbps. Internet speed measured at the router is about 120Mbps.

    Load times decreased from "maybe" to a second for Amazon Prime. No latency on Netflix. Roku picture quality improved vastly. Also the sound improved. I think this was being sacrificed to feed the picture on the TV.

    In the quality contest between Roku and the native applications on the LG TV, it's still under consideration. I think it depends mostly on the stream and whether Roku or what the TV gets is transcoded to the best standards both video and sound. Depending on how old the transcode is, it may not have been redone in 4K or with the best sound. I think Roku might suffer more from this as it's been around the longest. Anyway the TV is my first choice right now when I watch either netflix or Amazon prime. Roku was delivering Dolby vision and atmos on some videos on Amazon Prime, but the videos on Netflix had fewer streams with this compared to the LG TV's app.

    If you are making the 4K plunge, consider that you will need to run ethernet, or be able to position wifi devices closer to the router.
  26. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,924
    Ratings:
    +13,785
    If running ethernet in your home is something that can't be done, or is too expensive, you can install a mesh network and then connect your tv to one of the nodes with an ethernet cable, or even an ethernet switch.
  27. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    sorry, "mesh networks" doesn't compute.

    Are you talking about an ethernet to wifi adapter that can sit a few feet away from the TV? for examples

    Wireless access points (i.e. using an extra router as a range extender) might help with signal strength, but they create wifi congestion lowering throughput.
  28. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,221
    Location:
    Marietta, GA AKA epicenter of the Blue Tsunami
    Ratings:
    +9,218
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020