Sony KDL-65S990A: First curved LED LCD TV
Answering a question nobody asked, Sony has announced the first LED-based LCD TV with a curved screen.
The KDL-65S990A will be available in October for $3,999.99
According to Sony Senior Vice President Mike Lucas, "The gentle curve of this television borrows from the screen technology found in movie theaters, and provides an immersive experience that makes viewers feel as if they are truly part of the action and in the moment of the scene they are watching."
In person the set indeed seems to have a gentler curve than does the only other curved screen I've seen myself, Samsung's 55-inch KN55S9C OLED TV. Indeed, Sony's engineer told me it has a gentler curve than the OLED sets. That, and the larger screen size, made the effect less extreme than on the Samsung, and therefore less objectionable to me during the brief demo.
That said, I'd have to spend a lot more time comparing it with a flat-panel TV before I'd be convinced that curved is better than flat -- especially considering that excellent non-curved TVs like Samsung's UN65F8000 and Panasonic's TC-P65VT60 cost a lot less. I'm particularly curious how the curve affects 3D.
And in case you're wondering, no, the S990A is has 1080p resolution, not 4K like the X802A series.
Sony also says the curve helps the S990A's sound:
The S990A features a 4-channel Multi-angle Live Speaker configuration that provides sound you might expect from a dedicated surround-sound system, enhancing your viewing experience. A total of eight front-facing speakers (six front and two surround) are angled in multiple directions for a surround sound experience that is superior to a conventional slim, "flat panel" TV.
The inward-facing speakers are precisely angled to deliver specific sounds...directly towards viewers while the outwards angled speakers push sound outwards to fill the room and wrap audiences with clear, full-range surround sound. This Multi-angle Live speaker construction also features dedicated tweeters to create smooth, rich, satisfying audio with little distortion.
Aside from the curve and the sound, the S990A looks very similar to Sony's KDL-55W900A, our favorite LED LCD of 2013 from a picture quality standpoint. The curved S990A has the same edge-lit LED backlight with local dimming and the Triluminos technology we liked so much on the flat W900A. Of course, those LEDs are now arranged in a gentle arc along the top and bottom edge of the TV, and there's no telling how that curve affects picture quality, particularly screen uniformity.
Other features include Sony's full Smart TV suite, complete with NFC features, and fancy app action including TV side view. Check out our R550 write-up for details.