The sheer number of picture processing modes is probably enough to overwhelm all but the most hard-core videophiles. In addition to a number of picture modes, things get even more complicated by the inclusion of various “scene” choices. The Custom picture mode is the one to go with, as it seems to provide the highest degree of picture adjustment capabilities.
Picture Mode: Custom
Color Temp: Warm 2
HD size (pixel-to-pixel): Full Pixel
MPEG NR: Off
Dot NR: Off
Reality Creation: Off
Smooth Gradation: Off
Black Corrector: Off
Advanced Contrast Enhancer: Off
LED Dynamic Control: Low
Auto Light Limiter: Off
Clear White: Off
Live Color: Off
Detail Enhancer: Off
Edge Enhancer: Off
Presence Sensor: Off
3D Blu-ray Evaluation: The Green Hornet
For the sharpest 1080p picture, choose Full Pixel. While the Sony provides adjustment modes such as Detail Enhancer and Edge Enhancer, the picture was nonetheless crisp and sharp with those functions turned off. The active shutter glasses enable the best 3D effect, but as this movie was upconverted to 3D from 2D in post-production, the 3D effect is on the mild side, compared to other 3D movies that were filmed in 3D from the get-go.
The Warm 2 color temperature mode provides the most natural color palette, and test bench measurements confirm the high color accuracy with this mode. At the default color saturation level, however, things are a little on the rich side, so turning the color control down a few steps is recommended.
With full array local LED dimming, the Sony provides very good deep blacks, evident throughout the movie’s many nighttime scenes. With the backlighting set to a mid-high (7) setting, the picture is bright enough, but not so bright that deep blacks are negatively affected.
A nighttime scene early on has the Green Hornet and Kato being chased by the police and quick close-ups of the two in the Chrysler “Black Beauty” easily reveal details in the car’s black interior, with no evidence of black crush.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: Breaking Bad (AMC via Dish Network)
Crisp and sharp, the Sony delivers excellent detail, especially noticeable on fast action scenes, no doubt due to the very high screen refresh rate and sophisticated video processing.
Flesh tones are natural and believable, with an overall color tone that is sure to please. That’s with the Warm 2 color choice selected, which is the best of the available options.
Numerous scene edits feature quick fades to black, and the Sony’s blacks are very good indeed. The end credits feature white text on a jet-black background, with no evidence of contrast washout or LCD bleedthrough.
A nighttime scene in the lab has Bryan Crantston’s Walter White character stumbling around in the darkened meth lab with a flashlight, and the Sony easily reveals the very dimly lit scene’s shadow details.
Definitely targeted to the premium TV market segment, the Sony Bravia HX929 is pretty much loaded with features, and it delivers fine picture performance in both 2D as well as 3D modes. Compared to earlier generation local dimming sets that suffered from halo effects (most noticeable with bright image elements against a black background), the 929 displays no such behavior. Unlike most LCD-based sets, the 929 delivers a uniformly high contrast image even when viewed well off axis, with hardly any contrast washout. The large suite of Internet apps includes multiple streaming content provider choices, even though it’s fair to assume that Sony hopes that buyers will subscribe to their own Qriocity service. While this set is most certainly a top performer, it comes with a fairly hefty price tag, which may give some potential buyers pause.