Sony XBR-46HX909 LED 3D TV Review

In this review of the Sony XBR-46HX909 LED 3D TV, we will look at the 2D and 3D performance of this HDTV along with all the new features in the Sony HX909 series. The HX909 series is the flagship line of 3D TVs being offered by Sony and incorporates Sony’s latest technology and design philosophy. The Sony XBR-46HX909 is a 46 inch LED 3D TV and is the smallest 3D TV in the HX909 series. With excellent image quality, great 3D performance, and drop-dead looks, this is a fantastic, albeit expensive 3D TV that will surely be a hit amongst consumers looking to purchase a high-end 3D TV that features good performance while also providing a futuristic and sleek HDTV look that turns the neighbors green with envy.

46" BRAVIA® XBR-46HX909 LED Backlit 3D ready LCD HDTV

List Price: $2,999.99
Lowest Sale Price: $2,489.99
Lowest Used Price: $1,500.00
Picture Quality
3D Performance
Feature Set
Bang for the Buck
Final Rating:

Highlights of the Sony XBR46HX909 Review


  • Sony XBR-46HX909 3D TVGorgeous, sleek look featuring Sony’s monolithic design philosophy
  • One of the only LED 3D TVs currently available featuring full array local dimming LED backlighting which provides far superior black-levels than edge-lit local dimming TVs that have unfortunately become the norm
  • Excellent black levels, contrast, color accuracy and 2D image quality
  • Excellent remote control with well thought out layout and button arrangement


  • Narrow viewing angle for both 2D and 3D
  • 3D Glasses and IR emitter, WiFi adapter are not included (separate purchase)
  • Steep pricing might deter some consumers

Sony XBR-46HX909 Screen Size and Appearance


Sony XBR-52HX909 3D TVThe design and aesthetics of the XBR-46HX909 is one of its outstanding features and is the first thing you will notice about this elegantly styled 3D TV. This features Sony’s “Monolithic” design philosophy, something they deserve special kudos for. This TV looks like a beautiful, elegant, black slab of glass minus any distracting logos and labels on the front face of the TV. Even when turned off, this television can be a centerpiece in your living room. This design involves the front panel glass extending all the way to the edge of the screen where it meets the black metal edge of the panel. The entire panel is only approximately 2.8 inches deep which is quite slim for a full-array local dimming LED backlit 3D TV (More on that later).

It should be noted that while the front glass panel extends all the way to the edge of the screen, the TV still has a narrow bezel, except that in this case the bezel is covered by the front glass panel, which makes for a very nice look.

Flatpanel Resolution and Viewing Effects

The XBR-46HX909 is a 46 inch 3D TV that is capable of displaying content at full 1080p resolution (1920×1080 pixels). It can also output Full HD 3D content without any loss of resolution in the 3D content so you can enjoy 2D and 3D Blu-ray content in all its 1080p glory.

As far as viewing angles go, the Sony XBR46HX909 is underwhelming in comparison to top of the line Plasma 3D TVs like the Panasonic TC-P54VT25. However, this is common to all LED and LCD based 3D TVs due to the inherent viewing angle disadvantage of LED/LCD backlighting technology (for more details, be sure to read our LCD vs Plasma 3D TV article). When compared to other LED 3D TVs such as those from rival manufacturer Samsung, the HX909 performance is on par and it allows viewing from roughly 25-30 degrees of- center before the image quality and contrast ratio drops off to unacceptable levels. This is a steep contrast to plasma 3D TVs that can exhibit acceptable viewing angles well over 75-80 degrees off-center on either side of the TV. Depending on the layout of your living room, this could be a significant factor that affects your decision to purchase a plasma or LED 3D TV.

The XBR-46HX909 also features Sony’s latest Opticontrast Panel technology that consists of a surface treatment of the LCD glass panel in conjunction with a special resin sheet that is sandwiched between the LCD panel and the glass panel. The resin sheet and surface treatment work together to minimize back reflection and scattering of incident light on the TV screen thus allowing a significant reduction in glare and an improvement in black levels and image contrast. This Opticontrast panel technology works well and does a great job of reducing glare on this glossy screen.

Sony XBR46HX909 Picture Quality

Black Levels, Brightness, Color Accuracy and Contrast

Sony-XBR-52HX909 Full Array Local Dimming LED Backlights

Full array, Local dimming LED backlights on the Sony HX909 Series

One of the most attractive features of the 46HX909 is its full array of locally dimming backlight LEDs that allow different sections of the screen lower or turn off the backlight if the image in that section is dim or black (See the adjacent image). This allows for a significant improvement in black-levels while boosting the on-screen contrast ratio. An LED TV with a well implemented array of local-dimming LED backlights provides the best possible image quality available with current LED/LCD technology.

The XBR-46HX909 certainly doesn’t disappoint in this department and provides near Plasma like black levels. This is certainly a big achievement because while it is capable of such impressive black levels, it also has the added advantage that comes with LED 3D TVs – high maximum brightness. Brightness level is the Achilles heel of Plasma TV technology, and the HX909 has impressive maximum brightness levels when displaying white images while also exhibiting great black levels. All this means that the Sony XBR-46HX909 exhibits one of the highest contrast ratios currently scene in all the 3D TVs available on the market. Additionally, the Opticontrast panel technology on the HX909 series significantly reduces glare and ambient reflection from the screen thus improving the black levels and contrast ratio further.

When it comes to color performance, the Sony XBR-46HX909 performs admirably well. It maintains a very stable color temperature across shadows and bright areas in the image and also tracks all 3 colors (R, G and B) very well. The color accuracy is also quite good and on the whole, this HDTV features great image quality, excellent black levels, brightness and contrast ratio. The local-dimming might lead to a slight loss of details in shadow regions of the image, but this is not a major issue and in general, the image quality is excellent.

Backlight Uniformity

Being an LED 3D TV, backlight uniformity is always a concern for the XBR-46HX909. While the backlight uniformity is pretty good in general, these TVs can exhibit some minor clouding and flashlighting in some cases. We would strongly recommend that you give your new 3D TV a thorough inspection during your “return window” so that you can return it to the store you purchased it from if you are not happy with the backlight uniformity.

Refresh Rate and Videoprocessing

The Sony XBR-46HX909 features Sony’s 240Hz MotionFlow PRO technology which essentially means that it incorporates a display panel capable of 240Hz refresh rates to help smooth fast moving content and to reduce flickering and cross-talk when viewing 3D content.

When it comes to videoprocessing, the HX909 is a very capable 3D TV. It can convert 2D content to 3D including streaming video (eg: from Youtube). It also features “Clear 2” processing that inserts a black frame between each displayed frame thus enhancing motion resolution and reducing blurring in fast moving videos at the expense of the total image brightness (not a big issue as this panel is very bright). This technique is referred to as scanning backlighting. The Smooth setting makes video look unnaturally smooth and fake and we recommend turning it off.

The 46HX909 is good at handling blu-ray content at 24fps as it does not need to resort to 3:2 pulldown techniques to display the video content. As a result, blu-rays and DVDs play smoothly without much perceivable judder.

3D Performance of the XBR-46HX909 Reviewed

3D performance on the Sony XBR-46HX909 is a bit of a mixed bag. Sony has done a good job of implementing 3D on an LED/LCD TV and the 46HX909 has better 3D performance and 3D quality than the Samsung LED 3D TVs released in 2010. However, the Panasonic VT25 and GT25 Plasma 3D TVs still outperform the 46HX909 when it comes to displaying 3D content. While the 46HX909 has reduced cross-talk, it is still not as low as the Panasonic Plasma 3D TVs. In addition, the low viewing angle of the 46HX909 works against the 3D effect when viewing the content from angles away from the “sweet spot” right along the normal to the TV. The Panasonic plasmas do not have this issue. All in all, the 46HX909 provides a very good 3D experience with the caveat that you need to be seated within the narrow “sweet spot” in front of the TV. While we still recommend the VT25 and GT25 series to consumers basing their purchase purely on 3D performance, we would recommend the HX909 series to those who cannot or do not want a Plasma 3D TV (Plasma’s suffer from lower brightness levels and not providing great image in brightly lit environments).

Media, Internet and Connectivity

The XBR-46HX909 is excellent in this department just like all of the Sony’s 3D TVs in 2010-2011. Apart from the ability to stream Netflix, it can also interface with Amazon’s Video on Demand (VOD), Pandora, YouTube, Sony’s Qriocity, and many others. It can also play photos, music and videos off USB thumbdrives that are connected to the USB ports on the TV. Yahoo widgets are unfortunately missing in the HX909 series and might be missed by some consumers.

Price and Verdict

The Sony XBR46HX909 is the flagship line of 3D Ready TVs from Sony and its pricing certainly reflects this fact. This HDTV features jaw-dropping aesthetics and looks, excellent black levels and image quality and a great integration with streaming media services. When it comes to 3D performance, it performs fairly well, though it is more prone to cross-talk than the excellent Panasonic Plasma 3D TVs and also has a narrow range of viewing angles that actually support the 3D effect. The lack of inclusion of 3D glasses or a 3D transmitter at this price point also work against the TV and we certainly would not recommend it to budget conscious shoppers. However, if you are in the market for a premium HDTV with great 2D image quality, good support for 3D and aesthetics that will make it the focal point in your living room, we would very strongly recommend the Sony XBR-46HX909. For more budget conscious consumers, we would recommend looking at the following 3D TVs: Panasonic TC-P50GT25, Panasonic TC-P50VT25, Sony KDL-46NX810 and the Samsung PN50C8000.