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Sony Bravia KDL-40HX703 - Picture Quality, Audio & Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer


  • Recommended by TR
Sony Bravia KDL-40HX703


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Getting back to what makes the 40HX703’s mostly excellent pictures tick, its 200Hz engine helps it produce motion with extremely likeable fluidity and clarity. Even better, provided you stick with its standard (as opposed to high) setting, it achieves this goal without throwing into the mix lots of unwanted processing artefacts.

The set’s motion clarity is backed up handsomely, moreover, by generally high levels of detail and sharpness with HD footage, leaving good HD sources feeling more like you’re looking through a window than watching a TV.

The BE3 processing has consistently proven very effective at upscaling standard definition, and so it proves with the 40HX703. If a standard definition broadcast is of a respectable or better quality in the first place, the 40HX703 will upscale it with really good sharpness and likeably little noise. And even poor quality standard def sources are dealt with more decently than is common in the LCD world.

The 40HX703 displays a good touch with colours, too, combining a natural palette with lots of stripe-free blends and general tonal subtlety. We’ve seen slightly more vibrancy and richness in some of the best rival models, perhaps, but the set’s subtlety compensates for this.

Turning to the 40HX703’s audio, it’s not as satisfying as the set’s pictures. There just isn’t enough bass available to deliver potent soundstages with a well-rounded, balanced approach, leaving the loudest moments sounding rather thin and trebly. The 40HX703 also lacks the power to open up to accommodate transitions from quiet to loud moments as well as we’d like. To be fair, though, these sort of issues are all too common in the flat TV world, and the 40HX703 doesn’t sound worst than most. In fact, the amount of treble detail it produces makes it fractionally better than some.


While its Monolithic design might have been what initially caught our eye about the 40HX703, it’s actually been the set’s strong picture performance and unrivalled streaming video talents that have lingered most in our minds.

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June 2, 2010, 1:20 pm

How you feel this stacks up in comparison to Panasonic Viera TX-P42G20B. The feature set on both companies products pages leaves me feeling dizzy. Is the Viera's lack of Wow in design made up by the the exta features such as Freesat, and one 1.4 HDMI?


June 2, 2010, 1:43 pm

John : Would you purchase this or the Panasonic TX-P42G20B ?

I'm looking for something 37" - 42". I normally favour Plasma and hate the "lag" that older LCD screens used to suffer from. I like the idea of all the integrated "applets" and the idea of being able to play 4 on demand, 5, iplayer, etc all from the TV is very attractive. Do Panasonic intend on adding these features to the TX-P42G20B ?

Look forward to your comments. Feel free to nominate any other TV too to confuse me even more ;-)


June 2, 2010, 4:36 pm

Good review, but it would be nice to know whether games are playable on this TV.

As one of several new 40" Sony Bravias I'm considering from the EX/HX/NX 500/700 range, it would be nice to know how much input lag this TV has.

As far as I'm concerned, if a TV has bad input lag, it will immediately be crossed off my list, no matter how good it is in all other aspects.

In the comments section of your Samsung UE55C8000 review, Ed said that you would look into this issue. Has any progress been made on this? Your reviews are generally great, but the omission of input lag testing means consulting other review sites, some of which go into way too much detail when it comes to testing methods. If your easy to read and concise reviews included input lag testing, I'm sure many people would appreciate it, as the demand is certainly there.


June 3, 2010, 12:32 am

Looks like a sweet TV. Do you know when Sony are going to give their 3D TVs to reviewers. I have to review some 3D games, but I have yet to get a date from Sony for the 3D TV arrival, idiots.


June 3, 2010, 8:20 am

Fake monolithic design. Companies should stop looking for a "brand specific design" and just make elegant and functional shapes with true interactive "feeling" between users and devices. I never care for how gorgeous and splendid a consumer electronic device looks in my room, because almost all CEDs look pretty ugly and extremely boring to me. Samsung is the champion in this field of bad taste.

Big money for nothing for designers all time. Boring. This is 2010, isn't it?


June 4, 2010, 1:08 pm

Disappointed that there's no reply in comparing this against the Panasonic. Is this politically incorrect ? Are TR sponsored by these companies and hence won't directly compare ?

Andy Vandervell

June 4, 2010, 1:47 pm

@AJ: RE: your original questions, as far as I'm aware Panasonic does plan to include these features, but as to when it might happen that's impossible to say. My gut reaction would be not to buy with the expectation of that happening, unless it's officially announced.

You're right on favouring plasma, though, so all I'd say is you need to decide what's more important to you: ultimate image quality (particularly motion performance), or interactivity. There's price to consider to, as the Panny is bigger and around £200 cheaper by the look of things.


June 4, 2010, 6:08 pm

Thanks Andy - that sounded like an endorsement for the Panasonic if ever I've heard one. It would be nice if Panny's design was a little sharper as it's going in a modern (newly decorated) room and if it looked as sharp as some of the new LCD's it would be a talking point whether on or off. Hardly the end of the world though.

I'm not too worried about the built in features as I've now sussed out attaching it directly to my desktop PC that's only a few meters away. So I can always use that to drive iPlayer, 4oD, DVD and Blu-Ray to the panel.

A couple more questions if I may...

1) Do the Panasonics have an "operating system" built in that gets upgraded too, like the PS3 for example ? Or every year do they release a new range with a new OS that's different, leaving the old sets behind ?

2) Can the Panny pull video / pictures from a PC running a media server like TVersity ?

Thanks for all the help. This information is very hard to find / understand without a little help from those that have actually used the products and love tech. :)


June 5, 2010, 12:52 pm

@Andy, Thanks for the advise. As the main purpose of a TV is to watch TV and not admire It's looks, I'll be getting the Panny. As I do have a love film account, I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope Panasonic follow Sony with this functionality.


June 7, 2010, 1:48 pm

Fingers crossed someone can help with my questions please.

I did however go and have a look at these TV's over the weekend I'm sure the Panasonic will offer everything from a picture point of view that I need.

However Panasonic must be congratulated for (without a doubt) designing the dullest TV's on display. The crowning glory are their stands which really were designed and QA'd by Stevie Wonder after a big night out.

I just cannot understand how such a market leading company with such massive R&D / design budget can possibly use stands that ugly.

Come on Panasonic, get your act together, there as some of us that when spending this much money on a premium TV would like it to look good whether turned off or on.

peter sturgeon 1

July 17, 2010, 9:56 pm

NEW tv sony kdl-40hx713 due august 10

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