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Sony Bravia KDL-40HX703 - Tuner, Processing & Viewing Angles

John Archer

By John Archer


  • Recommended by TR
Sony Bravia KDL-40HX703


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As we’d expect of a set relatively high up in Sony’s current range, the 40HX703 carries a Freeview HD tuner for people lucky enough to live in a suitable reception area.

But arguably of more interest now that Freeview HD tuners have already become ten-a-penny is the TV’s 200Hz MotionFlow processing. This gives it a clear feature ‘leg up’ - on top of the Monolithic design - over the 40EX503/37EX503 Sony Freeview HD models we’ve tested before.

The 40HX703’s processing suite also includes Sony’s multi-facetted Bravia Engine 3 (BE3) - there’s still no sign of a version 4 - as well as Sony’s 24p True Cinema mode for delivering improved results with the majority of Blu-ray discs.

Happily, the combination of all the 40HX703’s processing and its special Monolith black screen help it deliver excellent picture quality. Particularly striking given Sony’s recurring problems with inconsistent backlights is how even and impressively black dark scenes look. There’s startlingly little of the grey mist in dark areas that we usually associated with non-LED LCD TVs, and there’s negligible evidence of parts of the screen looking brighter than others.

Or at least that’s the case if you’re watching the 40HX703 from pretty much straight on. Sit more than 35 degrees or so down its side and you will see large patches of the screen lose contrast and colour saturation, in keeping with the vast majority of other LCD TVs.

However, the 40HX703 additionally suffers with a slight purple undertone during off-axis viewing. So while its pictures are excellent in most ways if you can sit more or less directly opposite the screen, it could be a problematic option if you have a large family and relatively small room, so that numerous viewers regularly end up watching the set from a wide angle.

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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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