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