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Sony Bravia KDL-40HX803 - Online Features and 3D Picture

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Going back to the 40HX803’s Bravia Internet Video features, regular readers will know by now that it is arguably the most sophisticated and content-heavy TV online platform around, offering both a slick interface and oodles of streaming video content, bolstered by a seven-second built-in buffer.

Among the most interesting content providers are YouTube, DailyMotion, Demand Five (the Channel Five catch up service), FIFA, Eurosport, and LoveFilm, complete with the facility to sync your online account to the TV for downloading full feature films.

Other key features of the 40HX803 we’ve not covered yet include a system for converting 2D sources to 3D, and MotionFlow 200Hz processing, for enhanced motion playback.

You also get Sony’s reliable Bravia Engine 3 processing aimed at boosting a wide variety of picture elements; Sony’s Live Colour engine for richer, more natural colour tones; and Sony’s Deep Black LCD panel specially designed to reduce reflections and boost contrast.

To illustrate this contrast difference, Sony describes the 40HX803 as a GigaContrast TV - though it doesn’t give us any sort of contrast ratio figure.

And so to the moment of truth: do the 40HX803’s 3D pictures live down to the expectations raised by early Sony demos? Actually, no. But nor are they the best around.

On the upside, HD 3D pictures look much crisper than they did on Sony’s early 3D pre-production samples - largely because the set’s motion processing tools seem much more advanced, allowing objects to move around in the three-dimensional world without losing excessive resolution, or smearing.

Colours also look more dynamic with the 3D glasses on than we’d expected based on past experience - though they’re as dynamic as those of Samsung’s C8000 3D series, losing considerable amounts of brightness once you’ve got your glasses on.

Sony’s 3D glasses are reasonable in terms of their comfort during long-term wearing, and how they restrict the amount of ambient light that gets in between your eyes and the lenses.

Unfortunately, however, the 40HX803 suffers from what’s looking like being a serious problem for 3D LCD TVs: crosstalk noise. There’s clear evidence of the same edge ghosting around some objects when viewing 3D that we noted on Samsung C8000 sets, making affected parts of the picture look slightly out of focus, and causing your eyes to become strained as they keep trying to reconcile the offset images.

On the plus side, Sony’s 3D images seem to suffer less with crosstalk than the Samsung 3D TVs we’ve seen. But they don’t get close to the near crosstalk-free pictures delivered by Panasonic’s P50VT20B 3D TV.

The 40HX803 is a very good 2D TV indeed, though. Particularly impressive is its black level response, which delivers markedly deeper black colours than Samsung’s C8000 range. In fact, they’re the best black colours we’ve ever seen from an edge LED set - a situation made even better by the fact that Sony has almost completely eradicated the sort of backlight inconsistencies that have consistently plagued edge LED models. Provided, at least, that you select sensible contrast and backlight level settings.


July 13, 2010, 2:25 pm

Good Review Thanks

Just a couple of points

Missing info on response time (lag) which I think is an important point, especially with this particular model I believe

You said it is one of the best pictures for an Edge LED LCD yet you gave it 8 for picture presumable this is cos of the 3d crosstalk, what about separating the 2D and 3D image quality score thus giving a fairer representation.

I think it's a very interesting model from Sony, no monolithic design yet its obviously from the same ilk as its brethren, makes me wonder why?

on the the value side if you're willing to shop about and not just on Google, there are plenty of deals for this and the lager 46" which until just recently was available at a pre-order price.

Personally I think with more 3D models from Sony the actual retail prices will fall to the pre-order price very quickly, added to that with the hype of 3D falling until maybe 3D Gran Turismo or Killzone 3D kicks it up again I think by winter all 3D TV's will be a hell of a lot cheaper


July 13, 2010, 3:09 pm

@HeyZuZe - not sure whether you're talking about pixel response time or input lag, but quite a few readers, including myself, have been asking for input lag figures for quite a while now. Despite staff member Ed saying in the Samsung UE55C8000 review comments that they would look into the issue, there is no indication that input lag figures will be introduced into reviews.

Regarding these wireless USB dongles, will any USB wireless adapter do, or does it have to be a specific Sony branded dongle (which will not doubt cost 3x as much)?


July 13, 2010, 3:17 pm

A smaller Panasonic would be just great for me - I've tried the current ones in a shop and I was ready to buy it but it just won't fit in the lounge.


July 13, 2010, 3:32 pm


Sorry not be clear, i was indeed referring to Input Lag

Also I got told in a Sony Center that you do need to use there USB dongle, but that just might be to try and get me to buy one.


July 13, 2010, 6:20 pm

hmm the standard e version of this telly is under £600 pounds,what is the other £1000 spent on?a different processor worth a few quid?


July 13, 2010, 6:47 pm



ronesh amin

July 13, 2010, 8:14 pm

"In other words, 3D continues to be very much a premium technology."

I disagree. Samsung have a Plasma 3D Ready TV with all the knobs and whistles on like its LED variants for as little as £1299 if you shop around a bit online (the PS50C7000). This is for a 50" plasma, which is an amazing price; and for it to be 3D ready as well, you really can't complain.

I just wish TR gets round to reviewing it soon; the rate they review TV's, the newer updated model comes out!


August 9, 2010, 2:13 am

stunning tv...well worth the price...the picture in 2d is bootiful,and the 3d optional package that marks and spencers threw in with stuff worth over 500 pound is a bargain,that included 2 pairs of 3d glasses,a 3d transmitter,speaker bar,cloudy with a chance 3d blu ray and the sdp s470 3d blu ray player,stunning value.you would have to be a right picky so and so,not to get this package..

Mike Price

August 28, 2010, 4:26 pm

Currently available from Sony Centre, with 2 pairs of glasses, the transmitter, a Sony 3d Blu-Ray player and a 3D film, all for £1,299.00! Not bad - the 3D Blu-Ray is meant to be £299 by itself!


September 20, 2010, 4:56 pm

I'm no tech-head (if that term even exists) so have no idea of most of the things said already. All I know is that I bought a 46HX803 last week and tested it using a Blue ray (via a decent Panasonic player and expensive HDMI cable) of Avatar and The Dark Knight and I must admit the picture was not as sharp and vibrant as my existing Samsung 46 inch LCD. The Sony is the stronger TV on paper so I was expecting at least the same quality if not a small uptick. Any suggestions? Is it the settings? I have the sharpness on max, is there an optimum setting for watching Blu-rays?


January 10, 2011, 3:15 am

Well, this model is now available from Currys at £899 (retailing at £1699) in their sale.

Not sure how long they will be at this price, but although the Samsung 40" Internet TV is the same price, with the inclusion of it being 3D ready (without the sync bar and glasses) I think this is a very good buy at present.

Just wish i could get one.


January 15, 2012, 6:21 pm

To be honest, the sound quality is absolutely PITIFUL and a total embarrassment. It is just as well I bought a soundbar within hours of buying this TV. Having said that, the picture quality is simply superb. What a pity Sony considers sound as the poor relation to pictures.


November 6, 2013, 11:12 pm

I've had my Sony Bravia for nearly 3 years, bought from John Lewis for £1300 with D Blueray and 3D glasses etc. I bought the wifi dongle separately and a Sony sound theatre (£200). Since then I've not looked back, the quality of everything has been great. Connecting Windows PCs and playing iTunes through the TV.

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