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Sony Bravia KDL-40HX803 - Other Concerns and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


The impressive natural black level response of the screen also means that Sony’s local dimming system is the most effective we’ve seen on an edge LED screen. Though we personally still chose to deactivate it, for we could still see faint 'blocks' of light inconsistency when bright objects appear against mostly black background.

Given how black the 40HX803 can go, we were also impressed by how light and clean bright image elements look even when they’re appearing amid general blackness.

Colours are dynamic, natural and vibrant, meanwhile, and there’s enough subtlety in the set’s detailing and colour processing to stop colour blends creating 'stripes' or blocky skin tones.

Elsewhere, the set seldom suffers with major motion blurring, judder or smearing issues; HD pictures look crisp and detailed; and standard definition pictures are respectably if not immensely sharply translated to the screen’s Full HD resolution by the Bravia Engine 3 system.

We do have a few concerns with the 40HX803’s images, though, beyond the 3D crosstalk. First, the screen is fairly limited with respect to its effective viewing angle. Also, its screen proved a little more reflective of light in our room than we’d ideally have liked, and finally the 2D to 3D conversion circuit is only passably effective. It doesn’t create as great a sense of depth as the Samsung system, to the point where we didn’t really bother with it. Though on the upside, at least the Sony’s ultra-safe approach results in less depth inaccuracies.

These picture concerns aren’t our only issues, either. We also found the TV’s remote slightly fiddly, with some over-complicated button layout. The onscreen menus are rather sluggish and long-winded at times too, and the set handles its 3D options very awkwardly, splitting them across two totally different menu suites.

Finally, the 40HX803’s audio is nothing to write home about. It passes muster with ordinary TV fare, but as usual with edge LED TVs, when pushed hard with an action film there’s practically no bass; for instance, the native drum beat that underscores the snake fighting scene near the start of Casino Royale is left almost inaudible. The set also sounds slightly squashed in its mid-range, and treble details can sound peaky thanks to the lack of any balance at the lower end of the spectrum. At least the set can go passably loud without the speakers actually distorting, so that’s something.


Looked at as a 2D TV - which is actually what it is in its 'out of the box' state - the 40HX803 is pretty excellent, producing arguably the best pictures we’ve seen from an edge LED TV to date. So if you’re not interested in 3D, feel free to buy a 40HX803 and be extremely happy with your choice.

If you are interested in 3D, though, the 40HX803 becomes a more considered purchase. For while its 3D pictures are far from the disaster area we’d been worried they might be, its problems with crosstalk noise still represent a substantial concern.


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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