Whether you care about 3D or not, it’s a big deal to the manufacturers. Every big brand has been falling over itself to tell us how much effort they’ve put into making their 2011 3D TVs better.
So when we clocked the shockingly poor state of the 3D pictures of Sony’s 32EX723 a couple of months back, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Surely the unfocussed, crosstalk-crazy 3D mess must be the result of a faulty sample or something? Sadly, no. This really was how they’d look to anyone unlucky enough to buy the TV.
Then it occurred to us that maybe the problems were restricted to the 32in model - a result, perhaps, of that size using a rogue panel?
Again, alas, this is not the case. A fact we now know because we’ve been looking at the 32EX723’s bigger brother, the 40EX723 - and its 3D pictures are every bit as nasty, as we’ll discover later. First, though, we should focus on the 40EX723’s design and specification - two areas where the 40EX723 is much more successful.
Aesthetically it’s distinguished by the pleasing narrowness of its bezel, and the reasonably high quality of its finish. The use of a deep grey in the bottom edge to contrast with the black of the other three sides works quite nicely too.
Its connections are very respectable for a 40in 3D TV we’ve found for under £700, with highlights of four v1.4 HDMIs, two USBs and an Ethernet port. The USBs can record from the set’s integrated Freeview HD tuner or play music, photo and video files from USB storage devices, and the Ethernet port can transport you to the delights of Sony’s latest Bravia Internet Video service.
BIV focusses heavily on video streaming content, with highlights including the BBC iPlayer, YouTube, LoveFilm, the Demand Five Channel 5 catchup service, a vault of old Sony TV series including Rescue Me and Kidnapped, Sony’s own subscription Qriocity video and music service, Eurosport and an interactive Sky News feed. There are now also Twitter, Facebook and Skype ‘widgets’, but for us its the amount of video that makes BIV so successful as an online TV platform.
You can also make the TV wi-fi if you add an optional extra dongle to one of the USB ports.
One thing to note if you’re thinking of hanging a 40EX723 on a wall is that many of the connections - including three HDMIs and the RF input - face directly out of the TV’s rear, which could present you with a few problems unless you can dig out a hole for the cables to sit in.
The 40EX723’s screen is inevitably full HD, and in processing terms boasts Sony’s Bravia Engine, 200Hz TruMotion, and Sony’s new X-Reality system for improving the look of low quality video, especially that from Internet sources.
Calling up the onscreen menus via the lightweight but effectively laid out remote control reveals a menu system similar to that seen recently on Sharp’s 46LE831E, whereby the picture is reduced to make room for menu ‘bars’ to appear across the bottom and down the side. Sony’s get more onscreen real estate to work with, though, which makes them a bit easier to use - though there’s still quite a bit of scrolling around at times to get to even some fairly basic features.