For some reason, every Sony TV we’ve seen from this year’s range to date has used the brand’s second-tier design rather than the eye-catching, sheer-fronted, black-surrounded, gorgeously-built ‘Monolithic’ design the brand introduced to such strong effect last year.
But today we’re putting this accidental oversight right with the 40NX723: a 40in TV that features the latest, narrow-bezelled refinement of the Monolithic design, as well as lots of Sony’s key TV technologies for 2011.
The 40NX723‘s design really is nice. The Monolithic approach is not the showiest look in town by any means, but its understated elegance will likely be right up the street of your average household. What’s more, if you DO fancy upping the screen’s style factor a bit, you can easily do so by purchasing one of the rather cool silver ‘bar’ stand options Sony makes for all of its Monolithic sets.
The NX723 range may be Sony’s most affordable Monolithic models, but that doesn’t mean the 40NX723 isn’t very well stocked with features. Its connections, for instance, are pretty much beyond reproach, including as they do four HDMIs (two on the rear, two on the side), a pair of USBs, a D-Sub PC port, and best of all, built-in wi-fi.
The USBs can play Sony’s usual solid if not quite exhaustive mix of video, photo and music file formats, plus they can be used for recording from the 40NX723’s built-in digital tuner to correctly formatted USB hard drives. This digital tuner, incidentally, is a Freeview HD one, as you would expect these days of any TV costing over a grand.
The wi-fi - or a LAN if you prefer - enables you to stream in multimedia files from networked DLNA-capable TVs, or go online with Sony’s excellent Bravia Internet Video (BIV) service. Uniquely focussed on providing video content rather than the piles of mostly pointless ‘apps’ favoured by some other TV brands, BIV remains for us - in content terms, at least - the leading online platform currently available.
Among the reams of services on offer are the BBC iPlayer, the Channel 5 Demand 5 catch up service, Sony’s own library of TV series, LoveFilm, a 3D experience channel, and Sony’s Qriocity film library. It must be said, though, that other brands - most notably Samsung and LG - are now fast closing the video content gap, so although Sony also now offers Twitter, Facebook and Skype support, it will almost certainly need to up its online game for 2012 if it wants to stay ahead of the chasing pack.