When we tested the Sony 32HX753 recently, it left us feeling rather deflated. It felt like a much bigger step down from Sony’s sublime new HX853 models than we’d hoped it would be. However, it did occur to us as we contemplated the various problems with the 32HX753 that some of the issues we had with it were related to its relatively small screen, and the likely usage scenarios such a small TV would likely find itself in.
So it’s with a degree of optimism that we find ourselves faced today with the 32HX753’s much bigger (46in) brother, the Sony KDL-46HX753. Though this upbeat feeling takes an early hit as it transpires that the HX7 series design looks less satisfying on a 46in screen than it did on the 32HX753. It becomes clearer that the build quality of the set’s frame and rear isn’t a patch on that of Sony's top-end model, and the set is also surprisingly chunky by today’s standards, in terms of both its rear depth and its bezel width.
Aesthetically off the pace
The combination of the black bezel with a silvery outer trim and the distinctive little legs of the desktop stand do add a touch of chic to proceedings, but overall the 46HX753 looks pretty uninspiring versus rival models from Panasonic, LG and Samsung this year.
Let’s not get too caught up on this, though. After all, Sony’s avoidance of ultra-slim designs is entirely deliberate, based on the brand’s belief that using ultra-thin bodywork can damage picture quality.
Priced for success
Also, Sony’s HX753 models are pretty aggressively priced for what they offer, undercutting the already surprisingly affordable HX8 series by £300-£400 on average and also showing a clean pair of pricing heels to similar-level models from the likes of LG, Panasonic and Samsung. So if the KDL-46HX753 can perform well enough, we’ll be more than happy to forgive its slightly old-fashioned looks.
Connections on the Sony KDL-46HX753 more than pass muster. Four v1.4 HDMIs provide portals for digital HD and active 3D images, plus there are two USBs for playing back a solid selection of video, music and photo file formats, as well as both LAN and integrated Wi-Fi options for streaming from networked computers (Macs and PCs if you download Sony’s Homestream software) or accessing Sony’s latest SEN online system.
The SEN system is easily Sony’s best online TV effort yet. The main reason for this is the introduction of a much-improved graphical interface that makes it far easier to find specific online content. But Sony has also improved the actual content - especially by adding Netflix. It also benefits from the much-improved versions of Sony’s Music and Video Unlimited services.
Some might take issue with the way Sony promotes its own film and music subscription services on the SEN interface. But if you’d rather go the LoveFilm or Netflix routes for your movie and music needs, finding those services is hardly a chore. Especially as you can move them up into a ‘Favourites’ menu section to make them even easier to get to.
Overall, while SEN might currently lack the huge numbers of smaller apps that populate Samsung and LG’s online systems, it’s still arguably the best online service around, simply because it focuses so single-mindedly on providing as much video content as possible. And video content remains what we, at least, most want to watch on our TVs.