Sony is still going its own way where picture adjustments are concerned, and as such still hasn’t bothered seeking the endorsement of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) for the KDL-46HX753.
Once you learn your way round Sony’s system, though, there really is a plentiful supply of adjustments at your disposal. For instance, you can adjust the picture’s gamma level, as well as the bias and gain of the red, green and blue colour elements. There’s a backlight adjustment as well as the usual contrast and brightness tweaks too, and you can muck about with almost every aspect of Sony’s latest video processing system.
To be honest, some if not many of Sony’s processing elements are best set to off; certainly we would treat the detail and edge enhancers in particular with great suspicion. But it’s good to see Sony putting so much control in the users’ hands.
Given that the biggest problems we had with Sony’s 32HX753 materialised while watching dark content, we kicked off our tests of the 46HX753 by feeding it a selection of the darkest film scenes we could think of. And we were mightily relieved to find it handling them very well indeed.
Good black levels
For starters, the Sony KDL-46HX753 seems to be able to produce a much more consistently deep black colour than its smaller sibling. In fact, it produces one of the deepest black levels we’ve yet seen from an edge LED TV, helping dark scenes instantly look very credible. Not having a wash of nasty grey lying over dark scenes means that dark colours have a more natural tone, too.
It was also a relief to find that the 46HX753 can look excellent with dark scenes without you having to work so hard to find a settings ‘sweet spot’ as you have to with the 32HX753. Certainly you can still mess things up if you leave the backlight and brightness settings too high (the backlight, in particular, should ideally be set no higher than ‘6’ unless you’re watching in an extremely bright room). But the 32HX753’s problems with greyness and backlight clouding are much less easy to replicate on the 46HX753.
Strong shadow detailing
The 46HX753 also outguns its smaller sibling by managing to combine its deep blacks with a pretty strong shadow detail performance. In the shot early on in the final Harry Potter film where Snape is shown from behind framed against an arch with darkness to either side of him, you can see far more detail in the dark edges than you can during the same shot on the 32HX753.
The Sony KDL-46HX753’s performance during dark scenes isn’t perfect, mind you. For while backlight inconsistencies are rare, they’re not altogether invisible during extremely dark shots, with small jets of light sneaking in from the corners. Follow our earlier advice concerning the backlight settings, though, and you really shouldn’t be disturbed by these inconsistencies with any regularity.
Black levels also drop off quite severely if you watch the screen from much of an angle down the sides, and finally, like the 32HX753, when calibrated to produce their best black levels the 46HX753’s pictures aren’t as bright as those of some rivals (including Sony’s own brilliant HX853 models).
Bigger is better
For us, though, this brightness situation is much less of a problem than it was with the relatively small 32in 32HX753, since a) the bigger screen means there’s still more total brightness on show and b) it’s much more likely that the bigger 46in TV will be used as a serious movie machine in a properly darkened environment, where brightness issues are less important than achieving a convincing black colour.
It’s also important to stress that the 46HX753 is capable of looking much punchier than the 32HX753 if you go for one of its dynamic picture settings. In other words, this TV can cater for a much wider variety of environments and usage types, making it far more likely to satisfy a wider audience.