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Sony KDL-46HX853 - Specification and Contrast Performance

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

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Sony 46HX853

Summary

Our Score:

10

Turning to the 46HX853’s multimedia capabilities, the TV can play a wide variety of video, music and photo file formats from USB sticks or your computer. In fact, Sony has taken this increasingly important feature further than most courtesy of its new Homestream system.

This software - pleasingly available for Mac as well as PC - simplifies the process for getting your multimedia files from your computer onto the TV. Or any other internet-enabled Sony device, including the PS3, Blu-ray players and ‘Netboxes’.

The interface for first setting this up isn’t particularly helpful. But once you’ve sussed the basics, the system does a fine job of taking the ball ache out of organising your files and formats.

Sony 46HX853

The only pity is that finding the Homestream ‘browser’ on the 46HX853 requires you to track it down amid Sony’s convoluted, over-complicated onscreen menu system, which persists from last year.

Sony has made one significant improvement to its 2012 interface, though. For now a dedicated and conveniently positioned ‘SEN’ button on the remote immediately calls up attractive menus giving you access to lots of online content available through the Sony Entertainment Network.

Twitter goes subtle

On the left of the new SEN home screen you get a reduced version of the TV picture you were watching when you pressed the SEN button, and underneath this, you can have a running timeline of tweets to your Twitter account. This is the most effective (because it’s so unobtrusive) integration of Twitter (or Facebook) into a TV online service we’ve seen.

One step to the right is a general Apps section, with eight highlighted apps immediately visible. At the time of writing these were the BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News, Sky News, Sony’s Home Theatre Control app, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter. Clicking the ‘more’ box brought up LoveFilm, Netflix, MUBI, Sony Entertainment Televeision, Crackle, Eurosport, Muzu.tv, Euronews, YouTube, Sony’s 3D channel, Billabong, Wired, epi, Concierge.com, Sylte.com, DailyMotion, UStudio, golflink.com, livestrong.com, ehow, video detective, singing fool, a podcast player, moshcam, Picasa, a Web browser, a calendar, an RSS reader, a calculator, an alarm, a world clock, Aupeo, AccuWeather, and a handful of games.

Next to the Apps section is a Video one, which is basically a portal to Sony’s Video Unlimited film rental service, through which you can stream a large collection of films - many available in HD - straight into your TV.

Music Unlimited

One zone ‘further’ across is a Music section, which is a portal to Sony’s Music Unlimited service. Finally there’s a Favourites section, where you can aggregate all your preferred apps to make it easier to get to them.

The only significant problem with the new SEN hub is that it takes rather a long time to load.

Sony 46HX853

Sony hasn’t gone for any alternative control systems like touchpad remotes or voice/gesture controls on the 46HX853. But this troubled us surprisingly little, other than wishing for a touchpad when trying to web pages.

Right, the moment of truth. Does the so-far impressive 46HX853 see Sony back on top of its picture quality game? Actually, yes. With great big knobs on.

Outstanding contrast

For starters, it hits you right away that the 46HX853‘s contrast range is nothing short of incredible for an LCD TV. Black colours really do look black, which is amazing enough for an edge LED TV, but somehow Sony also manages to deliver gorgeously vibrant colours and lovely bold whites in the same frame as the inkiest of blacks.

And there’s more. For astonishingly, for 99% of the time this jaw-dropping combination of bright and dark in the same single frame is delivered with scarcely any visible evidence of the ‘light blocking’ around bright image patches you usually get on edge LED TVs which, like this Sony, use local dimming. The only times we became seriously aware of light blocking, in fact, was when the white ‘disc loading’ graphic on our Blu-ray player popped up in the bottom corner of the screen against a totally black backdrop, or where central white titles appeared against a black backdrop.

Does Harry Potter proud

Even if you stick with Sony’s Standard picture preset, moreover, all these black level and contrast achievements are delivered without a trace of backlight inconsistency, even in the corners or down the TV’s sides. Nor does the outstanding contrast and black level performance come at the expense of shadow detail. In fact, ultra-dark scenes like the Voldemort assault sequence in the final Harry Potter film look thick with detail.

Seriously, the light management system in the 46HX853 is so good it’s borderline revolutionary. And yet this is just the start of its charms.

ak316

May 8, 2012, 12:16 am

Finally finally finally.. I love Sony tvs and this is my next tv for sure.. Sony still makes the best tv.. its a Sony.

PS3½

May 8, 2012, 12:55 am

Thanks for the review. Just a couple of questions. What are the viewing angles like, and how does this latest version of the X-reality Pro engine compare with the the likes of Philips' Perfect Pixel when adding detailing to SD pictures? Thanks in advance.

A Scotland

May 9, 2012, 7:44 pm

I have often wondered what it would take to get a ten out of ten TV review from Trusted Reviews. The question remains though whether it is the quality of the television that secured the score or Sony's hospitality offensive. I suppose at least TR did disclose their trip to visit Sony, but being a bit cynical about these things I find it difficult not to believe that TR were influenced, even if only subliminally, by the Japanese charm.

Now it may be that TR receive the same treatment and in equal measure from all the TV manufacturers and I am certainly not accusing anybody of a crime here, just that it does give an appearance of a lack of independence which conflicts with the independent premise of a "trusted" review.

Food for thought more than anything and by and large TR remains one of the more trustworthy and helpful review sites in my view.

Don Kanonjii

May 10, 2012, 1:23 pm

Sounds great but 34ms response time is not to be commended. You would think that Sony of all companies (given it is a gaming company itself) would add a mode where input lag is at levels close the that of the W4000. I honestly cannot fathom why companies are struggling with this so much.

SIGKILL

May 11, 2012, 5:20 pm

Does this TV compares to Panasonic WT50 ? is this better ?

AJ

May 12, 2012, 12:58 pm

No one else seems to point this out so I will. I and many many others will never buy a Sony TV that uses this awful stand / soundbar.

First they seem to physically tilt the TV backwards. Instant walk away.

Then what happens to them when you mount on the wall? You don't want this soundbar there too.

Finally a stand raises the TV off the item it's placed on and makes it float in space when watching. These do not. Rubbish!

So unfortunately for Sony they are still going to carry on losing billions until they sort this massive flaw out.

p4ult

May 15, 2012, 1:35 pm

Hi AJ - I thought I would address your comments, as they are somewhat misleading, and I hope this helps to address your concerns :-)

1) "No one else seems to point this out so I will. I and many many others will never buy a Sony TV that uses this awful stand / soundbar.
First they seem to physically tilt the TV backwards. Instant walk away.
• This is actually a feature, and part of the Monolithic Design concept. The panel is tilted by 6 degrees backwards, which is more comfortable to watch. It also gives you the best viewing experience and optimum performance when placed on contemporary, low furniture.

"Then what happens to them when you mount on the wall? You don't want this soundbar there too."
• You can also wall-mount the TV as it also has 2 integrated speakers. In which case, you obviously don't need the stand, and you detach it.

"Finally a stand raises the TV off the item it's placed on and makes it float in space when watching. These do not. Rubbish!"
• This is more a matter of personal taste over a particular TV design. Sony are trying to be innovative by proposing a stand that makes the TV as attractive (and artistic) when it's turned On or Off - Bang & Olufsen do something similar to this too - and their TV's also look spectacular (but cost significantly more).

AJ

May 15, 2012, 4:01 pm

Unfortunately this design is proven to be not what the general market wants (certainly not me). If you say "what proof" then simply look how many of these TV's they sell. Most people choose in the shop and from design, Samsung and LG have truly taught Sony a huge lesson, but Sony still aren't listening.

Tilting back 6 degrees a feature ? Have Sony ever spoken to their customers ? I don't want my TV pointing in the air thanks, I wanting pointing straight at me.

And then if I mount it on the wall then the stand with soundbar I've paid a packet for is useless. Great design !

B&O can get away with this because they sell to a very limited part of society that has far too much money and is purely interested in the design and the badge. Sony are trying to sell to the average person, not Bill Gates.

Just watch the sales of Sony TV's this year, then tell me if I'm wrong. Until they get rid of this monolith design they are unfortunately doomed.

And not many years ago I wouldn't buy a TV unless it was a Sony...

Matt GB

October 1, 2012, 1:28 am

I wall mount my TVs so fail to see how the sound bar will benefit me or anyone else who does the same.

drbloor

October 10, 2012, 5:00 pm

Although I think this telly is bloody awesome, I have to agree with the negative comments about the stand.

The inclusion of a tilted stand presupposes that you are going to place the television on the floor or, if you are placing it on a stand of average height, that you intend to watch your tv from the ceiling.

I have young kids who would wreck this telly in seconds if I placed it down at their level so I am now in a position where I am being forced to buy a wall mount because Sony didn't include a sensible horizontal stand.

Don't get me wrong - this telly is so good I'd buy it again in an instant, but the stand is going to be a complete waste of space for a lot of people. Mine is going straight up into the loft to gather dust.

malvin

December 7, 2012, 2:18 pm

Reading all the comments above they sounded pathetic at worst total bf. l brought the telly and can assure you after spending months looking for a good telly l selected this Sony TV. The sound bar for me is perfect and l like the 6degree viewing angle it's the most natural way of watching telly.

malvin

December 7, 2012, 2:24 pm

I brought this Sony TV l love it to bits the quality is awesome and the best picture ever. I would have paid an extra £500 pounds for it as well. I liked my previous trusted LG but in terms of quality and class all my friends liked it a lot. lm not sure how u get to make unchanged bold misleading claims.

Michael

December 28, 2012, 12:41 am

I have bought one of these, and the picture is,without doubt, the best that I have seen (SD and HD). I can understand the frustration of some with the stand and 6 degree angle at which the TV leans back, but as ours sits on a TV stand with the sofas slightly higher, this is actually an advantage. Though it must be said that if you like to put your TV on a TV stand and regularly alter the angle of swivel, this is not for you.

The sound through the plinth is much better than most flat screen TV's can deliver.

The store did point out that the TV can be wall mounted (fixed, tilt or tilt/swivel etc.) if the plinth is not fitted and has speakers on the main body of the TV to facilitate this, though not as good as those in the plinth.

My last TV was purchased over four years ago, and feature-wise, they have moved on. I particularly appreciate the ability to connect a hard drive to the USB and pause live TV and also record in SD/HD.

For completeness, this review must say that I haven't tried the 3D capability.

Nic Adair

July 17, 2013, 5:49 pm

How is it my Sony KV-S3412 32" CRT I purchased in February 1994 which is still going strong has better picture quality on standard definition and when playing DVDs than this current model from 2012?

And the audio from my Sony KV-S3412 makes this TV sound like a transistor radio.

And if this TV is so good why have Sony discontinued making this model already?

This review is a farce.

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