A couple of weeks ago something really rather startling happened. We found ourselves not just really enjoying testing one of Sony’s high end TVs, but loving it.
That such an emotional connection with a TV should be inspired by a set carrying a Sony logo was genuinely hard to comprehend given the numerous troubles we’ve had with various of the Japanese giant’s TVs in recent years. But no matter how much baggage the Sony 46HX853 might have been carrying, the simple, indisputable fact of the matter was that it was a ruddy fantastic TV. So not surprisingly we’re as happy as a pig in a truffle factory to be staring today at the 46HX853’s bigger brother, the 55in Sony KDL-55HX853.
The prospect of more of the same only bigger is truly mouthwatering, so long as the superb edge LED backlighting system that wowed us on the 46in model still holds good across a markedly bigger screen area.
Let’s start at the beginning, though - with the Sony KDL-55HX853’s design. Personally we are definitely fans, appreciating the way Sony has softened the impact of its previously ‘macho’ monolithic design by slimming the bezel down and adding a cute silvery outer trim. The application of a single sheet of ultra-tough Gorilla glass over the top of the screen and bezel doesn’t exactly damage its aesthetic credentials either, while the hugely distinctive silver ‘bar’ stand the TV slots into if you don’t want to wall mount it is lovely - especially as it allows you to angle the TV back by six degrees and contains extra speakers for an enhanced audio experience.
Nicely put together
Oddly we have to say that we weren’t quite as enamoured of the design at the 55in size as we were at seeing the 46in model; it just didn’t seem to hang together quite so well for some reason. But it’s still a beautifully-built bit of kit.
Connectivity is strong too. Its four HDMIs should be enough to satisfy all but the most kit-crazed AV nutcase, and its LAN/built-in Wi-Fi facilities ensure that anyone with broadband will be able to get online with Sony’s Entertainment Network platform. Or stream video, photo and music files in from a connected computer. And, thanks to Sony’s nice new Homestream software, you can play multimedia from Macs and DLNA PCs too.
On a slightly more disappointing note, you only get two USB sockets when three might have been nice, and the USBs are a little pickier than we’d like them to be in terms of the file types they’re willing to play. The lack of MKV support is particularly surprising.
You can use one of the USBs to record from the integrated Freeview HD tuner to HDDs. However, while handy this feature makes the lack of a third USB look all the more unfortunate.
The shift from 2011’s Bravia Internet Video online TV service to the Sony Entertainment Network, meanwhile, makes all kinds of sense, finally bringing all of Sony’s various online software ‘assets’ together. It’s a major relief, too, to discover that Sony has brought in a new interface to accompany the shift to SEN. Pressing a new SEN button on the remote brings up an attractive, graphically rich ‘hub’ for accessing online content that’s miles better than the previous tedious, list-heavy menus.