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Sony KDL-55HX853 - 3D Pictures and Conclusion

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

Dragging ourselves away from the cricket to check out a few Blu-rays, our already extreme enjoyment of the Sony KDL-55HX853 merely grows stronger - chiefly because we’re able to add to the picture talents we’ve already mentioned an absolutely superlative black level response.

Outstanding contrast

Dark scenes have simply never looked better on an edge-lit LED TV, for three reasons. First, the depth of blackness really is profound, getting remarkably near to plasma levels at times. Second, despite this black depth, dark scenes always look detailed and natural, avoiding LCD’s tendency to leave dark scenes looking hollow. And third, all this is achieved while suffering remarkably few of the backlight inconsistencies that usually trouble even the most accomplished edge LED TVs to some degree.

Sony KDL-55HX853

Corners don't suffer with the jets of extra light still quite commonly seen on edge LED TVs, and other cloudy patches only appear under very extreme circumstances - such as when a white logo appears against a black backdrop in the centre or a corner of the screen.

At these moments it did seem that the backlight clouding was slightly more obvious than it was with the 46HX853 - most likely because the edge lighting is having to work harder to cover a larger expanse of screen on the 55in model. But so rare is the sort of video content that gives rise to these backlight clouding issues and so prevalent by comparison are the exceptional strengths of the 55HX853's lighting system that we ultimately struggled to comprehend how Sony has managed to pull off such a logic-defying feat of light management.

3D findings

The 55HX853’s 3D pictures aren’t quite as triumphant as its 2D ones. But they’re still mighty fine overall, thanks to their much greater vibrancy, dynamism and sharpness versus previous Sony 3D TVs. The sharpness is particularly startling if you engage Sony’s newly 3D-capable X-Reality Pro system; so much so that we found ourselves using this system pretty much all the time, despite it sometimes making the edges of mid-to-distant objects sometimes look a little over-stark.

The only significant issue with the 55HX853’s 3D pictures - aside from Sony not including any 3D glasses for free with the TV - is that they’re not quite as free of crosstalk as those of one or two rival sets. But the crosstalk is predominantly restricted to distant objects and is also mostly subtle even when it does appear, so even if 3D is important to you we wouldn’t consider the crosstalk anywhere near troubling enough to put us off buying a TV with such outstanding 2D talents.

It almost goes without saying at this point that the Sony KDL-55HX853 is a stunning screen for playing games on. But we should certainly add that it seals its gaming deal with an input lag of under 35ms, which will hardly ever be sufficient to negatively effect your gaming skills.

Sony KDL-55HX853

As if all the 55HX853’s picture achievements weren’t already reason enough to persuade you to cough up the actually very reasonable sum of £1545, then maybe its excellent audio will finally tip the balance for you. Attach that fancy silver bar stand and the power and dynamic range of the soundstage is little short of revelatory by the thin, hissy, muddy audio standards of your typical thin TV. If you don’t use this stand the sound from the speakers built into the TV itself isn’t actually bad, but it has to be said that it’s no match for what you get with the stand in play.

Verdict

Given the sheer scale of Sony’s problems right now, it’s probably too much to hope that a couple of genuinely brilliant TVs will be enough in themselves to turn the ship round overnight. But as first steps to financial salvation go, the 46HX853 and now 55HX853 go beyond anything even Sony’s most ardent fans could have hoped for.

Overall Score

10

Scores In Detail

  • 2D Quality 10
  • 3D Quality 9
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 10

AJ

May 28, 2012, 2:38 pm

I know that the stand angles the screen backwards at 6 degrees but can it support the TV in a bolt upright position.?

It's obviously a good value 55" screen and worth considering, but I simply could never own a TV that point in the air.

1. It's just Wrong.
2. My TV's are placed above me and LCD panels suffer from bad viewing angles (compared to my present Plasma)
3. It's just wrong.
4. 3D on LCD panels relies on being level with the set (useless if it's pointing at the ceiling)
5. It's just soooo wrong.

I'm not just writing this to pick holes, I genuinely am looking for a 55-60" TV and I used to buy nothing but Sony. Having just purchased another TV for the bedroom this morning, this isn't an urgent purchase but it's tempting to watch the Olympics on !

Bugblatter

May 28, 2012, 11:50 pm

It's not at all surprising that the set can't play MKV's; Sony doesn't like them because it assumes they're pirated.

It's the same reason the PS3 can't play them. There are free programs that will take the audio and video from an MKV container and put it into a different type of container which the PS3 will happily play.

It only takes seconds. There's absolutely no transcoding involved; it's the MKV container Sony doesn't like not the various codecs that are used or the video.

And it's this type of attitude towards its customers that makes it a hundred times harder for Sony to get my money than any other company.

scottbirse

May 29, 2012, 3:42 am

I play MKV's on my PS3 almost every day.

Bugblatter

May 30, 2012, 12:49 am

How?

stripy

May 30, 2012, 8:24 am

I'm curious too scott, the only way i know of is either to stream it through PS3 media server or convert the file to a different container using mkv2vob as Bugblatter mentioned.

bitcloudrzr

July 6, 2012, 8:58 pm

I believe he is streaming mkvs and transcoding. I use Medialink by Nullriver on my Mac to do the same thing. Fantastic app really, streams from several sources(folders, iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture, etc.). I'm running gigabit ethernet to both devices, but you can set it up to other network types to adjust for bandwidth. There are a handful of others for Mac and Windows, just do a bit of research. I recommend Medialink for Mac above all though.

Matt GB

October 1, 2012, 1:29 am

I have the previous model version 46 X803 and this is likely to be my next TV set. Good to see Sony is back on top of their game.

white1974

October 22, 2012, 5:46 pm

I have a Sony 46HX823 and a Sony BDP-S480 BLURAY PLAYER and i watch files in MKV all the time.

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