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Sony KDL-55HX853 - First Picture Impressions

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

We won’t cover the Sony KDL-55HX853'a SEN content in detail as we did this in our 46HX853 review, but the highlights are BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News, Sky News, Skype, LoveFilm, Netflix, the Sony Entertainment Television Channel, Sony’s Video Unlimited pay per view platform, and Sony’s Music Unlimited subscription music service. You can also see your Twitter account feeds scrollling along under the TV picture that continues to play on the left side of the SEN menus.

Our only main problem with SEN, in fact, is that the main menus loads rather sluggishly.

It’s a shame Sony hasn’t also revamped its main setup menus. These still employ the tortuously over-complicated double-axis ‘XrossMediaBar’ system we disliked so much in 2011, making it just as well that the SEN button now removes a good deal of your potential interaction time with this frustrating older system.

No fancy stuff

We’re duty bound to point out that the Sony KDL-55HX853 only ships with a standard remote control, offering no gesture, voice or touchpad remote options like some of its rivals this year. Its online service also doesn’t trouble itself with the reams of small-scale game and infotainment apps rife on other online platforms. Which we guess could make the 55HX853 seem a touch ‘old-fashioned’ for a 2012 flagship TV.

However, the set does work nicely with Sony tablet computers, even being able to share video with them. More importantly, the 55HX853 is about as far away from ‘out of date’ as it’s possible to get when it comes to the small matter of its picture quality.

Sony 55HX853

As with the 46HX853, our first response to seeing the Sony 55HX853 in action was to sit bolt upright with are mouths hanging open like some slack-jawed yokel. In fact, its impact is even more potent on account of its extra 9in of screen size.

In attempting to dissect the multiple elements that make the 55HX853’s pictures so special, let’s start with something simple: namely that images look superbly bright - much punchier than the images from last year’s equivalent Sony models.

Colour rave

Crucially, though, this brightness isn’t just thrown onto the screen wantonly as it quite often can be with LCD TVs. For instance, rather than ‘drowning out’ colour subtleties or forcing the colour palette to look pumped up, the brightness is simply used to bring out an almost infinite degree of subtlety when it comes to colour blends, and for allowing the colour gamut to stretch well beyond what you can see on the vast majority of rival TVs.

Also outstanding - ground-breaking even - is the Sony KDL-55HX853’s motion handling. Watching the second England/West Indies test match revealed the set’s reproduction of motion to be near flawless, even with only the most gentle of the many provided motion processing options in play.

The usual judder and motion blur issues associated with LCD TVs are almost completely eradicated, leaving a sense of purity and clarity that combines with scintillating HD detailing and the aforementioned colour rendering to leave our favourite summer sporting spectacle looking perhaps more engrossingly natural than it ever has on an LCD TV.

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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