Obviously this difference doesn’t lie at an aesthetic level; aside from the obvious size difference, they look the same. Which isn’t a bad thing given the modicum of style created by the application of a brushed aluminium panel to the bottom edge, and the neat if hardly revolutionary gloss-black finish of the rest of the bezel.
Connections are the same too – and this is again good news. For you get headlines of four HDMIs; a USB 2.0 port enabled for photo, music and video playback; and, of course, an Ethernet port for either a) streaming in stuff from a DLNA PC, b) accessing potential future Freeview HD interactive services (hello, iPlayer), and c) accessing Sony’s prodigious new online service.
Yes, that’s right, ”prodigious” online service. For if you missed the KDL-40EX503 review and only remember my rather scathing assessment of last year’s pretty pointless AppliCast Sony online TV service, I’m happy to report that Sony has pulled its finger out online-wise in quite spectacular fashion for its 2010 range.
I won’t go into everything that’s available via that new Bravia Internet Video platform – check out the 40EX503 review for an exhaustive list. Suffice it to say that there’s more streaming video around than there is on any other ring-fenced online TV service right now, including the facility to stream films – in HD or standard def – from lovefilm.com, once you’ve tied your account to the TV.
As with the 40EX503, I found the 37EX503‘s connection to most of the video sites to be pretty stable and fluid, even using my meagre 2MB download pipe – a situation probably helped by the fact that the 37EX503 incorporates a 7-second or so buffer and auto PING detection/correction. Ironically LoveFilm was the only streaming service that stuttered a bit, but hopefully this is just teething problems. In any case, I suspect people with faster broadband connections should be fine. I should add here, too, that you can go ‘Wi-Fi’ with the 37EX503 if you stump up for an optional Wi-Fi USB dongle.
Before getting into a brief description of the 37EX503’s other features, there’s one very curious discrepancy between the 37EX503 and 40EX503 to report, namely that they have totally different remote controls. Gone is the sleek, fashionable but brain-bendingly difficult-to-get-batteries-into unit found with the 40EX503, in comes a more plasticky, less attractive, larger but very easy to use curved model with the 37EX503. At the time of writing I was trying to find out from Sony if this was just a mistake – that they’d put the wrong remote in the 37EX503 box. If it turns out it was, I’ll update you about this in the Comments section.
After the Freeview HD tuner and now-extensive online functionality, the 37EX503’s most significant features are 100Hz processing, Sony’s Bravia Engine 3 system for improving a wide variety of picture elements, Sony’s Live Colour system for boosting colour tones and saturations, a sliding gamma adjustment, and a ‘black correction’ utility that’s subtler and thus more effective than most similar tools from other brands.