As we’d expect of a set relatively high up in Sony’s current range, the 40HX703 carries a Freeview HD tuner for people lucky enough to live in a suitable reception area.
But arguably of more interest now that Freeview HD tuners have already become ten-a-penny is the TV’s 200Hz MotionFlow processing. This gives it a clear feature ‘leg up’ – on top of the Monolithic design – over the 40EX503/37EX503 Sony Freeview HD models we’ve tested before.
The 40HX703’s processing suite also includes Sony’s multi-facetted Bravia Engine 3 (BE3) – there’s still no sign of a version 4 – as well as Sony’s 24p True Cinema mode for delivering improved results with the majority of Blu-ray discs.
Happily, the combination of all the 40HX703’s processing and its special Monolith black screen help it deliver excellent picture quality. Particularly striking given Sony’s recurring problems with inconsistent backlights is how even and impressively black dark scenes look. There’s startlingly little of the grey mist in dark areas that we usually associated with non-LED LCD TVs, and there’s negligible evidence of parts of the screen looking brighter than others.
Or at least that’s the case if you’re watching the 40HX703 from pretty much straight on. Sit more than 35 degrees or so down its side and you will see large patches of the screen lose contrast and colour saturation, in keeping with the vast majority of other LCD TVs.
However, the 40HX703 additionally suffers with a slight purple undertone during off-axis viewing. So while its pictures are excellent in most ways if you can sit more or less directly opposite the screen, it could be a problematic option if you have a large family and relatively small room, so that numerous viewers regularly end up watching the set from a wide angle.