Sony Bravia KDL-40HX803 Review - Online Features and 3D Picture Review


Going back to the 40HX803’s Bravia Internet Video features, regular readers will know by now that it is arguably the most sophisticated and content-heavy TV online platform around, offering both a slick interface and oodles of streaming video content, bolstered by a seven-second built-in buffer.

Among the most interesting content providers are YouTube, DailyMotion, Demand Five (the Channel Five catch up service), FIFA, Eurosport, and LoveFilm, complete with the facility to sync your online account to the TV for downloading full feature films.

Other key features of the 40HX803 we’ve not covered yet include a system for converting 2D sources to 3D, and MotionFlow 200Hz processing, for enhanced motion playback.

You also get Sony’s reliable Bravia Engine 3 processing aimed at boosting a wide variety of picture elements; Sony’s Live Colour engine for richer, more natural colour tones; and Sony’s Deep Black LCD panel specially designed to reduce reflections and boost contrast.

To illustrate this contrast difference, Sony describes the 40HX803 as a GigaContrast TV – though it doesn’t give us any sort of contrast ratio figure.

And so to the moment of truth: do the 40HX803’s 3D pictures live down to the expectations raised by early Sony demos? Actually, no. But nor are they the best around.

On the upside, HD 3D pictures look much crisper than they did on Sony’s early 3D pre-production samples – largely because the set’s motion processing tools seem much more advanced, allowing objects to move around in the three-dimensional world without losing excessive resolution, or smearing.

Colours also look more dynamic with the 3D glasses on than we’d expected based on past experience – though they’re as dynamic as those of Samsung’s C8000 3D series, losing considerable amounts of brightness once you’ve got your glasses on.

Sony’s 3D glasses are reasonable in terms of their comfort during long-term wearing, and how they restrict the amount of ambient light that gets in between your eyes and the lenses.

Unfortunately, however, the 40HX803 suffers from what’s looking like being a serious problem for 3D LCD TVs: crosstalk noise. There’s clear evidence of the same edge ghosting around some objects when viewing 3D that we noted on Samsung C8000 sets, making affected parts of the picture look slightly out of focus, and causing your eyes to become strained as they keep trying to reconcile the offset images.

On the plus side, Sony’s 3D images seem to suffer less with crosstalk than the Samsung 3D TVs we’ve seen. But they don’t get close to the near crosstalk-free pictures delivered by Panasonic’s P50VT20B 3D TV.

The 40HX803 is a very good 2D TV indeed, though. Particularly impressive is its black level response, which delivers markedly deeper black colours than Samsung’s C8000 range. In fact, they’re the best black colours we’ve ever seen from an edge LED set – a situation made even better by the fact that Sony has almost completely eradicated the sort of backlight inconsistencies that have consistently plagued edge LED models. Provided, at least, that you select sensible contrast and backlight level settings.

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