Sony KDL-40CX523 - More features and early picture findings Review

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The highlights of BIV network are the BBC

iPlayer, the Demand 5 Channel 5 catch up service, a Sky News headlines video

service, YouTube, LoveFilm, and The World of Sony, which provides access to all

sorts of Sony archive material, including music videos, film trailers and, best

of all, full episodes from some of Sony’s TV series, including Rescue Me and –

YES! – the first season of Diff’rent Strokes.

Sony KDL-40CX523

There are also countless other video sources

besides, taking in everything from ‘How To’ guides to HD video showcases and

golf tips. The set even supports Skype, something that’s reserved for premium

sets only with some other brands (Samsung!).

The bottom line is that while Bravia Internet

Video (currently, at least) doesn’t currently have much at all going on where

gaming and infotainment apps are concerned, it’s streets ahead of its rivals in

terms of video content. And so far as we’re concerned, video content is king

with this whole ‘Smart TV’ malarkey.

The 40CX523 even carries an Internet browser,

even though this isn’t particularly easy to use due to its text being rather

small, and predictable issues with navigating web pages and inputting web

addresses using a TV remote control.

It’s good to see, too, that the 40CX523 employs

the same improved onscreen menu system as the 32EX723. This finds the twin-axis

menu system appearing along the right and bottom edges of the screen while a

reduced-size version of the TV programme you were watching appears unblemished

in the top left portion of the screen.

The new menus organise the Bravia Internet Video

content much more succinctly, though there’s still room for improvement as the

amount of icons strewn across the bottom of the screen still feels intimidating

and requires a while to learn your way fully around.

Finding the full Bravia Internet Video system

and Skype on the 40CX523 is a real boon considering its entry level status.

Sony KDL-40CX523 2

The 40CX523 perhaps lives down to its price

rather by only having 50Hz scanning, but it isn’t entirely without its

processing attractions, since it sports Sony’s new X-Reality engine, designed

to add detail to standard definition pictures while also suppressing noise. And

it works rather well, actually. Certainly standard definition upscaling isn’t

the very best we’ve seen, but it does look decently sharp and noise levels are

definitely kept in check.

Or at least that’s the case when there isn’t

much motion going on. For there’s no doubt that motion is affected by

noticeable blurring, especially when watching standard definition pictures.

Having set off down a negative trail with this

talk of motion blur, we might as well add that the 40CX523 has another slight

problem in the shape of a rather hollow look to very dark parts of the picture.

The screen is obviously having to take quite a bit of brightness out of the

picture to achieve a credible black colour during dark scenes, and it’s this

that results in shadow detail getting squeezed out of the picture.