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.
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.
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.