When Sony contacted us to ask if we wanted to review a 55 inch television, it didn’t take me long before I said a big “YES!”. Whether my wife will agree when she see just how big a 55″ inch television really is and how much room it takes up is another matter but “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” I thought to myself.
We’ve had the Sony KDL55HX800 55-Inch LCD TV for a month or so now and I have to say, it’s amazing how quickly you adapt to such a large screen and how used to it you get. It’s only when we have people come to visit that they comment just how big the epic beast is but both my wife and I were commenting yesterday on how we’re very much used to it. Anyway, you don’t want to know about that, you want to know if this TV is worth the £1,438.90 price tag (on Amazon) that it comes with.
The slim design of the television itself is rather fabulous and for anyone wanting to mount it to a wall, it’ll mean it wont stick out like a sore thumb. The television comes with a base for you to mount the unit on which acts as a speaker as well. The brushed aluminium looks lovely and with the dark black of the television itself, the contrast is rather striking making it look rather nice on your TV unit. The stand itself also acts as the speaker or sound-bar for the television (and plugs into the back of the TV) if you don’t have an amp that you’re going to plug in through making it one neat and tidy package.
This is the second television that I’ve tested now which leans backwards a few degrees so it’s pointing at the ceiling slightly and I just don’t understand why. I know it’s probably only a small percentage of people who have wall mounted lights but for those of us who do, this leaning-style makes it a right pain in the rear as you get the lights reflecting back at you when you’re trying to watch your an episode of West Wing, 24 or your favourite movie. It’s a little distracting and is somewhat annoying. I think having the option there is a good one for people who may actually like to have their TV lean (I don’t know anyone that would!) but it would be nice to chose to have it at the standard 90 degree upright angle. In the end I resorted to turning the lights off in my living room to stop this from happening which does make the viewing of movies more cinematic but I shouldn’t really have to do as a necessity.
Picture and Sound Quality
Simply put, it’s astonishing. I have watched quite a few Blu-rays on this unit over the past month or so and lots of HD TV through my TiVo and it’s blown me away. Blacks are clear black, whites are white and you can’t really fault the performance and picture that the television gives you. In 3D mode, the light levels obviously dim due to the use of the active glasses (which aren’t actually supplied as standard with the TV and cost around £30+ for a decent pair) much like it does when you watch a 3D movie in the cinema but until glasses free 3D comes along (I know it’s already here but from what I’ve seen it isn’t great), we’re going to have to get used to it.
All in all the picture quality on this unit is by far the best I’ve seen (I wrote this before I saw the new Sony 4K TVs which have set a new benchmark)!
As I mentioned above, the TV unit comes with a soundbar which doubles as a stand for the television. I resorted to my amp pretty quickly to make use of the surround sound I have set up but on trialling the soundbar, it provided my modestly large living room with decent sound quality and filled the space adequately. I’m not sure it’s going to stand the test when it comes to large living rooms but in that instance and if you bought this rather high-end TV, I think you’d have a decent surround sound solution in place anyway.
Sony Entertainment Network
The Sony KDL55HX800 comes fully equipped with the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) which gives you access to trailers, Skype and dozens of other apps including things like Netflix. No sign of LOVEFilM on there as yet but that may come along with time unless of course Sony have an exclusive deal with Netflix. Loading is a little slow and laborious with the remote that you get with the TV but unfortunately this is the problem with pretty much all Smart TVs although which every upgrade and enhancement, it does seem to be getting faster to use.
Obviously I’ve mentioned the slanty screen so I won’t go over that one again! One other area that was a little frustrating was when trying to change inputs on the TV. The main devices I use are BD player, XBox and TiVO and it’s very often that as soon as I want to turn the TV on, I want to change input. Often when the TV was turned on, I’d press the AV button to change input and nothing would happen. I’d try and few more times and you could see the remote talking to the TV with the LED flashing on the front of the unit but the software to load the AV selection wouldn’t load. It would take 20 or 30 seconds to see it which became a pain after this happened quite a few times. Eventually I’d get used to it and work out if you press it numerous times, it would load the analogue TV section and then when you pressed the button again, it would load the menu. This could probably be fixed with a firmware update as I haven’t mentioned but this TV comes with wireless built in as standard and is very simple to set-up as soon as you get the TV out of the box. What is nice is when you use a Sony Blu-ray player and switch it on, it’ll automatically turn the television on and select the right input negating my problems above with the choice of input.
Only other thing I found is that the up button on the remote is right below the SEN button. If you press the SEN button by mistake, it loads that system which can take 10 or 20 seconds to full resolve and annoyed me every-time as you have to then close it to go back to where you were making sure you click the up button next time and not SEN again (I think my record was 3 times clicking SEN before getting to where I wanted to get to but that’s because I’m an idiot!!).
Other than a few niggles that you’ve read above, this television is simply awesome. It’s a shame you don’t get any 3D glasses with it and yes the slanty screen is annoying and trying to change AV selection when the TV is first turned on sometimes take a bit of time, but it’s by far the best TV I’ve ever used and I now want one! If you buy this TV, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it as much as I do.
You can purchase your very own KDL-55HX853 from Amazon here.