How to buy the best Sony TV
- 31 May, 2011 18:38
Sony’s range of BRAVIA LCD and LED TVs includes a huge variety of features, screen sizes, and diferent designs. You can spend under $1000 and get a small LCD TV, or up to almost $5000 for a huge, fully-featured and attractive LED TV. All of Sony’s TVs are organised into different model series, with further distinctions between each series in features and pricing. We’ve put together a quick guide on each different model, so read through and pick out the Sony TV that seems best for you.
Check out Sony's entire BRAVIA LCD TV line-up for 2011.
The Sony HX925 series of BRAVIA LED TVs is the cream of the crop, but they also cost the most. The HX925 uses Sony’s most advanced LCD panel and LED lighting system — Sony calls it Intelligent Peak LED, but it’s largely known as ‘local dimming’ — which is able to dynamically dim different parts of the screen, a feature not usually available on the slim ‘edge-lit’ variety of LED TVs. Combine this with Sony’s top-of-the-line X-Reality Pro picture processing engine and a MotionFlow rate of 800, and you’ve got the best picture quality that Sony is able to offer.
Similarly, the HX925 has all the 3D bells and whistles you could ask for. The 3D transmitter has to be purchased separately and plugged in on cheaper Sony TVs, but the HX925 has it all built in — it also comes with two pairs of rechargeable 3D glasses. The HX925 can convert 2D footage into 3D, so you’re not always stuck buying extra 3D Blu-ray movies just to get your 3D fix.
The HX925’s extra features are the best of any Sony TV. Like other high-end models the Sony BRAVIA HX925 can access a number of streaming Internet TV channels and BRAVIA Internet Video — there’s plenty of built-in functionality for accessing services other than free-to-air digital TV.
There are two HX925 models available — the 65in Sony BRAVIA KDL-65HX925, which doesn’t have a price tag yet, and the 55in Sony BRAVIA KDL-55HX925, which costs $4499.
As the first step down from the top model, the Sony HX820 should have most of the features at a significantly lower price. It is slightly less well equipped when it comes to outright picture quality — there’s no local dimming for the LED backlight, and the TV only has a MotionFlow rate of 400. Nonetheless, we found the 46in Sony BRAVIA KDL-46HX820 was able to produce an excellent picture with very high quality processing, so you don’t have to buy the most expensive Sony TV to get a great screen.
Like the more expensive HX925, the HX820 has inbuilt 3D and comes with two sets of 3D glasses. You still get the same 2D to 3D tricks so you don’t have to only watch 3D Blu-rays or wait for the far-off 3D TV channel.
There are two screen sizes available in the HX820 model series. The 55in Sony BRAVIA KDL-55HX820 is $3999, and the 46in Sony BRAVIA KDL-46HX820 is $2999. So if you want a huge screen, you’ll need to shell out for the 65in HX925.
The Sony BRAVIA NX720 series is a further step down from the HX820 and HX925. It’s still an edge-lit LED TV and has the slim design that this technology allows, as well as specifications that should mean a good quality picture. It’s less well equipped than the HX820, as you’d expect — the NX720 only has a MotionFlow rate of 200, and lacks the Pro moniker for its X-Reality picture processing engine.
Extra features are still in abundace for the NX720. You still get 3D and two pairs of bundled 3D glasses, and the same 2D to 3D processing. The Sony BRAVIA NX720 also has integrated Wi-Fi like the HX820 and HX925, so you don’t need to run an Ethernet network cable out in your living room just to access the TV’s Web features.
The same Sony Internet TV and BRAVIA Internet Video features that more expensive models have can be found in the BRAVIA NX720 series. Especially given that Wi-Fi is built-in to the NX720, this TV series seems like a good way to purchase a versatile LED TV without spending too much.
There are three Sony BRAVIA NX720 models available — the $3499 55in Sony BRAVIA KDL-55NX720, the $2699 46in Sony BRAVIA KDL-46NX720, and the $2199 40in Sony BRAVIA KDL-NX720.
Check out Sony's entire BRAVIA LCD TV line-up for 2011.
The Sony BRAVIA EX720 is more basic than the NX720. It loses the OptiContrast rating for its LED TV panel, and is also unable to dynamically alter the TV’s backlight to deal with difficult on-screen video. Going on other mid-range Sony TVs like the earlier EX710, the BRAVIA EX720 should still have picture quality that is more than acceptable.
You still get Sony Internet TV and BRAVIA Internet Video and 3D, but there are no bundled 3D glasses and you’ll need to buy an adapter to get Wi-Fi. If you need these features, make sure to factor in their price — it might even work out cheaper to get the initially more expensive NX720.
The EX720 represents the mainstream model of the Sony BRAVIA LCD range. It’s moderately priced and offers a variety of screen sizes. There are five models of the Sony BRAVIA EX720 available to purchase. You can get a big screen in the form of the $3999 60in Sony BRAVIA KDL-60EX720, mid-sized panels in the $2999 55in Sony BRAVIA KDL-55EX720 and $2299 46in Sony BRAVIA KDL-46EX720, and smaller screens with the $1799 Sony BRAVIA KDL-40EX720 and $1299 Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX720.
The Sony BRAVIA EX520 series is where features start to noticeably drop off and the TVs on offer get significantly cheaper. However, Web features are still built in, although the EX720 doesn’t have an integrated Web browser, and the Sony Internet TV and BRAVIA Internet Video services are fully functional.
There’s no 3D built in to the Sony BRAVIA EX520, and it’s not possible to buy an add-on to make it work in the future. If you don’t need the extra features that 2011 TVs have and just want an LED TV for watching free-to-air digital TV or to plug in a Blu-ray player, the EX520 fits the bill. Picture quality won’t be as good as more expensive models — there’s no dynamic backlight, no MotionFlow and fewer picture adjustment options than on the step-up EX720.
The Sony BRAVIA EX520 series is only available in medium and small screen sizes. There’s a $1799 46in Sony BRAVIA KDL-46EX520, a $1249 40in Sony BRAVIA KDL-40EX520 and a $949 32in Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX520.
The Sony BRAVIA EX420 is the first 720p model in Sony’s 2011 TV line-up — all the more expensive models are natively Full HD 1080p; and its small range of features is evident in its low price tag. For a cheap LED TV model it still has quite a bit of functionality — Sony Internet TV and BRAVIA Internet Video are still available, so if you’re looking for a low-cost IPTV streaming device the EX420 might be your best bet.
The EX420 is only available in the miniscule screen sizes of the $849 32in Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 and the even smaller $699 26in Sony BRAVIA KDL-26EX420.
The Sony CX520 steps up from the EX420 in some ways. It’s not an LED TV and uses a regular ol’-fashioned CCFL fluorescent backlight, but it is a Full HD 1080p model. It has roughly the same limited feature-set as the EX420 in that it can access both Sony Internet TV and BRAVIA Internet Video services.
Mid-range and small sizes of the CX520 are available — a $99 40in Sony BRAVIA KDL-40CX520 ana a $749 32in Sony BRAVIA KDL-32CX520.
The Sony BRAVIA BX320 is the cheapest and most basic model available in Sony’s 2011 television line-up. It’s the successor to the S5700 series, and is designed as a low-budget TV to put in a kitchen, study, or bedroom. It doesn’t have any Internet features and is a 720p CCFL-backlit LCD TV.
You can get the BX320 in three screen sizes. The largest is a $599 32in Sony BRAVIA KDL-32BX320, the middle a $469 26in Sony BRAVIA KDL-26BX320, and the smallest and cheapest Sony TV you can buy is a $369 22in Sony BRAVIA KDL-22BX320.