back to article Sony KDL-55HX853 55in 3D LED TV

The 55inch KDL-HX853 is currently the highest ranked of Sony’s 2012 TVs. It heads up a new Spartan range from the brand intended to rebuild its TV fortunes. Interestingly, it doesn’t come laden with features seemingly pulled at random from a brainstorming session down the local Karaoke; which means it’s not competing directly …

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JDX
Gold badge

Tilted?

In the side-on view it looks like it - is that normal?

I'd quite like one please.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Motion Resolution

What on earth is this? Is it some marketing metric aimed at the gullible or is it something thats actually measurable? What is all this talk of lines like its some 1990's CRT?

Not that I necessarily care either way I would just like to know. Im not one of these frequent commentards who feels you cant have a subjective review and demands an objective one - but I would like to understand the whether its techno babble or marketese.

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WTF?

LED TV for £1800?

This is an LCD TV which uses LED for its backlight. When a 55inch proper LED TV is available for £1800, that will be genuinely interesting news.

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Headmaster

Pardon?

'...Active Shutter 3D screen certainly pulls scads of detail from dimensionalised BDs....'

What does this mean? The screen pulls fish from the image? It shows the Savannah College of Art and Design when playing stereoscopic discs? It shows a lot of detail? Or none at all?

Buy a thesaurus and use it. On second thoughts, don't. The results might be discombobulating.

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Backlit - Edge or direct?

I note it is not mentioned whether this TV's backlighting is via edge backlighting, or direct?

I am surprised that the review didn't highlight the folly of producing a supposedly 'smart' TV which cannot natively decode MKV's? Most of my video is now held either as ISO images or MKV files, so this TV's media playback facilities would be rendered useless to me, LG 'smart' TV's can natively decode MKV's, this would seem to be a major oversight.

Increasingly in our fashion led World, image and styling is everything, actual performance seems to matter very little apart from digital bling like making TV's 'smart' or supporting 3D. I've found that very few companies seem to make the direct backlit panels any longer, yet TV's featuring those panel are (were) often cited as having the best picture quality, without multiple post processing measures being required. Does this mean that the consumer is no longer interested in true performance, instead being placated with mediocre image quality with lots of digital bling?

If Sony really wanted to capture it's past glories, maybe resurrecting the Profeel name with a direct backlit panel would be the way to go, with the tuner and image processing hardware in (optional) remote modules. SIM2 do a very similar thing with their high end video projectors.

I am now being driven to buy high end TV's with a multitude of irrelevent 'features' just to get a good basic panel. It's almost like the manufacturers are deliberately keeping the direct backlit panel for their high end sets with their prices inflated due to unnecessary gadgetry.

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Re: Backlit - Edge or direct?

While backlit sounds better in theory, I think in practice they were always disappointing. From the few models I considered a few years ago, the consensus was you could not avoid actually seeing the LEDs providing the light behind the image when viewing large areas of block colour or fast motion.

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Re: Backlit - Edge or direct?

I was not involved in this generation of Sony TVs but I think that the direction was towards edge LEDs but with zonal light guides so that local dimming was still possible. The number of people prepared to pay the premium for greater arrays of truly back positioned LEDs was insufficient to justify those expensive models and they were thicker too putting more people off.

Regarding MKV support this is down to chipset selection probably about 3-4 years ago now for 2011-2012 TVs and it not being as critical at that time. However the best solution is to find DLNA server software that can unpackage the MKV file and offer the (probably supported) encoded bitstreams over the local network.

Regarding the digital bling comment - most people can't spot even quite glaring picture problems and even the most basic Sony TVs are great pictures to them. The quality of all the TVs has been increasing significantly and the gain of moving to full array backlight has been dropping as local dimming has been added to the edge lit models. Also volumes are small so the price of the full array panels has not dropped with the others so they look even less good value.

The market for pure monitor panels with separate/optional decoder units is very small (see demise of Pioneer) and the low volumes would make such a product more expensive than the equivalent TV with many functions that you don't want. Don't consider them as extra cost but a cost reducing features by increasing volumes of product sold then you won't feel so bad. If you really want to go without the TV and online features Sony also make professional panels for broadcast use and other professional scenarios although for these you are probably looking at paying triple the price.

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Re: Backlit - Edge or direct?

Hello,

Joseph: Can't argue with anything you say, I think your anlysis of the marketplace is right on the money, people want the 'look' of the panel rather than the unadulterated 'performance' of the direct panel with the slight aesthetic downside of having a thicker panel, they go for the looks of the device rather than pure performance, though local dimming edge lit panels are better than they used to be, they still lag behind direct backlit displays. Likewise, the digital bling is there for the mass market and it does pull down the price of the finished product, I just mourn the mass market going towards digital widgets rather than demanding the best possible display quality.

Yes, the chipset choice was probably made a couple of years ago, but I still found ti odd that the review didn't chastise Sony for this oversight given the more technical audience reviews on here usually attract.

Whilst local dimming edge lit TV's are much better than they used to be, I can still see light traces at the edge of the screen on dark scenes with bright details. This is less of a problem for me as I am fortunate enough to use a video projector, but for many people they have to use panels, so they will have this slight but irritating side effect of edge lit screens vis a vis direct illuminated screens.

REgarding the broadcast option, yes, you're projections are pretty much spot on, broadcast reference panels are hideously expensive, but I just wish there was still a market niche big enough to justify Sony resurrecting the Profeel name from the late 80's. Probably just a hankering for the old Sony at it's best.

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Re: Backlit - Edge or direct?

It plays most of my mkvs (lots of DVDs and BRs - movies and tv shows).

I didn't have a problem with DVD mkvs, but some BR mkvs it couldn't decode. I think it was ones where the movie format is VC-1, iirc.

Despite the lack of direct back lighting, the 2D picture quality and back light uniformity is very good. Dark scenes with a single light object look great without bleeding.

(this is the 46" model)

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FAIL

... and the verdict of the User Interface jury is...

Just about every, no, lets restate that, every Sony telly I've used has a dire User Interface. Simple things like being able to change screen resolution at the click of ONE remote button is absent. Same with simple picture-in-menu channel choices.

So the picture's OK. Ermm, that's what one expects. Lots of inputs; again, it's expected. 3D, OK, I'll pass on that (as have most consumers thus far).

The optional extras are the User Interface and this is where Sony have been dire.

So unless that's improved -- and the remote control -- then why bother with a Sony?

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FAIL

Re: ... and the verdict of the User Interface jury is...

I'm not saying Sony's TV UI is perfect, I have many complaints about the 2011 models and argued about many things in their development and did fight many battles for minor improvements, some of with were won. However your specific complaints are either wrong (resolution) and/or misguided (PIP). I also believe that the Sony TVs and remotes are easier to use than at least the 2011 Samsungs or Panasonics. I haven't tried any of the companies 2012 models but I use to dislike their remote controls and find them hard to navigate.

Regarding resolution for at least the past few years there has been an aspect ratio button on Sony remote controls. TV screen with horizontal and vertical arrows across it is the symbol. This is of decreasing importance now because 14:9 is used less often and more content is correctly flagged so with the TV settings right

If you actually mean a screen resolution button I don't understand you because that isn't something the TV can change. It takes an input and displays it at the resolution of the display with whatever scaling and processing is required. During online video playback there is an option to reduce the size of the video playback to make truly dire quality footage bearable but I don't think you meant for viewing in small window in the middle of the screen.

Picture in picture is found in the options menu at least on the 2011 models but I think also many earlier ones under 'Twin Picture'. This is very much a minority feature (most people never use it and I use to have figures to prove it) and fairly accessible. 'Options', 'Down arrow' * 5, 'OK', 'OK' for Picture and picture or 'Options', 'Down arrow' * 5, 'OK', Down arrow' 'OK'

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Re: ... and the verdict of the User Interface jury is...

I don't have a problem with the with this set's UI in terms of usability and navigation. Unfortunately it runs in quite a sluggish manner. Hopefully a software update sorts that out.

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Silver badge

Let's get it over with now

3D? meh.

LED backlit != LED

£1800 and no glasses? sharp practice

55" and 1080p ? = big fat pixels

55" - not in any house I can afford.

Walled Garden internet = not internet at all

Sony? not in a thousand years, thank you.

oh yes, nearly forgot

'Ow m-m-m-uch Gr-Granville?

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FAIL

Re: Let's get it over with now

Exactly so, 55" is too big for 1920 x 1080 Full HD, pixel size is getting a tad large, it is just like seeing all the lines on a 405 line old telly, in the museum

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Re: Let's get it over with now

It depends on how far away from the screen you sit. A 55" 1920x1080 screen is not made for viewing from one foot away.

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