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Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Review

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About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Front View

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Front View

Photos (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 is a 46-inch LED/LCD TV that incorporates both 2D and 3D display capability, along with network media player functions, which provide access to both PC-based and online streaming audio/video content. With the addition of a compatible accessory webcam, you can even make Skype video phone calls. The KDL-46HX820 also utilizes an attractive, thin profile, design featuring a sturdy screen surface provided by Corning Gorilla Glass.

In addition, the 46-inch KDL-46HX820 features a 1920x1080 (1080p) native pixel resolution, , 4 HDMI inputs, and two side mounted USB ports for accessing audio, video, and still image files stored on flash drives. The Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 is definitely a feature-packed TV, but is it the right TV for you? Keep reading to find out. Afterwards, also check out a Photo Profile and a sampling of Video Performance Tests.

Product Overview

The Main Features of the Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 include:

1. 46-inch, 16x9, 3D capable (including 2D to 3D conversion) LED/LCD TV with 1920x1080 (1080p) native pixel resolution, 240Hz Screen Refresh Rate and Sony X-Reality Pro Engine image processing.

2. 1080p video upscaling/processing for all non-1080p input sources as well as native 1080p input capability.

3. High Definition Compatible Inputs: Four HDMI, One Component (via adapter cable), One VGA PC Monitor input.

4. Standard Definition-Only Inputs: One Composite video input (via adapter cable).

5. One set of analog stereo inputs and one stereo analog audio output that can be also be used for connecting a pair of headphones.

6. One RF coaxial cable input connection and built-in ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners for reception of over-the-air high definition and unscrambled high definition/standard definition digital cable signals.

7. 10 watts x 3 (2.1 channels) sound system. One Digital Optical output for connection to external home theater receiver, stereo receiver, or amplifier.

8. 2 USB ports for access to audio, video, and still image files stored on flash drives, camcorders, portable digital media players, as well as for charging the optional Sony TDG-BR250/B Active Shutter Rechargeable 3D Glasses.

9. DLNA certification allows access to audio, video, and still image content stored on network connected devices, such as a PC or media server.

10. On-board Ethernet port for wired internet/home Internet connection. WiFi connection option via supplied USB Wi-Fi Adapter.

11. Access to internet based content provided by the Sony Entertainment Network.

12. Skype-enabled (optional Sony-compatible webcam required).

13. Link for remote control via HDMI of multiple HDMI-CEC compatible devices.

14. Wireless Infrared Remote Control included.

15. User Manual (iManual) accessible online via PC or directly from the TV, if connected to the Internet.

For a closer look at the features and functions of the Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820, check out my supplementary Photo Profile

Additional Components Used In This Review

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Onboard Controls

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Onboard Controls

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705 (used in 5.1 channel mode)

Blu-ray Disc Player (Both 2D and 3D compatible): OPPO BDP-93

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 2 (5.1 Channels) Orb Audio People's Choice (on review loan)

Additional Audio System: Vizio VHR215 Powered Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer (on review loan)

DVDO EDGE Video Scaler used for baseline video upscaling comparisons.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used. High Speed HDMI Cables provided by Atlona for this review.

3D Glasses: Sony TDG-BR250/B Active Shutter Rechargeable 3D Glasses and XpanD X103 Universal 3D Glasses.

Software Used

Blu-ray Discs (3D): Adventures of Tintin, Drive Angry, Hugo, Immortals, Puss in Boots, Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Blu-ray Discs (2D): Art of Flight,Ben Hur,Cowboys and Aliens, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Megamind.

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

Video Performance

In terms of core video performance, the KDL-46HX820 does very well. Out of the box, the color, contrast, and detail was very good and consistent across sources, especially Blu-ray Disc content. However, since the Sony utilizes LED edge lighting rather than full array backlighting, when the TV is on, but not displaying an image, or when displaying very dark scenes, there is some uneveness in black level across the screen and along the edges, as well as some spotlighting in the corners. However, this effect is more subdued than I have experienced with other LED edge lit sets up to this point.

Getting back to other aspects of the picture, the KDL-46HX820, via its X-Reality Pro Engine, does an excellent job of rendering detail, and does particular well with enhancing detail, contrast, and color as well as reducing video noise from standard definition and internet-based video sources. Internet video sources present an added challenge, due to variations in streaming speed and resolution, both of which can add to undesirable video artifacts, such as jagged edges and video noise.

In addition, the TV's 240Hz Screen Refresh Rate and added processing provides a smooth motion look to displayed images, be they from film, video, or internet sources. This is especially desirable when viewing 3D content.

However, the fast refresh rate and processing also results in what is referred to as the "Soap Opera Effect". For those that are not used to this, film-based material can take on live video look rather than a film look, which can be annoying. However, the refresh rate and added processing can be adjusted or disabled. On the other side of the equation, if you disable the refresh rate enhancement and added motion processing, the image can also take on a flickering look, which is very noticeable if watching 3D content.

For an added look at the video processing capabilities of the Sony KDL-46HX820, refer to my supplementary Video Performance Test Profile.

3D Viewing Performance

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Remote Control

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Remote Control

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
One of my gripes regarding 3D TVs that I have used so far is that their default brightness and contrast settings are usually not adequate for 3D viewing. I found this less so with the Sony KDL-46HX820 as when the TV detects a 3D source, the brightness and contrast is automatically adjusted to some extent, but some additional tweaking may be needed to suit differing viewing sensitivities.

When viewing 3D material, I found that it was best to use the Standard or Vivid setting, as the maximization of Backlight level and Contrast made the 3D images more defined and compensated well for loss of brightness when viewing through 3D glasses.

When viewing 3D content, I thought that the depth rendering was very good, and I did not encounter any significant flicker or motion lag that can be known to occur when viewing 3D using active shutter glasses. However, unlike TVs that use the Passive Glasses system, or DLP TVs and video projectors that also use the Active Glasses system, I did encounter some intermittent haloing, mostly on dark or low contrast scenes.

Some 3D Blu-ray discs that I thought provided a good viewing experience were Avatar, Puss In Boots, and The Adventures of Tintin, but I did notice some intermittent haloing in Hugo and the Immortals. For information on other 3D films I use in my 3D product reviews, refer to my listing of Best 3D Blu-ray Discs.

However, although 3D viewing overall was good, there are some factors to take into consideration with the Active Glasses viewing system. First is the need for power. Since the glasses require the movement of shutters, glasses need to be battery powered, which means that the batteries either need to be replaced after every few movies, or need to be recharged.

A plus for Sony, the glasses that were supplied to me for the review, and sold as optional accessories on their site, are rechargeable, with recharging done merely by connecting the glasses to one of the TV's USB ports.

Another factor to take into consideration is the need for the active shutter glasses to synch up with the rate at which the 3D images are displayed on the screen. This can result in visible flickering for some viewers, as well as more sensitivity to haloing effects. Also, if you have a tendency to move a lot in your seat when viewing TV you may notice a slight color shift in the image and 3D synch loss if you move your viewing angle too far horizontally or vertically.

Taking the above factors into consideration, I will say that the KDL-46HX820 did deliver an over all good 3D viewing experience, but it certainly was not the best I have seen. As a result, more refinement to prevent haloing (especially when the competing passive glasses 3D TVs and DLP video projectors using active glasses do not have this issue) would be in order.

The final word on 3D in this review that I wanted to mention is that this set also provides real time 2D-to-3D conversion. This conversion process does add depth to a 2D source image, but the depth perspective is not always accurate. Sometimes portions of the image appear "folded", and objects can seem out place in the scene. A setting is provided that allows adjustment of the 2D-to-3D conversion effect that can help minimize some visual problems, but the fact remains that viewing a native 3D signal source provides the best viewing option.

My suggestion is to limit the use of the 2D-to-3D feature to sporting events or live concert performance broadcasts. On the other side of the coin, the KDL-46HX820 also provides 3D-to-2D conversion that can be used, if the occasion arises.

Proceed to Page 2: Audio Performance, Internet Streaming, DLNA, USB, and Final Take

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Not as ""Brave"" as it seems, Member MaxxMurxx

I live in France. In France last year all TV stations switched from analog signal to digital DVB-T broadcasting. From my 3 TVsets, 4 DVD - VHS combinations, 2 DVD players, 2 desktop computers and 5 laptops only 2 DVD / VHS combos and one TV have DVB-T tuners. None of them has a network interface. I am using the TVs as computer monitors too. All computers are connected by LAN, most of them run ""Windows"", one computer is a LINUX Samba server handling external storage. When I read about the Bravia and its network capacity, I thought it would be fine to use it as central DVB-T tuner, integrate it into my local network and stream the TV signal to the local computers to have TV in every room of my appartment again. That however came out to be an illusion. The Bravia can access theoretically a number of Internet Gimmick movie clip sites which I do not like and I do not want and also the Bravia can be configured to access local computers to play videofiles stored on these computers, the Bravia however cannot be accessed in any way by those computers via local network, simply because it has no interface to be accessed by LAN. That is however not the end of the story. None of the HDMI, the SCART, RGB, video or the VGA inputs in parallel is an output and except for sound the BRAVIA has no outputs. The video signal received by the Bravia therefore in no way can be distributed to other local devices. That is certainly not what I understand under ""network device"". It is in fact contrary to what I had in mind. Instead of being able to have TV access in every room with the Bravia in the middle, I now would be able to watch files stored in different rooms on the Bravia, which is in one single room. That application is completely unnecessary for me. I have TV and computer monitors in every room already. Suddenly I remembered why since more than 20 years (or is it 30+ years already?) I kept my hands off from SONY. That was when I had a SONY Digital Audio Tape recorder (DAT) which was reduced in audio quality ""to avoid lossless digital audio copying"" (2 years later I had the first CD player). SONY again has made a good idea useless. The justification which I found in a SONY forum is the same: ""to avoid streaming of copyrighted content"". I thought if I need a TV, I'll buy a TV, if I need a nurse, I'll pay a nurse. The only thing I have to do now is purchasing a video card for one of my computers and use this one as a server. If I would intend to stream non authorized copyrighted content, I could do so without asking SONY. Another negative aspect: After having received the TV set, it stopped working after 30 minutes, only a yellow LED blinking on the front panel. Because no manual was included I searched the internet and found relatively quickly that the yellow blinking LED means that the device is carrying out a software update. After another 30 minutes the yellow blinking turned into red blinking. There was no way to switch the device on anymore. This possibility was not foreseen by the producer however. This time it took me 4 hours to search all the forums until I found that the TV set would have to be disconnected from current and reconnected after one minute to make it ""reboot"" (""If not: call your dealer""). In fact I had tried this before but reconnected to early, which is understandable being eager to see the brand new device working. It is fine to have a complete online manual accessible by the device itself. That is however not so fine when the device does not work. Someone not being so experienced with Internet searching would have been lost. Not to forget the positive points: When the TV was brought to my home it came without remote control. The dealer excused himself (RC was obviousy stolen), gave me a price reduction and a free multi function remote control. SONY also offers a free applet for IPhones and Android cell phones by which the BRAVIA can be controlled and which simulates a copy of the original remote control. I now use my IPhone for the BRAVIA and the other one for another device for which I had lost the remote control long ago. The best point: the BRAVIA has a fantastic picture, enormous variability to adjust the picture to ones own preferences and even with a size like it has can be used as a computer monitor.

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