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

Sony KDL-46HX820 Review Page 2 - Audio, Internet Streaming, and Final Take

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

Audio Performance

One the main problems with both LCD and Plasma flat panel TVs generally is the audio quality. There is really only so much you can do trying to pack in speakers and amplifiers within the increasingly thin frame of a TV these days. If you intend to purchase a large screen LCD or Plasma TV, you should also complement it with some type of external audio system, be it a modest sound bar, home theater-in-a-box, or higher-end audio system, especially for movies or listening to the internet music content.

However, for those that forgo those options, or the installation conditions are not conducive, the KDL-46HX820 does provide a better audio experience than some of its competitors. The set features a 3-channel (10 watts x 3) speaker system mounted behind the screen that produces enough volume to fill a small or medium-size room with understandable dialog. In addition, via its S-Force Front Surround or S-Force Front Surround 3D processing, the sound field is brought forward and widened, creating a somewhat enhanced TV listening experience. On the other hand, there is a lack of any real bass or clear clean highs, which is really needed for a more satisfying movie and music listening experience.

To sum it up, if you can, go with an external audio system of some type for the best listening option to complement your viewing, especially for movies. To make this easier, the KDL-46HX820 features Digital Optical, analog stereo, and the HDMI-supported Audio Return Channel connection options.

Internet Streaming

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Rear Panel - Bottom Connections

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Rear Panel - Bottom Connections

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Sony KDL-46HX820 definitely puts an emphasis on its Internet capabilities. There is a very broad selection of available content that can be accessed. Some of content is free, while other require a subscription fee, or are accessed on a pay-per-view basis.

Some of the movie and TV sites include: Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Crackle TV, HuluPlus, Netflix, and Sony Video Unlimited. Sony even provides online 3D content features that includes movie trailers, travel, and music videos. This a great way to get used to how the 3D functions work.

Some of the music services include: Pandora, Slacker, and Sony Music Unlimited.

In addition, there are other internet streaming sites that cover news, sports, and special interests, such as NPR, NHL Vault, and Dr Oz, as well as social media, such Facebook.

Two additional internet features that are important to take note of are the Rovi Onscreen Program Guide, and the Sony KDL-46HX820 iManual. If your TV is connected to the internet, the iManual feature is a very convenient way get answers to any difficulties you may have navigating the TVs features, which are quite extensive.

When trying to access available content, it must be noted that you need a good high-speed broadband connection. In my area, my broadband speed is only 1.5mbps which resulted in some visible compression artifacts and long buffering times.

On the other hand, I will say that the Netflix and Crackle streams I watched actually looked pretty good, compared to the results I have encountered on some other TVs I have seen. Sony's video processing features do a pretty good job in compensating for compression artifacts and slow internet speeds. However, I did find that my internet speed was too slow to play Sony's free 3D streaming content for longer than about 10 seconds or so at times before it had to buffer again.

DLNA and USB

In addition to accessing content from the Internet, the KDL-46HX820 can also stream content from DLNA compatible devices, such as a PC connected to same internet router. I had no difficulty getting the TV to recognize my PC, and play audio, video, and still image files.

Another content access option provided is the ability to access audio, video, and still image files from USB flash drives. Other USB devices that can be connected to the KDL-46HX820 via USB include digital cameras, camcorders, and digital musics players. The TV provides two side-mounted USB ports for convenience.

However, with both DLNA and USB, there is a limitation as to which file types are playable by the KDL-46HX820 - consult the user guide for details.

Final Take

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Rear Panel - Side Connections

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820 3D Internet LED/LCD TV - Photo of Rear Panel - Side Connections

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Sony KDL-46HX820 offers several key things that are definitely attractive for consumers, great styling, solid video performance, and cutting-edge network and internet capabilities.

There is a lot to like about the Sony KDL-46HX820 including:

1. Excellent color and detail, as well as video processing and upscaling.

2. 3D works well provided brightness contrast settings are set appropriately and the content is produced well for 3D viewing - However, there is some intermittent haloing.

3. Internet streaming feature provides good selection of online content options.

4. Excellent motion response on 2D material and good motion response on 3D material.

5. Extensive video setting options.

6. Very low power consumption: 83 watts average.

7. Large, backlit remote. The backlight feature makes it easier to use in the dark.

8. Online user manual adds operational convenience.

9. Intelligence Presence Sensor feature.

On the other hand, no TV is perfect, and there were some things that I didn't like or I felt could use some improvement.

1. Onscreen menu system not very intuitive and tricky to navigate.

2. Some halo effects when viewing 3D.

3. Some uneveness in black levels due to LED Edge light system.

4. Web browser not very usable.

5. Webcam for Skype use not included.

6. No printed user manual provided - accessible online only.

For an additional, closer, look at, and perspective on the Sony Bravia KDL-46HX820, also check out my Photo Profile and Video Performance Test Results.

This set is available in two screen sizes with the same features:

Compare Prices for the 46-inch Sony KDL-46HX820 evaluated in this review.

Compare Prices for the larger 55-inch Sony KDL-55HX820.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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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