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Sony KDL-55HX800 3D LED LCD HDTV Review

Of the four series in Sony’s 3D television lineup, the HX800 is the least expensive (behind the LX900, HX909 and new NX810 Series), but it still sports an excellent array of features. The HX800 Series includes screen sizes of 55, 46 and 40 inches. We have not performed a hands-on review of the KDL-55HX800, but here is an overview of the TV’s features. This 55-inch, 1080p LCD is technically 3D-ready: The active-shutter glasses required for 3D viewing are not included in the package, and they cost $149.99 each. Also excluded from the package is the 3D sync transmitter ($49.99) that enables the glasses to sync with the TV. You will need this add-on component for 3D functionality. The KDL-55HX800 supports 2D-to-3D conversion, so you have the option of watching standard 2D content in simulated 3D.

The KDL-55HX800 uses edge LED lighting; rather than employ a full array of LED backlights behind the screen (available the HX909 Series), this TV’s LEDs are located around the edges. Sony employs a form of local dimming called DynamicEdge, in which the LEDs can more precisely adjust their light output based on the content onscreen. Two of the main benefits of the edge-lit design are improved energy efficiency and the ability to offer a slimmer cabinet; the KDL-55HX800 has EnergyStar 4.0 certification and a cabinet depth of 2.88 inches.

This model uses Sony’s BRAVIA Engine 3 processing and features Motionflow 240Hz technology to reduce motion blur and film judder; unlike some companies’ “240Hz” implementations that combine a 120Hz frame rate with a flashing backlight, Sony offers a true 240Hz frame rate with 2D content. You can add the KDL-55HX800 to your home network via wired Ethernet or an optional WiFi adapter. This TV supports DLNA media streaming from a networked server, and it features Sony’s BRAVIA Internet Video platform, with access to Netflix and Amazon VOD, YouTube, Slacker Radio and more.

The connection panel includes four HDMI inputs and two component video inputs, as well as one PC input and one RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and two are located on the side panel for easy access. The side panel also includes a USB port that supports the addition of a WiFi adapter, as well as video, photo and music playback. The Ethernet port is located on the rear panel, as is the 3D Sync port to which you attach the add-on 3D sync transmitter. The KDL-55HX800 lacks an RS-232 or IR port for integration into an advanced control system.

The setup menu includes a thorough assortment of A/V adjustments, beginning with eight Scene Select modes that automatically tailor video and audio settings for a certain type of content (like cinema, sports or music). In the video-only realm, you can choose from 12 picture modes (several of them are for games, graphics and photos). An ambient light sensor is available to automatically adjust the picture based on the room’s lighting. You get four color-temperature presets, as well as RGB gain and bias controls for precise white-balance adjustment; general and MPEG noise reduction; gamma adjustment; the ability to enable or disable the DynamicEdge LED technology; and an auto light limiter that can reduce light output in really bright scenes to cut down on eye strain. The TV lacks an advanced color management system to precisely tweak the six color points. The Motionflow 240Hz menu has five options (Off, Standard, Smooth, Clear 1 and Clear 2), and this model includes Sony’s Auto 1 and Auto 2 Cinemotion settings, which also affect the quality of motion in film sources. The KDL-55HX800 has five aspect-ratio options, with the ability to display 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.

A special 3D setup menu allows you enable or disable 3D playback and to make adjustments to the 3D effect: You can adjust the 3D depth, the intensity of the simulated 3D effect, the brightness of the 3D glasses and the 3D format (simulated 3D, side-by-side and over-under).

The KDL-55HX800’s audio setup menu includes four sound modes: Standard, Dynamic, Clear Voice and Custom. In each mode, you can adjust treble, bass and balance, and the Custom mode allows you to fine-tune the output using a seven-band equalizer. You can choose from seven surround modes, and there’s also sound enhancer, steady sound and volume offset options; however, this TV does not offer audio-leveling technology from a company like Dolby or SRS.

The Eco menu includes a power-saving mode to lower the backlight level, as well as a Presence Sensor that automatically turns off the TV when no audience is detected for a designated time period. You can set up the TV to turn itself off when it has been idle or has had no signal for a designated time. The TV also has an energy-saving switch to cut standby power consumption without having to physically unplug it from the wall.

One of the features that the KDL-55HX800 lacks, compared with the LX900 and HX909 Series, is the stylish Monolithic design; this model has a standard raised bezel framing the screen, as opposed to a seamless front panel. It comes with a swiveling stand, but it’s not compatible with the optional SU-52NX1 metallic base that lays flat (the HX909 Series is the only 3D series that supports this base).

High Points
• The KDL-55HX800 is 3D-ready.
• This TV has a 1080p resolution and will accept 24p sources via its HDMI inputs.
• The edge-lit LED design allows for a slim cabinet, and this model uses a form of local dimming designed to improve black-level performance.
• Motionflow 240Hz technology effectively reduces motion blur and offers multiple settings to tailor the smoothing effect to your liking.
• LCDs can be very bright, which makes them a good choice for a brightly lit viewing environment.
• The TV has plenty of connection options and picture adjustments.
• The KDL-55HX800 will support a wired or (optional) wireless network connection. It can receive streamed content from a DLNA server and supports the BRAVIA Internet Video platform.

Low Points
• You must purchase the necessary 3D glasses and 3D sync transmitter separately.
• Edge-lit LED-based LCD TVs can suffer from brightness-uniformity issues. We have not yet tested the DynamicEdge technology to see if it actually improves black-level performance or uniformity.
• LCD viewing angles are not as good you’ll find with a plasma TV.
• The KDL-55HX800 does not include integrated WiFi.
• It lacks an IR or RS-232 port.

Conclusion
The KDL-55HX800 has an MSRP of $3,399.99, but it’s now being sold through www.sonystyle.com and other outlets for around $2,800, which is competitive with similarly equipped models from Samsung and LG that are also 3D-ready. Keep in mind that you will pay at least $200 more for one pair of 3D glasses and the 3D sync transmitter. Ultimately, the question with this Sony or any other 3D TV is, how much are you willing to pay to get 3D right now, even though content is scarce? The KDL-55HX800 has many worthwhile features beyond its 3D ability, but those features are available in other Sony models for less money. If you’re ready to take the 3D plunge and want to go Sony, then the HX800 Series is your most economical option.

Source: hometheaterreview.com

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