Sony KDL55HX820 Review
55" Bravia LCD LED TV, 3D, 480Hz, X-Reality PRO Engine
Picture and Viewing Features
The KDL-55HX820 series LCD from Sony is only a step down from the top of the line XBR-55HX929 which has full array local dimming for better backlight control for among other things – 3D TV programming enabling 1080p resolution to each eye (in effect). The 55HX820 forgoes the true local dimming in favor of less expensive LED edge lighting, but has all other top end features such as the new OptiContrast Panel Technology and the two-chip processing engine X-Reality Pro.
Of course 3D TV capability is there. During recent viewing with sources from 3D Net we noted some blurring during fast motion scenes on the HX920 series. We noted the same during some Cinema 3D and Sports 3D programming. Bright lights against a dark background are particularly alarming. That said the X-Reality PRO dual chip processing engine is fantastic at processing normal 2D signals – even fast motion. The TV has a fantastic picture quality with non-3D sources with incredibly deep black levels and eye-popping definition. Colors are rich but not oversaturated.
Unlike many of Sony's competitors 240HZ rate features, we actually like Sony's. On the HX820 series the feature is called XR 480Hz. While not as strong in terms of effectiveness, it doesnt introduce lots of nasty artificial effects. Sony the MotionFlow XR 480 (manipulated 240Hz) builds on previous efforts to neutralize judder caused by camera movement as LCD and LED TVs struggle to process these movements fast enough.
The new monolithic design from last year is present on the new HX820 series. The edge lit LED LCD TV is only 1” in depth with a thin framing bezel.
Internet Applications and Connectivity
Sony was the first out with a true Internet TV this past fall of 2010 with the GT1 series, enabled with Googles Chrome browser. The HX820 does not have the Google TV application, but it does Sony's new Bravia Internet Video and Qriocity functionality which has among other premium Internet TV Apps HuluPlus, Pandora, Amazon VonD, You Tube, Slacker Internet Radio, Crackly, Hmm why am I not seeing Netflix here? Must be a typo in the specs from Sony. Does anyone dare not carry Netflix?
Qriocity also has a highly touted (by Sony) music options service – Music Unlimited powered by... you guessed it, Qriocity. Hey, I just want it free, I want to buy this TV and it enable me to get the music I want for free! Deal!
The KDL-55HX820 has nearly everything Sony has to offer this year in top features. Motionflow XR 480; a manipulated 240Hz rate which simulates 480Hz due to use of the edge lit LED backlighting.
Edge Lit LED backlighting, 3D TV ready.
The new X-Reality Pro Video Engine is a two chip processing engine rather than 1 used in the normal X-Reality engine. It is quite useful in that it upconverts and improves the picture from low resolution Internet content sources. It also optimizes high definition content, compressed HD signals, standard definition, and other sources. By utilizing a vast database of "ideal" signal patterns developed by analyzing and indexing and enormous library of film and video, the X-Reality PRO Engine compares incoming signals pixel-by-pixel with ideal scenes to display vivid and detailed images.
The embedded Skype features has increased resolution to 720p high definition to receive better images when video chatting.
A new Media Remote control application option for the iPhone, iTouch, or mobile Android devices. The app, which may be downloaded from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace, functions as a full remote with keyboard, allows online content search, and playback.
4 or more HDMI inputs should be plenty on any TV. 1 rear ethernet port, 1 side USB port, 2 rear Component video inputs.
-Robert Wiley, editor