At CES we were dazzled with new fangled 4K, 8K, OLED and Ultra HD television sets. While those TV sets certainly were rich with the latest home entertainment technology, they aren't entirely ready for primetime yet. A lot of the units we saw weren't yet in full production and won't be in an attainable price point for most consumers any time soon.
The folks at Sony sent us a 46-inch Sony Bravia HX750 right before CES and we were thrilled to review this TV.
First off the Sony Bravia HX750 is what a smart TV should be. It has all the essentials: Wi-Fi, Apps (including, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Slacker, Pandora, YouTube and even FaceBook) and is paired with a great, easy to use interface, smooth 3D, 240Hz motion and a bunch of other features.
At just over $1,000 the Sony Bravia HX750 is a nice device that delivers solid performance and beautiful design, I'd be proud to have this set as the focal point of my living room's media center.
..the Sony Bravia HX750 is a nice device that delivers solid performance and beautiful design..
The HX750 is a smart TV, but a TV nonetheless so visual quality has to be ranked near the top in terms of rating this unit. The HX750 stands amongst the best as the colors are vivid and quite rich. If the bright colors aren't up to par, throw the TV's viewing settings in to vivid to check out how bright the colors are actually capable of being.
The viewing angle is quite stellar, 178-degrees to be exact. You can stand nearly adjacent to the TV's surface and still see the display. I'm sure you have better things to do to stand next to a TV to see what angle you can view it from, but for large viewing parties like Super Bowl weekend, you will realize why we take the effort in assessing viewing angles. One of the more touted features on the HX750 line is the use of 240 Hz motion with Motionflow XR 480 technology. While I can't fully explain with that means, it makes fast action movements less blurry, I call it short of magic. I caught a bit of the Australian Open, and the fast movement of 100 mph+ tennis balls left very little trailing when it came to following the action. Most typical viewers won't be able to tell the difference between 120-240-480 refresh rates, but it was noticeable between my 120 set versus the Bravia HX750's 240.
I've gripped for a while about the crappy sound quality on LED sets. Sure, sets are thinner, sleeker and less clunky, but a lot of sets sacrifice sound quality by cramming in smaller, less fuller sounding speakers for the sake of design. I have to the say the sound isn't bad compared to other sets I've checked out. If you're an audiophile, you're going to set yourself up with a heftier kit, but for the rest, you'll be fine with the standard built-in audio.
The Wi-Fi was easy to set up and kept connectivity throughout the review period. One obvious note, your data speeds do affect the quality of streaming content. As my Statistics professor would say "garbage in, garbage out," make sure your data speeds are up to the challenge of streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime. Slow data speeds definitely impact the quality of video through the Internet apps. Speaking of which, the apps on the HX750 are comparable to those found on Samsung and LG sets and you won't feel like you're missing out on any apps out there. In addition to most popular smart TV apps, Sony integrates its own ecosystem; if you're a PlayStation owner, you may be familiar with this network.
I like that Skype is an option on the set, I say "option" because you need to purchase the Skype compatible camera (CMU-BR100) to enable video chatting on the set.
I love YouTube integration on smart TVs, just take a look at our own Jon R., look how happy he is hanging out in my living room. I certainly hope the YouTube app for smart TVs continue to get updates, especially as online media becomes more prevalent. As much as I like it, I feel it falls short of the true desktop experience. I still think it is neat and the TechnoBuffalo YouTube videos look better on the "big" screen (Fact!).
I mentioned "other features" at the beginning of this post, Sony's packed in a bunch of stuff that just makes the experience very pleasant: Rovi to make TV guiding easier, GraceNote to display audio content information, making menus opaque so you can still view content while searching or adjusting TV settings and smaller volume displays so it doesn't take up a lot of real estate (and not blocking your screen) when you are adjusting the volume. You also have the ability to tweet out what you're currently watching, I liked that this feature even neatly integrates with Amazon Prime, so I could tell the world I was watching Hugo.
Sony, like Samsung, utilizes active 3D, versus Passive 3D, the other standard which LG and Vizio are the largest purveyors of. Passive 3D is more like the 3D format you're used to when you go to your local multi-plex. From my experience, personal preference and whatever deals people are able to get when they're TV shopping are what determines what format buyers select. I will give the edge to the Sony-backed active 3D tech in terms of visual performance. However, note that active 3D glasses tend to be a bit more expensive than passive 3D glasses.
I've found that not many people realize that 3D TVs, Sony's Bravia HX750 included, have the ability convert standard 2D content (e.g., over the air, cable, digital media) to 3D content. Sony's engine does a pretty admirable job converting 2D to 3D. However, as with any format, the best results are usually tied to the original content. So if you jonesin' for the full 3D experience, shell out the extra cash for the 3D Blu-Ray edition on Amazon. Nonetheless, know the option exists, and it does a pretty good job doing it.
So if you jonesin' for the full 3D experience, shell out the extra cash for the 3D Blu-Ray edition on Amazon.
Build Quality and Design
I like the good sturdy base and nice clean bezel around the actual display. Actually. If I had a magic wand, I'd eliminate any bezel whatsoever, but technology, cost, and imaginitative limitations aside, I'll take a nice thin bezel. I like the plastic casing around the display is sturdy and clean. My biggest pet peeve is a warped-looking plastic wrapping around the front of the bezel, you see this more on cheaper, low-end sets and it is really distracting, but you do not get that with the Bravia line. The polished plastic stand may get scratched if you aren't careful (guilty as charged). I've experienced this with other TV sets, a moot point if you plan on mounting the TV, but I like the use of hard physical keys on the TV's rear. It is a nice feature that is often overlooked. I find that more and more manufacturers are removing this feature or use touch sensitive keys. But if you're fumbling with buttons in the dark, or if the remote is nowhere to be found, it's nice to have.
The remote control is basic and nothing fancy, but it should feel familiar for PS3 Blu-Ray remote control users. One feature I wished the remote had was some bit of illuminated feature. I don't believe that all remotes should have illuminated keys, but this particular one has more keys than LG's Magic Remote or Samsung's TVs that you can talk to. I go back and forth on simple remote layouts, because you end up having to drill down more on the screen's menu rather than one-push button action. Sony has plenty of buttons to help you quickly navigate to Internet apps, or channel guide. It is not the fanciest remote, but I found it to be easy to use and fits well with the TV's user interface.
Settings and Controls
So I've got to hand it to Sony, the settings are bit more customizable than what I've grown accustomed to from Samsung and LG. Now for those that don't care to mess with these settings, there are general recommended settings you can stick with, but I like to tune things just a bit to adjust to room lighting and acoustics. I like that I have the option of adjusting to my wants.
The Bravia HX750 sits in a market segment that is not the absolute best (those cost $30,000-$60,000 more) and it's not the cheapest (those I couldn't recommend). If ultra best or cheapest set is what you're looking for, I suggest you look elsewhere. Rather with the Bravia HX750 you will get a great value, solidly built TV, with great quality visual and decent audio output. The apps work stably and provide you with hours of fun. If you're looking for the latest and best technology, you're going to want to shell out a ton more moola for one of those fancy sets we saw at CES earlier in the year. But if you're looking for a quality smart TV with Skype and 3D capabilities, you wont be disappointed with the Sony Bravia HX750 line.