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Sony Bravia KDL-46EX503 review

Riyad Emeran
4 Aug 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
900
inc VAT

The Sony KDL-46EX503 is a surprisingly affordable mid-range TV. There’s a generous feature set and good image quality from high definition sources. Unfortunately, the poor handling of standard definition content lets this TV down.

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Specifications

46in, Freeview HD, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: no, 4x HDMI

There was a time when Sony televisions were things that dreams were made of. The type of product that home entertainment enthusiasts imagined buying, if only they could live without food or water for a month or so. But over the years, the competition started to erode Sony’s brand dominance, and today consumers are as likely to aspire to owning a Samsung TV as they are a Sony. However, if the ludicrous amount of Sony branding surrounding the World Cup has taught us anything, it’s that Sony is very serious about taking its TVs to the top again.

Sony may be crowing about its LED backlit and 3D ready TVs, but the Bravia KDL-46EX503 is more of a bread and butter, mid-range set. In fact on paper the 46EX503 looks like a bit of a bargain – a 46in Sony TV for under £1,000 is nothing to be sniffed at after all. But as always, there’s more to value for money than a price tag – what you’re getting for your money is just as important.

The good news is that Sony hasn’t skimped too much on features to keep the cost down. The most obvious compromise is the backlight. There are no local dimming LED arrays or even edge LEDs, instead the 46EX503 makes do with a good old CCFL light source. Then there’s the 100Hz MotionFlow technology for reducing motion blur, whereas models higher up the Sony range come equipped with the 200Hz version.

Sony Bravia KDL-46EX503 (three quarter)

But putting those two issues aside, the KDL-46EX503 is a well equipped 46in HDTV for the price. For a start, video input connectivity is well catered for. You get a total of four HDMI ports (two rear facing and two at the side), along with component video, a D-SUB connector for hooking up a PC, two SCARTS and composite video. There’s also an optical digital audio output, so that you can pass through a digital audio signal to an external amplifier or decoder.

It’s also good to see that you get a USB 2.0 port from which you can stream media. While the integrated Ethernet port will let you do the same from any DLNA compliant device that you have on your network. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the 46EX503 to stream DivX or Xvid content and, unsurprisingly, MKV video was also off the menu. It seemed to have no problem streaming MP4 video encoded for an iPod, but it didn’t look too good on a 46in 1,920x1,080 screen!

The Ethernet port isn’t just for streaming video from your home network though, it gives you access to Sony’s Bravia Internet Video service, which, it has to be said, is pretty cool. Fire up the Bravia Internet Video and you can watch stuff like the greatest World Cup moments, or any number of fitness and health videos from LiveStrong.com.

If you’re after more premium content, you can sign up for LoveFilm’s streaming service and take your pick from the latest video releases. LoveFilm also offers an array of movie trailers to watch, which won’t cost you anything. You can even watch the streaming content in high definition, although we experienced a lot of pausing and buffering when streaming HD.

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