Sony KDL-40HX803 review

David Ludlow
2 Feb 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

An excellent 2D TV with an amazing internet portal, but 3D suffers from crosstalk.



40in, Freeview HD, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 4x HDMI

While the majority of 3D TVs you can buy come with the transmitter that synchronises the active shutter glasses integrated into the TV, with the KDL-40HX803 you get a separate transmitter unit. This plugs into the rear of the TV and sticks on top of the bezel in a similar way to the IR receiver for the Wii. It's not quite as neat a package, but does mean that Sony can sell a cheaper version of this TV without the 3D glasses, giving people the chance to upgrade at a later date.

Sony's 3D transmitter is fairly stylish and small, so it doesn't really break up the neat lines of this thin-bezel LED edge-lit 40in TV. As a result this is definitely one model that you'd be happy to have on display in your living room.

Sony KDL-40HX803 3D transmitter

Of course, it's really image quality that decides whether a TV is any good or not. With the KDL-40HX803 we found that it massive depended on the type of content that really defined how good the TV really was.

In 3D mode we found that the screen produced vibrant colours. Due to the active shutter glasses, the screen loses some brightness, but Sony's done a good to ensure that colours don't wash out as a result.

We found the glasses (two pairs are included in the box) to be fairly comfortable to wear, but wearing them we noticed two problems. First, on bright scenes in a film we noticed a high degree of flicker. Secondly, there's a lot of crosstalk: this is where one eye sees the residual image meant for the other eye. It manifests itself as ghosting around moving objects or even a bit of double vision. It's fairly prominent and makes some 3D scenes fairly uncomfortable to watch.

Sony KDL-40HX803 glasses

As with most other 3D sets, you can either view native footage or use the 3D 'upscaling' feature, which is designed to turn 2D footage into 3D. It's not particularly good and regular footage is worth leaving alone.

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