Sony Bravia KDL-55HX925

The Sony Bravia KDL-55HX925 is an excellent LCD TV, which offers deep blacks and a flexible feature set, but it does require a little bit of care during set-up.


8.5
CNET Rating
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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


Design

Sony made a splash in 2010 with its Monolithic televisions — bold, angular and jet-black, these were TVs for a modern living space. Not only that, but models such as the HX800 also performed exceptionally.

So how does the company top these efforts one year on? From a design standpoint, at least, it doesn't. The "one-sheet-of-glass" elements are still there, but the glass itself has been beefed up with Corning's impact-resistant Gorilla Glass.

If you want to opt for the sloped, six-degree "shtick", you still can with the addition of the AU$399 stand, which includes a beefed-up speaker system.

Oddly, we found that the TV screen we received had actually been warped, with one side drooping like the ears on an Aussie digger. We suspect that this may have been a result of an accident outside of the factory, but without testing another unit, we can't say what effect this deformation would have.

Features

Sony's Internet TV includes dozens of on-demand channels delivered by Ethernet or the on-board Wi-Fi (802.11n), in addition to Skype calling capability with the included camera.

The HX925 now features Sony's new X-Reality Pro picture engine, which is designed to not only upscale and improve standard- and high-definition content, but also web services (via Sony Internet TV, of course). Further features of the TV include an "Intelligent Peak LED" backlight, Motionflow XR 800 for smoother pictures and integrated 3D with two sets of rechargeable glasses thrown in.

The TV also includes the TrackID feature to look up the song that's playing on the TV at the time, and access to Sony's Music Unlimited streaming service.

Ports? It's got 'em. Four HDMI, two USBs, a component via adaptor, composite, D-sub and digital output.

Performance

We found that we needed to spend a bit of time when calibrating this TV, as at default levels, there was quite a bit of backlight clouding — patchy grey areas in black sections of the picture. Even turning the backlight down to zero didn't help, and only when activating the Intelligent Peak LED did we get the inky blacks that we were anticipating.

The Gorilla Glass screen itself isn't too reflective, and images had a high level of contrast — although, if you're looking for more dynamic pictures, you should instead choose a plasma from the likes of Samsung or Panasonic.

The TV performed well in our synthetic tests, with some of the best smoothing we've seen on the Blu-ray video tests. However, we did find that the TV would sometimes lose its lock on the signal, and jaggies would appear before the TV found the signal again. DVD tests were not quite as impressive, but still high quality in regards to the TV's competition.

One area where the TV did perform well was in the testing of its LED micro-dimming — some TVs can show a significant lag when using these effects, looking like someone turning down a light dimmer switch. But our tests demonstrated that the lighting system responded simultaneously when switching from dark to light scenes. No reason not to use it, then!

When thrown some more "watchable" material, the Sony was able to make a decent fist of Mission Impossible III, with smooth pans on the opening to Chapter 11, but a return of the moire problems that we saw with the test disks. Noise control was very good, and yet the TV was able to keep a lot of the detail in close-up shots.

When sitting down to watch King Kong, we found that the TV was able to clean up the picture significantly, resulting in a movie-like presentation. However, when viewed side-by-side with the Samsung Series 8, we found that the Samsung was more involving.

Smart TV might be a hard sell on billboards, but in the flesh it's the IPTV content that's the king here. Sony's Internet Video has been wisely rolled into the home screen on the HX925 — there's no time-wasting loading screen — and it's easy to find something to watch. We chose an episode of The Gruen Transfer via the iView app, and found that it was cleaned up and much improved from the version you might find on the web — same great content, no harsh pixels!

Sony has pushed the 3D capabilities of its TVs to the forefront of its marketing for the past few years, and the HX925 is meant to represent the pinnacle of the company's knowhow. Well, we'll admit to having seen better. Depending on the source, there can be traces of flicker within the image, and there is a slight degree of crosstalk on contrasting edges. As a result, it isn't as comfortable to watch as, say, the Panasonic VT30 or the LG LW6500 but for the occasional 3D movie, it's OK.

Finally, sound quality was decent for such a thin television. While we'd always recommend getting a separate sound system if you're serious about your movies, the Sony does well in most situations. We found that the TV was able to quite loudly, with no audible distortion and with a decent hold on dynamics.

Conclusion

If you're looking to spend four grand on an LCD TV, it really comes down to two choices: the Sony HX925 or the Samsung D8000. While we like the feature set and ease of use of the Sony, we prefer the Samsung for its sparkling picture quality and its cutting-edge design.

The Sony HX925 is nevertheless an excellent TV that with a bit of care at the set-up stage will reward you with a great-looking picture and, in combination with the optional stand, will become a talking point for many "movie sessions with friends" to come. Popcorn sold separately.



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BenjaminP Facebook
10
Rating
 

"Best Picture Quality I've seen on an LCD TV"

BenjaminP posted a review   

The Good:Great blacks. Stunning natural looking picture. Good auto picture-mode switching.

The Bad:Some backlight bleeding but really not that bothersome.

I've owned this TV for about a month now and use it attached to the HTPC. It is the best screen I've ever seen for such a purpose. Blu-ray movies look simply stunning and gaming on it is ridiculously immersive with vibrant but natural looking colours. The blacks in particular are very impressive for an LCD TV - load screens for games for example, with a mostly black background, the screen is indistinguishable from the sexy black frame. I have yet to fault this TV in any way.

DonIsGood
10
Rating
 

"Stunning picture and stylish design"

DonIsGood posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Stunning picture

The Bad:NIL

I upgraded to this TV from another Sony 46HX820 and I must say that the picture quality of 55HX925 is simply stunning!

For start the bootup and initial set up was a breeze and took very little effort to set up the TV. Once completed, the picture quality is so clear that you wonder if you are watching the TV or something real.

Pair it up with a Blu-ray player and you will appreciate the true capability of 1080p where details are simply clear as crystal. Black is a lot deeper than the HX820 also.

We did consider the Samsung D8000 but decided to go with Sony for its monolithic design (vs.the chrome and clear plastic bezel of Samsung) as it really is a lot more stylish (did I mention my wife is an Interior Designer?). Furthermore, we found the picture quality of D8000 to be a tack over-saturated than the Sony and it's a decision we never looked back..

BrianC1 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"An awesome behemoth of a TV with superb display."

BrianC1 posted a review   

The Good:Ease of use, Really true black display with super SMART features.

The Bad:Setting up was not straight forward, 3D features are left wanting

After figuring out how a 55" behemoth Sony TV was going to fit into the back of a Corolla I finally managed to get this beast home and get started on the task of setting it up. At first it seemed that setting up this TV was going to be an easy feat. Not to be. I had set up the Skype camera and was eager to get that aspect set up so I could concentrate on getting the game consoles and all the other gizmos hooked up to the TV. However the Sony TV was totally devoid of any references to Skype. Even the manual seems to avoid discussing it's Skype capabilities. So after attempting to factory reset the unit I decided to scrounge about for a Firmware (or software as Sony referred to it as) update. Not even five minutes later my Bravia was re starting and when I dived over to the applications menu there was the blue Skype Logo to be found!

After playing about with the TV for sometime now I have found the following to be true. The screens ability really come into it's own when showing true HD content. The PS3 and Xbox 360 really shine on the massive screen compared to watching the regular free to air channels. The haziness in regular broadcast is really distracting at times but that is more to the fault of Australia's mediocre broadcasting standards compared to the signals I witnessed in Japan where every channel there is in HD. Owners of Foxtel IQ will be in for a treat as the signal from that would really sparkle on a TV such as this. I tested out the Blu-Ray ability of the PS3 and have to say that although regular 2D content (such as True Grit) came out above expectations, 3D content (such as the released Nightmare Before Christmas) was disappointing with the 3D effect not being truly convincing.

3D gaming on the Bravia KDL-55HX925 was a step up though compared to the movie watching experience. Wipeout HD was really a truly different experience in 3D compared to normal with the score and icons stepping out of the TV and forcing you to not focus on them but concentrate on the turns ahead.

The smart TV options on this Bravia were a step ahead of other Smart TV's I have used with the regular suspects such as Youtube and Yahoo Seven coming pre-installed. Some premium content services will require you to join up and register your telly in advance before allowing you access so enter knowing it may cost you a subscription fee. Speaking of subscriptions, Sony music feed service, Music Unlimited, is a dedicated feature on the TV and is worth considering as it costs less than the price of a CD per month to stream all that audio goodness to your TV.

The speakers on the Bravia won't do any justice to heavy bass songs or techno you might want to pump out but they handle the main bulk of audio you may wish to throw at it. As with any TV set up having a dedicated surround sound kit is definitely the way to go.

The menu system is bearable at best with the live preview showing as you slide across the many options this TV throws your way but unfortunately it's not as easy to use as past Sony efforts and no where near as convenient to use as the PS3 lay out. Having said that though I really appreciated the home button options and the quick INPUT select button as my previous TV forced you to scroll through the inputs one by one. YUCK!

Sony have jammed many many features into this Bravia and I am yet to fully check them out as yet but for general TV viewing with the odd splash of 3D indulging and online Smart TV features you're getting a reliable monster of a TV that is super efficient power bill friendly device. Overall I do believe that the screen is not as vivid as many Samsung's out there on the market but with some tweaking to the settings you will go very close to the mark but with a much more user friendly experience.

RobA1 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"worst company EVER"

RobA1 posted a review   

The Good:none

The Bad:everything

I HOPE SOMEONE IMPORTANT WITH SONY READS THIS!!!!!!! I have had the worst customer service experience of my life!. I purchased a BRAND NEW Sony Televison (Expensive Unit). The Television had a manufacturer defect which wouldn't let the TV connect to the internet. So..... I called went through there process for over a month dealing with master techs replacing parts (Main boards for TV). Finally after months of waiting and not being able to use the features of the EXPENSIVE unit I paid FULL PRICE for they decided to replace the television. My first thought was GREAT! Then one of the customer service reps said,"refurbished unit" after the unit was shipped for delivery. I immediately said that I was not going to accept a "USED" television as a replacement when I paid full price for the "BRAND NEW" sealed box unit. The rep proceeded to tell me that if I wanted a new replacement I was going to have to pay more MONEY! I was at a loss for words. My immediate thought was WOW, one of the largest corporations on the planet wanted me to pay more money for a unit that probably cost them $200 to make in China. Its really sad that a company that showed an 87 billion dollar profit for the fiscal year of 2010, can't take care of a single customer that has repeatedly purchased Sony products over the course of my adulthood! Its an easy and obvious solution. Sincerely, UPSET CUSTOMER!

 

miamiflphil posted a reply   
Australia

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Consumers/Consumer_guarantees_warranties_and_refunds/Guarantees_on_goods.html

Your choice of refund or replacement, not the manufacturers

 

BrianC1 posted a reply   

Shame you had this experience with Sony and their TV. My only grief was a two hour drama on setting it up but after a quick factory reset and firmware update it was smooth sailing from there on. Did you put your grievance about Sony in writing to them? I'd be interested to know what their managerial response to your situation was.

 

Jono posted a comment   

Why no 46inch version KDL-46hx925??




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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Bravia KDL-55HX925

  • BenjaminP

    BenjaminP

    Rating10

    "I've owned this TV for about a month now and use it attached to the HTPC. It is the best screen I've ever seen for such a purpose. Blu-ray movies look simply stunning and gaming on it is ridiculous..."

  • DonIsGood

    DonIsGood

    Rating10

    "I upgraded to this TV from another Sony 46HX820 and I must say that the picture quality of 55HX925 is simply stunning!

    For start the bootup and initial set up was a breeze and took ve..."

  • BrianC1

    BrianC1

    Rating9

    "After figuring out how a 55" behemoth Sony TV was going to fit into the back of a Corolla I finally managed to get this beast home and get started on the task of setting it up. At first it seemed t..."

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