I haven’t had cable TV in almost 2 years. There’re only so many episodes of Pawn Stars and Comedy Central reruns of Grandma’s Boy you can watch. Cable TV is becoming an extinct dinosaur.
Enter Sony Bravia. This is a true TV for our non-cable TV times. Forget about forking out hard-earned money to Comcast; Bravia hooks right up to you Internet via built-in WIFI. (Though it also has an old-school cable hookup.) This home entertainment system also offers 3D display, a huge collection of streaming content, DLNA support, and a super-thin profile thanks to LED edge-lighting.
But the proof is in the viewing pudding: How does the picture quality stack up? An urban legend has it that every manufacturers’ LCD panel is exactly the same; they all come off the assembly line and get ship randomly to different companies. Though there are innate similarities in LCD panels, the test is the engine that drives the optics. With more and more people are using their TV’s to stream content, Bravia has some ingenious engineering. The X-Realty engine is a singular chip that optimizes texture, outline, and color. So let’s say you want to watch your favorite LOL Cat video on your Bravia. X-Realty fills in resolution, smoothes in color, and takes out noise; especially in areas around the edge of the screen image. Sony actually took samples of patterns and textures from the real world to develop an internal, real-world based library for X-Reality; filling in missing picture information with data from the real world.Keyboard Kitty might be shot on a low quality camera, but you can have the maximum viewing enjoyment with the Bravia’s enhanced X-Reality engine behind the scenes.
If the Bravia can add that much quality to low-grade YouTube video, image what it can do for watching sports or action flicks? Sony’s Motionflow XR 240 smoothes out the action – and reduces blur in fast-motion scenes. That means you can still hate the idiotic Transformer movies – but greatly admire the picture quality. Well done1
Bravia also comes with TrackID: a Shazam-like feature that allows you to identify a song during a movie or TV show. Powered by Gracenote, all you have to do is hit the TrackID button on the remote and it will immediately look up the song; providing a bio and where you can download it on the Web. Welcome to the future! If that hasn’t blown your mind – try out 46 inch screen Skype calling.
My only complaint: a learning curve is needed when it comes to the TV’s navigation system. An old-school TV remote isn’t the best device when trying to type in URLs to access the Bravia’ Internet functions. I know; it’s like trying to text the Gettysburg Address without a predictive text feature on your cell phone. (Try typing in the URL: http://www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com/without losing your mind.) Once your on the web page, the only way to navigate is via the up and down buttons on the remote – try to do this without getting annoyed. This phase of the Bravia is still in the evolutionary stage; Sony needs to come up some sort of track pad or virtual/wireless keyboard accompaniment. Ideally, it would be great to see the Bravia evolve to have touch screen swiping features like found in the HP TouchSmart.
Regardless, this system got me really excited; the Bravia has all the information/content access of the Internet mixed with the viewing enjoyment of a home entertainment system. A sad look crosses my face knowing Sony will make me return the Bravia once this review goes up
The SONY Bravia KDL-HX729 Skinny:
• 46" screen
• Displays 3D images when you wear Sony's active glasses
• Motionflow XR 480 blur reduction
• LED edge backlight
• X-Reality PRO Engine video processing
• Internet-ready Smart TV
• Built-in web browser
• Built-in Wi-Fi
• Video and music streaming from a DLNA-compatible Windows PC
• Built-in stereo speakers (10 watts x 2)
Price $1,079.44 (Shop around)