Now that 46-inches is the new “black,” I was pretty excited on seeing Sony’s Bravia Internet TV model, the HX750. Because of the size, to be sure, but also because it takes the whole concept of “smart TV’ and simplifies it even as it stacks the options skyward. To see what I mean, you’ll have to unpack it as I did and set it up. That means putting the base and stand together, which requires a few screws and another person to do it right. But once done you not only have some swiveling capability, but a firm base that will stand on a cabinet proudly (glossy black will do that for you).
The basic setup for a high-definition image is similar to other LCD TVs of this type: you plug the power cord in, connect a HDMI cable to one of the 4 HDMI inputs and then connect an Ethernet cable to its input, unless you’re using the built-in WiFi. Either way, you’ll be accessing a setup menu when the Bravia HX750 Internet TV is first turned on — one that “talks” you through the various functions in order to get you ready to go. It’s a straightforward procedure that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes at the outset. Now this assumes you’re using the internal speaker system; there’s 10 watts X2 of power for a reasonable amount of loudness and pseudo surround effects that most folks will find more than acceptable. Of course you can always route the sound to a home theater system. Should you need it, there’s also a PC input, Component and Composite, along with RCA analog audio inputs and a digital audio output. Two USB inputs provide a path for attaching an external storage device or two (as some devices, including antennas require a USB port for power, you do have at least 1 port for inputting data). There’s also the ARC pass-through technology working in HDMI — basically Audio Return Channel lets you route the sound from the cable back to a receiver connected to it so as to listen to it with the TV off (one cable to rule them all, eh?). If you have ARC capability in your amp, then you’ll be happy this is here. If not, you won’t care.
In general it’s fair to say that the Bravia HX750 Internet TV is pretty hip as regards digital but not as “legacy” friendly. Then again, who really cares about VCR’s these days anyway?
When done setting it up, you can watch TV in the conventional manner, using guide material that depends on how the TV signal is being received. Accessing online controls to alter the image is easily done and you’ve the opp to see what is being changed and reverse if it you want. Not to get lost in all this is how good the HD picture looks in general. I could say it meets “Sony standards” and pretty much that would be it — contrast levels and brightness wash over the display without causing any annoyance; you just enjoy the images and revel in the tack-sharpness of them. That’s pretty much the case no mater whether it’s a HD signal from a TV source (cable box, satellite, over-the-air antenna) or prerecorded HD material (i.e., Blu-ray).
The Bravia HX750 Internet TV has 240Hz working the imaging — this is unexpected and appreciated as the greater Hz results in a smoother image in general, with less motion distortion (here it’s called Sony’s MotionFlow XR 480 technology). Now tech can sound good, but it’s how it looks that counts since it’s supposed to be “affecting” the image. It’s fair to say that the dynamic edge LED backlighting plays a significant role in aiding the blacks and keeping the contrast within the limits that each scene requires on the display. I can’t find any fault with having a desire to see a movie looking vibrant but not brittle when it’s projected on this LCD TV. Especially when it’s no newbie — I ran an advanced Blu-ray copy of Sixteen Candles and Airport I had gotten in (Universal) and was impressed how lacking in grain and artifact issues both films were. Now some of that comes from the mastering of course, but it’s the Bravia HX750 Internet TV that’s putting out the image I’m viewing. BTW, you can guess which film of the two I preferred as both were being watched with my wife.
3D is also well represented on the Bravia HX750 Internet TV. Besides the fact that you get full HD resolution, thanks to “active” 3D technology instead of polarized passive, there are controls to ensure that the set can handle the type of incoming 3D signal. The “auto-depth” control basically means it syncs properly to the incoming 3D signal: that’s no minor thing because you need stability in order to keep that 3D image going. And when I tried playing some 3D videos streaming in, if the technology was working to make it look better than it would otherwise, it could be so. 3D online seems to look better on this LCD TV than on other and bigger models (a size issue? Dunno). Of course you must be wearing a pair of liquid-crystal 3D glasses at this point or all you’ll be seeing is a blur.
A small beef: the remote has angled pads (activating “”Options” and “Home” and “Display,” etc.) instead of the conventionally found four-compass point control. Because of this, I kept hitting left/right combinations expecting menus to move accordingly. But they didn’t. There’s no reason you can’t get used to this, but considering how pedestrian the remote is in general — despite the Netflix and Internet Apps buttons — there really isn’t any reason for this break from tradition as I see it.
For the technophobe and technophile, there’s a nice feeling of both hand-holding and do-what-you-want here: for the hand-holding you get a built-in manual that takes you through the processes of various aspects of the display — for example how to work the Internet and related functions, or the procedures to follow in order to customize the image to your preference or use an external source for getting photos, music or video into the display. At the same time you get advanced functions that are spot-on for drilling down into how you want the display to look — not just the same-old raise/lower the brightness or adjust the contrast level. Good stuff.
This all comes in line when using the various Internet-based features: watching viewing streaming video on a Netflix or Hulu Plus or Pandora or any of the Sony Entertainment services available. It’s not overflowing but it is more than adequate for today’s “smart TV” needs. What Sony calls “Widgets” provides the means for accessing TV Guide, Skype, twitter, etc. (oh — the Search functions takes online into account, btw).
Bottom line: The $1599 retail Bravia HX750 Internet TV is a solid performer with the additions you‘d expect from a “smart TV” today. The 46-inch size provides a larger screen that is more appealing to the eye when compared to that of a 42-inch, especially when 3D is being presented. Those looking for a large — but not too large — HDTV that doesn’t skimp on the features and is straightforward to use will be well pleased here. Especially as the “street” price is a few hundred less.
- Streaming capabilities from mobile devices and computers
- Media app control
- TrackID locates names of songs being played in TV shows, movies and commercials
- Problematic remote control layout
- No 3D glasses included
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.