Sony Bravia HX8 first look – new TV with BBC Sport app [Video]
What is the Sony Bravia HX8?
The Sony Bravia HX8 is a new range of stylish LED TVs. Available in 40″ (KDL-40HX853), 46″ (KDL-46HX853) and 55″ (KDL-55HX853) models, it’s just gone on sale in John Lewis and other selected retailers starting from about £1,200.
The HX8 has a range of smart TV features set within a newly designed interface. Sony continues to provide plenty of video content here, while the company has also announced an interesting new BBC Sport app.
Naturally for a TV at this price point, 3D technology is included as well. Watch our hands-on first impressions of the new set below.
5 things we like about the Sony Bravia HX8
- It’s good looking
For many of us, the TV set is one of the main focal points in the living room. It doesn’t hurt, then, that the Sony HX8 is good to look at. The single sheet of glass front panel slopes away a little, and sits on a brushed chrome stand that extends along the width of the TV. This stand doubles up as a sound bar.
- Sony is making an effort with sound quality
At the Which? test lab, we’ve seen a lot of TVs with poor sound quality over the past couple of years. This is a reflection of manufacturers competing to produce ever thinner panels, meaning less space for speakers and therefore poorer sound. Things are looking up for the HX8 in this department as its speakers are built into the wide chrome stand. Our test lab will give a definitive verdict soon, but our first impressions is that sound quality is better than average.
- There’s a new BBC Sport app
Once it appears on the HX8 (and other Sony TVs and the PlayStation 3), this app could be very popular for sports fans. As well as catch-up sports action, you’ll be able to select your preferred event to watch live from the range of events at the Olympics, for example, or choose exactly which court you want to watch at Wimbledon. The BBC Sport app isn’t available straight away, but Sony hopes it will be ready to use in June.
- It has lots of video content
There’s a strong focus on video within Sony’s smart TV services, with apps from YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Netflix, Lovefilm, Sony’s own Video Unlimited and more. A wide range to choose from that means you should never be left with nothing to watch.
- Smart TV services are easy to access
There’s a nice, large SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) button on the remote. It’s pretty hard to miss. Press that and the built-in wi-fi kicks in, taking you to the smart TV home screen within a few moments. You can watch live TV simultaneously, and have a live twitter feed in the corner of the screen.
Chris’s impressions of the HX8
Sony TVs tend to have smart looks – the new HX8 may be the smartest of all. It’s a TV I’d happily show off if I owned one. I like the design of the chrome sound bar especially, while the fact that it could also give a boost to the sound quality is pretty exciting too. I often yearn for better sound when watching a favourite show or a sporting event when I want a bit more atmosphere.
I’m not a 3D convert, yet, but I found Sony’s decision to not include any 3D glasses with this set a little disappointing given we’re looking at a £,1200 plus purchase price. No glasses in the box will do nothing to encourage me to buy a Sony 3D Blu-ray player, for example. Still, at least glasses have come down in price from the lofty heights of a couple of years ago.
Sony’s smart TV services look good, there’s plenty of video content on offer, and the BBC Sport app will be another plus point when it’s ready. But, unlike some models from LG, Panasonic and Samsung, there aren’t any fancy remotes, touchpads, plug-in keyboards or motion control technology here. You just get a normal remote control in the box. This does the job well on most things – until you have to type in text when it becomes a bit slow. There is, however, a free Sony Media Remote App for tablets or smartphones. I’ve not used it but I imagine it will be easier if you plan to type a lot – when using the Facebook or Twitter apps, for example.
I will reserve final judgement on picture quality until the lab gives its verdict. I viewed the HX8 under some rather harsh and unusual ambient light conditions so it was pretty hard to tell, but there doesn’t seem to be any obvious flaws in the 2D picture.
Overall, this is a great looking TV that I really look forward to seeing Which? test lab results for. It’s currently at our lab and we will be publishing the full results on 2 June so check back soon to see how it performs.
What makes a Best Buy TV?
These are just our first impressions of the Sony Bravia HX8 based on a short amount of hands-on time. Before Which? can recommend any product, we must send it to our labs to be scientifically tested. See our how we test TVs page for an in-depth look at what we do at the lab. Watch our video below to understand what makes a Best Buy TV.
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