Sony KDL-55HX823 LED LCD 3D TV Review

2D Calibration

Note: Our Sony KDL-55HX823 review sample was calibrated using Calman Professional, the industry-leading video calibration software.

We selected the “Cinema” [Scene] mode and then the “Cinema 1” [Picture Mode], confirmed that any picture abstraction features ([Black Corrector], [Live Colour] etc.) were disabled, then ran measurements to assess how tint-free the KDL-55HX823’s grey shades were:

2D Greyscale

Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)

Blue tracked too high, causing the KDL55HX823’s pictures to take on a slightly frosty tint. Again, remember that we’re used to looking at calibrated displays, and most users won’t be able to notice this slight excess. It’s not the best pre-calibrated result we’ve seen from a Sony HDTV, but it’s also not unbearable by any means.

Post-calibration RGB Tracking in [Cinema] mode
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Cinema] mode

The [White Balance] menu contains 2-point controls for adjusting Greyscale tracking, and it didn’t take us long to use them to massage Red, Green and Blue into correct amounts in both dark and bright regions. The low-end control is incredibly coarse, but fortunately, we were still able to get the shadowed areas of the picture to display largely tint-free. The exception, as we usually see on LCD TVs with LED side-lighting, is that absolute black has a blueish-purple tint.

2D Gamma

Gamma curve in [Cinema] mode Gamma tracking in [Cinema] mode
Gamma curve in [Cinema] mode Corresponding gamma tracking

Gamma consistency is an area where LCD televisions typically excel, not falling victim to subtle shifts in brightness in the same way that Plasma TVs can (although readers should keep in mind that LCD and LED LCD TVs’ gamma performance tends to degrade quickly the more off-centre the viewer sits, and that brightness distribution across the screen tends to be inconsistent). When measuring the centre of the panel from a face-on (0°) position, we measured very linear and flat gamma tracking from the Sony KDL-55HX823, meaning that the distribution of brightness from the darkest to the brightest parts of the image was correct, without any, for example, over-exaggerated shadow areas.

2D Colour

Sony provides no specialised colour management controls at all, and frankly, we don’t really miss them (although wouldn’t say no to them, of course). The only obvious colour error that stuck around after Greyscale calibration was with blue, an issue we often see with LED TV displays. Not only was the colour of blue slightly undersaturated (indicated by the colourful CIE chart below), but it was also a little dim (shown on the Luminance chart, underneath the CIE chart). The oceans in Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo looked a little less brilliant as a result of this. Beyond that, we were very happy with the colour performance: there were no other visibly over (or under) saturated, or off-hue colours.

Post-calibration CIE chart in [Cinema] mode
Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709
Post-calibration Luminance levels in [Cinema] mode
Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

3D Calibration

3D Mode Greyscale

3D Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
3D Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)

Just like the 2D mode, the pre-calibrated images being put out by the Sony KDL-55HX823 in its 3D output mode were overly blue. Sony’s active shutter glasses also have a viewing angle (head angle?) issue: tilting your head towards one side will change the overall colour temperature of the picture. For that reason, it’s critical to align the glasses correctly when attaching them to the front of the calibration meter.

For a pre-calibration measurement, the Sony KDL55HX823 displayed a good result, and accordingly, its tri-dimensional images were of a good standard when assessed by eye. LCD-based 3DTVs often have more predictable, linear Greyscale characteristics than 3D Plasmas (although the latter is usually correctable with calibration, if you’re going down that route). Linearity goes a long way in allowing us to disregard slightly tinted images… it’s easier to ignore (or adapt to) an image that’s consistently too blue, compared to one that’s, for example, too blue in bright areas and too red in the shadows.

3D Post-calibration RGB Tracking in [Cinema] mode
3D Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Cinema] mode

3D calibration was absolutely painless on the Sony HX823. As with 2D, a few back-and-forth adjustments left us with a naturally coloured picture. There were no visible Greyscale tracking errors left after calibration. As always, keep in mind that each individual pair of 3D glasses can have its own colour tint, so if you’re in the minority of people who gets a 3D calibration done, make sure the person paying the bill gets first choice of which pair to use!

3D Mode Colour

As with 2D, colour was suitably accurate, both before, and moreso after Greyscale calibration.

3D Post-calibration CIE chart in [Cinema] mode
3D Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709
3D Post-calibration Luminance levels in [Cinema] mode
3D Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

Benchmark Test Results

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Top half of panel darker than bottom, common for LED LCD
Overscanning on HDMI 0% by default with 1080p signal (excellent)
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0.07 cd/m2
Calibrated black level (ANSI checkerboard) 0.07 cd/m2
Black level retention Stable with Contrast Enhancer disabled, auto-dimming after about 10 seconds with black screen
Primary chromaticity Excellent
Scaling Excellent
Video mode deinterlacing Effective jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Passed 2-2 PAL and 3-2 NTSC tests
Viewing angle Typical LED LCD limitations: blacks appear more purple, colours desaturate from sides
Motion resolution 1080 with [Motionflow]: “Clear” or “Clear Plus”
Digital noise reduction Several options, none forced
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
Luma/Chroma bandwidth (2D Blu-ray) Full Luma, chroma horizontally blurred except in “Game” and “Graphics” modes
1080p/24 capability No judder in 2D, or in 3D provided [Motionflow] disabled
Input lag 31ms compared to lag-free CRT
Full 4:4:4 reproduction (PC) Yes, in “Game” and “Graphics” modes

Power Consumption

Default [General] mode (2D) 75 watts
Default [General] mode (3D) 122 watts
Calibrated [Cinema] mode (2D) 122 watts
Calibrated [Cinema] mode (3D) 82 watts
Standby 1 watt

Measurements taken with full 50% grey screen.

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