There’s no two ways about it – £4,500’s a lot to spend on a TV, even one as big as Sony’s beautiful 60in KDL-60LX903. For that much money, you could have a front projector plus a very good TV and still save yourself some cash.
But even if you’re a projector enthusiast, it’s hard not to be swayed by the drama of a massive direct-view screen, especially when it looks as good as this.
Sony’s new ‘Monolithic’ design language has found its finest expression in the clean-cut form of this 60in panel: in a bid to ensure its starkly elegant lines are as unsullied as possible, even the set’s rear has flush-fitting panels that conceal and manage your cabling.
At £4,500, the KDL-60LX903 is clearly aimed at enthusiastic buyers. An edge-lit LED screen, it’s the biggest and most comprehensively equipped Bravia you can buy: it’s also the only current Sony to include everything you need for 3D in the box, barring a source component.
So, unlike other Sony sets, there’s no need for an external 3D sync transmitter – it’s built in – and you get two pairs of TDG-BR100B active-shutter 3D specs as part of the deal. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi (other Sonys require an external dongle) plus some intriguing sensor-based features, about which more shortly.
Tuning is fast, with Freeview HD on tap if you live in an appropriate reception area, while locating available Wi-Fi networks and configuring online services takes moments.
That done, you’ll have access to popular services such as Flickr, Twitter, Demand Five and LoveFilm, and the Sony will also seek out and stream content from any DLNA-compliant PCs and NAS devices on your network.
Setting up the picture to your tastes is easy, too. Either you can opt for the manual approach, or you can take advantage of the TV’s built-in sensor, which can optimise picture and sound quality to suit your viewing location using an automatic adjustment feature called ‘Picture Control’.
The same system can also sound an alarm if your children are sitting too close to the screen (Distance Alert), and it can even apply face recognition to your viewing. This ‘Intelligent Presence Sensor’ feature will both turn off the TV if you leave the room and dim the picture if you look away from the set for an extended period (perhaps because you’re texting rather than watching).
Outstanding picture quality
The viewing experience is almost as impressive as the technology that empowers it. For such a large panel, Freeview pictures are remarkably smooth and noise-free, even with lower-quality signals. Certainly, we’d watch HD by preference – who wouldn’t? – but this isn’t a panel that punishes standard-definition TV and DVD viewing, unlike very large sets in the past.
Switch to 3D mode, load up the 3D version of WipeOutHD and you’ll be thrilled: the screen’s sheer scale creates its own impact, of course, and it could be argued that it’s only at this considerable size that 3D really comes into its own.
But size aside, it’s hard not to admire the Sony’s stability under duress and the cleanliness of its edge definition. There’s some evidence of 3D ‘crosstalk’ on certain scenes, both with gaming and, to a lesser extent, the best 3D Blu-rays, but it’s not sufficient to detract from the experience for us, not least because (unlike some other 3D-enabled Sonys we’ve tried) dark scenes remained as thoroughly dark as they should be, with little discernible inconsistency to backlighting.
It’s all very impressive – in fact, the only thing that marks something of a disappointment is the KDL-60LX903’s sound, which is lightweight and underwhelming. If ever a set deserved a home cinema system, it’s this one.