To test the 46HX929 we connected a Sony 1700ES Blu-ray player, Xbox 360 and an HD antenna for some terrestrial HD reception. For video content, we chose the 2D version of Avatar on Blu-ray, the 3D version of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and dusted off Titan A.E. for some up-converted DVD action. We also spent some time streaming YouTube and Netflix videos, as well as video and music stored on a networked computer.
We did enough calibration work to determine this Sony model performs very well right out of the box, though its “standard” picture setting was a little on the bright side and colors were intense enough to make us wonder if a “vivid” setting was even necessary. While we found that the display’s “cinema” setting offered a picture very close to our own manual calibration, we preferred some of the set’s brighter settings during our tests in rooms with lots of windows and sun exposure. We did play around with the ambient sensor, but didn’t find it making a considerable difference at night when less backlight would have been appropriate.
This TV offers a knock-out picture. The black levels on the 46HX929 are truly impressive, as is its high contrast ratio. Color accuracy is among the best we’ve seen, pulling off fine gradations between oranges and browns in some of our familiar testing material that we’ve not noticed before. We also felt the Sony’s treatment of reds is some of the best we’ve ever seen, rivaling that of many high-end plasma sets. We spent plenty of time ogling this TV and were consistently impressed, hour after hour, at just how engaging and satisfying the picture was.
3D performance was well above average, too. Whereas we’ve noticed some significant flicker with other 3D systems that rely on active shutter glasses, this TV remained largely flicker free and the image, beyond the 3D magic, was still razor sharp with excellent color and contrast. We’ve made pretty quick work of our 3D evaluations in the past, but we actually enjoyed the effect this time and found ourselves lingering on Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 3D a little longer than we needed to.
The XBR-46HX929 was pretty quick to load networked music and video, though noticeably faster when hard-wired to our router than when using the built-in Wi-Fi. HD content from Hulu Plus and Netflix both looked very good, and we were pleased to see these interfaces have been improved over prior years.
Off-angle viewing on this set is better than average but, as expected, we achieved the best results when seated with the display directly in front of us.
We liked the icon-driven menu interface the 46HX929 offered. Major subsections are navigated through a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen while a vertical column toward the right exposes more specific choices. It was an easy interface to get used to, and will probably be met with appreciation by those not used to so many options built into a single piece of electronics.
Sony is certainly charging a premium price for the HX929 series but, to its credit, the sets deliver excellent picture quality, great 3D performance, useful features and plenty of other bells and whistles in a very smart-looking display. Enthusiasts searching for the very best in cutting-edge, performance TVs give one of the HX929 series’ three sizes a serious look.
- Amazing black level and contrast
- Super bright white levels
- Slick, flat panel with darkened, anti-glare glass
- Built-in Wi-Fi, plenty of Internet apps.
- Quick network media access
- Backlit remote
- Oddly placed RS-232 jack adds unnecessary depth
- 3D glasses not included