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Sony Bravia KDL-55EX720 LED LCD 3D HDTV Review$2,399.00
The Sony KDL-55EX720 has a boatload of streaming content and internet services, even better than last year's already-great selection. They've added buttons on the the remote control for instant access to Netflix and Qriocity,Sony's burgeoning new movie and music service. But Sony's apparent inability to create an elegant interface prevents you from knowing, or even wanting to know about them. (Read previous page for our complaints about the menu.)
The streaming content features are broken up into a jumble of submenus. Qriocity gets top billing with its only little menu icon. The rest of the items are stashed in the "Internet Content" submenu seen below.
Some of the more well-known services like Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube get special billing, but Sony hides dozens more in the "Bravia Internet Video" sub-submenu. By and large, most of these deserve to be hidden, as they're hobby-oriented services like videos for cooking, exercise, or style. Others could have been called out for special attention, but didn't. Unfortunately, there's no way to customize the menu for user preferences.
Another cool feature Sony added this year is called TrackID, which either functions like or is Gracenote, a music database service. Essentially, you can be watching TV and when a song comes on that you like but can't recognize, simply hit the TrackID button on the remote, wait about 10-30 seconds, and the track information will appear in the corner of the screen. Simple but amazing, and a perfect addition to a "smart TV."
Last year Sony released the first TV with a built-in, fully functioning internet browser on its Sony Google TV series (read full reviews on the 32-inch and 46-inch versions). We liked the idea, but had a lot of complaints about the interface and innovative but cludgy remote control.
Many of the new 2011 Sonys, like the KDL-55EX720, include a browser, a seemingly great feature that is absolutely crippled by a godawful interface. Everything is done through the skinny remote control that comes with the TV. Look at the image below. That hot mess is the method for typing in URLs. To click on a link, you have to use the use the d-pad on the remote to scroll through every click-able item until you get to the one you want. What's worse, Sony does not allow the use of mice or keyboards, despite having two perfectly good USB ports.
There's simply no way that you could entice us to use this TV as an internet device, unless every computer in the world had been destroyed by some sort of Sony-engineered virus. It's best to consider the KDL-55EX720 as a computer with a lot of streaming video and music, and just forget that the browser is even there.
Local Media Playback
The Sony KDL-55EX720 can play back a whole variety of still images, audio files, and video files (detailed here in the manual), all through the two USB ports on the side. When you plug in a USB mass storage device (like a thumb drive or certain cameras and camcorders), a little item on the screen should pop up asking you if you'd like to connect. Nearly every TV we've reviewed provides that ease of use. The KDL-55EX720 did not, but we'll assume there's probably an option someone in the menu that enables this.
To get the local media playback going, we had to dig around in the menu and find the submenu with the universal "play" symbol (a triangle pointing forward). There are three options in the menu: Photos, Videos, and Music. Make your choice, then select which device you which to browse in.
You can create slideshows and playlists with all three types of media. You can also combine photos and music to create multimedia playlists.
The Sony KDL-55EX720 does not support any other type of media.
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