televisions

Sony Bravia KDL-46HX729 LED LCD 3D HDTV Review

46 in.

The Sony Bravia KDL-46HX729 is not recommended for avid 3D fans.

June 27, 2011
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

3D Effect & Experience

The KDL-46HX729 uses an active shutter technology to produce the 3D effect. This means that the glasses are electronically synced with the TV, alternately shutting off one eye, then the other, in rapid succession. At the same time, the TV screen is alternating rapidly between an image intended for one eye, then the other, in the a synched rhythm. Currently, active shutter technology seems to be more frequently employed for home 3D than the competing technology called passive 3D (a.k.a. "Cinema 3D" or "Natural 3D" depending on the manufacturer).

While the 3D experience has improved overall in the Sony Bravia KDL-46HX729 and the rest of its second-generation brood, we're still far from satisfied. While certain models have made huge leaps in the tolerability, the KDL-46HX729 is not among them. We couldn't get past a disruptive and headache-inducing flicker. We're not sure if this is due to screen refresh rate, or the glasses, or some combination.

Thankfully, all other aspects of the 3D performance seem to have improved since last year. Read below for the breakdown.

3D Black & White

The KDL-46HX729 requires the use of glasses to watch the 3D content, like nearly every 3D TV on the market. Unfortunately, the glasses are tinted, which significantly reduces the amount of light getting to your eyes (they're sunglasses, in other words). As a result, the immensely bright peak whites of the 2D performance drop from 358.63 cd/m2 to 52.99 cd/m2. The black levels get a little darker too, which can be considered a benefit in way, but not enough to salvage the loss of contrast ratio.

3D Contrast Chart
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

3D Color

The color performance remains largely unchanged from 2D to 3D, which is a real coup for Sony. Because the 3D glasses have a tint, the color processing of the display must be shifted to accommodate perceived changes in color. Clearly, they've done a great job at it.

The color temperature consistency was the most affected of our three tests in determining color performance, and even this was by a very minor degree.

3D Color Temperature Chart

The color curves are perfectly smooth and the red, green, and blue channels move in near-perfect unison.

3D RGB Curves Chart

In the color gamut tests, the red and green points remained largely unchanged. The blue point was severely undersaturated and the white point (those _E_s in the middle) warmed noticeably. Overall, though, the changes were acceptable.

3D Color Gamut Chart

3D Crosstalk

A 3D TV works by sending two slightly different images to each eye. When information intended for one eye leaks into the other eye, that's called crosstalk and it's one of the chief causes of a breakdown in the 3D effect. We can measure the crosstalk pretty effectively and we found that Sony made big improvements over last year's models. The biggest problem is still any area of the screen with high contrast. White on black, green on black, and red on black all created a lot of crosstalk. To the casual observer, this will appear as haloing around objects.

By comparison, the plasma TVs that we reviewed (also using active shutter) all produced less crosstalk. This is the primary reason why we're comfortable saying that plasma 3D is more enjoyable to watch than LCD 3D, at least at this time.

3D Glasses

No glasses actually ship with the KDL-46HX729 in the box. In order to take advantage of the 3D, you'll need to pony up about $70 (go to the Sony Style store product page). Is it ridiculous that you spend all this money on a TV then have to pay even more for glasses? Sure, but no one ever suspected Sony of being a non-profit.

The glasses are lighter and more well-balanced than last year's first-generation glasses. They still make you look like a complete dork, though.

3D Glasses Photo
The glasses are definitely an improvement from last year
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. 3D
  7. Viewing Effects
  8. Calibration
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Samsung UN46D6500 Comparison
  14. Samsung PN51D6500 Comparison
  15. Panasonic Viera TC-P50ST30 Comparison
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
  18. Photo Gallery
  19. Ratings & Specs
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Compare Prices
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

What's Your Take?

All Comments