The KDL-55HX800 uses edge LED lighting; rather than employ a full array of LED backlights behind the screen (available the HX909 Series), this TV's LEDs are located around the edges. Sony employs a form of local dimming called DynamicEdge, in which the LEDs can more precisely adjust their light output based on the content onscreen. Two of the main benefits of the edge-lit design are improved energy efficiency and the ability to offer a slimmer cabinet; the KDL-55HX800 has EnergyStar 4.0 certification and a cabinet depth of 2.88 inches.
This model uses Sony's BRAVIA Engine 3 processing and features Motionflow 240Hz technology to reduce motion blur and film judder; unlike some companies' "240Hz" implementations that combine a 120Hz frame rate with a flashing backlight, Sony offers a true 240Hz frame rate with 2D content. You can add the KDL-55HX800 to your home network via wired Ethernet or an optional WiFi adapter. This TV supports DLNA media streaming from a networked server, and it features Sony's BRAVIA Internet Video platform, with access to Netflix and Amazon VOD, YouTube, Slacker Radio and more.
The connection panel includes four HDMI inputs and two component video inputs, as well as one PC input and one RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and two are located on the side panel for easy access. The side panel also includes a USB port that supports the addition of a WiFi adapter, as well as video, photo and music playback. The Ethernet port is located on the rear panel, as is the 3D Sync port to which you attach the add-on 3D sync transmitter. The KDL-55HX800 lacks an RS-232 or IR port for integration into an advanced control system.
The setup menu includes a thorough assortment of A/V adjustments, beginning with eight Scene Select modes that automatically tailor video and audio settings for a certain type of content (like cinema, sports or music). In the video-only realm, you can choose from 12 picture modes (several of them are for games, graphics and photos). An ambient light sensor is available to automatically adjust the picture based on the room's lighting. You get four color-temperature presets, as well as RGB gain and bias controls for precise white-balance adjustment; general and MPEG noise reduction; gamma adjustment; the ability to enable or disable the DynamicEdge LED technology; and an auto light limiter that can reduce light output in really bright scenes to cut down on eye strain. The TV lacks an advanced color management system to precisely tweak the six color points. The Motionflow 240Hz menu has five options (Off, Standard, Smooth, Clear 1 and Clear 2), and this model includes Sony's Auto 1 and Auto 2 Cinemotion settings, which also affect the quality of motion in film sources. The KDL-55HX800 has five aspect-ratio options, with the ability to display 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.
A special 3D setup menu allows you enable or disable 3D playback and to make adjustments to the 3D effect: You can adjust the 3D depth, the intensity of the simulated 3D effect, the brightness of the 3D glasses and the 3D format (simulated 3D, side-by-side and over-under).
The KDL-55HX800's audio setup menu includes four sound modes: Standard, Dynamic, Clear Voice and Custom. In each mode, you can adjust treble, bass and balance, and the Custom mode allows you to fine-tune the output using a seven-band equalizer. You can choose from seven surround modes, and there's also sound enhancer, steady sound and volume offset options; however, this TV does not offer audio-leveling technology from a company like Dolby or SRS.
The Eco menu includes a power-saving mode to lower the backlight level, as well as a Presence Sensor that automatically turns off the TV when no audience is detected for a designated time period. You can set up the TV to turn itself off when it has been idle or has had no signal for a designated time. The TV also has an energy-saving switch to cut standby power consumption without having to physically unplug it from the wall.
One of the features that the KDL-55HX800 lacks, compared with the LX900 and HX909 Series, is the stylish Monolithic design; this model has a standard raised bezel framing the screen, as opposed to a seamless front panel. It comes with a swiveling stand, but it's not compatible with the optional SU-52NX1 metallic base that lays flat (the HX909 Series is the only 3D series that supports this base).
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Sony KDL-55HX800 with its competition by reading the reviews for the Samsung UN55C7000 3D LED LCD and the Panasonic TC-P54VT25 3D Plasma. Learn more about 3D HDTVs by visiting our 3D HDTV section.
• The KDL-55HX800 is 3D-ready.