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Sony Bravia EX703 (KDL-46EX703) review: Sony Bravia EX703 (KDL-46EX703)

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The TV's sensor works by looking out for movement in the room. That means it should switch the TV off if you fall asleep on your couch. In our tests, the TV never turned off because it thought we'd left when we hadn't, so Sony has clearly tweaked its detector to near perfection.

USB playback
Like Sony's Blu-ray players, the KDL-46EX703 can read photos, music and videos from USB storage devices. It doesn't, however, offer support for as varied a range of codecs as the company's Blu-ray players. It will play AVI files, but not MPEG-4 content in MKV wrappers. We can't help but feel disappointed by this, although it's far from the end of the world.

Impressive audio
This TV's sound quality is excellent. It's not often that we commend TVs for their audio quality, but we found speech incredibly easy to understand with this set. We still wouldn't watch an action movie using the built-in speakers, but we'd be more than happy to watch standard TV shows without going to the effort of connecting the telly to our home-cinema system. The TV can really ramp up the volume too.

Respectable HD chops  
We weren't bowled over by the KDL-46EX703's standard-definition picture quality. We're used to seeing some MPEG artefacts on Freeview, but we felt the TV didn't work as hard as it could have to remove them. We also noticed that the screen was artificially sharpening video, which is undesirable because it makes a mess of the picture. We turned the sharpness setting down, and were pleased to see that the picture looked much more natural.

Hi-def channels looked respectable via the built-in Freeview HD tuner. We weren't blown away, but it seems the broadcasters on Freeview HD are mucking around with the quality at the moment, so it might not be totally fair to blame the slightly unimpressive softness on the TV.

Blu-ray playback, however, proved superior, with the picture looking sharp and detailed. The LED edge lights seem to do a pretty respectable job of illuminating the screen too. Sony certainly seems to have improved on some of its first LED models, which leaked light all over the panel. For the best black levels, we'd still recommend a plasma telly, but the KDL-46EX703 puts in a good performance nevertheless.

Our minds weren't melted by the Sony Bravia KDL-46EX703, but that's more a sign of the times than anything else. We've seen tonnes of TVs over the years and most sets on the market now are very capable indeed. This has led us to be much more critical of TVs that don't quite hit the mark for us. The reality is, though, that the KDL-46EX703 is a good TV that will serve you well for quite some time.

There aren't enough extra features to help justify its fairly high price tag, however, and we can't help but feel you'll still be paying a Sony tax for owning a product with that illustrious name on it. If you compare this TV to the incredible, and significantly cheaper, LG 50PK590, which is now available for as little as £700 online, we think you'll be hard-pressed to justify the extra expense.

Is the KDL-46EX703 bad? No. Is it overpriced? Quite possibly. As always, the final decision is yours.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

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