For the first time, Sony is offering 3D in a mid-range television with the release of the EX720, but this isn't something that the company is focusing on. In fact, it seems almost shy about the 3D capabilities of this screen and while the TV has a 3D sensor on-board, Sony doesn't even bundle a set of glasses with it!
Instead, and probably more sensibly, the company is devoting its attention to the "smart" capabilities of the unit.
While Samsung has spent the, Sony seems to have done very little in the design department when it comes to its middle-of-the-range models. If you're familiar with , which debuted in 2010, then you'd feel right at home with the styling of the EX720. It's a two-tone design with a metal and glossy finish.
The remote control is the same as last year's, but frustratingly it doesn't feature a settings button and it's easy to hit "Return" instead of the direction keys.
A smart TV in everything but name, the KDL-40EX720 offers most of the features you'll find in its competitors, with only "apps" notable by their absence. The Sony featureschannels including catch-up from ABC, SBS and Plus 7 and our favourite concert series Moshcam. Web-browsing is also included, though it's harder to control than the PlayStation 3 browser, which itself isn't a preferred method of perusing the net. The TV includes two "widgets" — Facebook and Twitter — but we think the term "widgets" went out with Vista, and we look forward to more "apps" being added in the future instead.
The TV includes the company's replacement to the Bravia Engine 3 named "X-Reality", which Sony says "analyses each scene to give optimum colour and contrast".
The television also includes 3D playback, and this year the 3D receiver is integrated into the TV rather than being an external add-on. What's not included, though, are any pairs of 3D glasses. Prices start from AU$99 for one pair. It begs the question: is Sony already ashamed of this feature?
Also optional is the AU$100 wireless adapter, but we'd rather see wireless than 3D on-board.
On the topic of connectivity, you get four HDMI inputs (with one ), two USBs, twin composite inputs, a single component, VGA and a digital optical and analog audio output.
We began our tests with a handful of synthetic tests designed to push the limits of a television's processing engine. Starting with the HQV 2.0 Blu-ray we found that the EX720 was good with video-based content, but not so hot with film (), as moire effects were visible. The TV also found it difficult to switch between different video modes in a timely fashion — but not something you'll often encounter in the real world. Happily, the TV is effective at HD noise reduction and reproducing upscaled content.