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Sony KDL-40LX903 review

The Sony KDL-40LX903 has a built-in Freeview HD tuner and 3D transmitter Tested at £2200.00

Our Verdict

If its 3D pictures were up to the job, the 40LX903 might be worth the money


  • Good looks and bombproof build
  • tremendously accomplished pictures from most sources


  • which make the 3D performance all the more disappointing
  • grating sound

There's often a decent spread of prices in our tests. We indulged in a comedy double-take, though, when we confirmed the price of this Sony 40-incher. £2200? Really? Is it suddenly 2006 again? Still, a price is only unreasonable if it can't be justified, and the Sony has a manful try even before it's switched on.

For instance, it offers all the online catch-up services (BBC iPlayer, Demand Five and loads more) you'll require, has a Freeview HD tuner, backlights pictures using edge-arrayed LEDs, will play music and video via USB, and synchs to its 3D glasses using an integrated system.

This last might not sound like a big deal – the £850 Samsung LE40C750 does the same thing – but the less expensive Sonys we've seen use an external bar similar to the Nintendo Wii's, which is far from elegant.

Set-up and use are simple

Sony's mastery of on-screen menus and the straightforward remote is well known, and the LX903 is child's play to set-up. The fact that it doesn't have huge tweakability doesn't hurt, either.

Picture performance is impressive. The Sony is blessed with TV tuners the equal of anything else we've tested, and TV reception is a winning combination of strong contrast, good black-tone variance and stable motion. The colour palette is large and subtle, and the Sony excels at describes variations in lighting.

It's an equally efficient upscaler of DVDs, and is more than a match for a mainstream DVD or Blu-ray player. The Sony is pretty much unflappable with motion, too, and black shades are deep and detailed.

Skin-tones and textures are grand, though picture noise can creep in when the going gets tricky. Blu-ray images, on the other hand, are strangers to noise even under the most trying circumstances.

Lustrous, detailed and ruthlessly stable, high-definition pictures combine deep, informative blacks with prodigious depth of field and the same deft ability with contrast that the LX903 exhibits from the off. Edges are smooth and motion is stable.

To say that the Sony's composure falls apart when it's asked to produce 3D images is overly dramatic, but judged against the rest of its performance the LX903 is a coarse and flaky 3D machine.

Disappointing 3D pictures
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is plagued by cross-talk problems that regularly render movement uncertain, and the screen's insistence on ramping up backlighting and contrast to the (unadjustable) maximum on receipt of a 3D signal scuppers its outstanding prowess.

And while we're finding fault, its sound is shockingly sibilant even by the humdrum standards of flat TVs.The KDL-40LX903 was going to have to turn in an excellent performance in every respect to justify its optimistic price.

With the exception of 3D pictures, it does just that – but that's the exception that costs it a fifth star.

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General Information

Product SeriesLX903
Product LineBRAVIA
Product NameSony KDL-40LX903
Product ModelKDL-40LX903
Manufacturer Website Address
Brand NameSony
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberKDL40LX903


Total Number of HDMI Ports4

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand29 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate23.70 kg
Width with Stand99.4 cm
Weight Approximate20.30 kg
Height with Stand68.6 cm
Width99.4 cm
VESA Mount Standard300 x 300
Depth6.4 cm
Height65.2 cm
Dimensions65.2 cm (H): 99.4 cm (W): 6.4 cm (D)

Technical Information

FeaturesPicture in Picture
Streaming ServiceLOVEFiLM
Aspect Ratio16:9
3D Type3D
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Internet AccessYes
3D TechnologyShutter
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Screen Size101.6 cm (40")


RMS Output Power20 W
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus

Energy and Performance

Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Operating Power Consumption145 W


Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz

Network and Communication

Wireless LANYes


DLNA CertifiedYes
Package Contents
  • AC Cable
  • Operating Instructions
  • Table-Top Stand
  • Remote Commander
  • 2 x Regular Size 3D Glasses


Limited Warranty5 Year