Sony's refreshed user interface puts all the choices and services (and there's a lot of them) along the bottom of the KDL-55HX823's screen. It can seem crowded as you flick past options to access the USB stick, fire up Sony's online Qriocity music/video service or simply activate a specific HDMI input, but it's easy to understand and works quickly enough.
Over to Freeview HD where a clean, precise and, crucially, lightning-quick electronic programme guide governs. Below a small thumbnail of the live programme – complete with sound – the screen includes programme information for eight channels across two hours.
Recordings can be made to an HDD attached via one of the TV's USB slots, but Sky+ this is not – it's one programme at a time. Picture quality is pleasingly identical to the original broadcast, though. Browsing the EPG is quick and the Sony KDL-55HX823 is responsive to commands from the remote.
Not quite so speedy in its workings is the Bravia Internet Video platform that lends the Sony KDL-55HX823 smart TV status.
Probably the most exciting addition of late has been the Sony 3D Experience app, which hosts a series of Sony-made shorts, film and games trailers and music videos. Everything is from the Sony stable, amounting to adverts for its entertainment arm, but the tennis and World Cup 2010 clips in 3D are worth watching.
During our tests there was no sign of the indie/world film streaming service Mubi, despite the software being updated prior to our review.
There's some software confusion surrounding digital media, that's for sure – we couldn't get MKV video files to play from anything, although a mixture of DivX and MPEG (including MOV and MP4) files played from a USB stick, and just MPEG files played from a networked PC.
Picture settings on the KDL-55HX823 include Sony's Reality Creation system, which is all about striking a balance between extra resolution and the TV's noise filtering system. It can be left on auto, or manually adjusted.
X-Reality PRO's Smooth Gradation option, although designed to improve the quality of the likes of YouTube videos, can be applied to any input so its off/low/medium/high settings can help improve a dodgy Freeview channel.
Motionflow, rated at 400Hz here, can be set to four powers, confusingly labelled Standard, Smooth, Clear and Clear Plus. The latter drastically reduces brightness – is Sony trying to lessen the blur by switching off the lights? It's a novel approach indeed.
An accompanying Film Mode has two settings in its quest to bring some extra fluidity to 24p fare on Blu-ray.
There are all manner of advanced settings bunched together, although Live Colour aside it's best to take care with tweaks to most of the rest. Experimenting with the Detail Enhancer and Edge Enhancer should be only be entertained once you've got a stance on Motionflow, X-Reality PRO and Reality Creation.
It takes some time setting up and a lot of care, but a customised picture can be created on the Sony KDL-55HX823, and pleasingly, assigned to individual inputs.