Sony KDL-40CX523 review

Temptingly affordable LCD with solid performance and a wealth of multimedia options

Sony KDL-40CX523
The Sony KDL-40CX523 shows CCFL based TVs have some life in them yet

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Sony kdl-40cx523

Superficially, the KDL-40CX523 might not look that exciting. It hasn't got 3D, for instance and is backlit by CCFL lamps rather than by edge or direct LED arrays, but the point of this set is great value for money.

Despite its low price the KDL-40CX523 carries not only DLNA PC streaming and video/photo/music playback from USB drives, but also Sony's excellent Bravia Internet Video online service.

All this plus generally admirable pictures and sound adds up to a genuine bargain.

We liked

The price is eye-catchingly low for a Sony set and the value is bolstered by a startling array of multimedia tools, including streaming from networked PCs, an onboard internet browser, Skype support (via an optional camera) and even Sony's Bravia Internet Video online service.

Pictures are mostly very pleasing, too, and even audio is a cut above the budget norm.

We disliked

Build quality isn't the best and, while its onscreen menu system is clever in some ways, it can also be a little confusing.

As far as its pictures are concerned, there's a touch of motion blur, some minor backlight bleed in the screen's corners and a little missing shadow detail in dark areas.

Final verdict

The KDL-40CX523 is unexpectedly affordable for a 40-inch TV with exceptional multimedia flexibility and a Freeview HD tuner and its picture quality is an eloquent reminder that CCFL lighting is no poor relation to the currently more voguish edge LED systems now found on most LCD TVs.

The above-average sound system completes the sort of set cash-strapped Sony fans must have been dreaming about.

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John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.