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Setting up the Sony KDL-40NX723 is blissfully simple. On-screen wizards make light work of network set up, guiding you through the sometimes tricky access point search, while picture and sound tweaking, Freeview channel tuning and other installation essentials are easy to complete thanks to Sony's logical sub-menu structure.
What's more, Sony's knack for slick, intuitive interface design is evident once again on the KDL-40NX723. The main 'Home' menu uses a mutated form of the previous Xross Media Bar menu, this time lining up the icons along the bottom of the screen with the corresponding options shooting up the right-hand side.
While navigating you don't have to miss your TV programme, because the menu is wrapped around a live TV screen.
The menu offers loads of icons to scroll through, but thankfully it glides along quickly and it's split up into familiar groups, making it a breeze to find stuff such as internet content, your media or the set-up menu.
There's even a Favourites/History section, which shows recently viewed channels and selected inputs.
The other screens have also been designed for maximum user friendliness. The EPG boasts a clean and uncluttered layout, despite cramming in an eight-channel grid, a live TV screen and the programme or movie synopsis.
On the networking side, it's much easier to search internet content than the previous incarnation of Xross Media Bar, because it arranges the icons into a grid on a separate screen, rather than making you scroll down a long vertical axis.
The connected TV also provides logical and attractive screens for playing back media content. We streamed a variety of songs in WAV, MP3, WMA and AAC formats and had no trouble navigating the folder-based menu system. But with over 16,000 songs in our library, the TV understandably took a while to populate the list.
On the video side, the Sony KDL-40NX723 does an OK job, tentatively playing most of the file types we threw at it – including DivX, which isn't supported by some of Sony's Blu-ray players. It also streamed AVCHD, AVI, XviD and WMV, although they all stuttered considerably during playback – it was much smoother when played back from a USB flash drive.
Using the remote to browse the internet at large is long-winded to the point of being a complete waste of time. We tried signing in to SoundCloud but entering email addresses and passwords took forever – despite the best efforts of the alphanumeric text entry system – and it went dead after pressing 'Log in'.
Add the lack of Flash support to this and you've got a fairly useless feature. Widgets and ring-fenced content are definitely the way forward for connected TVs; leave the rest of the internet to your laptop.
The inclusion of i-Manual is a bonus, though, because it describes all of the set's features in detail on the screen without you having to thumb through a thick paper pamphlet.
And the Sony Bravia KDL-40NX723 is supplied with a useful remote that features clearly labelled buttons and a multi-direction control pad surrounded by all the regularly used buttons. Dedicated keys for i-manual, Internet Video and picture presets are a helpful touch, while the Options button is an ever-present friend, offering constant access to the most-used functions no matter what source you're watching.