Key differences between the Sony KDL-32HX753 and HX853 elite TV ranges include the swivelling easel stand, which replaces the step-up Monolithic sound pedestal, and a simplified picture processing package. See also Group test: what's the best TV?
Also available is the 40in KDL-HX753 (£899), 46in KDL-46H753 (£1199) and 55in KDL-55HX753 (£1549). Value for money definitely improves as you step up in screen size.
Few would deny that the Sony KDL-32HX753 television is pageant-show pretty, with its glossy black bezel and metallic edging. Connectivity is also generous. There are four HDMI, two of which are side-mounted, plus SCART, component, PC VGA, CAM slot, twin USBs and Ethernet.
Wi-Fi is integrated and supported by Wi-Fi Direct, which is great for local non-LAN hook-ups. If you need some PVR backup, the Sony KDL-32HX753 set will also record to an external USB hard drive, although with only one tuner to play with, its use is limited.
Sony's 2012 user interface tweaks continue to impress, with the new Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) portal organised into easily managed blocks of apps, movies and music. In addition to the near-ubiquitous iPlayer, there's also Demand Five, YouTube, Netflix, LoveFilm and loads more. You can also stream films from Sony's own Movies Unlimited PPV service.
Getting their own spot on the TV's familiar XrossMediaBar are apps for Facebook and Twitter, plus silly miscellany such as a calculator, alarm and clocks.
Sony has struck up a partnership with the Opera browser team, which has led to the creation of an Opera TV store. This currently dispenses casual games, music services such as Aupeo! and Forte, and some weather forecasting tools. It doesn't compare with the app avalanche offered by LG or Samsung, but it's a start. The TV listings guide is a standard Freeview offering, albeit with a live TV window.
Picture quality is relatively refined, with colour fidelity unapologetically vibrant. Test footage of gleaming brass instruments exhibits a convincing golden sheen, while blacks are deep and smooth. The dimly lit action in Ryan Gosling's Drive looks glossy, not gloomy.
The screen itself has moderate reflectivity, somewhere between matt and gloss.
The Sony KDL-32HX753's Active Shutter 3D performance is creditable, but if stereoscopy is your bag a larger screen than this is essential. You'll need to get comically close to enjoy any sense of depth. Crosstalk is sporadically evident but not intrusive. 3D glasses are an optional extra, so don't forget to budget for them.
Where this flatscreen does flounder is audio: it sounds flat and lifeless, there's no third woofer, as found on the back of the step-up HX8 models. For anything other than basic daytime TV watching, you'll want to invest in a separate speaker package or soundbar. The screen's multimedia file support is remarkable only for the fact it snubs MKVs. This discrimination extends from local USB media playback to network NAS access. Still, other popular file types unspool without fuss.