There was a time when a 60-inch TV was virtually unthinkable, unless you were prepared to watch TV via a projector. Even now, a 60-inch TV is going to cost you almost double that of a 50-inch screen. The good thing is, though, it's no longer out of reach for everyone but famous footballers.
The 60-inch, LED Bravia KDL-60LX903 is one of Sony's flagship models. Featuring 3D, built-in Wi-Fi for access to Bravia Internet Video and a gigantic screen, this TV is for enthusiasts who want the biggest TV possible. At around £4,500, it's not the most affordable TV in the world, but if sheer size is your top priority, it's certainly an attractive option.
Compare this 60-inch TV with Sony's own 50-inch models, and this giant telly will actually seem quite cheap -- especially given its extra features. Unlike Sony's other 3D TVs, the LX903 includes 3D glasses and built-in Wi-Fi.
The reason for its relatively low cost is that Sony has opted for an LED sidelight, rather than the much more expensive full LED backlight. In theory, this means that black levels might not be quite as impressive and there could be light bleeding in the corners. In fact, as we'll discuss later, we don't see any major downsides to this configuration.
See 3D in no time -- glasses included
Most TVs don't come with 3D glasses in the box, but the Sony LX903 does. Two pairs are included, with extras costing £100 each. The transmitter that keeps the glasses synced to the TV is also built in, so there's no clumsy external as there is with other models.
The LX903 also has a 3D button on the remote control, which enables you to switch the TV to 3D mode if you're using a source that doesn't have an HDMI 1.4a output. Sky and Virgin are both affected by this, and the TV can't detect 3D automatically unless the signal comes via the most recent HDMI standard.
The 3D button also allows you to 'convert' 2D video to 3D. Ask yourself this, though: if it were possible to turn 2D into 3D convincingly, why would we need special 3D Blu-rays? The reality is that it's impossible to convert 2D to 3D without turning everything into a complete dog's dinner. In saying that, from what we saw -- trust us, this is not a feature you can stomach playing with for long -- Sony makes a better stab at fake 3D than Samsung.
Standard-definition 2D impresses
It actually came as quite a surprise to us that this TV does such a good job with standard-definition Freeview pictures. We're not going to shock anyone with the news that Freeview looks rubbish on large-screen TVs. That's simply a fact, given the ever-decreasing bit rates on terrestrial digital -- and even the likes of Sky and Virgin have the same problem. The LX903 somehow pulls it out of the bag with crisp Freeview images and a generally good-quality picture.
Of course, this TV looks best when it's fed something with a larger bit rate. Upscaled SD on channels like 4HD and ITV HD, for example, look much better than their lower bit rate SD cousins. The lesson here is, the better the signal that goes in, the better the picture that comes out. It's not rocket science.
High-definition 2D isn't as mind-blowing
Switching over to the likes of Come Dine With Me on 4HD and the Commonwealth Games on BBC HD, we expected to be five times more impressed than we were with the competing shows on standard definition. But we weren't. Is that Sony's fault? It's hard to say. TV broadcasts are changeable, not only from one show to the next, but sometimes during a single programme. High-definition picture from Freeview HD was certainly better than no HD at all, and the TV did perform best with this material.
HD gaming via the PlayStation 3 looked predictably spectacular on this TV. LCDs are very well suited to gaming, at least from a colour and brightness perspective. It's possible to argue that plasmas have a faster response time, but in practice, we never noticed a problem with this Sony. Games came across bold and sharp, with about as much colour oozing out of them as our eyes could handle.
HD video from Blu-ray looked pretty impressive, too. To some extent, this TV suffers a little with picture presets. While the TV has a range of user-configurable picture options, the default modes were a little disappointing. The cinema setting, for example, seemed to warm the image too much, and altered the colour to a point we didn't enjoy.
Bravia Internet Video
Since Sony has included Wi-Fi capability with this TV, all you need to watch Internet video is your wireless encryption key, and you're off.
The TV has built-in widgets for accessing services like Flickr and YouTube. There's also a Twitter app, in case you feel the need to see what everyone else is up to while you watch telly. We're less than sold on these features because we just don't see them getting used, but even so, it's good of Sony to include them.
More useful by far is the ability to stream Internet video from the BBC, LoveFilm and Channel Five. These services allow you to watch video from iPlayer and Demand Five for free, and LoveFilm, if you subscribe to any of its unlimited packages.
As with many modern TVs, the Sony can stream video over your home network and play media from USB devices. Format support isn't the most diverse, but for a spot of casual viewing, it's pretty useful.
Our opinion is somewhat divided on the Sony Bravia KDL-60LX903. While we do like many of its features, we weren't entirely sold on the 3D quality, and there were times when we found the HD performance a little lacklustre. Even so, if you want a 60-inch TV, the LX903 is a good price for its size and range of features.
Edited by Emma Bayly