Sony’s flagship LCD is the first 200Hz TV we’ve tested. Does it live up to the hype?
The KDL-40Z4500 has a claim to fame: it’s the first 200Hz TV we’ve tested. Like many features in modern TVs, refresh rates are routinely cited as being the panacea to all manner of picture-quality ailments, and most now think, not always correctly, that a 100Hz set is automatically better than a 50Hz alternative.
Sony claims the 200Hz system delivers the world’s first-ever quadrupled-speed frame rate. Essentially, the system studies the picture information before and after a particular frame of video, then uses powerful video processing to help it predict the picture’s movement.
It then generates and inserts brand-new frames of video into the image. This, says Sony, delivers super-smooth motion, better than on any rival TV.
But let’s wind the tech back in for a moment and concentrate on shelf appeal. While the KDL-40Z4500 isn’t exactly ugly, we can’t help feeling a little disappointed that the new Z-series doesn’t really advance the game over other Bravia sets (like the much cheaper W4500 models).
For a premium Full HD model, it’s a little routine to look at. Still, it’s well-equipped, with DLNA and Digital Media Port sockets plus multiple HDMI ins.
Once installed, this is a brilliant TV. Black levels are as good as they come using LCD technology: Sony claims a contrast ratio of 80,000:1 (as opposed to 50,000:1 on the cheaper KDL-40W4500) and it seems believable when you dig into a shadowy movie like The Dark Knight.
For an LCD TV to turn out this sort of black depth and low-light detail is truly impressive. Sound quality is brilliant too – there’s real meat and heft on offer, thanks in no small measure to the set’s built-in 12W subwoofer.
It’s in the detail
Detail is pin-sharp too, as is ever the case with Bravia sets: the picture (whether off-air or from external sources) is exceptionally crisp and detailed.
And the 200Hz bit? It’s good, for sure – there’s some improvement to both clarity in fast movement and overall stability – but it’s not a life-changing moment in TV design.
And while it’s true you will notice advantages when comparing this next to Sony’s own 100Hz KDL-40W4500, it’s hard to ignore that this model officially costs an astonishing £680 less than the ‘Z4500.
Still, if you can afford it, there’s no doubt that overall, this is a better TV than both the KDL-40W4500, and almost every other rival at this size.
Sony KDL-40Z4500 review
Not cheap, but a very fine TV with amazing black depth for an LCD