Yet another 46in TV from Sony, you say? Yes, but this one’s a little different – in fact, we’d say the KDL-46WE5 is a glimpse of how the TVs of the future will look and behave.
And when we say behave, we really mean it – for this Sony really does have a mind of its own.
Innovative green tech
The WE5 is Sony’s flagship set from its latest eco range of green TVs. Before you start rolling your eyes, it’s worth knowing that this Sony is more than just a few processing technologies that turn down the brightness.
The KDL-46WE5 has some genuine innovations with a world-first backlight design and an ingenious motion sensor. This scans the watching area in front of the television for body heat and movement – if it draws a blank for half an hour or more (you can set the time gap) it’ll turn the picture off but leave the audio on.
The set jumps back into life when it detects you returning, or turns itself off completely if you don’t.
A mix of old and new
Granted, not all the green parts of the WE5 represent massive steps forward. The addition of a power button, for example, is heralded with the sort of fanfare normally reserved for superstar footballers.
The Light Sensor that adapts the picture according to the brightness of the room is also something we’ve seen elsewhere, while doing away with a manual in favour of an on-screen instruction guide is wise if not earth-shatteringly exciting.
DLNA media streaming and Sony’s new Applicast ‘widget’ service are both present and ready to connect to your home network, while Sony’s Bravia Engine 3 and Motionflow 100Hz are two very useful picture technologies.
The WE5’s white frame is certainly a matter of taste, but once you’re gliding through the XrossMediaBar interface, you’ll soon be mesmerized by the quality of the image, and all talk of eco credentials and looks are pushed to the back burner.
For a screen of this size, the Freeview tuner is impressively clean and crisp, presenting a nicely balanced colour palette alongside plenty of attention to detail. Motion is handled smoothly, too.
Sonically, this set sounds clear and adds a reasonable authority to dialogue and weight to action.
It might not quite be able to match Pioneer’s PDP-LX5090 solid black tones, but otherwise the picture is excellent and it’s equally capable with DVDs. Add that to the eco smugness the WE5 grants you, and you have a world-class television.