First off, we’ve heard from a few people that they have clouding issues with the KDL-46W4500. All we can say, though, is that we’ve judged this set as we found it, and didn’t have any issues. This is still the 46incher that we’d buy.
So, let’s tackle that ‘clouding’ issue: it’s fair to say that the Sony’s backlight isn’t the most even out there, though it’s no worse than its rivals. If you set it very high (as it will be in shops) it is noticeable – but if you calibrate properly (check out any THX disc for a step-by-step guide), you’ll probably never notice.
What you should notice instead is brilliant performance. No other manufacturer has yet managed to combine deep blacks with punchy whites to the extent that Sony has with the ’4500 range, and this set continues the tradition.
Detail levels through the contrast range are astounding, and the Sonys offer the best motion processing we’ve yet seen, creating exceptionally solid, judder-free movement.
Standard-def is anything but
The Sony has to make do with a mere ‘excellent’ rating for DVD. Edges remain sharp in motion, there’s some minor skin-crawl. The overall detail, though, is brilliant, while colour balance is extremely neutral.
There’s also loads of detail to be found in Freeview pictures, but there’s a touch of noise, too. It’s still among the best where TV is concerned, but it doesn’t floor the competition as it does when displaying a disc. This is also true of the sound delivery, which is fairly balanced and clear, but isn’t astounding.
Add the ’4500’s ability to access JPEGs and MP3s stored on a USB storage device (and even your home network) and a simple, comfy and effective remote, and you’re on to a winner.
So, even at its worst, Sony’s KDL-46W4500 is a class-leading TV; it’s being replaced soon, but is well worth seeking out. Take some time over calibration, and we’re sure you’ll agree.