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If there's one thing about TVs that Sony knows how to get absolutely right, it's advertising. Who could forget those sensational ads for Sony's Bravia LCD TVs featuring coloured balls rolling down a San Franciscan street, or vibrantly coloured paint being ‘exploded' all over a grim block of flats?
Pity, then, that the TVs wearing the Bravia name haven't quite lived up to the hype as consistently as we'd have liked. For while one or two individual models over the past couple of years have kept us just about satisfied, the Bravia range as a whole certainly has not.
Hopefully the 46W3000 will be the TV to put that straight - at least if design and on-paper specification is anything to go by.
The design is very unusual in today's marketplace in that it eschews the gloss black approach favoured by the vast majority of flat TVs in favour of a deeply ‘serious'-looking brushed metal finish. As well as deserving Kudos simply for being brave enough to ditch black, the quality of the 46W3000's finish is very impressive indeed.
As for its specification, its 46in screen sports a full HD resolution, delivering a promised contrast ratio of 16,000:1. This is an extremely high figure by LCD standards, getting mighty close to the sort of figures being quoted by Pioneer's ground-breaking KURO plasma TVs.
Before you work yourself into too much of a lather about the 46W3000's contrast ratio, though, as ever with an LCD TV we need to qualify the claimed contrast ratio by saying that 16,000:1 is not a ‘native' figure, but rather one that's only achieved via a dynamic backlight arrangement that dims the image's brightness during dark scenes to produce more credible black colours. In other words, unlike with Pioneer's plasmas, you can't get the maximum contrast and brightness levels on screen simultaneously. For the record, the 46W3000's native contrast ratio is a rather more modest (though still certainly not bad) 1,800:1.
Since the ‘W' part of the 46W3000's name marks it out as belonging to the upper echelons of Sony's current LCD range, it comes as no surprise to find the set boasting one of the highest-level versions of Sony's Bravia Engine image processing system. Called Bravia Engine EX, this version further fine-tunes the processing in the standard Bravia Engine found on TVs lower down the Sony range, with a focus on noise reduction, contrast boosting, colour processing and fine detail enhancement.
The Bravia Engine EX has impressed us overall in previous incarnations, so hopefully it will still look good in today's highly competitive world. Especially considering that Sony has presumably tweaked it a touch since its last-gen outing.