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Strong colours like those exhibited by the 46W3000 usually have some credible black levels for company, and so it proves here. As Charlie sits in a darkened room watching a film of his Italian colleague explaining how the heist can be done, there's only a relatively minor trace of the grey clouding over black areas that's so apparent with many rival LCD TVs.
Also pleasing is how little noise there is in the HD image, as the 46W3000's noise reduction circuits smooth away seemingly all traces of such general problems as grain and dot crawl.
However, in reducing noise levels - and suffering with motion blur - it seems to my eyes as if the 46W3000 leaves both standard and high definition pictures looking slightly less crisp than we'd like. This has the secondary effect of making skin, especially in standard def mode, look a bit plasticky.
Now we're back in a negative frame of mind, I have to wrap up the picture performance section by pointing out that while black levels are decent enough for most of the time, they are occasionally - seemingly without warning - affected by a really strange, very distracting purple haze of indeterminate origin. Nasty.
The 46W3000's audio is thankfully more consistent than its video. The mid range tones have plenty of breathing room to work with, allowing the soundstage to expand nicely to meet the demands of, say, any of the big action set-pieces in the Blu-ray of Mission: Impossible III (The Italian Job's 1969 vintage means we've decided not to use it as our audio test source…). Plus treble detailing is extreme, if occasionally prone to minor distortion, leaving a slightly thin bass line as my only serious complaint.
For all its good bits, Sony's 46W3000 has to go down as a severe disappointment. Its poor motion handling leaves many action sequences looking nothing short of a mess, while the sporadic appearance of a purple tinge to dark scenes is horrendously distracting whenever it occurs. Funnily enough, we don't remember these issues being represented in any of those ground-breaking TV advertisements we mentioned…
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