Having recently kind of liked the 46W4500's bigger brother, the 52in 52W4500, my aforementioned optimistic strain was definitely hoping for the 46in model to step up a gear. But as you can guess from my downbeat opening to this review, the 46W4500 goes the other way.
The main reason for this is the extent to which the 46W4500 suffers from the only real problem I had with the 52W4500 - pools of leaking light spilling across the picture during dark scenes.
I'd hoped that this problem as noted on the 52W4500 would have turned out to be a one-off, restricted to the 52in model in the W4500 range. But it's actually even worse on the 46W4500.
The darkness of the cell Bruce Wayne ends up in after his fight with other prison inmates early on in Batman Begins on Blu-ray thus looks really washed out in places, with overt grey clouding and a resulting lack of depth and background detail.
Grey clouding is hardly a rarity on an LCD TV, of course. But the localised nature of the 46W4500's clouding is anything but common, and in my opinion is even more distracting and annoying than if the greyness had affected the screen uniformly.
The light pooling problem seems somehow more aggressive on the 46W4500 than it did on the 52W4500, so that once you've become aware of it over very dark shots you also start to see traces of its existence over even relatively medium brightness shots.
As well as clearly reducing the 46W4500's black level response, the pooling problem makes many pictures look strangely patchy and inconsistent, and possibly even has a negative impact on the set's colour toning. Certainly something is going on that makes the 46W4500's colours seem less vibrant and natural in tone as those of the 52W4500.
Making the problems with dark scenes even worse is the fact that the 46W4500's pictures degrade quite significantly in terms of black level and colour response if watched from much of an angle.