A couple of months ago I found myself seriously wowed by Sony's first LED TV: the KDL-55X4500. In fact, I even dared to mention the TV in the same breath as Pioneer's KURO plasmas, and you can't say fairer than that.
However, the 55X4500's massive 55in screen size is hardly going to suit the majority of UK living rooms, and its north of £3k price tag is intimidating to say the least. So people desperate for a truly outstanding hunk of Sony quality - while we wait for the brand to sort out the recurring backlight consistency issues with its standard LCD TVs - the 46in KDL-46X4500 could be just what the doctor ordered.
Erm, not that it's particularly small or cheap, mind you! As it's name suggests, it's got a still-considerable 46in screen, and a price of £2,482.50 - still a pretty 'princely' sum when you consider that 46in TVs can now routinely be found for under a grand.
The key to the 46X4500's price, of course, is the LED acronym mentioned in the first line of this review. For the X4500 range is the first from Sony to use LED backlighting, where the traditional single, always-on LCD light source is replaced by an array of separate LED light clusters, all of which are individually controllable so that they can reproduce completely independent light levels.
In other words, one cluster of LED lights can shine forth with maximum brightness while the cluster right next to it can be switched off to deliver near-total darkness. Not surprisingly, this ability to combine extreme brightness and darkness within a single frame has the potential to massively improve contrast versus what's possible with standard LCD TVs.
What's more, the 46X4500's LED system goes the 'extra mile' versus the LED system used by many rivals. For unlike the standard black and white dimming system, the 46X4500 uses much more expensive RGB dimming. This, Sony maintains, means the 46X4500 can deliver a much truer peak white colour than you could get from a black and white-only dimming system.
The only other sets around right now using RGB dimming are Sharp's flagship XS1 models. And these start at around £9,000. Yes, that's £9,000. So I guess the 46X4500's price might not be so steep after all!