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Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV - Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Overall, when they're at their best - with a quality Blu-ray image - the 46Z5500's pictures are nothing short of sensational.

But before you get too carried away, the 46Z5500 doesn't always look its best…

The most distressing flaw by far is more evidence of the backlight consistency issue that's so blighted a number of Sony TVs in recent years. On our test screen, when watching a very dark sequence like the opening black and white sequence from Casino Royale, there are some quite large patches of the screen that look slightly brighter - or greyer - than others.

I know what Sony will say to this; that all LCDs struggle to some extent with this problem, and that in any case the inconsistency is so subtle that you can only detect it when viewing very, uniformly dark material of the sort that only rarely crops up in normal viewing conditions.

But while it is indeed true that you won't register the flaw for 99 per cent of your viewing time, just about every film you care to mention contains at least a few very dark sequences. And when the problem appears, it inevitably distracts you from what you're watching.

As for the argument that backlight inconsistency is a common problem, I'm sorry, but I can't think of any other premium TV from any other mainstream brand right now that suffers from the phenomenon as obviously.

It could, of course, be the case that the 46Z5500 sample we tested was an early production model rather than a final production line release, and that the 'finished' screens will have sorted the problem out. I've witnessed a similar situation with one or two previous Sony screens I've tested over the past year or so.

But somehow I just don't feel that this explanation applies to the 46Z5500. And even if it does, after getting so much flak for the problem for so long now, Sony has nobody to blame but itself for sending out a duff early sample again.


August 25, 2009, 12:40 pm

What a pity; another decent sounding Sony ruined by backlight bleed.

My 3 year old 40W2000 has the same issue and it certainly is off putting, I would have thought that Sony could have sorted out their factory/QC by now, but apparently not.

Think I'll upgrade to the Panny 50V10 plasma instead; and on that note any chance of a review of the 50" TR?

Gary 11

August 25, 2009, 1:36 pm

The only thing the review lacked was with regard to input lag.

The new W5500 range have more input lag than the previous 4000+ range, can you comment if the Z5500's input lag is worse the the Z4500 ?


August 25, 2009, 2:15 pm

what a shame still got backlight bleed their tvs were always the ones other manaufacturers aspired too thought they used samsung panels and their tvs dont have this problem although i did hear Sony were looking at using LG panels maybe they are looking at using the LG led panels in future new models which I hear are in THX approved LG sets


August 25, 2009, 4:28 pm

If motion flow has to be turned off because of a cricket ball then, in my opinion, the set is not up to standard, and should not be on the market.

After paying that kind of money for a TV set I would be sick at the idea of having to turn things on and off depending on the picture content.

What about the good old days when you set your contrast and brightness when you installed the TV and just sat back and enjoyed the content thereafter.

Just how much has technology really moved on?


August 26, 2009, 1:22 am

Oh dear ... yet another instance showing up the flaws of LCD - seems no matter how much money you throw at these panels with fancy (and expensive) processing tricks (which you will no doubt start toning down/turning off) LCD still cannot come up with a TV Experience to match Plasma.


August 26, 2009, 7:52 am

I wonder whether Sony would consider moving their entire line to HCFL (other than LED based ones) as that TV didn't suffer from inconsistent backlight issues...


February 11, 2010, 1:09 am

We bought the above model recently and found it to give a decent performance. We are not noticing any problems except lack of DivX support and bluetooth. Motionflow does work reasonably well in sports programs and racing.

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