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Sony Bravia KDL-52W4500 52in LCDTV - Sony Bravia KDL-52W4500

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Making the set's extraordinary HD clarity all the more irresistible is the quality of the MotionFlow 100Hz processing. For provided you stick with its ‘Low' setting, this does a superbly judged job of smoothing and clarifying motion in the frame without throwing unwanted processing side effects into the mix. In fact, the latest incarnation of MotionFlow 100Hz takes Sony's LCD motion handling in one fell swoop from the bleary mess found on last year's W3000 models to some of the crispest we've seen.

Another box ticked in terrific style by the 52W4500 is black level response. Sony quotes a contrast ratio figure of 50,000:1 using an onboard dynamic backlight system, but for once I actually felt this figure looked pretty pessimistic. This is highlighted by how much genuine blackness (as opposed to the familiar LCD greyness) there is on show during the tense street shoot out between No Country For Old Men's psychopathic hitman and his cowboy target on a night-time street.

Even better, the depth of the 52W4500's black levels don't seem forced as they can on many LCD TVs. By which I mean that rather than looking like empty pits, dark picture areas contain enough visible shadow detail to appear three-dimensional and a natural part of the image as a whole.

At this point it occurs to me that by breaking down the constituent parts of the image in a rather forensic manner I've perhaps failed to express the ‘bigger picture' about the 52W4500's image quality. So let's make this emphatically clear: at times this TV produces pictures that are sensational with a capital S; genuine contenders for the best LCD pictures ever seen.

Yet I'm sure you'll have noticed that the 52W4500 still only gets an 8/10 for picture in our final marks. Why? Because infuriatingly for all the terrific work the TV's picture processing does, and all the natural strengths the screen possesses, during dark scenes the thing I noticed above all else was ‘puddles' of greyish light in the TV's corners. Aarrgghhh!

It's hard to pinpoint just why these gentle grey puddles should be there. At first I thought they could be caused by the screen somehow pooling the ambient reflected light in the room. But they remained even when I turned all the lights off. So my best guess is that they've got something to do with backlight leakage.

Whatever causes them, though, the bottom line is that while they're certainly subtle enough to stay hidden during bright scenes, they can definitely distract you from any really dark scenes you happen to be watching. What's more, once you've first noticed them, you'll probably find yourself unable to stop yourself from looking for them again.

vinceth

October 14, 2008, 6:51 pm

Snif! I was really planning to buy this TV as the 55X4500 is far too expensive... As the W4000 was a really good one and as the W4500 came with 100Hz (the only bad point of the W4000), I was really expecting a lot from it... It was close from perfection... Why? Why? Why???? :'(

961

October 14, 2008, 8:11 pm

After waiting for the review of the 4500 for some time, I'm disappointed that you seem to have got yourself a panel with backlight leakage. (I'd be interested to know what setting you had the backlight on when you tested)





Nevertheless your comments about the pin point hd quality and the BLACK of the blacks are spot on. A stunning picture. My 46" 4500 makes my old w2000 look simply out of it but of course I seem to have managed to get a panel without either backlight bleed or clouding.





The other thing I would agree with is that if you feed a good quality sd signal to these, you'll get good pictures. If your aerial is poor, or if the transmitter is sending low signals waiting for analogue switchoff, you may be less satisfied





The only other gripe I have is that, wheras with the W2000 I could adjust the separate headphone volume control to enable me to listen at a different volume to the speakers on the set, the 4500 headphone socket simply switches the set speakers off altogether. A backward step

mudwiggle

October 15, 2008, 1:40 am

Rats! I was hoping to buy the 46' version at Christmas, but once again we are delivered a less than ideal product. Are we being strung along on purpose? Why can't manufacturers (especially the likes of Sony with their considerable resources) just deliver products that have such basic flaws sorted out? ....I'll have to cross this one off my list now and look elsewhere.

vinceth

October 15, 2008, 12:51 pm

Must I hope that this problem is not present on all W4500?


If not, is it possible that Sony will correct the problem before January?


I think that the best thing to do is to still wait a lil bit... It's difficult but it's also a lot of money so... Wait & see...

nws56

October 15, 2008, 9:13 pm

Very wary of backlighting problems since my Samsung plasma (!!!!) had white patch in corner of screen. So imagine my trepidation as the new 52 W4000 was fired up for the first time... and were there pools of light on dark scenes ? I thought so, but after a few hours I wasn't so sure. After a few weeks I can't see any unevenness, but the viewing angle remains very limited, greying over rather quickly.


So , I don't know what to make of John Archer's experience....

moonyman

October 15, 2008, 10:48 pm

I have the 40 inch version of this TV and have no backlight bleed at all. I have the Sony Blu Ray S550 player connected and the picture quality is stunning with no blurring or smearing of any sort. A classy looking TV also which is leagues ahead of my previous LCD. I live in Germany and the nice chap in a massive TV shop lined up all the screens I was interested in and ran a HD signal through them all so I could compare and this TV showed more vivid colours(not overly) bright whites and the best blacks easily out of all of them. I am surprised to hear of some of these problems, I think perhaps it might only affect the bigger screen sizes, just a thought.

John Whitehead

October 18, 2008, 12:02 am

I have had one of these for a week or so now and it is simply great. None of the issues in the review have reared their head yet and the picture quality with my Sky HD is just as it should be - crisp, clear and detailed. Recommended.

philip7b4

November 1, 2008, 1:49 am

Had 2 of this sets and both had bad clouding on them,got a refund in the end

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