While we wait impatiently for all the main brands' upcoming 2010 TV ranges to hit our high streets, there’s quite a bit of fun to be had trawling through TV-selling websites looking for bargain prices on current models. Well, maybe 'fun' is overstating things a bit, but I think you get where I’m coming from.
One such 'bargain' that’s recently been brought to my attention by a few interested readers is Sony’s KDL-40S5500 - a 40in TV complete with Bravia Engine processing going for a mere £590 or so in some places. Admittedly the 'S' part of its name immediately reveals the TV to belong to Sony’s entry-level range. But surely there’s a chance that even an entry-level Sony will have more than enough quality to pummel rivals at such a low price point?
Trying to find clues as to whether this will be the case from the 40S5500’s exterior proves inconclusive. At first glance the set looks quite dramatic and stylish with its highly angular, split-level bezel and shiny gloss black finish, but the longer I looked at it the more the design started to look a bit messy to me. Almost distractingly so, in fact - especially given the way the angles within the bezel have a nasty habit of bouncing your room’s light sources back towards you when you’re actually watching the TV.
This set feels a little off the pace with its connections, too, chiefly on account of it only having three HDMIs when we’re starting to expect our TVs to have four these days. There’s no sign of the Ethernet port found on the brand’s step-up V5500 models either, meaning there’s no means of streaming files from a DLNA PC (though there is a D-SUB port for straight PC connection) and no means of accessing Sony’s currently rather lame Applicast service.
But then let’s remind ourselves again that this is an exceptionally affordable TV by Sony standards. Plus it manages to retain one handy multimedia port in the shape of an MP3/JPEG-capable USB socket, so all it is not lost.