As if all this wasn’t depressing enough, it also seemed to me as if the 46W4500’s pictures weren’t as sharp as those of the 52W4500, thanks to the way motion seems more prone to smearing.
Perhaps because of this, the MotionFlow system doesn’t seem quite as sure-footed as it was on the 52W4500 either, seemingly producing more glitches as it goes about its motion-smoothing business.
The motion and black level issues inevitably don’t do Freeview standard definition services many favours. But the Bravia Engine 2 processing system does at least mean that bright, high quality standard definition sources are upscaled to the screen’s Full HD resolution with less noise and more colour integrity than is common with many Full HD TVs.
Other good points about the 46W4500, as I strive to hit an upbeat note, include its extreme brightness; its impressively detailed HD reproduction so long as there’s not much motion going on; the fact that its black levels are actually ironically very good in the bits of the picture not affected by the light spillage flaw; and some pretty potent audio.
But in the end it’s the aggressive nature of the 46W4500’s bizarre light spillage problems that not only sticks in the memory once you’ve turned the TV off, but also sticks in the craw whenever you’re actually watching it.
After the ‘warning shot’ of the 52W4500, the smaller 46W4500 seems to suffer even more distractingly with the picture-ruining light pooling problem that troubled us on the large model. Seriously, the problem is so aggravating this time out that it’s hard to believe these TVs are getting through Sony’s quality control systems. In fact, if I hadn’t now seen the problem on two separate W4500 TVs I might have suspected the 46W4500 was faulty.
Basically, someone at Sony needs to get to the bottom of what’s gone wrong with the W4500 range fast, or the brand’s already dwindling profits this year could be in for even more of a hammering.