Regarding the 200Hz processing, meanwhile, the final Ashes match again shows how cricket has an uncanny knack of catching out motion processing systems. For on regular occasions, when the ball is crashed towards the boundary with the MotionFlow system engaged, it actually almost disappears, as if David Copperfield is on the pitch somewhere. This is especially true when the ball travels over the light-cut sections of the pitch where practice wickets lie. (Hopefully all this cricket-speak isn’t going over your head if you’re not a sports fan!)
As a result of this issue, I’d strongly recommend turning MotionFlow off completely when watching any sport involving a ball smaller than a football.
With this in mind, it’s a relief that although not quite as crisp or judder-free, the 46Z5500’s MotionFlow-free pictures are still impressively free of LCD’s common motion blur issue, and so remain extremely watchable. Especially in HD.
My other main issue with the 46Z5500 is that while standard definition pictures look exceptionally sharp by Full HD LCD standards, they also seem to slightly exaggerate MPEG noise in digital broadcasts. Obviously you can reduce this issue by using the provided MPEG noise reduction. But be warned that this tends to make the picture look softer.
Turning at last to the 46Z5500’s audio, it’s a respectable rather than spectacular effort. In the positive corner, treble detailing is precise, and the soundstage has surprising width and depth. But bass isn’t very meaty, the soundstage can’t expand to any great degree to add ‘oomph’ to action scenes, and male voices can sound a little muffled, even during relatively quiet scenes.
There’s a big part of me that wants to love the 46Z5500. For as well as looking resplendent in Sony’s most appealing design for ages, the set’s 200Hz processing is excellent, and its HD pictures in particular are for the vast majority of the time really quite superb.
But no matter how tempted I might be, in the end I just can’t give a TrustedReviews Recommended badge to a TV costing the best part of £1650 that suffers with marked backlight inconsistencies – however rarely they might affect day-to-day viewing.