Our initial impression of the image quality was that the colours were a little lacklustre, but a quick prod of the Options button on the remote control revealed that we were using the default ‘Standard’ preset. Switching to the ‘Vivid’ preset livened things up a bit, producing a brighter image and bolder colours.
With extended use the Menus reveal a lack of refinement
Standard-definition content still has the soft, airbrushed look that inevitably results when scaling it up to HD resolution, but image quality was certainly a little better than we’d expected. Close-up images, in particular, seemed to display slightly more detail than we are accustomed to seeing with SD content on HD screens.
After switching over to the BBC HD channel that ability to capture fine detail emerged as the KDL-46W5810’s real strength. We happened to chance across a spot of high-def ballet where some close-up shots revealed droplets of sweat glistening on a dancer’s neck – it’s the sort of detail that really reminds you why you bought an HD set in the first place, and the KDL-46W5810 did itself proud here.
The next step was to fire up some high-def films. This Bravia provides Full HD 1080p resolution, with Sony’s 24p True Cinema option for films, and 100Hz Motionflow technology for reducing motion blur.
Models such as the KDL-46Z5500 may step up to 200Hz but we really had no complaints about motion blur as we watched Spiderman swinging across rooftops or Daniel Craig hurling himself around in Casino Royale. The KDL-46W5810 uses conventional CCFL backlighting, rather than flavour-of-the-month LED technology, but it produced crisp, clean blacks that worked well for the gloomy scenery of the Batman films.
A limited range of Widgets are on-board too
Audio quality is more modest. There are separate controls for treble and bass, but a timely appearance from Muse on BBC HD revealed that the sound isn’t terribly weighty even with the bass turned right up. It’s fine for watching ordinary TV programmes, but movie buffs will probably want to utilise their own external speakers.
Not 100% certain that this is exactly the same as my W5500 in LAN functionality, but there is currently no support for iPlayer on the TV. Only a very small number of widgets (the best of which is a poor RSS feed reader) exist on the TV. The main use my LAN connection gets is for viewing all my ripped films via DLNA, but even that is restricted to MPEG2 (i.e. a straight rip with no additional compression == big files). Your Homplugs should be suitable for any use such as this.
If you want a one box solution with iPlayer, I suggest you wait a few years! TV widget technology is in its infancy.
declutter my lounge
I've been looking to upgrade my TV to one with freesat built in , so i can declutter my lounge and get rid of my stb. this looks like jsut the job. I'm assuming I'll still be able to use my AV homeplug adaptors (I'm currently using the devolo ones) to connect to broadband over the mains wiring and get BBC iPlayer?
W5500 with Freesat - Pays your money, takes your choice,
This is seemingly just a W5500 with a Freesat Tuner built in. To me it's a simple choice - buy a TV with a tidy integral Satellite tuner at a hefty premium, or buy the same TV minus the Satellite tuner and buy an external dual tuner PVR for half the price difference. For most people, the second option is better, but for some the first is what they want.
Personally, I prefer the flexibility offered by an external tuner. My £180 Technisat HDFS has recently had the capability of recording to a USB stick added via an automatic upgrade and is getting new features frequently. Sony are unlikely to ever offer such upgrades to firmware. I have had a W5500 for 6 months, with no 'feature' upgrades.. i.e. no new widgets, no support for more video codecs via DLNA etc.
As for Freeview HD - if you live in a valley that can't see the main transmitter, you will only get a small subset of channels on Freeview from a retransmitter mast. I live in just such an area, and we've had the switchover... With limited bandwidth, what's the likelihood of HD services coming OTA?