kdl-40z5800

Although it would be nice to see Sony sticking a Freesat tuner into a much more affordable TV at some point soon, there's no doubt that the 40Z5800 is a fearsomely talented statement of future Freesat intent – and as such it actually just about manages to justify its cost to anyone with sufficient readies at their disposal.

We liked:

For the most part, Sony has integrated its Freesat tuner into what's essentially an existing TV chassis (the Z5500 range) really well. All the Freesat-related functions work slickly and efficiently, and the pictures from the Freesat tuner are outstanding.

In fact, the 40Z5800's picture quality with all sources, but especially Blu-ray, ranges consistently from very good to truly outstanding, as Sony's Bravia Engine 3 and 200Hz systems come together to spectacular effect.

We disliked:

With Panasonic and especially Philips both proving at the moment that it's possible to get good sound out of slim TVs, we'd really like to see Sony improving in this area for its next round of Freesat TVs.

We also found shifting between the TV's Freeview and Freesat digital tuners a rather confusing business at times.

The Applicast online system is currently impoverished too, and finally, as is so often the case with LCD TVs, we have to point out that if you're likely to have to watch the 40Z5800 from much of an angle, you're going to have to put up with a picture that loses a distressing amount of of contrast and colour saturation.

So you'd probably be better going for one of Panasonic's plasma-based Freesat TVs instead, as plasma technology is much more forgiving of wide viewing angles.

Final Verdict:

Despite carrying a slightly high price tag that inevitably forces us to look more keenly at its failings, the 40Z5500 remains overall a really terrific TV thanks to the way it combines the clutter-busting appeal of the built-in Freesat tuner with a totally uncompromising stack of picture processing which results in some of the very finest picture quality yet seen from an LCD TV.