Sony's KDL-32W5500 32-inch LCD TV is effectively the 'plain' sibling of the fancy-looking KDL-32E5500. With that in mind, this model is not nearly as dramatically designed as the nearly twice as expensive 32E5500.

For, in place of the latter model's sleek, white bezel with contrasting black, wood or metallic options, the 32-inch 32W5500 sports a gloss black frame and routine lines.

It picks up pace with its connections, though, thanks to four HDMIs, a USB port, and an Ethernet jack. The USB can handle video and audio files as well as JPEG stills, while the latter enables access to Sony's new online service as well as to files stored on DLNA-certified PCs.

Dubbed AppliCast, the Sony online system we mentioned chiefly comprises access to RSS News Feeds, an onscreen calculator, a world clock, Sony-related news, and a small selection of photos you can download to use as screensavers. The system is easy to use and looks pleasant, but the lack of non-Sony related content such as YouTube is a disappointing limitation.

The 32W5500 is well stocked with video processing, though. Bravia Engine 3 works on improving nearly every aspect of the picture, while MotionFlow 100Hz adds newly calculated frames to double the usual PAL refresh rate and thus reduce motion judder and blur.

Also notable among the TV's picture tweaks are a gamma adjustment, a white balance adjustment, and Sony's Live Colour Creation, designed to boost the richness and tonal authenticity of the 32W5500's colours.

Performance

In action, the 32W5500 is a dead ringer for the 32E5500 LCD TV, which is mostly positive, especially since it's much cheaper than its sibling.

Our review sample produces colours of exceptional intensity and vibrancy, which are also completely believable and subtly blended.

Helping the colours to look so intense is the set's seriously impressive black level response, which presents dark scenes with far less interference from LCD's classic grey mist problem than the vast majority of 32" rivals.

Hi-def pictures look pin-sharp, while Bravia Engine 3 works its customary magic when translating standard-definition to the TV's full HD resolution.

However, the 32W5500 doesn't just share the same strengths of the 32E5500. It also has identical weaknesses, including signs of motion blur even with the MotionFlow system activated, a rather limited viewing angle, and its performance is marred by a blue glow over some bright elements in otherwise dark pictures.

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