With those colourful Bravia TV advertisements splashed all over the nation's consciousness, it's surely fair to expect great things from Sony's latest bigscreen – the Bravia KDL-46W3000. Unfortunately, we're disappointed – and a little surprised – to discover that this time the manufacturer has painted itself into a corner...
First impressions suggested that this 46in LCD TV was going to meet our high expectations – and with style to spare.
As well as appearing suitably opulent in its brushed metal chassis, the KDL-46W3000 also looks like it could handle 10 rounds with Mike Tyson – a downside as this chunky shape is a bit hefty for today's flatscreen obsession with 'size zero'.
Full set of HD connections
Connectivity is undeniably stunning. The KDL-46W3000 has no less than five HD inputs – three v1.3 HDMIs (all able to take Deep Colour and 1080p/24 sources) and two component video inputs. Elsewhere, there's a D-Sub PC jack and all the customary lesser quality options.
In terms of Sony's pecking order, the KDL-46W3000 sits towards the top of the manufacturer's current Bravia range, just under the flagship X series. So, it comes as no surprise to find this 46-incher simply bursting with features.
Top of the feature list are the special playback mode – optimised for 1080p/24 playback – and Bravia
Engine image processing, here appearing in its high-level 'EX' incarnation.
Theoretically, these features should deliver some of the best colour handling, contrast, noise reduction and fine detail enhancement around – especially as the set also boasts a contrast ratio of 16,000:1. So, it's a shame that this extensive feature count didn't pay as much attention to 100Hz processing as it ought...
While the KDL-46W3000's pictures are accomplished in many ways, the lack of 100Hz processing buries those strengths beneath a single, overpowering flaw – motion noise. Even with the 100Hz engine in play, the presentation of motion while watching was pretty mediocre.
Sky's HD broadcast of Titanic is flawed to say the least – there's some nasty smearing during motion-packed scenes. The same problem ruins much of the underwater footage too, as all the subtle rippling effects lose out to a veil of fuzzy murk.
If you look hard, though, you'll see that the KDL-46W3000's colour handling is simply stunning – the saturations during those famous sunset shots of Jack and Rose at the Titanic's prow are to die for. As well as looking supremely dynamic and vibrant, colours also look totally natural with the actors' skin tones.
Dark scenes are well-handled by LCD standards too: there's little of the customary cloudy look to blackness. There's also a solid amount of shadow detail – such as the ripples on the ocean – to be seen.
The KDL-46W3000's sound is also, ahem, titanic enough to partner the 46in screen admirably, with some punchy bass, an open mid-range, good treble detailing and almost complete freedom from distortion.
But unfortunately, as we indicated earlier, all the KDL-46W3000's strengths only deliver if you can see beyond all that distracting motion smearing. And it's a distraction that's hard to imagine anybody swallowing on a daily basis if you've stumped up two grand for the privilege.