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The build up to the 55W955 really couldn't be better. Last year's Sony 9 series TVs were outstanding, and the 50W829 got Sony's 2014 off to a belting start. The 55W955 shows all the right signs of living up to its pedigree too, thanks to its startling, sound-boosting 'wedge' design and an eye-catching feature count dominated by Sony's new and improved smart TV platform.
Some aspects of its pictures – especially colour - deliver on the 55W955's flagship HD model status too. But sadly the 55W955 is ultimately undone by a single but potent frailty: an inability to render dark scenes convincingly. This is so much of a problem, in fact, that ultimately I found I'd much rather watch Sony's cheaper W8 series.
The wedge design works, despite its chunkiness – especially as it helps the 55W955 serve up an excellent audio performance by flat TV standards. Colours are superbly handled too, and pictures always look sharp and clean no matter what the source.
The 55W955 is curiously underwhelming with its black level reproduction, which leads to dark scenes looking unnatural and patchy. Its screen is a little over-reflective too, and while the wedge design sits well on the provided legs, it looks a bit awkward hanging on a wall.
It's tragic that a TV with so much going for it and such heritage behind it should be let down so dramatically by the shortcomings of the core third-party panel Sony has chosen to place at the 55W955's heart.
John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.