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back to article Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 200Hz 46in LCD TV

Remember how flatscreen TVs used to look: dominated by huge side- or bottom-mounted speakers and with large silver or grey bezel frames? The latest models are positively anorexic in comparison, shaving centimetres off every dimension except the display itself. Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 Sony's Bravia KDL-46Z5500: handsome So …

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Anonymous Coward

Does anyone actually tune favourite channels?

Yes.

(Just so you know.)

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It's a Sony

I know that people have beef with Sony, but if there's one thing they really do excell in, it's TVs.

The styling is very discreet. I would prefer it to have no speakers - frankly, this thing is going to be hooked up to a Home Theatre system anyway, so no real need. You don't spank £1800 on a TV without a decent soundsystem, do you?

And Sony's remotes are always clear and well laid out. It amazes me everytime I look at alternate brands how cluttered and poorly thought-through their remotes are.

Now, just one thing about that power switch. What's the MTBF of that thing physically breaking? My lovely Mum now insists on unplugging her set every night, as the last two TVs she had with physical power switches broke because the switch stopped working.

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FAIL

does anyone actually tune favourite channels?

I used to but every freeview channel update say every 14 days wipes them making them a pointless waste of time.

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WTF?

Funny how things change, isn’t it?

But this one has a proper switch like, you know, every TV used to have.

Thats odd I coud have sworn my Panasonic has always had a proper mechanical off switch..

Perhaps it disappears when I'm not in the room.. how do I know?

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Eco-friendly? Hah!

An off switch doesn't make this eco-friendly - unless it's soldered to be permanently off (and then it's just a waste of manufacturing resources).

No-one really NEEDS a 46" TV. OK, this one is quite efficient (compared to some) but it's still sucking up 166W when it's on. What's wrong with a 26" TV - and sitting a bit closer to the screen!

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The article is wrong... the Z series is below the X ...

Read product specifications properly before writing an article and watch product prices. The Bravia X series is the most expensive and feature rich series of the Bravia HDTVs that Sony produces. The Z series is an in-between W and X series, adding some of the X series features to the W series practically.

The Z series is cheaper than the X series but more expensive than the W series. The Z series was recently introduced, in fact before there were in order of increasing price/features just: S D V W X while now there are S D V W Z X (but I might be missing some other new letters although there is nothing above X so far).

Yes the Z comes after the X in the alphabet but if you just check the price premium that the X got over the Z and how many more features it gets ... it's quite obvious to understand that Z doesn't come after X in Sony world...

Regarding those having troubles with dead PSU on the HDTVs .. go out and buy a good UPS .. the APC UPS ones are best protection you can get. Those will save your equipment from getting broken by surge spikes that happen everyday everywhere in the world.

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@Nigel Callaghan

Come in from the Consumer Ice-Age my friend, and welcome to the mirth of the consumer wants>!

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Anonymous Coward

Switch and Screen

Government metrics mean having an on-off switch makes the set look more eco friendly. Some STBs don't have an on-off switch and new models do to make them look better in this regard.

@Nigel Callaghan : Unless you get a big screen (e.g. 50 inch) and sit quite close you're not going to be able to tell the difference between 1080p and 720 p - at 26" you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between HD and DVD !

The set reviewed doesn't have Freesat. If I got a set this big, I'd want Freesat (I don't want to give any money to Murdoch).

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Flame

Sony has poor quality

A little advise to the wise. I'd avoid Sony LCDs if I where you. There was a time when all Sony stuff was made in Japan, and the screens where brilliant, now its made in China and mostly assembled in Eastern Europe. The quality of the electronics and build has decreased dramatically over the years. You might expect the screen to fail after no more than 2 years. My top of the range 32" screen failed after 22 months. You really do expect a high price TV to last about 5-6 years. Besides these days what is the point of having an enormous screen when the content is shite?

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five to six years?

@AC 15:44 - "You really do expect a high price TV to last about 5-6 years."

Blimey, you have lousy expectations. If I spent £1800 on a TV, I'd expect it to last a lot longer than that - and frankly, I'd hope to be replacing it because I wanted to, not because it was no longer any good.

As for this one - I cannot convince myself that a 46" TV for £1800 is going to be a thousand quid better than one for £800.

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MJI
Silver badge

Freesat and build quality

Well as to Freesat, no problem with it not built in, I have a hard disc PVR for Freesat (Humax HDR), as to life span I was given a 5 year warrantee for free with a W4500 last year.

26" - that is a portable, a whole family can't huddle around one, as to multiplayer Motorstorm well no hope

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Pint

Why not *ALL* channels as Favorites?

My idea is that all TVs and set-top boxes should come preprogrammed with *all* channels preprogrammed as "Favorites". These favorite registers would be preprogrammed in accordance with, ah, the actual channel number they contain.

So if, for example, you wanted to watch your favorite channel which is channel number 873, you would press "Fav." and then type in the digits 8, 7, and 3 and press enter to select Favorite register number 873 which contains channel number 873. See?

Oh... Sorry. Never mind.

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Anonymous Coward

you forgot DLNA capabilitys

as always, you forget the fact people WANT (even if they didnt know it at the time) DLNA PC to HDTV stremaing capabilitys....

incase you didnt know thats a PC with a copy of 'PS3 Media server' on it, so doest This set work with that DLNA server as other models do?

http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2099

or are we to assume you didnt even try it with any HD video streaming, as it happens PS3MS is the only only one that does work reasonably well on other sets so try it here to.

OC DLNA isnt as good as a Real Ethernet A/V/data server and client inside the TV but that seems beyond the executives to authorise on big brands today, but at least DLNA capabilitys allow you to stream 1080P high profile AVC/H.264 mkv/mp4 etc from your LAN to your expensive HDTV with PS3MS.

"The Ethernet cable socket on the side allows you to watch TV and use web-based applications simultaneously. These are limited to items like an RSS feed, calculator and calendar. To our mind, if you have a great-quality, large-sized screen like this you should be looking at Blu-rays - the Z5500 does 24p cinema input - HD broadcasts or even Freeview in as much glory as possible, not zoning part of it out to make room for other features. Especially when sharp, detailed imagery is where this panel excels."

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There is a huge quality difference when the size gets bigger...

@"By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 4th November 2009 15:26 GMT @Nigel Callaghan : Unless you get a big screen (e.g. 50 inch) and sit quite close you're not going to be able to tell the difference between 1080p and 720 p - at 26" you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between HD and DVD ! " --- You are absolutely wrong. There is a huge difference in quality between 720p and 1080p on 40" or bigger displays. Actually even on smaller ones it's possible to tell the difference.

The best HD experience is achieved with a 90" or 100" either HD 1080p projector and a proper 1.2 or 1.3 gain quality screen or with LCD/Plasma of the same size.

At that size the viewer can get a lot more spatio-temporal details in his/her eyes cones/rods...

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Anonymous Coward

PS£MS : Some changes on Sony, Philips renderer support

this is probably, along with reading the above thread, is your best option for testing as it has fixes for the currently reported HDTV conf problems etc

http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3217

"Latest builds [2009-10-23] / Current revision: 366

Windows: http://ps3mediaserver.org/files/pms-set ... 11.366.exe

Linux: http://ps3mediaserver.org/files/pms-linux-1.11.366.tgz

changelog between r366 and r363:

- Some changes on Sony, Philips renderer support

- Fix bug with subtitles search on large dir browsing

changelog between r363 and r356:

- Ability to choose the subtitles color

- Audio transcoding to 48kHz by default on PS3 (new renderer parameter 'TranscodeAudioTo441kHz', feel free to tweak it)

- Support of HTTP chunk encoding (from the client side)

- Regional profiles support for Bravia TVs

- New renderer parameter (see 'TranscodedVideoFileSize', for Samsung/Philips TVs maybe)

- iTunes library support on Windows

...

"

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Happy

Bigger sizes...

</The best HD experience is achieved with a 90" or 100" either HD 1080p projector and a proper 1.2 or 1.3 gain quality screen or with LCD/Plasma of the same size./>

The important point is the area the picture hits on the back of the retina. So a bigger display is needed to view for further away. There is a comfort issue as well - for relaxed viewing not too many folks like to be hunched up over a small screen and it's more difficult with >1 viewer. So big screens work well. They're even impressive when switched off :)

</At that size the viewer can get a lot more spatio-temporal details in his/her eyes cones/rods.../>

Well the HVS folks know that the eye can resolve up to around 4000 luminance pixels for fully immersive viewing (i.e. the photons from the display engage the whole retina). So 1920*1080 is only a quarter of the pixels needed.

Super HD (from NHK) and D-Cinema now offer 4K*2K pixels for this reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Quality

Actually Sony and Samsung make the best TVs on the market hands down. The others are close but at the moment these two manufacturers stand well above the rest.

If I had the choice between a 60hz Samsung or Sony and a 120hz or better from someone else, I'd get the 60hz.

The biggest myth is that 120hz TVs or the newer 240hz TVs make movies appear fake, especially if they have a lot of computer generated special effects. The frequency rarely has anything to do with this, it's often some other optional feature that can be turned off. The other issue is build quality of course and lesser models will have poor implementations of every technology, whether it's the resolution or frequency.

The real test of a TV manufacturer is how good their large model TVs look, maintaining accuracy in colour and black levels at 46 inches and above.

Sitting closer to a small screen? No thanks, that's a bad idea. The dust and other irritants that congregate close to the screen or its glossy surrounds affects your eyesight and may even damage your eyes. I doubt radiation is a factor, but I'd rather not find out the hard way.

As for cleanliness, LED LCD TVs use 40% less energy than their LCD equivalents and are mercury free. I don't know where that 166W number comes from, but that's massively more than either of my TVs use, one being a 40" Sony Bravia the other a 46" Samsung LED LCD TV.

Perhaps you are confusing them with Plasma, but even those are more efficient than they were even a year ago.

The general rule of thumb is the TV should be just over half the size of the distance you sit from it to get a cinema-like experience. If you sit 6 feet away then a 40 inch TV will do the job. 7 or 8 feet and you would get a better experience from a 46 or 50 inch TV. More than that and you're better off going to the movies because projectors are shit and TVs over 50 inches rarely have the same quality of picture as their smaller brethren. A 72" 1080p 120hz TV is hardly the most affordable purchase and usually a waste of money if you're looking for quality over quantity.

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Edge LED lighting makes the picture worse

"Even if it can’t count LED backlighting among its image boosters"

I have to pick this summary as spectacularly misleading. LED backlighting (at least for the edge LEDs as on almost all Samsung TVs) has at best a neutral and in most cases a negative effect on picture quality.

Only when there is the capability to support either local dimming or black frame or line insertion is there any picture quality benefit. The slim LED TV's actually suffer in picture quality with relatively poor contrast in any real picture and the colour is somewhat off on many Samsung LEDs to keep the perceived brightness up while keeping the power down.

To the person wanting Freesat check out the Z5800 which is similar but with the satellite tuner and Freesat support.

If energy consumption is your highest priority the WE5 uses Hot Cathode florescent backlight to achieve a consumption little over 100W even for the 46" although that is only 100Hz.

To the person concerned about reliability Sony TVs have a 3 year guarantee and some stores offer even longer.

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Boffin

oddball

"f I had the choice between a 60hz Samsung or Sony and a 120hz or better from someone else, I'd get the 60hz."

thats because you live in the US or some other place that uses those oddball freq and have to use fractions of the whole No. for your old TVs and continue that through to your sibstandard digital TV offerings that dont work anywere near as good as generic DVB and its ghosting rejection, wereas the UK uses generic PAL 25,50,100, and now 200 as per the reviewed HDTV.

remember now, this review is about a real freq not some oddball rounded up US freq derived from your old US fractions or your oddball US DVB standard.

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Black Helicopters

@AC re DNLA

No, the execs have not forgotten about DNLA, you can be sure.

First, by not including DNLA, people who want it will have to spend more money on another box, hopefully, from the exec's perspective, from the same company that made the telly.

Second, they will introduce a new range of models in 18 months time... with DNLA built in... thus prompting a round of upgrading from those who couldn't wait this time around and won't wait for their telly to EOL.

Personally I work hard to avoid the whole 'upgrade! upgrade!' cycle unless I can sell on my existing kit for enough money that the upgrade becomes cheap. Still running an iPhone 3G, I'm going to wait until next summer and then go shopping for a new contract.

Black helicopters 'cos, well, I've just let the cat out of the bag... Sony will be coming for me...

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Gold badge

Hertz myth?

200Hz? the human eye can't see much more than about 50Hz,

100Hz technology made sense on CRTs as 50Hz refresh was flickery. But LCDs don't work using scanlines, electron guns etc.

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DLNA is built in

DLNA is built in.

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@ Giles Jones

Hz myth? It looks like you've fallen for the Hz myth.

You've said off your own back that a 50Hz refresh "looks flickery" on a TV which suggests in the same sentence that the eye can detect more than 50Hz, it has to be able to for 50Hz to appear flickery in the first instance.

The human eye starts to interpret meaningful "fluid motion" of a sequence of frames at about 25/30 fps with clarity, but the human eye is certainly not limited to 50 frames per second (50 Hz refresh in this case), that is the wide spread ill conceived myth born from the fact the film industry set minimum fps limits on their motion pictures.

It really depends what you're looking at but remember the input to your eyes is a constant stream of light being translated into images sent to the brain. A good explanation of differening stimulus situations can be found here:

http://www.100fps.com/how_many_frames_can_humans_see.htm

but be under no illusion at all, that the eye can differentiate light from dark quite easily at 200 fps, the article even recommends 500fps to capture all sensitive information about anything that flicker, blinks or moves. The most important fact is being able to understand and make detailed sense of what you're looking, which is why lower fps are more suitable for detailed streams.

If you can't notice a difference between 50fps and 100 fps in a game of Quake, you're either kidding yourself of you've got very poor eyes indeed. You might not interpret the difference as a lack of flicker, but you should certainly notice the smoothness of the motion increase. End of the day 200 Hz Tv's are highly beneficial over 50 or 100Hz, end of.

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@AC 00:50

"Actually Sony and Samsung make the best TVs on the market hands down"

Funny, I heard Panasonic make a pretty good set and you can still get Pioneer plasmas which pretty much shit on all else.

Samsung however make shit TVs but they're the best in that lower price bracket where most seem to buy - better than LG anyhow. Read the above regarding LED edge lighting for current models. Also some of the worst scrolling text handling and upsizing I have ever seen came courtesy of Samsung. Think: person standing near edge of scene with one shoulder hideously larger than the other. Utter crap.

For sheer consistency of top end performance I'll grant you Sony.

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@Dimebag

Hmmm, looking at two TVs in a home cinema specialists side-by-side with one 100Hz and the other 200Hz both playing a variety of sequences (fast action movie, sport etc) there's nothing really to note. Me thinks either the difference is only noticeable on shitty TVs or this is the latest marketing ploy in a recession to sell more boxes.

As for the quoted website - well it must be true if that says so! As someone already stated, the 50Hz to 100Hz made a real difference on a CRT with a scanning electron beam. 100 to 200 on an LCD? Hmmm, sell me some more horseshit the roses are coming along great.

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frame rate.

I saw an excellent demonstration of frame rates and picture quality last year, done by BBC R&D. Also saw the NHK Super High Vision demonstration at IBC 08 in Amsterdam.

My vote goes to whoever does 1080p at 300Hz on a 46" screen, for a whole lot of reasons. 4K and upwards will come eventually, but let's have a global 300Hz standard first.

For now, I've got the 40" Z series and it's still stunning. Even in the shop you could look along their display and the Z series stands head and shoulders above the others the way a Trinitron did thirty years ago.

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Bod

Processing

"Instead, the hero feature is 200Hz MotionFlow frame interpolation, designed to offer smoother results with fast-moving subjects like sport, for instance, by adding in extra, computer-generated frames of video."

First feature to turn off then. Does anyone really have a problem in the cinema where you get 24 frames a second refreshed at a 48 frame rate? Not really. It looks and feels natural.

The latest and greatest spanking CGI cartoon flick may look even more spanking with processing like this, but I wouldn't want a classic Hitchcock enhanced with CG frames and processing to make it look like a modern HD documentary on TV instead of a classic VistaVision film!

@whitespacephil "I know that people have beef with Sony, but if there's one thing they really do excell in, it's TVs."

They used to. Quality in Sony has gone downhill a lot. Last 3 Sony products I've owned have all been crap (including a TV).

The panels are the best bit and they're made by Samsung anyway.

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Terminator

Luddite question

Could someone tell me whether LCD's have finally reached the easeof-viewingness of CRT's yet? You know, without the weird blocks of iffy colours or the banding of graduated fades?

And if we really want to be green, we'll be dirty. How many TV's on standbywould a shower, let alone a bath power?

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Anonymous Coward

Luddite question

"You know, without the weird blocks of iffy colours or the banding of graduated fades?"

OC NOT, that would involve the UK and OFCOM actually giving the recently released Analogue BBC2 freq and more, actually BACK to the DVB-T(2) digital system, so we can have far Higher bitrates per digital channel and more channels for that matter than we are expected to use now and in the near/midium/longer future....

the EU have stop to some of their sales of several TV freqs and reallocating them back into their DVB HD use apparently...and are doing that today.

but we cant have the UK MP doing such innovative thinking, when theres money involved selling it all off to the global corporations, so we become rent boys like old maxwell and his rented sat feeds, never again actually owning our own property as we wont be able to buy it back later when they finally realise they REALLY NEED IT...

that property being the UK airwaves each and every one of us inthe UK own, in this case....

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FAIL

Last years design then !!

with more and more devices coming with HDMI it's obvious that Sony are expecting this to be obsolete by Jan 2010. Any forward thinking manu would put at least 4 on there,

AND at 47" why aren't we seeing any 1440p displays, we know SuperHD (? - which is still just HD) has been the subject of many tech blather for over a year, or do we have to wait for "SuperHD ready"

200hz is a nice touch but how long have we been waiting for that (does anyone remember when the first 100hz TV's came out?)

No speakers is a good idea, i've yet to see any LCD monitor or TV that has truly decent audio, but the lack of a spdif (5.1) again shows that it's already out of date.

it's a Sony so it's overpriced from the get go

this is just another example of a non inovative sell of old tech, this was out of date as it was designed. FAIL FAIL FAIL !!

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