This TV falls within the mid-range of Sony's 2014 line up. The annual ranges (and it is pretty much is an annual process for all major manufacturers) in Sony's case are usually announced in early January and available in the UK from February through to June. Top of the range are the 4k ultra-high resolution models, followed by larger LCD TVs with in built active in passive 3D, Near Field Communication (NFC), a couple of remotes and, sometimes, localised LED backlighting.
This model is around third in the line up. It lacks support for 3D, is only NFC ready, and whilst LED back lighting it present it's not localised. So those are the major omissions but the price of the set, when set against the features the TV does have, makes this without doubt a five star product.
In terms of picture quality, for the 42" model, HD output is brilliant, as is streamed HD output from Netflix and Sony's own film library. Obviously quality is not so good in standard definition, but with a smallish screen of this size is completely acceptable. Colours are rich and vibrant. My only criticism, entirely acceptable for a TV at this price, is that a bright object on a dark screen does create a halo effect which is eliminated on Sony's more expensive models.
With regard to sound, I find the quality good from the inbuilt speakers and if you don't Sony offer soundbars and wireless sub-woofers in a similar design to match the TV.
In design terms I prefer the mono-single glass sheet of glass covering the whole of the front of the TV rather than a glass screen with a frame around it as in this model. However, the frame is getting ever thiner in each model year and this time around is hardly there. The TV, as a result, is smaller than previous 40" models so more screen for less space. It's also thin apart from an area at the back base of the TV. Overall pretty good.
What impresses me most is the range of features Sony have built in. The smart TV elements are outstanding with both reliable wireless connection to a network available together with a ethernet option as well. A vast number of apps are available - the key ones being the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and Sony's own Video (and Music) Unlimited entertainment offering. Of course, due to licensing issues you don't find ether catch-up services from ITV or Channel Four but neither are a patch on the iPlayer anyway. The commercial agreement between Samsung and ITV and C4 precludes access by Sony but is not a concern for me. Other smart elements of particular value is the ability to `throw' film or pictures from a Sony Tablet, smartphone or selected cameras direct to the TV using a wireless link to the TV. This works well for images but a little less so for high-definition video content where the connection seems to struggle to keep pace with the amount of data being passed through it. As a result films can freeze in playback. There are lots of other apps which you will find of varying value. The only absence I note is the lack of Amazon's Instant Video service. The app is under development, as you're told on the screen when you click on the icon, but not yet working. This is surprising when it's on last year's TVs and this year's Blu-Ray machines.
Other features include a revised user interface where the vast majority of TV settings can be adjusted, the now standard iManual providing built-in screen-delivered instructions on the use of the TV, a significant enhancement in the provision of both digital terrestrial AND satellite decoders (although for satellite only expect access to free-to-air channels and without a nice Sky-like interface) and a stand that can be easily be adapted to attach the TV to a wall. This represents a significant saving compared to the price a high street store will ask you to pay for a wall bracket for a TV of this size.
Although not marked on the box my TV came with a second remote, the Sony RMF-ED004 Touchpad Remote Control
. This is a simplified remote, although pretty much all features can be reached using it. It has a laptop-like touch panel allow easy movement around menu systems and buttons to change channel, volume etc. It is also NFC enabled which allows you easily to mirror what's displayed on your NFC phone or tablet on the screen of the TV.
Almost finally, I should say something about PlayMemories online which allows you to sync pictures taken with your phone with Sony's servers and those pictures to be viewed on the TV.
Definitely finally, the TV has an A+ power rating. It uses 50w when in use (about the same as two low wattage light bulbs) and 0.5w in standby. In effect the TV is always on standby because of the very low power consumption, although there is a switch at the back to turn it off completely in this mode. The advantage of the standby mode is that a remote turns the TV on.
So overall, this is not the most advanced TV available, and if you want 3D you won't choose this model. But nor is it £4,000 or even £1,000. On a price/feature assessment it offers a great deal which the majority of buyers will be very happy with indeed. Highly recommended.