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This review is from: Sony Bravia KDL32W5500U 32-inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p LCD TV with Freeview, 100Hz Motionflow (Electronics)Sony Bravia KDL32W5500U 32-inch Widescreen Full HD LCD TV with Freeview and Motionflow 100Hz: I've had this TV for a few days now, and I've got to grips with all its various functions. So far I'm absolutely delighted with its performance.
Though it doesn't affect my rating, Amazon deserves praise for prompt delivery (ordered on the Thursday night, delivered at 10.15am on the Saturday morning).
On unpacking, the solid, robust stand must be screwed into the main TV body. This is straightforward and the screws are supplied. You should have a Phillips screwdriver handy. Once attached, the TV can swivel 40 degrees from the centre horizontally both left and right.
Aesthetically, first impressions are very good. The TV, whilst not 'beautiful', is very impressive, not as glamorous as some of its rivals perhaps, but with an understated and purposeful nobility all of its own. The sturdy plastic body is in fingerprint attracting gloss black, so regular dusting will be a must to keep this TV looking at its best.
Once plugged in, it's moment of truth time. At the end of the day, no matter how nice a TV looks if performance isn't up to snuff then it's wasting space in your house. I am delighted to report that this TV has so far exceeded all of my expectations. On first switching on, onboard software takes you through a simple set up process and finds the available channels, and, if you so desire populates a 'Guide Plus+' EPG. This was the longest part of the setup process and took about 15 minutes while it did its thing. It's optional though, you can revert to the standard Sony EPG if you desire. After this the TV was ready to use. I expected to be disappointed by Freeview's standard definition performance and was prepared to do a lot of calibration however, the factory settings were already very well set up for my home's lighting conditions and so far have only switched Motionflow to high, set Colour Temperature to Neutral and toned down the red gain via Picture - Advanced Settings - White Balance. I now have a picture that I'm delighted with and which I don't think can be improved upon. From my normal viewing distance (2.5 meters) there's very little visible noise and compression artefacts on even the poorest channels are well within my acceptable standards. There is no ghosting at all (watched the Malaysian Grand Prix to be sure), and there is no sign of the clouding or backlight bleed problems which are a constant source of ire on forums with regards to the W5500 model. Oh, and not a single dead or stuck pixel either.
I don't yet have an HD source (a PS3 is my next purchase) so am making do with a PS2 through a Scart connection for the time being. Again, I wasn't expecting much but I am delighted that the picture on DVDs is more than acceptable. It's lacking sharpness and any perception of depth but I really can't complain. Lord of the Rings 'The Two Towers' is on as I type, and given the limitations of the PS2 the picture is quite remarkable. Games on the other hand really don't look so good - a component cable might improve matters but I'm not so big a gamer that it matters all that much, however, that said, the PS3 is an essential purchase, and my appetite is nicely whetted for a true 1080p Blu-Ray picture.
Regarding the other functions: Applicast is still at its embryonic stages and really not worth the hassle; none of the widgets are of much use to me at the moment. The USB functionality is nicely implemented though: the ability to plug in a USB stick directly and watch a JPG slideshow and MPG movies is going to prove very handy for me, though I understand the MPG only limitation might be useless for some. One can listen to MP3 by this method too, but this won't find much action in my home - a very expensive hi-fi system takes care of my music.
Speaking of sound, I have no complaints about the speakers on this TV - bass is plentiful considering their size and volume is definitely not lacking. I have no room for surround sound but until I purchase a soundbar, the onboard sound will more than suffice.
In summing up, if this TV were flawed, I would have absolutely no hesitation in advising you save your money but I can't and I'm really, really struggling to find a single thing to criticise. Off centre viewing affects deep blacks, but not to the extent viewing pleasure is diminished. Channel changes are a little sluggish (sometimes taking 3 seconds between pressing the button on the RC and the picture appearing) but that's about it. There's no deal breakers here and nothing I'm grumbling about. If you're buying a 32 inch TV you really should be auditioning the 32W5500, simple as that.