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Sony KDL40W5500 Review

by Vincent Teoh
23 March 2009

Probably the most hotly anticipated flat screen HDTV this spring, the Sony KDL40W5500 LCD television has finally arrived on our test bench this week. On paper, the Sony KDL40W5500 Bravia LCD TV improves upon its predecessor the W4500 series by offering these following features:

  • Applicast (Sony's on-screen widget application platform) functionality;
  • An extra HDMI port;
  • Increased DLNA media compatability (in addition to the usual JPEG photos and MP3 music files, certain video file formats can now be streamed); and
  • Bravia Engine 3 (BE3) video processing.

On the flip side, only an 8-bit panel and CCFL backlight are implemented on the Sony KDL40W5500 high definition television (the W4500 series had 10-bit panel and WCG-CCFL backlight). Will these downgrades lead to a drop in picture quality? Let's find out...

Update 25 February 2010: The Sony KDL40W5500 is now slowly being phased out, and has been replaced by the Sony KDL40EX503 / KDL-40EX503 in their 2010 Bravia LCD line-up.

Design

The company's "Draw The Line" design concept is evident on the Sony KDL40W5500 LCD TV. A horizontal bar – the middle third of which sports a subtle semi-translucent window – separates the polished black bezel above from the perforated speaker grille below. The dividing bar itself is painted with a black to silver gradation from top to bottom, which results in a tasteful half-tone mirror effect.

Just like its predecessors (W4000 and W4500 series), the LCD screen on the Sony KDL40W5500 HDTV manifests a sheen that is slightly more reflective than the matte black usually found on conventional LCD TVs. Unlike the W4000 and W4500 though, the Sony logo on the KDL40W5500 does not illuminate.

Sony KDL40W5500

The Sony KDL40W5500 flat screen television comes with a swivelling table-top stand that is packaged separately inside the shipping box. The stand's rectangular base wears a glossy black coating which matches the bezel.

At the back of the LCD panel, you can find a pair of recessed handgrips which are thoughtfully included to facilitate easy lifting of the TV onto its pedestal stand. Overall build quality is reassuringly solid. Whilst not as chic as top-tier Sony LCDs (X and Z series) or even the retired W4500 series, the Sony KDL40W5500 HDTV remains more than capable of adding a contemporary touch to your living room.

Connections

Rear connections on Sony KDL40W5500
Rear: 2 x HDMI, VGA, component, 2 x Scarts, aerial, digital & analogue audio outs
Side connections Control buttons
Side: 2 x HDMI, USB, CI slot, comp, LAN, headphone Power on & control buttons

4.5 Star Rating: Highly Recommended

 

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