Sony Bravia KDL46XBR
- Crystal clear pictures, brilliant colour, no noise in high definition, PC connectivity works flawlessly, motion flow technology smooths out the picture
- Motion flow creates blurring and looks quite unnatural, contrast issues particularly when running via PC, minor noise during standard definition.
Sony's Bravia KDL46XBR is a brilliant 1080p TV. It performed above par across all our tests and while it wasn't perfect, the issues we did spot did not detract. If you're after a full high definition screen that excels in all areas this is a great choice.
Price$ 4,799.00 (AUD)
Sony is really hitting the 1080p market hard with its latest Bravia line-up. Where most companies have a 1080p line of televisions to complement their other models, Sony has gone one step further, releasing multiple series of 1080p panels. The XBR series is the best of the three and while they may command a slightly larger premium, we can tell you it is worth the price. We took a look at the 46in model, the KDL-46XBR, and were impressed when it performed almost flawlessly in every test.
First up is our high definition tests; the bread and butter for a 1080p panel. When playing back our HD-DVD films the 46XBR rendered a crystal clear, sharp picture. Probably the best element of the picture was the colour representation. Everything was incredibly rich and vivid. There are some colour calibration options as well as preset configurations and we found the 'cinema' mode was the best for watching movies. Black levels were excellent and there was no streaking or ghosting to speak of.
These results were mirrored in our high definition gaming tests using an Xbox 360. Aliasing was kept to a minimum and colours were beautifully rendered. We did spot a little loss of detail in dark areas, which is indicative of some minor contrast problems, but that was our only complaint. We would have liked to see contrast calibration options in the menu to help correct this.
We then moved on to standard definition DVD tests which are an area 1080p televisions naturally struggle. When playing back our test scene, featuring the lobby from The Matrix we spotted a fair bit of noise in areas of block colour, but nothing too extreme. Aside from that the picture was generally crisp with no scaling artifacts and the great colour reproduction and response time seen in our high definition tests was repeated here.
Our final test is for PC connectivity and while previous Bravias we've tested, such as the Bravia KDL46W3001, struggled a little in this test, the 46XBR was nearly perfect. We connected to a notebook via an HDMI and unlike the other model, the desktop was rendered flawlessly and occupied the full area of the display.
We ran DisplayMate Video Edition and were generally pleased with the results. Colours were perhaps a little saturated here, but the colours looked great during movie playback so we really can't complain. The only issue we noticed was the fine intensity ramps were poorly rendered, with a complete lack of definition towards the dark end. This correlates with the contrast issues we spotted earlier in our high definition gaming tests.
One unique feature of the 46XBR is the 100Hz motion enhance mode. By increasing the refresh time of the display to 100Hz (the vast majority of LCDs are 60Hz) it theoretically creates a much smoother image. While we did find that this was the case in some instances, the fact is the TV has to create new frames from scratch to fill in the gaps, and this does lead to quite a bit of blurring and stuttering, particularly in fast paced scenes. The picture also takes on a slightly unnatural look that the majority of our colleagues found less than pleasing. Some users may enjoy this mode, but for those that don't it can be turned off and the image is still stunning without employing this feature.
Three HDMI ports are included which is ideal for a 1080p model. The design is fairly smooth, with a gunmetal bezel and clear glass edging. We found the included speakers produced adequate sound, although with a great panel like this you'd be wasting its potential by not hooking it up to a home theatre system.
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