Sony KDL-V5100 series overview

Sony's extensive LCD lineup includes a range of higher-end models, but the KDL-V5100 is not among them. This is Sony's least expensive series of 2009 HDTVs to include 120Hz processing, and it lacks the interactive extras and design complexities of its step-up brethren. It does include nearly all of the picture-related control on those models, however, and its overall image quality is just as good. Naturally you'll still pay premium compared with bargain brands, but the solid performance and well-rounded, essential features of the V5100 series makes it one of Sony's most compelling values.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series back panel inputs

Although it has just one HDMI port, the back panel does include two component-video and a smattering of audio jacks.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series side panel inputs

The side panel of the Sony, with its three HDMI and one PC input, is where the action is.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series corner detail

The V5100 series is rather chunky and the exposed speaker grill doesn't add any sleekness.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series remote

We actually prefer the V5100's smaller remote to the many-buttoned clicker included on Sony's higher-end models. The central cursor is plenty prominent and surrounded by four buttons that are difficult to confuse--one of which is the important "wide" key for aspect ratio control. A cluster of keys at the top of the remote can command other gear that's compatible with the HDMI-CEC control-over-HDMI scheme, but the remote can't control other devices via infrared.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series main picture menu

The main picture menu gets nearly everything onscreen at once.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series MotionFlow dejudder settings

Sony's MotionFlow dejudder processing is available in two strengths.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series Tools menu

A handy Tools menu allows instant access to major operations, although adjustment of dejudder processing isn't one of them.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series Eco menu

Sony's Eco menu doesn't have a power-saving mode, but does allow you to disable the backlight for audio-only situations.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series product support screen

The product support screen provides an out if you run into trouble.
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Sony KDL-V5100 series picture quality

Sony's relatively entry-level KDL-V5100 series exhibited very good picture quality for the price, and in some ways it bested the company's significantly more expensive, albeit feature-laden, XBR9 model (in fact, the two received the same score in this subcategory). We appreciated its relatively deep black levels and accurate color in bright areas, but wished for better color accuracy in dark scenes and improved uniformity across the screen. Sony also falls short of Samsung in its dejudder implementation.
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