Sony KDL-VE5 series--overview

In case you haven't noticed, "green" is big business. One way for HDTV makers to cash in on the public's craving for efficiency is to label a TV "eco-friendly." Sony's KDL-VE5 series does just that, but unlike a lot of so-called green electronics, this TV can actually save power in a new, potentially very effective way. That's because it incorporates a "presence sensor" that can automatically turn the picture off when it detects nobody's watching. Amazingly, the feature worked pretty well in our tests, and we hope to see similar automatic turn-offs in future televisions--as long as irate couch potatoes don't flood Sony's customer service call centers to complain of malfunctioning TVs. Otherwise the Sony uses about as much power as a typical LCD--it's nowhere near as miserly as the LED-backlit Sharp's LC-LE700UN series, for example.

The KDL-VE5 also offers very good picture quality for a standard LCD, but on the downside it charges a hefty premium over the step-down KDL-V5100 series--the only major differences between the two are styling and the VE5's presence sensor. If you're prone to forgetting to turn the TV off, however, the KDL-VE5 might be able to make up the difference in a few years.

Read the full review of the Sony KDL-VE5 series

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--Presence Sensor

The VE5's main differentiating feature is the ability to sense your presence and, if it detects you're no longer in the room, turn off the picture until you return, saving significant amounts of power. A small motion sensor in the middle of the silver speaker bar monitors a 45-degree arc directly in front of the television, out to a distance of about 10 feet according to the manual, and when it fails to detect movement after a specified period of time--you can set it for 5, 30 or 60 minutes--the picture goes dark (the sound remains turned-on, however) and power consumption drops to about 51 watts. That's at least half, depending on your other settings, of the VE5's normal power use. If the sensor detects movement again within 30 minutes the TV turns back on. If not it shuts off completely, cutting power use down to nearly 0 watts.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--Presence Sensor demo mode

In demo mode, the presence sensor displays a numeric bar that shows how close the TV is to deactivating.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--MotionFlow menu

Sony's MotionFlow dejudder processing is available in two strengths.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 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.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--side panel inputs

The side panel of the Sony, with its three HDMI and one PC input, is where the action is.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--corner detail

The conservative, two-tone look of the VE5 is achieved by silver speakers and black frame.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--remote control

We actually prefer the VE'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. One missing item for an eco-conscious TV is a dedicated button to easily access all of the power-saving features; as it stands you have to delve into the menus to do so.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--Favorites menu

A favorites menu calls up last-used inputs and channels.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--Tools menu

The handy Tools menu gives easy access to oft-used items, although controls for the MotionFlow and Eco modes are regrettably absent.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--main picture menu

The main picture menu puts plenty of information onscreen at once.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--white balance controls

Full white balance controls are always a welcome sight.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--Presence Sensor timer settings

The Eco menu offers timer settings for the presence sensor, as well as control over the VE5's other power-related features.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Sony KDL-VE5 series--picture quality

The picture quality of Sony's KDL-46VE5 is solid for a standard LCD, with relatively deep black levels, accurate color and good video processing. On the other hand we'd like to see better saturation, more neutral colors in dark areas, and an improvement in uniformity.

Read the full review of the Sony KDL-VE5 series

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

Last-minute gift ideas

Under pressure? These will deliver on time

With plenty of top-notch retailers offering digital gifts, you still have time to salvage your gift-giving reputation.

Hot Products