After frankly playing catch up for a couple of generations with many of its rivals in the flat TV world, the success of Sony's recent Bravia LCD TV range has clearly got the Japanese giant feeling confident again.
Its latest LCD offering, the KDL-32D3000, at around £750 seems to have pulled out all the stops in an uncompromising bid to make it a truly stellar performer.
Sony's 32D3000 is reassuringly tech-heavy. Not least among its attractions is a brand new image-processing system called MotionFlow + 100Hz, which doubles the TV's normal PAL refresh rate to improve LCD's issues with resolving motion. By adding extra frames of image data, the thinking goes, you can reduce the resolution lost as objects pass across the screen.
The 32D3000 is unusual by 32-inch TV standards, in that it accepts high-definition/24fps sources through its three HDMI inputs too. What's more, these HDMIs are -- for the first time on a 32-inch LCD -- version 1.3 affairs, compatible with features such as automatic lip synching and Deep Colour (provided any sources ever support this picture-boosting facility).
On top of the MotionFlow + 100Hz engine, meanwhile, the 32D3000 also provides Sony's Bravia Engine processing, designed to improve scaling, colours, detail levels and many other things besides. Plus the TV employs 10-bit picture processing to considerably increase the number of colours the set can show.
This all adds up to a formidable wall of picture-processing power, so it probably won't surprise you to learn that, for the most part, those pictures are really quite excellent.
Black levels, for instance, are as good as anything we've seen on a 32-inch LCD screen, avoiding the majority of the greying over effect we've come to expect from LCD TVs and packing dark scenes with plenty of subtle shadow detailing.
Good black levels are usually accompanied by good colours and so it proves on the 32D3000. They're more vibrant and pure than with previous Bravia sets and also retain natural tones under a wider range of circumstances.
The Motionflow + 100Hz system also does its bit to make moving objects look clearer.
But while the 100Hz system does improve the appearance of motion, there's still residual evidence of resolution loss as objects pass across the screen, plus some small but certainly noticeable evidence of a shimmering side effect around moving objects' edges.
Our other negative thought, given the 32D3000's rather high price tag of around £750, is that maybe you don't really need all the features that Sony has thrown at this relatively small TV's pictures.
For instance, sat at a perfectly normal viewing distance we didn't totally appreciate what the 10-bit engine was doing to colours. Nor could we fully see any extra clarity that might be forthcoming from the 32D3000's apparent friendliness with 1080p/24fps high-definition material, or the extra motion clarity made possible by the MotionFlow system. It's only with your nose pretty much pressed up to the screen that the benefits of all Sony's features become visible.
This means, of course, that you might be better buying a rather cheaper, less feature-heavy 32-inch LCD TV instead.
We have nothing against showing off. Indeed, some of the finest TVs around have come about as a direct result of manufacturers deciding to prove to the world just what they're capable of.
But with the Sony Bravia KDL-32D3000, the simple fact is that while the TV is certainly very good, it's just too small to really benefit from some of the features it's making you pay good money for.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire