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First Look: Sony Bravia KDL-46EX500

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First Look: Sony Bravia KDL-46EX500

2:38 /

The Sony KDL-EX500 LCD TV incorporates respectable image quality with essential features at a wallet-friendly price.

Hi, I'm CNET senior editor David Katzmaier and this is the Sony KDL-EX500. This is the 46-inch member of this series but there is also four other screen sizes from 32 up to 65 inches. Sony says they all have identical picture quality, however, so this review will apply to every size in the series. The EX500 is a midrange TV in Sony's non-LED based LCD lineup. That means, unlike the LED models, it's a little bit thicker when seen from the side at about 4i inches as opposed to 2 on the LEDs. It's also a lot less expensive. Doesn't have the Internet features and streaming video found in a lot of higher end TVs nor does it have 3D but, all things considered, it does have a pretty solid feature set. Looking at the design of this TV, it looks a lot like the EX700 which is an LED when seen from the front. It's got this sort of gray strip along the bottom that sets off the glossy black around the other three sides relatively nicely. It's also got a pretty low profile stand here so there isn't too much of a gap between the bottom of the panel and the top of this glossy black stand. Sony also threw in a swivel so you can see it from the side a little bit better. Feature-wise, this TV has a 120 Hz processing, we'll get to the effects of that in a little bit but it also has the ability to read video, photos, and music off from an attached USB drive. It doesn't have DLNA, however, so you can't stream those types of files over a home network. Picture settings on this TV are relatively good. You do find gamma and a few other requisite settings in the advanced menu. There's also white balance with two points to control. However, Samsung and LG both have Sony beat on this front with their equivalent TVs, they involve a lot more controls. Around back, you'll find two HDMI, two component video, and a PC input. The side panel has two more HDMI inputs in case you wanna connect a pair of temporary devices by HDMI. There's also a video input and that USB port. In terms of picture quality, we did like the Sony for their picture at this price point. It does have relatively deep black levels, though they're not quite as deep as the equivalent Samsung we tested recently. Also, it has pretty solid 120 Hz processing. It doesn't have as much smoothness as some of the other processors we've seen but on the flip side, it doesn't have the adjustability seen on the Samsung model. It also has very accurate color up and down the grayscale but, again, at the very dark areas, it does tend to be a little bit blue, something we see in a lot of LCDs. Uniformity is also better than most of the LED models. Doesn't have that brightness or bright corners around the edge so that's a plus. Of course, off angle, like a lot of LCDs, the picture does fade. If you really want excellent off angle performance, plasma is still your best option. One final note, we did like the matte screen on this TV that doesn't reflect as much ambient light as the glossy screens seen on some other models. That's a quick look at the Sony EX500 series. I'm David Katzmaier.

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