Sony has always managed to create LCD TVs that everyone wants to own -- its Bravia picture processing is some of the best out there for LCD screens, but increasingly other manufacturers are starting to catch up. Sony is hoping its new W4000 range will increase the gap again and persuade customers to give their hard-earned money to the Japanese mega-corporation once again.
The W4000 range consists of four screen sizes: 32, 40, 46 and 52 inches, all of which are 1080p/24 capable. The introduction of a 32-inch 1080p TV means Sony is joining other companies in targeting people who must have the best TV technology, but who only have small living rooms -- possibly because they've spent all their money on technology, rather than a bigger house.
One of the most promising parts of these TVs is that they include an HD video decoder, which in effect means they're ready for the Freeview HD launch, when that happens in a few years' time. The built-in AVC (advanced video coding) decoder will be paired with a cable-ready input, which could mean HD video could be supplied over cable infrastructure. This is more likely to be utilised in the US, where cable isn't restricted to boxes provided by the cable company, as it is in the UK.
Sony is still touting the 24p mode as being critical for film-lovers who want to watch its Blu-ray movies in the exact format the director intended. With this feature now standard on most Blu-ray players, it makes sense for TVs to offer it too and we'd be very surprised if a TV was made these days that couldn't handle 24p signals.
The W4000 TVs also feature a special 'picture frame' mode, which optimises digital photos on the TV, so if you fancy turning your high-end TV into a massive digital photo frame, you can. We saw this feature demonstrated at CES this year, and it's actually pretty impressive and does make a very real difference.
The W4000 also features a "subtly illuminated Sony logo" which Sony says results in a "tasteful fusion of style and futuristic technology". In our opinion, it simply proves that Sony understands the importance of fanboys and how to constantly advertise itself to people who have already shelled out for its kit. –Ian Morris