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Sony Bravia KDL40W4500 review: Sony Bravia KDL40W4500

The Sony Bravia KDL40W4500 is a competent television at a good price, and while the picture is proficient it has some problems with movement.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
4 min read

The season is upon us, all of the television manufacturers will unleash a barrage of new ranges and it can get kind of hard to keep up. While the KDL40W4500 has been out for a few months, it's part of the 2009 line-up and should have the features to keep its head above water during the impending flood. One feature it doesn't have, though, is LED backlighting. But let's take a closer look.


Sony Bravia KDL40W4500

The Good

Excellent HD pictures. DLNA support. Subtle styling.

The Bad

Occasional artefacts even with MotionFlow off. Poor off-axis.

The Bottom Line

The Sony Bravia KDL40W4500 is a competent television at a good price, and while the picture is proficient it has some problems with movement.


The new W series is a hybrid of the V series' styling and the Z series' finish. The television features a slender bezel with a faint blue glitter accent, and has the "peekaboo slot" of the V series. You'll either like it or kinda don't. If you kinda don't then you'll appreciate that the 40-inch KDL40W4500 is also available in a different skin as the KDL40E4500, the "Picture Frame" TV.

Not much to say about the remote really. It's the same design as Sony has used for donkey's yonks and is reasonably ergonomic.


Apart from the provision of an Ethernet port, the KDL40W4500 is fairly mid-range in its feature-set. You get a 1920x1080-pixel resolution, three HDMI ports, and a native 3000:1 contrast ratio. Picture processing — long one of Sony's strong points — is catered for with the Mark II version of the Bravia Engine and the company's Motionflow 100Hz technology.

Like most new Sony TVs it comes with a Picture Frame mode, with a selection of art on-board including Van Gough. It's not the greatest system, however, as slideshows are slow and unintuitive. But at least your TV can look like it belongs at the Met. Or something.

As we mentioned, the TV comes with an Ethernet and USB port, and is a DLNA-compliant device. Chances are, if you're buying a TV with a DLNA client on-board (or even know what this means!) then you would be the type of person who would already have a networked media box — be it a PS3 or a media centre PC. We're not convinced yet that a networked TV is yet at the stage where it can supplant a more fully featured device.

Sony's proprietary and — if done well, user-friendly — XMB makes an appearance on the KDL40W4500, and we're happy to say it's one of the better ones. Unlike some of the company's attempts at a purely vertical menu (say, like on the STRDA5400 receiver) the KDL40W4500 has both a horizontal and vertical axis. It's easy to use, and allows access to most functions.

The telly comes with a number of "tweaks" which assist in its general ease of use. These include integrated cable management within the stand (handy given the window), a side-mounted HDMI port for easier connection of consoles and the like, and a swivel stand useful for wide rooms.


While we were generally impressed with the performance of the W4500, it lacked any sort of distinction which would help it emerge from the flood we mentioned before. Nevertheless, it performed all tasks as it should.

Being a 1080p screen, it naturally coped well with Blu-ray material. Mission Impossible 3 had a sensible mix of image depth — provided by decent black levels — and fine detail. The screen also supports 24p, and we found that there was very little judder when enabled, but also surprisingly little without it, too. The on-board speakers sounded a little thin but conveyed all of the excitement of the disc.

While 100Hz modes are well known for their unpleasant artefacts, we strangely encountered them on this TV even when MotionFlow was switched off. While we didn't get any of the "encased in jelly" effects, we did see some "unnatural" motion — but only in small spurts. It seemed as if the engine was turning itself on and off periodically. We noticed this mostly on standard-definition content like Foxtel, and as it was only occasional it wasn't unpleasant, just odd.

Switching to DVD, and the black levels weren't the finest we've seen, but the screen still provided decent contrast. The TV put in a relatively realistic performance in King Kong. The rich sunrise that opens the penultimate scene, Kong's Last Stand, was painted in a muted, but realistic colour palette. There was also very little colour noise in the river, where it can tend towards a murky green colour, and little MPEG noise.

If you're looking for a television with a wide viewing angle, then it's best to keep looking. At certain angles the TV washes out and becomes faintly polarised, and so it's probably handy the TV comes with a swivelling base.


A good, if not great television, the Sony KDL40W4500 puts in a good performance for the money, but rivals such as Samsung offer superior cosmetics and a better picture to boot. Also, be aware that the Sony KDL40W4500 is now coming to the end-of-life, while the larger 46-inch and 52-inch sizes in the range remain. But if you really want this television, you can still try the KDL40E4500.