Sony Bravia V5810 (KDL-32V5810) review: Sony Bravia V5810 (KDL-32V5810)

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The Good Many aspects of its pictures are great; the freesat HD tuner works well; reasonable amount of features.

The Bad Backlight inconsistencies; flimsy online system; no Freeview HD tuner; rather drab design.

The Bottom Line With Freeview HD already this year's hot AV feature, the Sony Bravia KDL-32V5810's freesat HD tuner is no longer the draw it once was. That makes it even more difficult to look past the set's aggravating backlight problems

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6.5 Overall

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With Freeview HD now broadcasting to at least a few patches of the UK, it's impossible not to feel as if Sony's Bravia KDL-32V5810, with its freesat HD tuner, is already a TV slightly past its prime. This feels especially true in light of Panasonic already rolling out sets with both freesat and Freeview HD tuners. But, if the 1080p, 32-inch KDL-32V5810 LCD TV can blow us away with its picture quality, we might be able to put aside our qualms. It's available online for around £500.

Nowt special to look at
Sony has a respectable track record of turning out TVs with really appealing and innovative designs. But the KDL-32V5810 isn't one of them. It looks very generic, and even slightly cheap, with its regulation, glossy black, rectangular bezel.

Fortunately, it sports plenty of high-quality features. For instance, it has Sony's latest Bravia Engine 3 video-processing engine, which does impressive work on everything from colour tones to contrast and sharpness. The TV also has Sony's excellent 24p True Cinema processing for improving Blu-ray playback, and carries standard-definition Freeview and analogue tuners, as well as a swanky freesat HD one.

Connections include a more-than-acceptable four HDMI sockets, and a USB port via which you can play music and photo files. There's also an Ethernet port that you can use to stream in files from your PC and surf Sony's online AppliCast service. On second thoughts, it might be more accurate to say you can paddle in AppliCast, given the paltry amount of content the service currently offers. We presume you'll also be able to use the Ethernet port for accessing the BBC iPlayer service at some point in the future.

The KDL-32V5810's on-screen menus include options for tweaking the gamma controls, Sony's Live Colour Creation processing, the separate MPEG and standard noise-reduction systems, and the white balance.

Backlight blues
The KDL-32V5810's pictures look very promising at first glance. For instance, the colours are excellent, with vivid but natural saturation levels. Stripy colour blends and blotchy skin tones just aren't an issue.

The KDL-32V5810 also does a good job of reproducing high-definition sources, including those from the freesat tuner, with the level of clarity we like to see. This is helped by the way in which the set's various video-processing routines keep a tight lid on such sharpness-spoiling LCD nasties as judder and motion blur.

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