The Sony KDL-46EX524, a member in the Sony Bravia family and the largest of the new EX524 series. This seems to be one of the more value-conscious TV's that Sony is currently producing, with high quality screens and electronics at a reasonable price, making it a perfect buy for the mainstream consumer who isn't concerned with perfect studio-quality colouring or high-end aesthetics. The centralized multimedia functions, easy access to Wifi or Ethernet and Freeview HD, for this particular series is highly functional and desirable for anyone who wants set-top connectivity beyond that of their computer regardless of technological ability.
The two-tone gun-metal and glossy black bezels and large, smooth, 46 inch, matte screen are classic compliments to any home design and a style that Sony has been using regularly for the last couple of years and it appears very well built for the price. The LED on this model is extremely slim, being only about 3 cm in depth, this is mostly due to the lighted edges of the television as opposed to a back lit (or full array) style, with recent improvements in technology unevenness in color, due to the edge lighting, is very rarely an issue. The decreased environmental impact of the LED including it's decreased consumption of power and the ease of recycling the parts at the time of disposal makes this TV a very green choice. The factory standard swivel base is great for angling the screen in various directions depending on where the current viewer is seated and the standard size of the unit makes it easy to mount on the wall with a mounting kit however, because many of the connectors are on the back of the television this may limit their accessibility.
The remote control for for the Sony KDL-46EX524 is slightly curved with evenly spaced buttons that aren't overly close together, but is very pleasing visually and the dedicated media buttons help the consumer make use of the included media software. It requires two “A-A-A” batteries to operate. Pressing the home button on the remote control gives you the menus for access to settings and the incorporated media content. The menus are easy to read and intuitive to understand, appearing quickly along the bottom of the screen with a clean, modern look. For some menus you may need to cycle through options in order to find specific options that you are looking for. Picture-in-picture programming is very easy to use and even allows you to navigate menus while continuing to watch your current program.
The integrated streaming is an excellent addition to the features of this TV, instead of necessitating the purchase of additional hardware to make full use of the internet suite for people who want streaming productivity on their televisions. The Bravia Internet Video menu comes pre-programmed with streaming video selections such as Sony's Entertainment Television library of old TV series, health and fitness videos from Livestrong.com, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Sky News headlines, Demand 5, Love Film, blip.tv and other popular web destinations. It also has the functionality of a full web browser so that you can visit any of your favorite sites right from the comfort of your couch. Non-streaming options are also available, such as Sony's Qriocity, a refreshingly new video on Demand service for both music and movies that lets you pick what to watch and when to watch it without worrying about monthly subscription fees and service charges. MoshCam which features live concerts filmed in Sydney's leading music venues will allow you to see your favorite musical acts from the comfort of your home, without the expensive ticket price. Finally, access to Facebook, Twitter and Skype, for making free calls via web cam (however the web cam is not included and would have to be connected via the USB) are all integrated into the platform to help round out its robust assortment of useful and interesting applications while helping the user keep in touch with family and friends through the use of voice and video from the comfort of the couch, in front of the television, in their own home.
It is easy to access the internet via Wifi by purchasing Sony's standard wireless dongle and plugging it into one of the 2 USB ports on the backside or connecting to the internet via the built in Ethernet port. Additionally, the USB ports are perfect for recording and playback, you can easily connect a thumb drive or external hard drive (that is formatted properly) directly to the television and record using the TV directory or by manually entering the details regarding the channels and times that you want to record. Unfortunately, it is important to note that video recorded this way can only be played back on the television it was recorded from (or one exactly like it) and will not be accessible on computers or media players. The USB ports can also be used for file most streaming media such as pictures, video and music which can make for a great way to share your media with friends and family, it is important to note however, that .MKV format is not currently supported.
Out-of-the-box with preset video settings the Sony KDL-46EX524 is great for watching movies and is a pretty solid standard without any adjustments. More advanced users have the opportunity to fine tune the settings based on their external input source, viewing room conditions and personal preferences via the multiple settings that are provided such as back light gradient, brightness, hue and sharpness. The screen has extremely high contrast compared to other models in this price range. The EX524 has the ability to handle 1080p and full HD (high definition) with generally accurate and bright colors without noticeable jagged edges with the added help of Sony Televisions X reality Picture Engine (new in 2011 for Sony branded televisions) which helps to make certain that picture quality is enhanced regardless of the incoming source and scaled/smoothed to HD 1080. Full 1080 x 720 and solid, deep black coloring levels means that this television has superb image quality without the common gray clouds or blobs that are common in other LED televisions around this price point. In dark rooms turning up the back light ensures perfectly even black for video with a lot of darkness and shadows, however in very bright rooms this tends to make the colors look a bit washed out, but the increased back lighting means that it maintains crisp details and cinema-like clarity. A refresh rate of 60Hz means that Blu-ray video looks perfectly smooth with no noticeable ghosting, blurring or trailing. The matte screen is really great at preventing reflectivity, which tends to be an issues with screens of this size.
Speakers surrounding the screen that direct the sound outwards at a 45 degree angle to project sound clearly. The included speakers execute clear and accurate sound with high quality bass and even treble. Incorporated sound settings allow the user to adjust the sound output to their liking, based on the content of material they are watching, three different noise reduction tools help to create dynamic sound while maintaining the integrity of the original material. The on-board speakers can be used in addition to or instead of an external amplifier and speaker system. At very high volume the speakers do tend to give a bit of feedback and buzzing, however at typical volume there were no issues with clarity.
The Sony KDL46EX524 comes with fairly standard ports on the back and side of the television. It has 4 HDMI inputs (one of which is wired for ARC for an audio amplifier), 1 input for composite video, 2 USB ports (mentioned earlier), 1 component video input (generally used for video game systems), 1 VGA-style port for PC input, an Ethernet socket so that you can hard wire the television for internet service if you choose not to use Wifi, an optical out to connect an external amplifier to for digital sound, a built-in tuner for Freeview HD so that you do not need a satellite dish of fiber optic cable to receive high definition television signals and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Having only one tuner might have some limitations, but with the ability to use an external USB HDD making decisions like this will not be difficult. Power saving settings, including a presence sensor that will turn off the screen when the television senses that no one is watching and then thirty minutes later turns off the audio and goes into standby and the overall low power consumption of about 65 Watts makes the running cost of this television very good (and relatively inexpensive) compared to similar models although if you run at some of the preset visual settings you can effectively double this amount. Parental locks and parental controls, essential tools for any family, are included as features accessed through the menu settings and will allow a user to limit access to specific channels or during specific time periods.
In conclusion, the Sony Bravia KDL46EX524BU is an excellent choice for the performance at this price. The lack of 3D capabilities is the biggest draw back of the Sony Bravia KDL-46EX524BU however, it is compensated for fully by the reduced price tag and the high quality of the robust internet media. It is a solid piece of WIFI ready craftsmanship that will easily handle the current and future television and multimedia viewing needs of most people and their families. The ability to fine-tune media to meet personal needs and brilliantly manage the settings with fully capable USB multimedia playback and utilizing Sony's exceptional online video services makes this a high-end television with a full range of connections, a complete range of customization settings for the ideal viewing experience and a moderate price tag for anyone who is looking to get an impressive amount of connectivity and versatility out of an already great product.