The BRAVIA rangeGenerally speaking, Sony's model-numbering system is relatively easy to understand. As an example, the 40W5810 is a 40in set that's part of the W-series range. The number after the letter denotes the generation, so this is a fifth-generation LCD box. The last three numbers are used to differentiate features.
As a rough-and-ready reckoner, the single letter denotes the quality of model. Sony's BRAVIA range currently spans from the cheapest 'S' through to the high-end 'Z'. The special E-series model upsets this harmony, though. All but one LCD larger than 32in supports the 'full-HD' resolution of 1080p - 1,920x1,080 pixels - and every single model has a built-in Freeview tuner.
Better-quality TVs have (at least) a 100Hz refresh rate that improves smoothness for fast-motion action. Sony's value-oriented S- and V-series range fall foul of this feature, however. On the other end of the scale, the Z-series remains the only BRAVIA model to feature a 200Hz refresh rate, and, much in demand today, LED backlighting is limited to just three high-end sets.
In effect, the more you spend for a given size the greater the number of picture-enhancing goodies, from faster refresh rates, higher contrast ratios and deeper blacks, to efficient backlighting and super-slim frames. Taken on a feature-for-feature and price-to-price comparison, Sony's BRAVIAs don't quite match up to offerings from Samsung, whose catalogue is littered with slightly higher specifications at every price point.
Sony, though, is attempting to woo customers with a few tasty features of its own, including integrated freesat HD support, as is the case with the 40W5810.
Having gone through the process of purchasing a large-screen LCD TV just over a year ago and finally opting for a Sony BRAVIA 46W4500, shown above, I'm keen to see what difference a year makes.