Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sony KDL-46D3500 Review


The KDL-46D3500 is the embodiment of Sony's design philosophy with a chic matte black understated presence that simply oozes class. Build quality is back to its very best with the Sony looking like it could have been sculpted from a solid block of metal.


Unlike the KDL-40D3500, there is no corresponding 3000 model alongside the KDL-46D3500 in the UK. If you are familiar with the D3000 series from Sony it is worth noting that the 46D3500's spec sheet reads a little different than you would imagine.

Screen: 46in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Contrast Ratio: 1800:1 (16,000 dynamic)
Brightness: 500cd/m2
Other Features: Bravia Picture Processing Engine, Live Colour Creation, 24p True Cinema.
Sockets: 2 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, PC input.

Sony currently offer a huge range of LCD TV's and the number of different models can seem quite bewildering to those of you who are looking to buy a new LCD TV. The D3500 sits between the slightly higher spec V3000 series and directly above the slightly lower spec T3500 line.

Essentially, the D3500 gains 'True Cinema' over the T3500 but comes equipped with a slightly less sophisticated version of Sony's 'Bravia' picture processing engine than the V3000.

The 46D3500 comes equipped a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution which can potentially give a marked improvement in the display of sources such as Sky Tv (1080i). The 1080 lines of resolution match the resolution of the screen negating the need for any picture scaling to fit. If you have a device which outputs pictures in the superior 1080p (e.g. Sony's PlayStation 3) the 3500 can accept those pictures in their full glory.

There is no 'Motionflow +100Hz' technology on the 46D3500 (featured on the 40D3000) which doubles the number of frames shown from 50 to 100 by interpolating an extra frame in between each source frame.

The KDL-46D3500 is equipped with '24p True Cinema' which enables the panel to display films at their intended 24fps (frames per second).

Alongside 24p True Cinema is Sony's 'Theatre Mode' technology which adjusts colour, contrast and brightness settings to makes movies look as authentic as the original.

It is worth mentioning that the 24p mode comes into its own with High Definition (Blu-ray or HD DVD) players which allow you to play movies at their original speed. The original 'cine' film is generally recorded at 24 frames per second, which in the absence of '24p True Cinema' is speeded up to 25 (standard for most TV's) frames per second with an accompanying increase in audio pitch.

Colour reproduction on the KDL-46D3500 should offer smoother transitions than previous Sony LCD's with a new 10-bit panel offering 1024 shades of gradation.

Theatre Sync, which is Sony's name for CEC (Consumer Electronic Control), is a control standard that functions over HDMI 1.3. The technology facilitates one-touch control over compatible devices and in practice means that if you fire up your compatible DVD player, the all connected devices such as your LCD TV will also spring into life.

Sonically, the KDL-46D3500 comes equipped with Sony's S-Force Front Surround which is their latest virtual surround sound technology.


High Definition (HD) is where the Sony KDL-46D3500 excels. Hook up a 1080p capable source and you will be treated with absolutely pristine pictures. The KDL-46D3500 displays a clarity and sharpness that make you want to reach out and touch objects or people as they glide across the screen. Colours are wonderfully vibrant and reach a level of authentic realism to match any LCD.

Although black levels are still behind the best that plasma can offer, the KDL-46D3500 has made great strides in this area from previous Sony's. Shadow detailing now takes on a subtlety which is a match for any 46in LCD currently out there.

Standard Definition (SD) performance suffers to a degree from some of the inconsistencies that creep into a picture as a result of the conversion of a 576p source to an HD ready screen configuration, especially with such a large screen. SD performance is nevertheless very good, and quite an accomplishment for a 46in LCD.

The SD performance can be a little 'grainy' at times with some noticeable degradation in picture quality with faster motion sequences. Simply as a result of the extra size, the KDL-46D3500 can't quite live up to the performance of its smaller 40D3500 brother, but was better than we expected.

Finally, if there is a 46in LCD TV out there with a richer or more precise colour palette, we have yet to see it. The range, depth and subtlety in this respect is simply outstanding. The most intricate of detailing such as skin tone is realised with class leading performance.


The Sony KDL-46D3500 is a another highly accomplished performer when it comes to High Definition material. However, if SD viewing is just as important there are better performers out there.

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