Advice Guide

Sony TVs: should you buy one?

by Andrew Laughlin Back to advice guides

Are Sony TVs worth the money? Our expert guide to Sony TVs will help you discover whether it’s the right brand for you.

Sony TVs: all you need to know

Sony TVs usually have Bravia branding. The Japanese company has scaled back its TV ranges in recent years to focus on fewer models, but it still offers TVs ranging from medium size TVs right up to premium models that include flagship sets at 55-inches and over.

Sony predominantly produces LED-backlit LCD TVs, including both HD TVs and new sets capable of 4K TV screen resolution, which is four times the detail of Full HD (for more, please see What is 4K TV?).

Prices of Sony TVs range from around £250 into the many thousands of pounds for the top-end models, but bear in mind that you don’t always have to spend big to get a Best Buy Sony TV.

Sony smart TV

Sony’s smart TV features - available on sets that can connect to the internet – have previously focused on video content rather than interactive features, but that's starting to change.

Sony’s own Video Unlimited service comes pre-loaded on its smart TVs, offering films and other video content to watch. There are also apps for Netflix, LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer and Demand 5, but no ITV Player or 4oD. Plus, Sony does not offer a dedicated app store for downloading extra apps.

Navigating the smart TV features with Sony’s standard remote control can be a pain, so the brand has introduced a special remote featuring a laptop-style trackpad. However, we’ve found that it’s still not that easy to get around, and the web browser remains a source of frustration. The default text size is too small, while zooming-in and opening links is often slow going.

Sony will launch a new smart TV system in 2014 that is designed to make the platform easier to use and more integrated with live TV viewing. We look forward to putting this to the test in our lab.

Sony 3D TV

Sony uses active 3D technology in its Bravia TVs, rather than the passive 3D option used by the likes of LG. Active 3D works in tandem with battery-powered glasses in order to create the 3D effect you see. The chief benefit is that the picture is more detailed and higher resolution than on passive sets.

Bear in mind, though, that active 3D glasses are quite chunky and can be uncomfortable to wear over long periods. If possible try out the glasses before you buy the TV. Most Sony TVs come with a pair of active 3D glasses included, but you’ll need to spend around £20 to £30 to buy extra sets for family and friends.

Head to our What is 3D TV? guide for more on information on 3D, including how it is handled by other brands such as Samsung and Panasonic. 

Sony TV: model numbers explained

Just like other manufacturers, Sony’s model numbers reveal basic information about each TV, such as screen type and features. All Sony Bravia TVs are LED models, and all their names begin ‘KDL’ followed by a series of numbers and letters.

In 2013, any TVs with an ‘R’ in the model number are Sony’s low to mid-range TVs, while models with a ‘W’ are  premium. The final three numbers, in particular the first of these, indicate the series. This goes from the lowest series 3 models, right up to the top-end series 9 sets.

Take the Sony KDL-46W905A, for example. The 46-inch denotes the size of screen, the W indicates that it’s a top-end set and the 9 shows it’s from the flagship range, so it will have all Sony’s latest features and gadgets.