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Best TV brands

Sony TVs: should you buy one?

By Ben Stockton

Article 5 of 6

With wildly variable quality, the Sony name may not be the guarantee of a TV’s quality you think it is. Find out all you need to know about the brand in our expert guide.

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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 so that it can focus on fewer models, but it still offers TVs ranging from medium-sized sets right up to premium models, including flagship sets at 55-inches and larger.

Sony predominantly produces LED-backlit LCD TVs, including full-HD TVs and higher-resolution 4K sets. Like the other big brands, Sony’s top-end TVs also now include 4K high dynamic range (HDR) models, as well as a brand new 2017 OLED TV. Not only do these give you four-times-higher resolution than full HD but also the greater range of colour tones offered by HDR.

Sony TVs range from around £250 into many thousands of pounds for the top-end models, but we’ve found that a higher price doesn’t always result in better performance.

Ready to buy? Discover great TVs from Sony and other leading brands in expert Sony TV reviews.

Sony smart TV

Sony smart TVs run the Android TV system. While it was a little clunky initially, it’s since evolved to improve ease of use, albeit slowly. Problems with availability of apps have also reared their ugly head, but Sony can now match other smart-TV systems in terms of the variety available.

Integration of YouView into Sony smart TVs means you’ll now be able to use the integrated catch-up services. This smart electronic programme guide allows you to watch BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub and other services straight from your TV guide simply by scrolling backwards, much like Freeview Play.

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, you can learn some basic information about each TV just from its model code. We’ll use the Sony KD-55XD9305BU as an example.

The KD simply tells you that this is a Sony TV, although you may also see KDL for some other sets. The first number indicates the screen size, so it’s a 55-inch screen in this case.

The next letter will to tell you a little more about this family of TVs. X means that it has 4K resolution, while an S would mean it has a curved 4K screen. The D shows that it’s a 2016 TV.

The following series of numbers gives you some indication of price: the higher the number, the more high-end the TV and, hence, the more expensive it will be. The 9305 for instance, is Sony’s top-of-the-range 2016 model.

The final two letters tell you two things: colour and region. For this model, you know the bezel and stand are black (B) rather than silver (S). And at the very end, the U means it’s a UK model.

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