Sony is upping the ante in the high-definition LCD TV stakes with the launch of its Sony Bravia W4000 Series 1,080p screens.

The four W4000 screens will range from 32in up to 46in. Onscreen images are processed by Sony’s Bravia 2 engine and all the displays have an HDTV tuner.

In addition to the HDTV tuner, the screens come with a DVB-T digital TV tuner and Sony’s own AVC-HD (advanced video encoding) tuner. These give consumers access to a broad range of TV channels with no need for a separate set-top box or external tuner in order to access terrestrial HD programmes. The inclusion of a cable TV tuner also marks out the Sony Bravia range from other HDTVs.

According to the Bravia range’s general manager, George Damigos, “The Sony Bravia W4000 Series starts from a position of great strength. Its combination of advanced picture technologies delivers a new standard of excellence which it deploys to maximum effect.”

On all except the 32in entrylevel 32W4000 model, these technologies include 10bit signal processing and the HDMI (high definition media interconnect) connection which, together with the 10bit LCD panel, enable the flat-panel screen to display 1,024 gradations between colours. In standard 8bit panels, only 256 gradations between colours are possible.

A BraviaSync feature enables content to be pulled from other Sony HomeTheatre devices and displayed on the Bravia’s screen. It also means the same remote control can be used to start playing a Blu-ray or standard-definition DVD with a single button press.

Onscreen details are optimised via a wide colour gamut cold cathode fluourescent lamp while the panel also supports the xvYCC and sRGB extended colour spaces.

Housed in a simple, unobtrusive black cabinet, the Sony Bravia W4000 Series is designed to blend in the décor of any home. Two Scart connections and three HDMI connections are included and Sony claims a viewing angle of 178 degrees for all its Bravia W4000 models.

Sony is plugging the screen’s use as a digital photo display when not in use as an HDTV and includes a feature known as Sony PhotoTV HD on the 40in, 42in and 36in models. Cue headlines proclaiming ‘Sony launches world’s largest digital photo frame’, presumably.

To be fair, Sony has put some thought into what that shiny black screen on your living room wall could be used for when in standby mode. It’s come up with six separate display frames for the Sony Bravia W4000 Series, ranging from Pop Art effects for your photo slideshow to Van Gogh-style impressionism. Photos can be read off any USB flash memory drive or Sony’s Micro Vault Tiny.

Sony says the picture frame mode uses about 35 percent less power than TV viewing mode, helping reduce overall power consumption.

Sony Bravia W4000 Series high-definition LCD TV

Sony Bravia W4000 Series high-definition LCD TV

Get the latest home entertainment reviews, setup guides, buying advice and troubleshooting tips in Digital World.