Sony KDL-52W4100 LCD TV Comparisons & Conclusion
The most immediate comparison is with Sony's own KDL-52XBR4. The 52W4100 doesn't have quite as many bells and whistles, but none of them are critical in my opinion. The newer model has a much lower effective black level and displays much sharper detail on DVDs. Even better, the 52W4100 is $1000 less than the equivalent XBR4.
The other obvious comparison is with the Samsung LN52A750, which lists for $200 more than the 52W4100. The Samsung achieves a slightly lower black level, and it has slightly better 120Hz frame interpolation—that is, it exhibits fewer artifacts in problematic material. Also, the Samsung can access media files from a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) server or USB storage device, which is much more useful than BIVL for folks with an Internet connection slower than 15Mbps—that is, most of us—and it doesn't cost extra. The video quality is better, too. I prefer the Samsung's menu system, but the Sony's onboard sound is better, and its bezel is smaller, which could be a factor for some.
Overall, the KDL-52W4100 improves on the 52XBR4 in most ways, including black level, frame interpolation, and DVD detail. It's a fine LCD TV that I can recommend without reservation.
Rich, natural colors
Excellent effective black level
Excellent performance on DVD
Menu system could be better organized
120Hz frame interpolation not the best I've seen (but much better than XBR4)
Shadow detail not the best I've seen
BIVL requires ultra-fast Internet connection to be effective; even then, video quality is poor