|Sony KDL-46Z4100 LCD HDTV|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs LCD HDTVs|
|Written by Tom Volotta|
|Thursday, 30 April 2009|
Page 3 of 9Initial Setup
With every new performance improvement, convenience feature, media format input and network interface, setting up modern televisions has become a more involved process. Gone are the days of simply plugging it in and turning it on to watch your favorite channel. The KDL-46Z4100 is no different in that respect, containing a vast selection of picture, sound, motion, screen settings, input management performance adjustment and personal preference options to customize your viewing.
Fortunately, Sony does make threading through the maze of possibilities relatively straightforward so you can get the basics up and running quickly, even automating several coordinated settings to their optimum performance with a just a few clicks.
Getting the 46Z4100 ready for basic television viewing is almost foolproof, but can be a little tedious putting in the final touches. Just connect your antenna or cable source, navigate to Initial Setup and active Auto Program. This will load all the analog (as of this writing still hanging in there, extended through June 2009) and digital channels available.
After scanning and loading the channels, you’ll probably want to go back and use the Show/Hide Channels to delete those that will never be watched so scrolling through channels will be more efficient. This also enables you to delete the Standard Definition version of a local channel that is also available in (unscrambled) High Definition through the QAM tuner. Unlike some TVs, the Sony 46Z4100 automatically switches from analog to digital tuner when changing channels. What may be the biggest reason to go through the Show/Hide exercise is to sidestep the huge number of audio-only digital channels available on most cable systems.
The 46Z4100 does not have a “Skip Radio” option which simply side-steps that clutter during Initial Setup. There’s a built-in, free, TV Guide® channel guide (can take 24 hours to fully activate) which is an attractive, handy way to browse the programming schedules for several channels at once. It worked well and even displayed a small window and sound of the channel you’re currently watching while scrolling through the listings. I personally didn’t use it much, as using such a guide would indicate purposeful intent and direction - characteristics that impinge upon my erratic style of channel hopping. Note: the new 5100 series uses an updated, Internet-based version of the TV Guide feature.
Once your viewing channels are programmed in, a feature I did like very much was Favorites.
It allows you to not only add selected TV channels and sources like your Blu-ray player, DVR to the list, but depicts them as graphics on a rotating carousel with the TV call sign, logo, channel number and even program title. Sources you’ve selected in the current time you’ve been watching TV are stacked in a center file so you can easily navigate just those channels or sources viewed most recently.
Even though the 46Z4100 can be connected to your home network via Ethernet, a firmware upgrade I needed to do still had to be downloaded separately with a computer, then installed through the TV’s USB port. Not a big deal, but different from upgrades of the Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player. Probably because the S350 is configured as a Profile 2.0, BD-Live machine so makes regular two-way use of the Internet. The LCD can check through the Internet whether updates are available though.