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Sony KDL40V3000 Calibration
Prior to calibration, [Cinema] mode – the default [Colour Temperature] of which is "Warm 2" – on the Sony KDL40V3000 came closest to D65, although the image still appeared a touch red overall:
|Pre-calibration [Cinema] mode CCT||Pre-calibration [Cinema] RGB tracking|
Because the Sony KDL40V3000 offered no white balance controls in the service menu, I had to venture into the service menu – which, in theory, would instantly void the warranty – to calibrate the greyscale. The result was excellent, with delta errors (dEs) of less than 2 from 20% stimulus onwards:
|Post-calibration CCT||Post-calibration RGB tracking|
The colour gamut on Sony KDL40V3000 – even when [Colour Space] was set to "Standard" – did not come close to the spot-on accuracy measured on the KDL40W3000 and KDL40X3500:
|[Colour Space] "Standard"||[Colour Space] "Wide"|
Green primary point was oversaturated and tilted towards cyan; blue primary was also slightly off. Switching [Colour Space] to "Wide" would push green even further from the HD Rec. 709 standard, a deviation that is further exaggerated should [Live Colour] be subsequently engaged.
Benchmark Test Results At A Glance
|Dead/ stuck pixels||0|
|Screen uniformity||Sides of a lighter shade than centre (viewed straight on)
|Overscanning on HDMI
||0% in [Full Pixel] mode|
|Blacker than black||Passed|
|Calibrated black level||Not as deep as the W3000/ X3500
|Black level retention||Undefeatable auto-dimming when screen is black
|Colour chromaticities||Green skewed towards blue
|Scaling||Mediocre (soft detail with some ringing)
|Video mode deinterlacing||Average; limited jaggies reduction
|Film mode deinterlacing
||Passed 3:2 (480i) and 2:2 (576i); failed 3:2 over 1080i
|Digital noise reduction||Effective but causes motion smearing
|Sharpness||Defeatable edge enhancement|
|1080p/24 capability (PS3)||Accepts the signal – no telecine judder
|1:1 pixel mapping
||Yes, when [Display Area] is set to "Full Pixel"
||On par with a Samsung F96
If you had expected the Sony KDL40V3000 to deliver a black-level performance that is similar to the excellent Sony W3000/ X3500, you would be sorely disappointed: calibrated black level was only equivalent to those measured on the recently reviewed Philips 37PFL9632D and Toshiba 47Z3030D. I could lower the absolute black level to match those on the W3000/ X3500, but this would entail either a significant compromise in shadow detail (i.e. black level wouldn't be set correctly) or overall luminance (i.e. the image won't be bright enough even for critical viewing).
To make matters worse, the auto-dimming feature on the Sony KDL40V3000 seemed to be undefeatable due to the omission of [Game/ Text Mode] from the user menu. This means that when the content on screen is black or very near-black, the backlight on the Sony KDL40V3000 would abruptly dim down to its absolute lowest black level which could prove distracting.
Detail & Resolution
Over HDMI, the Sony KDL40V3000 fully resolved all 1920 vertical and 1080 horizontal single-pixel-wide lines. Over component however the 1920 vertical-line pattern was filled with noise and interference indicating limited bandwidth. You are unlikely to reproduce this artefact in real-life viewing as the programmes never tax the full bandwidth of the television the way test patterns do, but to err on the side of caution you should connect your source(s) via HDMI whenever possible.
Playing Chapter 31 of the "FPD Benchmark Software" on the Sony KDL40V3000 produced some interesting results. Before I proceed it's probably useful to include an illustration and explanation of this particular test pattern:
Each "pillar" is made up of 4 lines which gradually become narrower towards the bottom of the screen. The numbers on the right (e.g. 150, 170, 200, 250, etc.) indicate the resolution of the lines at each level. When the test pattern scrolls horizontally, the level at which we can still make out all 4 lines in all the pillars is the motion resolution of the HDTV in question. Notice that the lines and background are made up of different shades which gives us an idea of how the motion resolution vary with high- and low-contrast material.
Onto the Sony KDL40V3000. This LCD television did not seem to treat all resolutions equally when it comes to movement. For example, I could discern all 4 lines at the resolution level of 150, 200 and 250 clearly, yet at the level of 170 the lines strobed significantly to the point of merging. This phenomenon was worst when the contrast between the lines and the background was the smallest (i.e. the rightmost pillar in the above screenshot).
Curiously, I also observed a subtle yellow/ green bleed around the lines of the leftmost pillar (i.e. where the contrast is highest), but only in motion when the screen was scrolling. Cranking [Colour Temperature] up to "Cool" minimised the bleed, though to be honest you probably won't see the bleed if you adopt a viewing distance of more than 6 feet away in the first place.
Scaling quality (i.e. when standard-definition material is upscaled to fit on the 1920x1080 panel) on the Sony KDL40V3000 was mediocre at best: detail was soft, and there were definite though subtle signs of ringing.
I also found jaggies reduction to be average on the Sony KDL40V3000 (i.e. on par with the W3000 and Samsung F86) when tested with the HQV Benchmark DVD. Be very careful though: setting [Film Mode] to anything but "Off" for video-based material would result in more jaggies... particularly obvious in the bouncing bars pattern.
The LCD television fared better in the department of standard-def film mode deinterlacing. The KDL40V3000 not only successfully detected and processed 3:2 cadence (albeit sluggishly), but more importantly for European viewers 2:2 cadence which is more difficult to handle (the reason why some manufacturers just don't bother implementing it on their HDTVs).
When I ran the HD HQV Benchmark disc on the Sony KDL40V3000, the LCD TV passed the "HD Video Resolution Loss Test" (meaning 1080i to 1080p conversion was ok), but failed the "Film Resolution Loss Test" (meaning that the set couldn't process 3:2 cadence over 1080i). To be fair to the KDL40V3000, not many HDTVs I've reviewed so far passed second test anyway, and this entire issue can be sidestepped easily by sending a 1080p signal from a device that deinterlaces HD movies correctly.
Just like the latest Sony LCD televisions I've tested, digital noise reduction on the KDL40V3000 was outstanding even at baseline. Unless the source material is horrendously noisy, I'd prefer not to engage [Noise Reduction] nor [MPEG Noise Reduction]: the former introduced motion smearing at higher settings; the latter truncated fine detail.
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