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Sony KDL40W2000 Review

by Colin Tang
5 March 2007

Gabby Logan

If you don’t already know what BRAVIA is all about, then you have probably missed the whole point of Sony’s bouncy balls and paint explosion adverts. With a slogan like "Colour like.no.other", the multi-award-winning BRAVIA is Sony’s brand in marketing its high-definition LCD TVs. Sony broke into the competitive 1080p market by launching the relatively affordable but surprisingly well featured KDLW2000 series, which we will put to test in today’s review. It highlights the well advertised BRAVIA engine and Live Colour Creation, hoping to set itself from competitors and becoming the class leader for LCD TVs.

In case you didn’t know, BRAVIA stands for Best Resolution Audio Visual Integrated Architecture…

 


Discuss this article at our new HDTVTest forum


Questions/Comments

Andy says: 03/06/2007 - 05:37

I've got this TV arriving today - brilliant review, and it feels like the first one I can actually trust. I suppose I'll have to wait and see whether I've got a cloudy one...

One question about something that's really confusing me. I've heard that even though the PC input only accepts 1360x768, people are managing to get their XBox 360s to display 1080p through it. This is quite important for me as I've got a 360 with the HD DVD drive. I don't want to waste 20 on a VGA cable if the TV is actually going to give me the same results as through component. So is it actually possible that the TV is displaying 1080p through VGA, or do you think it's somehow fudging it into 1080i?

Thanks again for a brilliant review!
Phil B says: 03/06/2007 - 09:03

Comprehensive review as always. What a great site this is. What I really want to know is which set you would personally rate more highly, the Sharp 42XD1E or the W2000. Which should I get? Also, with my existing Sony 32V2000 I generally keep the backlight at an absolute maximum of 2. At these sorts of levels, would the mura issue still be visible, or rather, on your particular set is it still visible at that level?
Andy says: 03/07/2007 - 05:21

Phil - my set arrived yesterday and even with the backlight on 0, the clouds were still very visible. It's not just when you have no input selected, it affects dark scenes quite badly. That said, I seem to have a very bad case of clouds compared to many people who've bought this set (based on what I read on AVForums).
Keemal says: 03/07/2007 - 11:14

Great site and excellent, expertly concluded reviews etc. One thing i'd like to comment on; Vincent says in one of his reviews that it's all about compromises at the price point of 1500!!!! Come on guys, let's have a reality check! 1500 is not exactly peanuts is it? Some of us work hard for every penny we get and want to enjoy whatever we buy with those hard earned pennies!

Am I alone in thinking this? or is everyone here loaded with endless cash!
Phil B says: 03/07/2007 - 12:07

1500 will probably net you a 40" Sony X-series online - supposedly the best LCD money can buy. Supposedly. The big money comes into it when you're looking at things like high-end Pioneer plasmas.
Colin Tang says: 03/07/2007 - 12:26

Thanks for your comments. Sorry for the late reply.

@Andy: Movies at 1080p is only supported when using the VGA cable, component supports movies up to 1080i. Games can output at 1080p via VGA or component. I have been hearing conflicting reports as to what the Xbox 360 actually sends over the VGA cable to the Sony. VGA can carry 1080p natively, its restrictions are normally in place due to firmware. The main difference is where the film mode deinterlacing will take place; 1080i (in TV) and 1080p (in Xbox). I don't think you will notice a significant problem using either to be honest, but if you see twitter, loss of detail or combing on one connection, you can try the other. I'm sorry that you have a clouded TV, you should inform Sony or your retailer.

@Phil B...I hope you don't get this the wrong way, but our current policy is not to give any personal recommendations. You might hold us reponsible if something went wrong. :) Anyway, Vincent is completing a shootout between the two models, so wait and see what he thinks. Your backlight settings vary between different sets and individual taste. The three things that affect mura visibility are picture brightness, backlight settings and ambient light. For example, in low light conditions with dark scenes and high backlighting will make it more visible. For our set, at the black level that we prefer, we are able to see clouding in the above conditions.

@Keemal- No you are right. It is about performance/price ratio in the end. Unfortunately, that can't change the fact that at the abovementioned price point, no TV can get everything right. The technology, although fairly commonplace by now, is still expensive. 2007 should see huge price drops and newer models. Good luck with your hunting!!!
David says: 03/09/2007 - 05:50

Fantastic review. I'm buying a PlayStation 3 when they are released in the UK. I plan to buy this T.V to go with it. Some games are capable of 1080p while most games are 720p. If i use HDMI will i suffer any problems with overscanning & pixel mapping etc? What about the same thing, but over Component and VGA?

Thanks.
Colin Tang says: 03/09/2007 - 11:40

The TV always converts all incoming inputs to its native 1080 resolution, with or without overscanning. So when we say 1:1 pixel mapping for 1080 source, then it fits exactly without any overscanning. 720p will be rescaled up to 1080 with minor loss of detail and softening. This can't be helped but you are unlikely to complain about this. Enjoy your TV and here's hoping to a `cloud nine' experience.
John says: 03/10/2007 - 13:50

Just wondering if this t.v has HDMI 1.3?
Also does the sony x series 40 inch have hdmi 1.3?
What will happen if i connect a hdmi 1.2 source to the a t.v that has hdmi 1.3 such as the ps3?

thanks.
Andrew Turner says: 03/10/2007 - 13:54

Please can you tell me the best settings
Thanks
Colin Tang says: 03/11/2007 - 09:49

@John

I don't think so. I am not sure about the X series. It is backward compatible with PS3. Please read my article as to why it shouldn't matter.

@ My settings are up in the PQ page. They will not be the best for you for a variety of reasons.

Thanks guys.
Carl says: 03/13/2007 - 04:01

Is there a difference between the Sony KDL40W2000 and Sony KDL40W2000U? May be a silly question but thought I'd best ask before I part with my money.
Colin Tang says: 03/13/2007 - 08:38

U for UK. No difference.

Thx.
Peter says: 03/13/2007 - 12:18

Can you please tell me does the clouding backlight issue only effect Sony's or do other manufacturer tv's from Philips, Toshiba, Panasonic etc suffer from similar problems or do they have any other issues with there backlights?

P.S. Great Site and love the reviews. Long may it continue.
Looking forward to the review between Sony and Pioneer.
Bernd Mielke says: 03/14/2007 - 11:15

Hi,

I just discovered this site today. IMHO you guys write the best reviews on the net. Most other sites get carried away with the technicalities of HD display and do not really concentrate on what most of us do with these sets, i.e. watch SD television. You also seem to be the only reviewers who come across the deficiencies that many of us have encountered: banding, clouding, mura, insufficient viewing angles, bad sound etc.

My respects to you and keep the good work coming. For me you are the reference !!
Colin Tang says: 03/15/2007 - 08:18

@ Peter I know that the clouding issue has been termed a backlight problem but this is not entirely correct. The proper term is probably `screen uniformity' problems. The `mura' can be found in other LCD brands either through poor QC control or cheaper models. I have no direct proof for this but I suspect that if we were to discard all LCD panels that exhibited some mura, then LCD would cost much more or they'd just abandon the technology. So in a sense you can have a certain manufacturer tolerance for this problem, much like dead or stuck pixels. What I don't like is that there doesn't seem to be a clear standard as to what is acceptable out there at the moment.

We will publish the Pioneer 4270xd review soon, followed quickly by the shootout. Both have very strong points...and unexpected results.

@ Bernd Thank you. The problems are easy enough to find, it is part of our review process. The thing to remember is that we ONLY review a model sample and so it is not correct to extrapolate the findings to all units. It should serve more as a guide and a learning process.
Dan says: 03/15/2007 - 16:15

I was about to buy this TV today but thought I should look for some reviews first. Naturally at the shop they were playing a Blue Ray movie so it looked awesome so I wanted to check.

In regards to the clouding, have you heard wether

- It is bad on most of them? I know you can't say "all" for obvious reasons.

- More recently built sets have eliminated or improved the problem? Is there even a way to check.


I mean if I bought one on-line could I just keep sending it back under DSR until I got one I was happy with? Or would I be wasting my time because I was liekly to keep getting the same problem?

Also I live in Germany at the moment. Are DSR still valid?

Thanks allot, you guys do a great job.
Colin Tang says: 03/16/2007 - 08:52

@Dan

1) I cannot guess the extent of the problem. I know it can be bad, but we have heard of good sets too.

2) Again, I don't know if they have fixed anything. Our model had clouding on a Feb 2007 model. You can check for the problem watching dark scenes or no AV input on factory backlight settings and low ambient light conditions.

3) Can't help you there with DSR Germany. You need to talk to the seller regarding their returns policy. Unless you keep sending it back yourself, you may be liable for delivery charges.

Thanks.
Rob Masters says: 03/18/2007 - 10:41

Could someone give me confirmation that the Sony 40W2000 DOES support 1080p over component and vga when connected with a X360 with the 1080p update done. Your review say otherwise but one of your replies to someone says that you confirm 1080p over component or vga. Please help
Colin Tang says: 03/19/2007 - 07:51

@ Rob

I can't confirm the output for Xbox 360 on component or VGA. The Xbox 360 update does suggest that movies are output as 1080p but I wouldn't know if this applies when Sony W2000 is connected to it. You may need to check with the Xbox 360 forum on this matter. Sorry.
GeorgeD says: 03/23/2007 - 08:24

Hi There,

In the conclusions you say the following;

"It is also worth noting that the Bravia engine is not the final panacea for viewers who will be looking to stick with SD sources for a while, although good bit rate programmes and DVDs look pretty good on it. I know there are better BRAVIA processing out there; unfortunately they belong to the more expensive models."

I'm about to purchase a new flat panel LCD TV to replace an existing CRT model. I have no interest in games, do not want to get into HD DVDs until the format war is settled, and have no plans, at present, to upgrade my Sky subs to HD.

Have you done any reviews of the models which are better for SD use?

I've read several of your reviews for 40" and 42" sets, but in all of the ones I read, you seem to imply that they do not display SD very well.

Thanks for any insight.
Tony says: 03/23/2007 - 17:48

Been checking out the LCD options. Your reviews of the Samsung and Sony are very useful. The ideal solution I am looking for is a large screen LCD, 40 inch or so, ideally 1080p that will take computer input at the full native resolution, with deep colour (greater than 8 bits per colour) and no processing delay between the picture and sound when played through an AV amplifier.

I have an LG 42inch plasma at the moment and the image processing means the sound through my AV amp is slightly ahead of the picture.

I found you comments interesting and dissapointing about the overscan on the Samsung as the deep colour specification of the Samsung sounds promising. The Sony on the other hand has the potential for the clouding problem and limited support for the 1-to-1 pixel mapping.

Would a computer display presented to the Sony from a DVI output via a DVI to HDMI cable display at full 1-to-1 resolution?

Thanks for the great info.
Colin Tang says: 03/24/2007 - 08:28

@Tony
Yes the HDMI should be capable of 1:1 mapping from a DVI source. We couldn't test it directly because of our graphics card incompatibility but several users have mentioned that this is possible.

@GeorgeD
While I would personally like to see SD phased out as soon as possible, I don't deny that like it or not, it's going to be staple for the average consumer for a long time.

I can't cover all the problems with SD broadcasts on today's HDTV but I can tell you that most of them are caused by the fact that modern TVs are progressively scanned and have bigger screen sizes.

If you divide picture quality assessment into two broad groups: image production (blacks, contrast ratio, brightness, colour processing, motion handling, resolution etc ) and video processing artifacts (scaling and deinterlacing, MPEG mosquito and blocking), then I can tell you that no HDTV has ticked all the boxes. That's why I can't give top marks for SD viewing although depending on your preference, some TV's can be awesome because they do the important things so well that you are likely to forgive its weaknesses.
Carl says: 03/25/2007 - 13:52

Is this bracket any good?

http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id=26947&ts=48643#
Oliver Ambrose says: 04/03/2007 - 16:02

I am about to buy the sony hopefully!! Has anyone played a PS3 on one yet? and if so any good?
netmano says: 04/05/2007 - 05:14

Hi!
I have a KDL-40W2000, but I can't get 1920x1080 picture on it, from a PC.
I tried Intel 855gm (notebook) graphics card, and a Mac PowerBook, and an Nvidia 7700.
So my question: How to get 1:1 pixel mapping over HDMI in 1920x1080 resolution (The picture was always cropped...)
Thanks.
Jack says: 04/08/2007 - 19:22

How do you set up 1:1 mapping (pixel for pixel), I have gone into the "display area" menu and all it says is normal, -1, -2, no optioon of full pixel?
Colin Tang says: 04/09/2007 - 06:40

If you have a compatible video card (yes we have issues with some) you can only get the full pixel option when you are use 1080 resolution on HDMI. If I remember correctly you can't use this on VGA.
John B says: 04/10/2007 - 06:37

I will be buying either this Sony TV or the Samsung LE40M87BD in the next week and was just wondering which set you would concider the best.

Thanks.

PS. Very good site
Per says: 04/10/2007 - 10:27

Hello all.
Check out this info from Sony, regarding the problem with "clouding":

http://support.sony-europe.com/hotnews/tv/lcdwx/lcdwx.asp?l=en

I have seen this phenomenon on my KDL40W2000, especially on dark scenes with slow camera movements, but will try the settings recommended by Sony.

Otherwise I am quite satisfied with the TV so far, when watching digital SDTV and DVD. Actually I bought it together with a PlayStation 3, with the intension to utilize the HD capabilites of the TV. The PS3 performs well when playing blu-ray discs and viewing JPEG pictures. But I have read that it has some shortcomings regarding ordinary DVD playback - e.g. no upscaling and bad de-interlacing. So I will keep the separate DVD-player as well.
Adam says: 04/10/2007 - 15:48

Quite random I know - but what FA Cup match on BBC HD is that
cap from?
Colin Tang says: 04/10/2007 - 16:41

Thanks all.

@ Adam...haha I can't remember now, must have been a spontaneous shot. Poor Gabby she looks really uncomfortable filling in for Gary, with all that `hostility' from the boys.

@ John B it's a tough call...maybe Vincent will have a better idea when he finishes his examination.

Alan B says: 04/12/2007 - 16:25

I've had the KDL-46W2000 since last November and this beauty is one of the best buy's of my life. Cost me 1900 then and what value....
Fabiano says: 04/13/2007 - 02:37

Concerning the clouding problem, I read in a German forum that it could partially come from mechanic problems (where the panel is slightly bend). By unscrewing the panel on the side where the cloud was, it could be nearly entirely removed.
A test can be done, by applying pressure on the panel, trying to bend it, the clouding shifts.

Could you confirm this?

**Thank you for this good review. Helps a lot.
Daz says: 04/13/2007 - 12:32

Good tv yes, but once again its overpriced sony! no better than the much cheaper and new samsung range!
Colin Tang says: 04/13/2007 - 18:18

The clouding does shift with pressure on the optical sheet. Unfortunately I'm not brave enough to mess around with screws.

David says: 04/15/2007 - 05:58

How does it compare with the KDL40X2000, and have you done a review of that model yet please?

Also, is it worth waiting for the D3000 series in your opinion? Basically I'm after a full 1080p hdtv that most importantly must be very clear for use as a 'monitor' with a ps3/pc (I want to be able to read text easily on the screen). My research has led me to the 40" model you reivewed here, the 40" 'X' version of it, and the 40" D3000 that should be out this autumn. What are your thoughts please?

The reason I'm thinking 40" is because that seems to be the smallest you can get a decent quality 1080p set, but if there are smaller ones (down to say 27") then please point me in their direction! And please don't ppl start saying that you need a massive screen to make use of the 1080p, because that's not true at all for what I want to use it for...

Btw I've already decided that I think Sony's 27" 1080p OLED screen is not worth waiting for, unless someone knows something I don't and it's coming out soon? :p