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Controlling & Operating KDL40W2000

by Colin Tang
5 March 2007

We had high hopes for this model, especially when it commanded the higher end of the 1000-1500 price bracket. And for many reasons, we were not disappointed. The Sony has an extensive submenu system with an impressive array of options. So much so that you will still be at the menu long after you installed your TV.

The main menu materializes at the bottom left corner of the screen at a flick of a button. It is partially transparent and does not obscure the screen significantly while you are making adjustments. From there you can access a host of submenus very quickly, thanks to its ultra responsive input from the remote control; menu cruising has never been this easy. I’ll describe some of the more important sub-menus below.

Picture Menu
Picture Menu

There are three picture modes available: vivid, standard, custom. Target inputs allow you to select one setting for all sources but this is not normally necessary and should probably be avoided.You should get a calibration disc to adjust contrast, brightness, colour and sharpness levels. There are five gradations for colour temperature with Warm 2 being closest to D65 standard. Noise reduction clearly works by flattening out image noise but I left it off most of the time because on a good signal this is not normally a problem. The Backlight control, together with Power Saving, Light Sensor and Auto Contrast Enhancer plays an important part in black level and overall brightness of the display.. As we shall see later, they will be crucial in alleviating our display's `affliction'.

Advanced Settings
Advanced Settings

Under the Advanced Settings, you get a selection of exotic video processing options. For me, that's where the fun begins (they even have gamma control!!!). I'll go into it with some detail in the technology section later. The most important thing is that this model allows independent memory inputs per source. This allows separate calibration of inputs and storage of those settings for every single source for the best picture quality. There is one caveat though, we found that the greyscale values in the service menu will be the same on all inputs for a specific mode (dynamic, standard or custom).

Screen Menu
Screen Menu

Sony offers a lot of flexibility in making screen size adjustments. Of note, under SD material, you can have a choice of 5 modes: smart, 4:3, wide, zoom and 14:9. You only get smart, wide and zoom modes in HD. Also, secretly tucked in the display area option is the vital ability to enable 1:1 mapping on 1080i and 1080p. They named it full pixel instead of 1:1 mapping or dot by dot for reasons I cannot imagine.

Setup Menu
Setup menu

Just be aware that the Power Saving and Light Sensor function reside here.

EPG
The blurry, antiquated looking Electronic Programming Guide

I wasn't particularly impressed with the EPG. I don't watch terrestial digital broadcast a lot since the introduction of HDTV but I remember seeing better EPG's out there, with a small preview screen, caption and summary, all of it absent here. Also the EPG is considerably blurry though I'm not sure what to make of it. I suspect the internal scaling algorithm is tested fully here with high frequency text edges, leading to a mediocre outcome.

Digital Info   I couldn't resist this :). The digital tuner info menu significantly covers the action behind. Now who designed this?
Remote Control   Sony opted for the no-frills approach in their non-universal, yesteryear remote control. To be fair, it becomes easier to operate with its spartan layout and the response from this remote is lightning fast. It's just that it is in REAL danger of being left behind the cooler but more functional designs coming out more recently.
Remote Control   I just wished it came in a slender frame; holding it in my hand was not comfortable because of the broad base.

One feature missing was the Picture-in-picture mode. Sony offers the Picture Freezing instead, although I fail to understand its real world application.

There was a minor hum when we initially powered up the Sony but this is totally benign and won't ruin your enjoyment. The hum will get louder, and can also be accompanied by a buzz on very high brightness settings, but we doubt if you're eyes will tolerate these levels.

Back To: KDL40W2000 Review
 

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