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Sony KDL40W4000 Review Conclusion
- Accurate primary colours with excellent decoding
- Excellent black level with decent shadow detail
- Exquisite high-definition detail from "Full Pixel" 1:1 pixel mapping
- Handles 1080p/24 video signal correctly without telecine judder
- [Film Mode] "Auto" can deinterlace film-based 1080i material to 1080p without resolution loss
- Better than average scaling of standard definition content
- Solid connectivity with 3 x HDMI 1.3, USB input, etc.
- TV speakers deliver impressive resolution, soundstage and dynamic range
- Settings can be saved independently per input
- Speedy and responsive EPG and channel navigation
- Table-top stand swivels and easy to set up
- No white balance control in user menu for greyscale calibration
- Motion resolution not as good as those on HDTVs equipped with MCFI/ 100Hz technology
- Fails to apply 3:2/ 2:2 pulldown to 480i/ 576i film-based content even with [Film Mode] set to "Auto"
- Backlight setting not saved if the Sony KDL40W4000 does not go into "true" standby mode
- XMB user menu rendered in lower resolution and lags intermittently
- Slight clouding and LCD backlight bleed (though negligible once calibrated)
- Mild low-pitched electronic hum from back of TV (not a problem at normal sitting distance and TV volume)
In addition to the inherited virtues of excellent blacks, accurate primary colours, exquisite fine detail portrayal and solid connectivity, the Sony KDL40W4000 does show some areas of improvement over the outgoing W3000 series: calibrated black level is slightly deeper; standard-def scaling is better; and there's no longer any black/ near-black auto-dimming.
Unfortunately (perhaps as an inevitable consequence of cost-cutting) there are a couple of components which got worse: white balance (and gamma) controls are no longer available in the user menu therefore impeding D65 greyscale calibration; and SD film mode deinterlacing is non-existent.
Regardless of these flaws, at this time of writing the Sony KDL40W4000 remains the best LCD HDTV – in terms of both picture and sound quality – we've reviewed in 2008. We haven't seen the latest Samsung 5 and 6 series nor Toshiba's ZF range of LCD TVs, but equalling (let alone surpassing) the stellar performance delivered by the Sony KDL40W4000 will be no easy feat.
Footnote 27 March 2009: The latest model in the Sony Bravia W series is the KDL40W5500 which is equipped with Bravia Engine 3 (BE3), Motionflow 100Hz and Applicast technology.
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