Sony Bravia KDL-40W4000 Full HD 40in LCD TV - Sony Bravia KDL-40W4000

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Bravia KDL-40W4000 Full HD 40in LCD TV


Our Score:


It's the 40W4000's next feature that's really going to be crucial, though: its Bravia Engine 2 image processing. This is the latest version of Sony's proprietary image processing engine, aimed at improving colours, contrast, motion handling, and detail, and so it's to this that we'll be looking for some sort of fixes for the picture problems - chiefly involving motion - that so plagued the W3000 range.

Sony also claims to have improved its dynamic contrast system for the W4000 models, so that the 40W4000 delivers a claimed - curiously precise! - contrast ratio of 33,000:1. One of the highest we've ever seen.

Other important features include a 24p True Cinema mode designed to deliver Blu-ray 1080/24 sources with greater smoothness; Virtual Dolby Surround processing to create a wider soundstage from the TV's onboard speakers; MPEG and standard noise reduction routines; Sony's Live Colour processing for delivering an expanded and more natural colour palette; plus an auto setup feature that guides you through a few key settings when you first turn the TV on.

With bated breath I settled down to find out if Bravia Engine 2 really does make a difference. And thankfully it does. In fact, it makes so much of a difference that I'm beginning to suspect there may have been other things wrong with the W3000 series besides its image processing; maybe poor quality source panels with low response times?

Anyway, let's concentrate first on the 40W4000's handling of motion, given that this was such a problem on the set's predecessor. Remarkably the smeary, laggy mess of the 46W3000 is more or less completely gone with the 40W4000 - even though the set doesn't carry any 100Hz processing.

During Sky's HD showing of Braveheart, therefore, the pitched, frenetic battles between Wallace's Scots and the English look sharp, detailed and clear rather than blurred and out of focus. Even better, as Wallace prowls left and right on his horse while delivering the justly famed ‘they'll never take our freedom' speech, Wallace blurs scarcely at all as he crosses the screen, even when the camera tracks to keep up with him.

In fact, from the disaster of the W3000 we've gone to a position where the 40W4000 is one of the most accomplished motion-handlers we've seen in the LCD world, even without 100Hz. This leaves us free to appreciate the other things the 40W4000 has going for it - of which there are many.

Fine detail levels with HD footage, for instance, are absolutely superb. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen the distance shots of the massed troops across the battlefields in Braveheart look sharper, clearer or cleaner. Or turning to more intimate footage, as Wallace hunts a deer just before he has his life saved by the mad Irishman, you can see every last hair of the deer's fur - something I've never noticed before. Truly stunning.

Kevin Marshall

August 8, 2008, 2:27 am

After alot of thinking and debating with myself i'm buying this TV this weekend. Will come back to comment after I see how it goes. I trust this site for reviews, let's hope its as good as reviewed to be ;)

PJP Bath

August 12, 2008, 6:30 pm

Does anyone have any more information on the sound quality of this TV. Presumably putting the speakers into a dedicated separate bar (similair to B&O's styling) has been done to seriously improve the sound quality. This was rather brushed over in the article. But this is one of the must have features for me. I can't put five speakers into the room. Has anyone heard this set? Thanks in advance.

Kevin Marshall

August 13, 2008, 5:55 pm

Sound is fine on this TV so far for me. I have to test this TV on my PC with 1080p (just got DVI to HDMI cable) yet but that should be tested within the next few days and so far i'm really happy with this.

PJP Bath

August 18, 2008, 6:13 pm

Thanks Kevin. I have now ordered my set and am awaiting delivery. I think I might opt for the new TV Stand with built in speakers if it needs beefing up. But otherwise - looks like a wise purchase.

Glyn Webster

September 26, 2008, 11:59 pm

I got one based on this review - looks great, sounds great I havent got HD hooked up yet however - if you want clear sport - ie football it looks great until the shot pans out, all the players are surrounded with pixels, like a halo, other programmes on standard def viewing vary in quality eg progs like the Tudors and some films that have dark scenes leave off putting motion blur, some faster moving scenes in poorer lighting are almost unwatchable, another anoying point is that the screen does not semm to be able to keep up with even small movements - particulrly noticable on face close ups - actors faces look odly distoted - i hope to get a freesat box or upgrade to SkyHD soon and hope that the picture quality improves

Kevin Marshall

October 6, 2008, 1:54 pm

I use this TV alot now with my media centre PC, 1080p films all the way. It's amazing quality and with surround sound is just the best feeling for a home movie.

TV is fine for the freeview that comes with it, I have no real issue's, yes you dont get the best motion especially so on sports (football) but I have not seen a decent sized 1080p capable TV that does not have this problem on Standard def. Black colors are fine if not 1 of the best I have seen when it comes to 1080p films.


October 29, 2008, 7:00 pm

john ,...HELLO, anyone looking to buy a sony tv now, would have noticed alot of confusing moves on sony's part regarding HDTVs in the 4 months, eg;

1. canellation of the 40x4500- with only the bra pro 2 as an anvantage over the z and w 4500.

2. which is the better pick x3500 or w4500 (40 inches)- sure the x3500 is better at sd, dvd, free view, screen uniformed, build, looks, softer hd image and at the most darkest of pictures, it's black is deeper or on par....but the w4500 is better at brightness, contrast, features, viewing angle (poor uniformed screen), sharper at HD (weak on sd/freeview), cheaper build, uptodate menu system.?????? which does one pick,???? hellthe cost the same now


3. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRO ENGINE?...anyone?.... they seem not to care for it, COZ WELL they jumped to pro 2 and Bravia Engine 2, the z model should have got the pro engine so there would be reason enough to get it over the w4500. maybe it seem the usefulness of the pros is pointless when you consider free hd freeview????????? IF AND WHEN IT HAPPENS AND WORKS????

4. the price of the 46x4500??? compared to the better, not as bright 50 pioneer 8 an 9th

...............well i have to say till two months ago i was set to buy a 40x3000, but now i am sooo so lost , i think will just buy a pioneer 50 and cover all the bases (future, value, image qaulity and build).

I would love to see you review the 40w4500, to round off everything, coz i respect your take and reviews?

kind regards,


Stephen George

February 16, 2009, 1:16 am

Bought this TV based of reading many positive reviews. My experience is one of extreme disappointment! Being a keen sports fan watching football in SD the picture is abysmal...smearing is a big problem. My other TV a Pioneer Plasma 427XD is superb even in SD. In my opiniom LCD TV if this is the "best of" does not come close to Plasma!

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