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Equally remarkable are the 40W4000's black levels. Dark Braveheart scenes like the one where Wallace is visited in the forest by the French princess achieve depths of blackness that have previously only been achievable by plasma technology. What's more, the black levels we're talking about look completely stable, with no trace of the sort of brightness ‘stepping' that can trouble many LCD TVs with dynamic contrast systems.
So what's next? Let's go for colours. Once again the 40W4000's handling of Braveheart's unusually varied palette - which takes in everything from rich greens for the Scottish landscape through bright fabrics in the clothes of the English nobles to lots of naturally and low-lit skin tones - is as good as anything we've ever seen on an LCD TV. It hardly puts a foot wrong at any point, shifting effortlessly from the vibrant hues of the shot where a bloodied, blue-painted Wallace stands against a rich blue sky to the dull browns and greys of a meeting of Scottish nobles in a dingy castle room.
What's more, the screen's 1920x1080 resolution is put to full use in conjunction with the Bravia Engine 2 processing and 10-bit video engine in making colours appear with infinitely subtle blends; there's no trace of colour banding anywhere, even over faces.
Maybe there's some sort of video noise going on to let the side down? Nope, not at all. HD images look absolutely pristine, with no sign of the grain or dot crawl that can afflict HD footage on many rival screens.
It's important to stress following our problems with the 46W3000 that the 40W4000 is also unusually accomplished with standard definition, upscaling it to the screen's full HD resolution with a noiseless assurance that's now up there with the best of the similarly priced LCD competition.
If I had to find fault with the 40W4000's pictures, I might point to the way some mid-dark shots look just a little ‘crushed' in black level terms versus the vast majority of footage. Also there's some very minor low-level shimmering noise over the occasional patch of particularly fine detail, and I guess it's possible motion could look even sharper on Sony's upcoming new 100Hz ranges.
But, with the set pumping out a very respectable audio performance to accompany its mostly glorious pictures, I'm far more inclined to count my blessings for £1,000 than dwell on a couple of puny little negatives.
After misfiring so badly with its previous LCD set, Sony has returned to form in quite spectacular fashion with the 40W4000. In fact, this TV isn't just good, it's shockingly good.
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