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

John Archer

By John Archer
Reviewed:

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

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

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.

Verdict

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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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.

Lew

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





...REALLY HOW IMPORTANT IS THE BLACK OVER THE PRO ENGINE ?





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,


jack

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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