But feed this TV a proper high definition image and it just comes to life. I hooked up my Xbox 360 via the component video input and set it to 720p high definition output and the result was simply stunning. Firing up something like Need For Speed Most Wanted produced an incredibly immersive driving atmosphere, especially when hammering out of a tunnel into the HDR splendour of a setting sun. Playback of 720p video content on the X360 was also superb and gives some idea of what HDTV transmissions will be like when they arrive.
Of course the holy grail of HD connectivity is HDMI, but you’ll only find a handful of DVD players that sport HDMI outputs and even then they will be up-scaling a standard definition signal. So, to get a proper idea of what an HDMI connected device could produce I used a DVI to HDMI cable and a PC as the source. I played back a multitude of HD content using WMV9-HD and QuickTime 7 H.264 – as expected the image produced by the Sony was excellent, although I have to say that I’d be hard pushed to see an improvement over a component video connection.
One aspect that may put prospective buyers off the move to HD is cost, but I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable the KDLS40A12U is. A quick search around the web brought back a price of £1,665.20 including VAT – this may seem a lot of money, but for a 40in LCD screen with this many features and a Sony badge, that’s a real bargain.
If you’re thinking of making the leap into the world of high definition TV the KDLS40A12U should definitely be on your short list - it's well featured, reasonably priced and offers great HD playback.
Sony has produced a great 40in high definition TV at a very attractive price. The image quality is excellent when fed with the right signal and the amount and variety of inputs is similarly impressive. Unless you’re dead set on a 1080p screen (and have very deep pockets in order to afford one), the KDLS40A12U will make an excellent companion for your HD Sky box and Blu-ray player when they arrive.