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Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU review

John Archer

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Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43BU
  • Bravia KDL40EX43BU 32-Inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p LCD TV with Integrated Blu-ray Player and Freeview HD

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

If 2010 proved one thing where Sony was concerned, it’s that the brand is back in the innovation game. It delivered the UK’s first Freeview HD TV, it took online TV to a whole new dimension, and right at end of the year it gave us the 40EX43BU: the first TV in the UK to sport a built-in Blu-ray player.

This makes plenty of sense, of course. For if there’s a ‘Holy Grail’ of AV for your average compact living room, it’s reducing clutter. What’s more, with the price tag of just £571.65 that we’ve found online, the 40EX43BU is cheaper than getting a decently specified 40in Sony TV and Sony Blu-ray player separately, so you can feel like you’re getting a genuine bargain as well as leaving your room looking neater.

Of course, there’s a good chance that the performance of either the Blu-ray deck or the TV will be compromised in some way by having both crammed into a single chassis. It will be especially interesting to see what if any effort the TV makes to accommodate Blu-ray’s high def audio potential. But then to be fair, it’s likely that anyone buying this set will realise that some degree of performance compromise will be involved with their convenience-based decision, especially at under £600. So unless anything gets truly disastrous, we’ll probably feel inclined to cut the 40EX43BU a little more slack on the performance front than normal.

Aesthetically the 40EX43BU’s design hasn’t been compromised provided you’re looking directly at it. It wears the same mix of gloss black and smokey grey that we’ve seen on numerous other Sony models of late - except the relatively high-end ones that come dressed in Sony’s striking, all-black ‘Monolithic’ design.

Aside from a small Blu-ray logo on the bottom right corner of the 40EX43BU’s fascia, the main visual signs of the set’s combi nature are reserved for its rear, which boasts a disc slot on the right edge, and sticks out considerably more than most modern TVs - well in excess of 100mm.

As might be expected of a combi product, the 40EX43B carries three HDMIs - one less than most of Sony’s other current TVs. But there’s no sign of compromise elsewhere, at least where video and multimedia connections are concerned. A USB port, for instance, can play JPEG photo, MP3 audio or DivX, AVCHD and MPEG4 video, as well as potentially making the TV Wi-Fi capable via an optional USB dongle.

There’s also an Ethernet port, there first as mandatory support for a built-in Freeview HD tuner. But it also enables connectivity and file playback from a DLNA PC and, even more pleasingly, it enables you to jack into Sony’s excellent Bravia Internet Video service.

Having covered BIV regularly, including in our online TV update feature a week or so ago, we won’t go into detail on it again here. We’ll just mention its highlights - the BBC iPlayer, Demand Five, YouTube, the LoveFilm and Qriocity movie on demand services, plus Sony World of Television - and add that for us it’s currently the most consistently engaging online system currently available on a TV.

Martin Daler

January 4, 2011, 2:28 pm

Price as reviewed £597.06 inc VAT. OK, so allowing for the VAT rise that is £609.79 now. Still a long way off the "latest price" £727.17. How does this happen on the day the review is published? Surely that must knock the 10/10 value score.


(Who says retailers are looking to profit out of the VAT rise confusion?)

Stewart

January 4, 2011, 6:17 pm

This is effectively Sony's KDL-40EX403U TV, which as this review alludes to is a great value no frills, but does things very well TV, with a built-in highly regarded Sony BDP-S370 Blu-Ray player.





The Sony's KDL-40EX403U may be no frills but you still get Freeview HD and Sony's BIV - others at this price level sometimes don't include these features, and this set was recently available at John Lewis for £399 incl 5yr guarantee (bargin, but now sold out), but elsewhere is still available for £440 at Amazon. The Blu-Ray player is in even bigger bargin - available for £90 at Play.





So you can get the equivalent as seperates cheaper (even if you include a HDMI lead) but not by much. Therefore, Kudos to Sony for giving you a clutter free option by combining them, not loosing any performance, and not charging a premium for it.





Personally, however, I would have prefered the TV with a built in PVR, and I think it would have been easier to produce - just a regular set with built in HDD, a bit of extra software with maybe an additional CODEC chip, and if they were especially nice, a second Freeview HD tuner!

J4cK1505

January 4, 2011, 8:42 pm

I dont know where else to put this but could TR review some microphones

Ed

January 5, 2011, 12:42 am

@J4cK1505: In a word, no. We have done the odd microphone here and there when they have some extra technology but we're not likely to start reviewing normal ones any time soon. It's certainly something we would look to add in the future as we hope to expand, though.

lwoody7110

January 5, 2011, 1:11 am

...not sure the reviewed set is the 1st with an integrated Blu-Ray. I've owned sony's own KDL-32EX43B for a few months now.

Martin Daler

January 5, 2011, 1:15 am

@ Stewart Thanks for that background info. The KDL-40EX403U is still available at Play.com for £399. To me £328 for a Blu Ray player seems a bit steep, built in or not. Its all down to the price of this telly - is it £597 "as reviewed" or £727 "latest price"?

Stewart

January 5, 2011, 2:53 am

@Martin


The KDL-40EX43BU is £597.09 from Southern Electric through Amazon. Amazon's own price is £727.17. (I find Amazon's prices can be pretty fluid, especially during the sales, sometimes changing daily).





So the KDL-40EX43BU for £597.09 or the KDL-40EX403U TV (£399 from Play - good spot) and the BDP-S370 Blu-Ray player (£89.99 from Play) - total £489.98. Enough of a saving for a stonking HDMI cable - or get the same performance from a £2 one ;-)





What price less clutter? I've gone the 'separates' route.


Still, kudos to Sony (and our friendly on-line retailers) for all of these products at these kind of prices - I'd give all of them an easy 10/10 for value.

davidcrofter

January 5, 2011, 4:31 am

Again I have to question the overall score of 9/10.





Doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the scores:


2 x 7/10


2 x 8/10





Until you somehow manage to give a better scoring system that reflects the actual product I think your reviews are very flawed - especially as this seems to have been achieved on novelty value and a questionable 10/10 for value.

J4cK1505

January 5, 2011, 7:16 am

Thanks Ed for the reply!


This is the site I look to for quality reviews on anything technological. It just seems a shame to not have them when you seem to have all other areas covered. I'd love some high quality mic reviews.


Sorry John to bomb your article like this :s

Martin Daler

January 5, 2011, 2:14 pm

@Stewart - remarkable, once you actually find Southern Electric's site, there it is, actually priced at £543.14 for the Sony KDL-40EX43B LCD TV with Integrated Blu-ray™ Player. I've cut and paste just to be sure, because they also have the Sony KDL-40EX403 Freeview HD LCD TV at £616.49. Can this be right? That makes the integrated Blu-Ray player cost negative £73.35, bargain! Buy it before they realise their mistake?

MrGodfrey

January 5, 2011, 8:17 pm

Stewart: The KDL-40EX403U is indeed (or was) a bargain at £400. In fact with Freeview HD, BIV, 4 HDMI connections, USB port, and better build and design (albeit slightly bulkier) than equally priced alternatives from Samsung etc, I'd say it has more frills than anyone could reasonably expect for the money. I personally would say £200 more for a built-in Blu-Ray player is not such great value, but then the PS3 serves my Blu-Ray needs quite adequately. Anyway I can't speak for the player but otherwise it's a great TV.

Enigma

January 6, 2011, 6:18 am

Firstly, it's no innovation. Remember the Amstrad and other cheap and cheerful tvs with a DVD player?





Was it not LG that last year produced a tv with a HDD? So Sony sticks in BD drive!!! Wow.





Secondly, consider this Sony save on chaises/box; AV-connectors (eg HDMI); Power Unit; and few other AV internals of a stand alone. Given you can get a good BD player for around £70 means a factory gate price of £10-20. So work out how much it costs when it is integrated into a tv without most of the components!





If the BD conks out or the TV then you will need the FREE 5 year guarantee.





@"John Lewis for £399 incl 5yr guarantee" that is the right price point. Guess the factory gate price.

MrGodfrey

January 6, 2011, 7:06 am

Enigma: But what is your point - that Sony dares to try and make a profit on their product? Are they alone in this? £399 (for the standalone TV) remains good value when compared against other similarly featured or similarly priced alternatives, which really is the only sensible way to appraise it. Equally, if a TV with built-in Blu-Ray player is cheaper than buying the two separately, with added benefits (e.g. saving space), then it can be said to represent good value. The fact that consequently Sony are cutting costs and increasing margins is irrelevant to the consumer looking to buy a telly, as it should be. You may disagree but you'll have to level the same complaints at literally every product from every manufacturer featured on this site.

Martin Daler

January 6, 2011, 7:27 pm

Strange is the world of retail. Suddenly the KDL-40EX403 is priced at stupid money. Play, bless them, lifted the price by £200 and put it in the top spot as the "Pick of the Week"! They must think we are all stupid. Next week maybe it will be advertised as 10% off, bargain, etc? Best Buy have it at £649 in store, just to make Play look good! Remember, this same item was at £399 just two days ago. I've seen it in-store at Comet for £449, and in Curry's next door for about £100 more. The story has a happy ending however - its still on the Best Buy website at £399.99 (mysteriously unavailable from any postcode however) - so that is what I paid for it in store. It pays to shop around.

Enigma

January 6, 2011, 11:38 pm

@MrGodfrey - Hey, if it floats your boat: Be happy, don't worry.





"Best Buy website at £399.99 (mysteriously unavailable from any postcode however)" I have increasingly noticed this practice of Bargain pricing but "Out of stock." and it appears to be one of the retailers latest marketing tricks.

Martin Daler

January 7, 2011, 4:57 am

@Enigma I think it's called "Bait and Switch".

Enigma

January 7, 2011, 8:29 am

@Martin Daler, Yup! Or "fraud"! I first noticed this on the internet a couple of years ago but I have only began to see it in high street stores this year. Obviously given the expression it's not new.





Ironically, I think in one instance it has caught out one leading supermarket which has in response (I guess) reduced it's price to it's rival's same "out of stock" product. Good news for me.





The other trick I have seen is to advertise as reduced price but in fact they have correspondingly reduced the content. Of course the punters don't look at the details and get caught out.





Like this Sony TV: punters (and of course the sale staff) will look at it as getting a TV + BD Player equivalents and see the savings equivalently when they are not as noted above!

ffrankmccaffery

January 7, 2011, 5:33 pm

Priced at £399 in the latest Richer Sounds flyer. That said the standard definition upsampling is still quite soft.

clemenzina

January 8, 2011, 1:33 am

I got the 403 from John Lewis for £350 in exchange for the money and a very old portable CRT :) Having said that, it could have been an expensive experiment to discover how much I hated LCD had I not been able to sell it on for £400.





The TV under review here is now £604 supplied direct by Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-K...





Sometimes the prices you find via Google are actually Amazon Marketplace sellers - not the same at all :(

MrGodfrey

January 8, 2011, 8:31 pm

Enigma: As I said the Blu-Ray combo doesn't appeal to me, but nor do I see it as a heinous attempt to defraud people. As for obtaining the 40EX403 for £400, that does indeed assist the buoyancy of my dinghy. Not because it appears cheap compared to the ludicrous £600+ prices being charged by other retailers, but because the quality and features stand out in comparison to other sets priced around £400. This was my point, that "value for money" is relative and not simply based on, say, the amount of markup. Naturally if it were possible I would love to be able to obtain all my gadgets at the factory gate price :)

Enigma

January 8, 2011, 9:30 pm

@MrGodfrey - I am happy for you now that your dinghy's buoyant. I hope you are getting the 5 year free warranty too?





However, you contradict yourself: you consider it "value for many" at £400 but not on the basis of mark-up!? Price depends on mark-up and hence "value for money". Clearly if the mark up was higher as in the case of the retailers charging £600+ makes it poor value for money in comparison to the rival's sets. Of course factory-gate price would b nice and even nicer at production cost price!!! but then we might start seeing pigs getting buoyant! ;-)





The fraud issue is something else. You'll have to re-read what I and @Martin were talking about.

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