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Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 40in LCD TV review

John Archer

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 7

Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 front
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 front
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 UI
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 front angle
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 front angle
  • Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 specs
  • TrustedReviews Awards 2010
  • BRAVIA KDL-40EX503 102 cm 40" LCD TV (CCFL - DVB-T MPEG4 - NTSC, PAL, SECAM - HDTV 1080p - 16:9 - 1920 x 1080 - 1080p - Dolby Digital Plus - 100 Hz)

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Freeview HD included
  • Bravia Internet video platform
  • Excellent black levels

Cons

  • Slightly washed-out colours
  • No 200Hz engine

Key Features

  • Freeview HD tuner
  • 4 HDMI v1.3 ports
  • 100Hz motion engine
  • 1080p panel
  • 2x10w audio output
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £569.99

TrustedReviews Awards 2010

This might seem a bit of a strange thing to say at the start of what you’ve doubtless already noticed is going to be a very positive review, but frankly I found testing the KDL-40EX503 a royal pain in the backside.

The thing is, I live in Derbyshire. This is not usually a bad thing in itself, of course - aside from it requiring me to support the ‘Ramtastic’ football club that boasts the record for the lowest tally of points ever recorded in a Premiership season. But living in Derbyshire is definitely problematic if you’re a TV reviewer who’s just received the first commercially available TV able to receive the new (they launched in December) Freeview HD broadcasts.

According to the latest information from the Freeview HD coverage checker on freeview.co.uk, my postcode is not going to be getting Freeview HD broadcasts until 2011. Not next week, not next month, but next year! Needless to say, 12 months seemed a bit of a long time to wait before there was any point getting the 40EX503 out of its box to review. So I had no choice but to come up with a drastic contingency plan. A contingency plan called Neil.

Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 front

For Neil it is who happens to be both a mate and a bloke with a house within comfortable reception distance of the Crystal Palace broadcasting transmitter - one of the only two transmitters (the other being Winter Hill near Blackburn) broadcasting Freeview HD at the time of writing.

Obviously catching up with a mate I hadn’t seen for ages was quite nice. Not quite so nice was having to load the TV and all my testing gear up into my car, and hot-foot it from Derbyshire to deepest London - all without, I might add, any expenses being added to my usual review charge. Outrageous!

Of course, many of you will probably consider all this but a small price to pay for the chance to get early dibs on a Freeview HD TV. But I have to say I find it a bit ludicrous that in 2010 we have a situation where a really quite key bit of technological innovation is only available initially to people lucky enough to live in the right postcode. Especially as I don’t remember dear Aunty Beeb offering me any refund on my license fee until I was able to get the same level of service that other parts of the country are getting. Freeview HD = ‘free HD for all’? Pah!

Before I get too worked up, though, it’s high time I pointed out that precisely none of what I’ve been ranting about in the previous paragraphs is the fault of Sony’s 40EX503. This is simply a TV that’s designed to receive Freeview HD broadcasts whenever - and wherever - it finds them. It has no say in how fair or otherwise the broadcaster’s HD coverage might be, and would in fact doubtless be ecstatic if Freeview HD was already a national phenomenon. If a TV was capable of having feelings.

So let’s put the griping behinds us - until the next Freeview HD TV arrives through my door, at any rate - and start focussing on the specifics of the 40EX503.

GoldenGuy

March 23, 2010, 11:47 am

Any time to test input lag, John? I'm on the verge of buying a Samsung for its excellent value-for-money regarding picture quality, but the only thing stopping me are the reports of some unplayable games. I'd like to think as a console maker, Sony's tellies can accommodate its own intensive gaming better, no?

Hamish Campbell

March 23, 2010, 12:41 pm

Don't suppose they'll be bringing the video playback over usb and improved applicast to early sets...grissle grissle.





Applicast is really poo, but in theory that should get these new options as well as sits there and says there will be more content coming. Well, one can live in hope.

whybother

March 23, 2010, 3:19 pm

Where I live we are in the mad position of currently not having any freeview at all (only channels 1-4 on terrestrial), but are switching over starting tommorow (I live in stroud in the West region) and in 2 weeks when switchover completes we get freeview HD! I can understand it makes sence to add HD when switching transmitters but i think its a bit riduculous we have had to wait till 2010 for digital at all!

Metalex

March 23, 2010, 4:51 pm

@GoldenGuy - Unfortunately Trusted Reviews have said they won't be introducing input lag figures into their TV reviews. This is dissapointing for a review site that covers a wide range of technology, including games consoles where input lag figures are important. To me, this limits the usefulness of TV reviews here, as input lag is one of the most important, yet overlooked, considerations when choosing a TV.

CountryBumpkin

March 23, 2010, 6:38 pm

What's the difference like between Freeview HD and Freesat?

GoldenGuy

March 23, 2010, 9:26 pm

Thanks Metalex - that is a (another) disappointment indeed.





@Bumpkin





I think the only difference is that that Freesat/Freesat HD service requires you to install a digital satellite dish on your house. But the 'free' still means free - there is no subscription; you still just pay for the decoder box (or the price is included in Freesat-integrated TVs).

Tony Walker

March 24, 2010, 4:46 am

Eh oop lad, yuv fairled yerr baaaysic Lancastrian geeogruffi.





It's Booorlton that the big metal TV thingie is near. Blackbrrn is about 3 times as far.

PGrGr

March 24, 2010, 1:29 pm

Totally back the calls for TR to look at input lag in TV reviews. It's not like the readership of this site, or indeed the writership (?) don't play console games!

Metalex

March 24, 2010, 2:36 pm

It looks like the demand is there for input lag figures to be included in TV reviews, so does anyone from Trusted Reviews have any comments on whether or not this might be included in the future? If not, why not?

Jesper

March 24, 2010, 10:15 pm

@haim: I went out and bought their previous generation TV four months ago, so I am completely with you on the Applicast bashing. I have tried to write to customer service to lobby for a firmware upgrade, no answer yet, I am still crossing my thumbs.





I don't think they would loose a lot of customers by sending a little love to the previous models, after all, who changes their set every year?





If they did bring internet TV to older models it would certainly get some stars in my book, and my next TV down the line might very well be a Sony again.

Horace Coker

March 25, 2010, 1:14 am

I've just checked on the Sony website and there is a 37" version of this telly - yippeeeeeee!!

Snublefot

March 25, 2010, 2:41 pm

Dear John Archer/Trusted Reviews!





Last year you reviewed the 46" W5500 and gave it a 9 for picture quality.


Now you give EX503 a 9 for it's picture quality.





Has the standard changed in one year? Are there any significant change in picture quality between EX503 series and W5500 series?





It is now possible to get a 52W5500 at almost the same price as a 46EX503. Wich would you recomend for me to buy? I care more about the picture quality than the size.

Stezo2k

April 3, 2010, 2:06 pm

Hi Snunlefot,





Between the EX503 and the W5500, in terms of picture quality there isn't a massive difference at all, the backlight issues seem to be sorted with this model, other than that i'm sure its pretty much the same. The main benefit of this model is the features really

kwg uk

May 13, 2010, 11:34 pm

Interesting read, hope the qualities translate down to the 32" model

ZZ

July 27, 2010, 11:49 am

The input lag is supposed to be 60ms in game mode for this set according to another review, which is quite high. However I have bought this TV, (actually the European model, KDL-40EX500) tested the several FPS games, did not notice any input lag at all in game mode. (BF2, Call of Juarez, Farcry 2)Tried moving around the mouse pointer rapidly as well, it responded immediately. What I had to get used to at first was actually the large size of the screen, otherwise games look and play awesome on it.

ishmeister

September 2, 2010, 4:16 pm

I have heard rumour that input lag may be less on the VGA port.

andromida

April 29, 2011, 12:40 am

What I like about sony Bravia is its outer sleek looks and the color of the body

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