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Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 40in LCD TV - Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 front

Summary

Our Score:

9

For a TV that genuinely breaks new technological ground, the 40EX503 is a little unassuming to look at. Sony has tried to introduce a bit of flair via an aluminium panel stuck onto the TV’s lower edge, but this only adds a relatively small touch of opulence to what’s essentially another one of those 10-a-penny gloss-black rectangles that dominate so much of the TV market right now.

My first impressions of the 40EX503 weren’t helped, either, by the problems I had with, um, getting the provided batteries into the 40EX503’s remote control - despite Sony providing a diagram stuck to the remote to try and make the process easier. Mind you, in my own defence, the very fact that Sony has gone to the trouble of fastening a battery installation diagram to the remote suggests that it’s far more complicated than it really should be!

The set hits its stride more confidently when it comes to connections. Highlights beyond the predictable four HDMIs include a startlingly flexible USB 2.0 input (MP3, JPEG, and various video formats are all on the menu), a PC port, and an Ethernet port that is actually way more exciting on the 40EX503 than the same port was on any of Sony’s previous generation of Ethernet-sporting TVs.

Why? Because unlike the desperately flimsy offering of Sony’s previous AppliCast online service, Sony’s new Bravia Internet Video platform is arguably as revolutionary in its own way as the 40EX503’s integrated Freeview HD tuner.

Seriously, the amount of online content available through the 40EX503’s Ethernet port - or wirelessly if you get Sony’s optional Wi-Fi USB dongle - is so extensive it borders on bewildering.

Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 UI

It would take forever to cover everything that’s on offer in detail. But a basic list of the 40EX503‘s ring-fenced online services shapes up like this: YouTube; blip.tv; Sony’s Digital Cinema Concert Series; The Ford Models channel (settle down, chaps); Daily Motion; OnNetworks; livestrong.com; SingingFool; National Public Radio; access to various popular podcasts; and LoveFilm.

The latter service is particularly innovative and important to readers of this site, since it will eventually (as in, imminently!) allow the streaming of full, feature-length films accessed via your LoveFilm account - an account which you will be able to sync your TV up with.

This service wasn’t quite up and running as I wrote this review: all you could access via the LoveFilm link were trailers, and these didn’t always stream perfectly on my admittedly fairly uninspiring 2Mbps broadband pipe, despite the 40EX503 impressively carrying a 7-second download buffer. But the LoveFilm service has the potential to become a huge feature for home cinema fans in the months and years to come.

The remote control interface for accessing all the 40EX503’s online features works well too, and leaves Sony in the enviable position of now setting the online pace rather than lagging behind as it did last year.

Looking for more prosaic features, I find the 40EX503 boasting a 100Hz engine for improving motion resolution, and Sony’s Bravia Engine 3 (BE3) video processing engine. It’s perhaps a tad disappointing that Sony has stuck with BE3 rather than doing its usual annual incremental improvement. But to be fair, BE3 has proved highly effective at keeping a lid on video noise, boosting contrast and enhancing sharpness.

Other little bits and bobs included to keep the tinkerers happy include Sony’s Live Colour system for enhanced colour tones, a black correction facility, a flexible gamma adjustment, and thoughtfully separated-out MPEG and ‘standard’ noise reduction systems.

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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