The Freesat EPG is effective enough too, presenting its information reasonably clearly and, thankfully, quickly. There’s no sign of the sluggishness I noticed with LG’s Freesat EPG. Some people might wish that the EPG could include a small screen showing the channel you were watching when you chose the EPG, but from my experience of Sky’s revamped EPG, I personally have to say that I’d rather have more listings on screen at once and live without the picture.
Getting back to matters of picture quality, the 40Z5800 packs all of Sony’s customary knack with sharpness and detail when showing BBC HD footage – or, of course, Blu-rays. In fact, thanks to the quality of Sony’s latest 200Hz engine, as recorded in our review of the 46Z5500, the 40Z5800 actually looks even sharper than most Sony TVs, as there’s precious little motion blur to worry about.
The 40Z5800’s pictures aren’t quite perfect, though. As usual with an LCD TV, for instance, you don’t have to watch it from much of an angle before contrast and colour levels diminish. Also, I occasionally spotted a few brightness ‘jumps’ caused by the dynamic backlight being too aggressive (though if this bugs you, you can always turn the dynamic contrast system off). And finally, for some reason I felt slightly more disturbed than usual with a Sony set by the 40Z5800’s presets, with none of the provided options really getting results out of Freesat – or any source, come to that – as good as those I arrived at myself via a little manual calibration.
The 40Z5800’s biggest failing, though, lies not with its pictures but its sound. Basically, there’s just not enough of it. So while your ”Jeremy Kyle Shows”, with their talking and occasional shouty bits, sound absolutely fine, a James Cameron action scene or two soon catches the speakers out, as they fail to go to six, never mind 11. Action scenes – or orchestral scores come to that – all thus sound thin and low on clarity.
While the 40Z5800’s audio shortcomings and, come to think of it, a slightly steep-looking price stop Sony’s new Freesat posterboy from achieving 10 out of 10 greatness, the neatness of its Freesat integration and, above all, some outstanding picture quality make it a comfortable 9 out of 10 all the way.