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Sony Bravia KDL-40W2000 1920 x 1080 Flat Panel LCD TV

Part II

May, 2007

Ofer LaOr

 

Aspect ratio control is acceptable on the 40W2000, but could definitely be better. Full screen is nice, and the unit was able to detect and auto switch between 4:3 and 16:9 quite well (good for European SD programming that supports it). The Smart mode, which deforms the image slightly (every manufacturer calls this mode something else: arena, smart, pillar mode, etc.) works fine and does not really give much of a fisheye effect during the conversion from 4:3 to 16:9. I still found myself wishing for more options on the aspect ratio button.

The remote is a typical Sony remote. It looks OK, not the best manufacturing quality, but has absolutely no discrete features whatsoever. Hey Sony, some of your customers need automation, so just put 2-3 more buttons on the remote, because it certainly has the space for them.

As I mentioned, SD picture quality is pretty good for a full HD panel. Most FHD (Full High Definition - 1,920 x 1,080) displays don't have much of a video processor in them, but this one ranks pretty high in comparison with many other displays. I found the image quality to be acceptable, but certainly can be improved upon with a good upscaling DVD, or external scaler.

HD quality is a whole different ballgame. No processor needed there. The image quality was flawless. I tested Narnia, which has dark characters against very bright white snow. I could easily make out the shades in the boy's hair as well as see the faulty makeup on the Ice Queen's face.

The dark cave scene, which is usually very two-dimensional on most LCD displays, did not come out as well as it did with the Pioneer PDP5000EX FHD plasma, but it did produce reasonable results. There was smearing and definite loss of detail, but the scene was still watchable, and this turned out to be a rather rare moment where the unit did not produce top notch PQ.

I really liked the sharpness of the image, and it also lacked the grain that such sharpness is typically accompanied with on similar panels. The picture looked "correct", realistic, and lively, and that's all I ever expect or want from any display.

Watching my 1080p home movies was a real treat,  as you can easily mistake such sources from real life. The image quality is superb, especially coming from a Sony FHD camcorder. If you need a killer combination of equipment, here they are.

Measuring gamma (window patterns fixate the contrast stretching), the unit strangely has incorrect names for the settings. Low turns out to be the highest gamma setting, measuring at 2.09 (reasonable for such a contrast ratio, although I would love the option of having a 2.2 gamma setting). The High setting, on the other hand, measured 1.75.

Another interesting story was watching the new Star Wars trilogy on this display. These movies have a certain "haze" to them that makes them seem a bit like a dream or maybe a fairy tale. I don't think I've ever seen this movie as sharp as I did on the KDL-40W2000. The combination of full HD resolution (Sony calls this a 6 Megapixel display, as they seem to count all subpixels too) on merely a 40" screen area just produces a sharp very detailed image.

Conclusions

The Sony Bravia KDL-40W2000 40" Flat Panel LCD HDTV should be watched from a close distance. It is not a display for large living rooms, but is ideal for people having good HDTV sources and sitting 6-10 ft from their system. I strongly suggest using a dedicated sound system with this display and leaving the internal audio for Saturday morning cartoons or if your other half wants to watch the news without turning on the rest of the system.

Bottom Line: Great Product!

- Ofer LaOr -

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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